Carmen Gomez

Thomas Jefferson once said that “the happiness of every individual is now acknowledged to be the only legitimate object of government.” This may well have been true when this great man uttered such words; today, however, it may sound like an illusive dream in some corners of the world, particularly in Hong Kong, where its citizens; primarily its young; are prepared to demonstrate for their freedoms and rights, to the point of putting their lives at risk.

Tragically, on top of which they have to bear with their actions being labelled illegal, evil and criminal acts. How could it have gone so wrong? You see, if we analyze it, this is the same kind of mentality which exists in Spain, where a people hold a referendum to express their wish for Independence, and are not only castigated for it, but their actions demonised and their leaders jailed on terrorism charges!

The same mentality; except for the fact that we are talking about China and Spain; the former being a communist dictatorship, with the latter a supposed democracy! The people of Hong Kong feel betrayed! It’s all very well for Jeremy Hunt to say that his heart goes out to them, when what they ask is for the UK to help them in their hour of need.

The “handover” by the UK to China in 1977, was an agreement which firstly, they didn’t apparently think they would ever have to go through with. Even Margaret Thatcher asked this in 1984; and secondly it was something the people dreaded, and one where they had no say in. Today, the younger generation who have been brought up in a spirit of democracy do not accept having to being forced to embrace the dictates of such a regime so different to theirs.


We both share a colonial past, and I cannot help but look to them and us; not the same situation but oh so similar; and recognise how tragic their situation is, and at the same time realize how brave a people we have always been. For whilst it is not an easy task these days to try and enthuse the local generation of youngsters to get involved in the politics of their small nation, our people have nevertheless always been on the ball, and have had the courage to say to the UK time after time; NO! We will not go down that path. This, despite certain occasions, momentous to us, when we have been wrongly done by, which sadly have been beyond our control.


If you recall in 2002, we learnt that in 1971, Prime Minister Heath and the UK Government had considered the possibility of exchanging sovereignty with Spain for a 999 year lease on Gibraltar; the reason given at the time was that it had ceased to be of any military or economic value. Ladies and Gentlemen, the fate that would await us should this have been confirmed would be as unsavoury and against everything we believe in; as what the Hong Kong citizens are bound to experience from mainland China, should they not get their way.


We have been threatened and we have been bullied; we have been castigated and locked up in our own self made prison for having wanted to remain British. It has been an ongoing saga; one which has fraught our peace of mind and the happiness of those who came before us. Years later along came another Foreign Secretary, this time called Jack Straw, who meant to attempt to use us to get Spain to help counterbalance France and Germany’s domination of the European Union; something which had it happened, might have avoided a Brexit; except that seeing how Spain has behaved in all this time, it would probably not have made a blind bit of difference, and we would have been trapped under a miserable shared sovereignty.

Every step of the way has been a constant struggle to keep our homeland free from the tentacles of a country with which the UK has always had both a fascination and tight relationship with. A United Kingdom that has been ready and seen fit, on more than one occasion, to sacrifice us at the altar to please Spain.

Having said this, we are all only too aware, thankfully, that our leaders have made their mark and we are receiving dividends for it in the form of excellent relationships with UK Ministers, the Prime Minister’s office, and indeed the House of Lords. If you think about it, there have been times throughout our political history, when consecutive British Governments have doubted our ability to succeed in certain matters and have been proved wrong.


At this time in our history, however, perhaps thought might be given to finding new avenues to explore in our relationship with Britain; new ways of looking at old situations. For example, a reality that many would acknowledge is that foreign policy at the best of times makes little or no sense. We have seen how people in charge have made decisions in the past based on the politics of the moment, or an ideology that bears little relation to our reality, or on a sheer ignorance of the facts as we know them, compounded by wishful thinking. Such people have later tried, unsuccessfully, to justify something that made no sense in the first place, and in so doing have created huge headaches in their wake.

Governments should listen to the people. I understand that some of the Overseas Territories feel that the Foreign and Commonwealth office should not be the lead UK department for them, as they reinforce the perception that they are foreign; something which does not reflect a modern relationship and which we ourselves have expressed in the past.