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Tuesday 19 November 2013
Saturday 2 November 2013
I don't imagine that many of us give a great deal of time to thinking about the subject of national borders, their importance in international law, the difference that they make to our everyday lives; and how much more troublesome our daily existence would be, in the event that such well established territorial boundaries suddenly ceased to exist.
Prior to mankind settling the land around him, for the cultivation of crops, or the raising of livestock, there would have been little need for territorial possessions, especially for the bands of early hunter gatherers whose entire lifestyle might have been impeded by any sort of fixed land border, which would have prevented them from accessing their long held traditional hunting grounds, fishing waters and game rich forests. For thousands of years and prior to the concept of personal ownership, of land or natural resource, our hunter gatherer forefathers would no doubt have mimicked the migration habits of the animals they relied upon, moving from one region to another, from one resource to another, from one food source to another; and in doing so, completing a twelve month cycle of existence that is still commonplace within most of the natural world.
Commonplace that is except within the majority of the human species, which has for the most part, chosen to distance itself from its early ancestors through the act of permanent settlement. Of course, not all of the human race chooses to settle in one place, with a small number of indigenous people's still preferring to migrate to other traditional places on a fairly regular basis, taking with them their homes, their families, their possessions and their animals, replicating journeys that generations of their ancestors have been undertaking for many thousands of years.
The fairly obvious difference between ourselves, the members of modern societies; and these small groups of indigenous peoples, as well as almost the entirety of the world's animal species, revolves around the single idea of ownership. Many traditional native people's don't or wouldn't understand the idea of personal ownership when it's applied to the natural world, simply because they share our early ancestor's view of nature and the wider natural world. The animals, the cereals, the fruits and the water that they generally exploit to sustain themselves and their communities, are not theirs as such, but are a natural resource available to everyone. They don't covet such natural resources in the same way that a member of a modern society would, perhaps because they don't interpret the intrinsic value of the resource in the same way. A hunter gatherer would simply regard meat, fruit, cereal or water as a means of satisfying a basic need, be that hunger or thirst, whereas a member of a modern society would be almost certain to consider the additional benefit of the natural resources actual financial worth, whether that was in terms of how much it would cost them, or how much they could make from selling it to others.
It was thought to be the settlement of land, for the cultivation of crops, the acquiring of natural resources, coal, copper, tin, gold, etc. and the raising of livestock that ultimately brought an end to the era of the hunter gatherer; and ushered in the concept of personal, regional and national borders, or in other words, ownership. As a result of this new human acquisitiveness, covetessness and greed, bloody wars would be fought, large armies would be raised, formidable defences would be built, administrative formalities would be introduced, tariffs would be applied; all as a result of one set of people wanting to possess and exploit a given resource for their own benefit.
Although we generally think of borders in terms of national geography, where one country, or one region joins another, in reality if you're a home owner, then you have a property border, which is commonly referred to as boundary. If you own your home and the land that it sits on then the chances are, you will jealousy safeguard your property boundary, your borders, as if your life depends on it, simply because it has an intrinsic financial value; and if someone were to essentially steal a piece of your land, then that would almost certainly reduce the financial value of your holding, in terms of the amount of money you would expect to get for it, if you chose to sell your house, garage, field, or whatever.
For virtually every independent nation on the face of the earth, national borders and the natural resources that they incorporate, are considered to be so important, that the rulers of those countries raise an armed force to protect them, in the form of an army, a navy (assuming access to the sea) and an air force. Even those countries who regularly send troops to fight foreign wars, such as the likes of the USA and the UK, initially raised such military units simply to protect their own borders and resources, not necessarily anyone else's. However, as the risk of military invasion has declined, so such border protection duties have been deferred to specialist civilian agencies such as the UKBA, or the Police, with some armed forces being diverted to other overseas operations, as in the case of Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq or Afghanistan.
Britain takes great pride in the fact that only three times during the past two thousand years has it been successfully invaded by foreign military powers, to the extent that its own native rulers were essentially usurped by outside leaders, the first being the Romans, the second the Anglo Saxons and the third time by the Normans. On all three occasions there have been underlying reasons why these foreign invasions were eventually successful, the common reason being because the country was often fragmented by petty divisions amongst the ruling elite and the lack of a single cohesive military strategy to deal with any outside invader. It is also worth remembering that even though all three invading forces were initially foreign to the indigenous peoples of Britain, we have had over a thousand years to assimilate them into one common cultural thread, unlike today, where the British people are being asked to absorb some seven million foreign born migrants into our society within the space of some fifty or sixty years, which is far too much for any modern society to cope with, let alone one as unused to change, as is the case in the UK.
