-- Cultures --
Publié le 3/12/08 5:37 -- mis à jour le 00/00/00 00:00
Despite the UK Government's attempt to convince the Scottish electorate last October that Scotland is better off being part of a big European state rather than becoming a small independent nation in the current global financial crisis, one nation at least decided last week that greater independence was indeed the way forward for them.
Greenland, a protectorate of the European state of Denmark, voted overwhelmingly in a referendum on Tuesday (25th November 2008) for self rule, in a move that throws into stark relief the stance of much larger populations in Scotland, Wales and even Mann towards self determination. Greenland, with a population of 57000 people (50,000 of whom are native Inuits) living in one of the most inhospitable environments on earth, voted in favour of a greater autonomy that paves the way for future independence from Denmark and gives it rights to the lucrative Arctic resources within its territory.
Final results of the referendum show that from a 72% turnout, a total of 75.54 per cent voted «yes» to greater autonomy, while 23.57 per cent said «no». Even though the referendum is non binding on the Danish Government, Denmark has said that they will honour the results. The new statues will take effect on June 21, 2009 giving the people of Greenland, the world's largest island, a chance to regain the rights and freedom over their territory that they lost in 1775 when the country became a colony of Denmark.
Greenland's Prime Minister, Hans Enoksen, said:
«I say thank you to the people of Greenland for this overwhelming result. Greenland has been given a mandate to take another step» towards independence.
Greenland was granted semi-autonomy from Copenhagen in 1979 and in a 1982 referendum chose to withdraw from the European Union. As well as giving Greenland the right over its Arctic resources the new statutes will also give it control over justice, police and, to a certain extent, foreign policy.
Last month, Scottish Nationalist Party Leader Alex Salmond, responded to the UK Government's comments by saying:
«All countries, large and small, are affected by this [global crisis]¦ seventeen financial institutions have failed in the United States, the largest economy in the world. For unionists to say this is something just affecting small countries is daft.»
Greenland's push towards independence should also have bearing on the Manx Government, especially after the comments made by the UK Chancellor, Alisdair Darling, who humiliated the Manx Government in November with comments about reviewing UK links with the island. The Mannin/Isle of Man, with a population of 80 000 people, should be inspired by developments in Greenland and call a referendum of its own, rather than resting on its laurels in the lap of a UK state that thinks it can review the island's constitutional status on a whim.
(Article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot)
J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League 02/12/08