Tag Archives: Northern Island borders

Law – what law ?

Labour (along with a motley assortment of remainers and of course the SNP) has predictably got into a flurry over the Internal Market Act and the assertion that it will ‘break international law’. Their feigned horror that the UK will become an international pariah in so doing is couched in words that imply (for the benefit of the casual listener or uninformed) that (a) there is some coherent codification of such global laws, and (b) that there is some body that might impose sanction on an ‘offender’.

Neither of these things appears to be the case. To quote Wikipedia, International Law operates “largely through consent, since there is no universally accepted authority to enforce it upon sovereign states. Any enforcement authority is rather less defined than that of the local magistrate fining a drunk. Further, the claim that the UK will lose all international standing as a trustworthy party has a whiff of hypocrisy about it.

One body for enforcing law pan-nationally is the International Court of Justice (ICJ). A casual glance shows, for example, that their rulings went against the UK (on the Chagos Archipelago) and over the years the UK government has found every way to avoid complying with those rulings. Indeed, the UK rejected the ruling of the ICJ as having no authority in the matters at hand. The issue was rights of the indigenous islanders against Uncle Sams’s shilling for having the nuclear air base of Diego Garcia sited there. The labour party (in the shapes variously and particularly of Harold Wilson, JackStraw, David Milliband and Lord Falconer) and never seemed to bother about the injustices they heaped on the Chagos islanders in the face of ICJ rulings. So much for ‘International Law’ as far as Labour is concerned.

The Conservative party endorses these injustices. Not only did the UK reject the ruling of the ICJ, the UN overwhelmingly passed a motion that the UK should allow the islanders to return in 2019; the UK ignored this on the basis that it was non-binding. Consideration if morality or trustworthiness was certainly not raised over these matters by any of the current bleaters over BoJo’s move.

Another source of cross border treaty ‘enforcement’ is possibly the Vienna Convention on treaties, which MP’s said provided a framework for the validity of the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement. Is this universally recognised? Well, no, because Iran and San Salvador are not signatories – as indeed is the position with the United States, which has never ratified it. So the world’s largest military and economic power sees no reason to even become a party to such structures to govern international treaties. [The US also withdrew as a signatory from the International Criminal Court, presumably on the basis that its military excesses might be held to account].

As to what the rest of the world might think about expedient breaking of treaty agreements, we just have to look westward at the USA’s view of treaties and enforcing organisations; one can list JCPOA, START, NAFTA, WHO and the Paris Accord to see that the USA feels it is perfectly ok to unilaterally pull the plug on something they signed with another country when it suits them. It is therefore all the more surprising (and irritating) that geriatric Nancy Pelosi (speaker of the House of US Representatives) has somehow forgotten all these acts when threatening the UK on trade if it signs an act in our sovereign parliament – one would have thought that she had enough troubles at home without criticising the UK about an agreement to which the USA is not a party, and none of their business, other than for political expediency with the Irish lobby.

{Of the many analyses of the Chagos situation, comprehensive references can be found in https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/review-of-international-studies/article/decolonising-the-special-relationship-diego-garcia-the-chagossians-and-angloamerican-relations/258A631202B296843E1373A4A81CC444 ]