For the next thousand years or so, from 1066 onwards, Britain's borders remained largely intact, allowing for the odd military incursion by various elements of the French, Spanish and Dutch armed forces, which have generally been associated with the highly divisive political landscape of the UK over the same time period. Although Britain was successfully invaded in 1688 by William of Orange, the fact that he had actually been invited to invade the country by a number of the nation's leading Parliamentarian's, in order to oust the highly unpopular monarch James II, tends to undermine any suggestion that his landing was actually opposed by anyone, apart from the most devoted Stuart supporter. Just over one hundred years later Napoleon Bonaparte intended to try and invade Britain and amassed a large army on the French coast in order to carry out his plan, but which was ultimately defeated by the might of the Royal Navy.
As an island nation, Britain has been fortunate to be gifted a natural barrier to its lands, in the form of the Channel, the Irish Sea, the North Sea and the North Atlantic, all of which have helped to provide the largest protective moat of its kind. That having been said however, it would have been remiss of our forefathers to rely on their presence alone, bearing in mind that most of our historic enemies also had large navies; and thus the capability to land their soldiers on our shores. As a consequence, our navy, our land army and later our air force was always well maintained and prepared to meet any unknown threat, rather than simply relying on our natural defences to keep us all safe and well. History has also taught us that being unprepared for the unexpected also tends to carry a heavy price, as our enemies are all too often aware of Britain's limited abilities to strike back, as has proven to be the case following the Napoleonic War, the Boer War, the First World War and then the Second World War, following all of which we have allowed our military forces to dwindle, often at a direct cost to our own national and international interests.
One wonders what our forebears would have made of the current situation, which has allowed millions of foreign migrants to have penetrated our protective borders without the simplest by your leave; and often with the most cursory validation of their right to entry. We have somehow arrived at a situation where our civilian border control agency haven't got the faintest clue of who is entering the country and who is leaving, meaning that we have little real knowledge about the potential dangers being posed to our citizens. A sensible approach to such a serious situation might be to strengthen our border controls, increase the numbers of officials employed to weed out the illegal entrants, or too at least consolidate our military forces, to deal with any potential dangers that might present themselves, now or in the future. Unfortunately, our country is currently in the hands of a totally misguided and largely incompetent political class, who seem more intent on weakening our border controls and our defence forces, than they are strengthening them, thereby exacerbating the risks, rather than reducing them.
The news that there are an estimated 600,000 foreign migrants economically inactive in our country, a minimum of 500,000 illegal immigrants at large in our country, that potentially £3.7 billion pound's worth of taxpayers money is being spent on non-UK citizens, that a significantly corrupt and largely un-elected foreign government wants access to both our police and potentially our military forces, simply helps to illustrate the level of dereliction of duty, which exists within our own national government. At the same time that government is losing control of our borders and our ability to control the numbers of unreported strangers in our midst, these same politicians are reducing the numbers and effectiveness of our soldiers, sailors and airmen, the numbers of frontline police officers, as well as doctors, nurses, healthcares; not forgetting firemen, paramedics and border control personnel, all of the people are country will rely upon if and when the system finally starts to fall apart.
Our national borders, the men and women of our armed forces, our police forces and our great national institutions are here to protect us; and help us in our hour of need, which they cannot do, if they are removed through illegally contrived treaties, or undermined by deceptive and deliberate political chicanery.
The opponents of nationalistic fervour, or more correctly patriotism, would counter that national borders and controls are an outdated symbol of intolerance, division and simply provide an obstacle to globalisation, multiculturalism and human homogeny. Well I would say tell that to America, Australia, Canada, India, Japan, or any of the other great democracies of the world who fully embrace all aspects of a modern country, but do so entirely on their own terms; and without compromising the security, cultures or financial well-being of their own citizens. The irony is that nobody believes that any of these countries are mad or bad for maintaining these sorts of controls over their country's national borders, or indeed the people who want to come in and out of their individual territories. And yet for anyone in Britain to suggest the same is heresy, as if we somehow inhabit a different world, where opposite rules apply. Call me a racist. Call me a fascist. In fact, call me what you like. But until such time as we once again control our borders; and retain the right to decide who comes in to our country; and who doesn't, then we can expect things to get a lot worse than they are now; and that's pretty bad!