No - this is NOT a comment on Brown having appeared, during his recent visit to see Bush, to be no different to Blair .... we will see in coming months whether the next time Bush says 'jump' ... whether Brown will ask "how high do you want me to jump this time?" .... as his predecessor in the British Prime Ministerial office had done!
This IS a comment about the first moves Brown has made on the Cyprus issue since taking office.
Though it is a convention in 'blog' circles to not quote entire sections of material from another site, but to choose selections and then provide a link, in this instance the comments by Theresa Villiers on her website (and repeated during the 'Rally for Cyprus' which was videotaped by me) provided below do deserve to be quoted in their entirety.
Chipping Barnet MP - Theresa Villiers - has today written to the new Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, to protest about Joan Ryan's appointment as Gordon Brown's advisor on Cyprus. Speaking from Westminster, she said:
“I was shocked to learn of this appointment. This is a slap in the face for the Cypriot community. If the community thought that Tony Blair's resignation would mean that the Labour government started to see sense again on Cyprus, this appointment shows there's no hope of that. Gordon Brown is clearly going to continue Mr Blair's discredited approach on Cyprus which has completely let down all those who fled their homes during the 1974 invasion.”
“Joan Ryan has not taken a balanced or fair approach on Cyprus issues and I am deeply worried about the prospect of her deciding what the British government’s approach on this issue should be. I oppose this appointment and I have appealed to David Miliband to meet me and representatives of the Cypriot community so that he can hear at first hand why Gordon Brown’s decision has caused such anger and outrage in his first 3 days at Number 10.”
The letter sent to Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, is as follows:
Rt Hon David Miliband MP, Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
I am writing in my capacity as MP for Chipping Barnet, a role which gives me the honour and privilege of representing a large British Cypriot community.
Many of my constituents are deeply concerned about yesterday’s appointment of Joan Ryan as the Prime Minister’s advisor on Cyprus.
They believe that Ms Ryan has not taken a balanced or fair approach on matters relating to Cyprus. I have to say I sympathise with their point of view.
You will no doubt become aware as you read into your new brief that Tony Blair caused grave offence to many in the Cypriot community by criticising the Greek Cypriot no vote on the Annan 5 UN plan on Cyprus. They rightly felt that it was unacceptable for the then Prime Minister to tell them that they were wrong in the way they chose to vote in a democratic referendum on the future of their own country.
The UK government’s subsequent pressure for a move towards direct trade links with the unrecognised regime in northern Cyprus breaks with many years of cross party consensus in British politics and betrays a hugely worrying lack of concern and respect for the many people who were driven from their homes and villages by the 1974 invasion of Cyprus.
By appointing Joan Ryan to a highly influential position on Cyprus as one of his very first acts as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has delivered a slap in the face to those people and to thousands of other in the British Cypriot community.
He is not only signalling that the discredited and one-sided approach of Mr Blair is to continue, he is making the situation worse and driving an even deeper wedge between the Labour government and the Cypriot community. Many of my constituents rightly feel disappointed, angry and deeply disillusioned by this latest Labour betrayal on Cyprus.
In the light of the dismay felt that Mr Brown’s decision has caused, I would be grateful if you could consider agreeing to meet me and a delegation of British Cypriots to discuss this further and to listen to the reasons why they strongly oppose this appointment.
In the meantime, I would also appreciate it if you could outline the exact nature of the role Ms Ryan will play in relation to Cyprus.
Theresa Villiers MP
Readers can also refer to other additional information on a site that many will point out is more partisan, in being a Greek source, but hey, this is OUR issue, OUR island, OUR lives that are being 'determined' ...
... being determined still ... (who said anything about the Cypriot people having the right to 'self-determination')
... determined as a result of strings being pulled in a particular sequence in certain particular foreign centres of power.
Britain, being the former colonial power in Cyprus, as well as having some vestige responsibilities as one of the 3 so-called guarantor powers (a system which has so demonstrably failed Cypriots and MUST therefore be got rid of in any future proposal on solving the gordian knot which is the Cyprus problem) ... has some particular responsibilities on Cyprus which fortunately for Cyprus are now being modified by the collective decision-making process within the EU. Britain, and its influence in efforts to 'shape' initiatives and ideas both within the EU as well as within the Security Council at the United Nations ..... was seen in the debacle of Tony Blair's efforts to get United Nations approval over the Iraq War.
It will be for historians in future years to assess the exact impact of Britain's (and behind it the hand of the US State Department) lead in shaping the so-called Annan Plan which the Cypriot people were presented with at the April 2004 referendum .... in the (UK and US) hope of getting the people to pass it by referendum as a last-ditch attempt at the point of maximum leverage on the Greek Cypriots ... BEFORE accession to the EU by Cyprus became a reality.
The role of Britain's Lord Hannay has already been written about in his own book on the matter, as well as having been discussed elsewhere, but the role of Verheugen producing a ruling that the then-Annan plan was compatible with the EU's Acquis Communautaire is a good subject for some aspiring PHD student to take up as a subject for critical legal autopsy.
Given THAT history, for Brown to come up with the appointment of Joan Ryan despite the feelings and representations against the selection by the Cypriot community in the UK .... is correctly categorised by Theresa Villiers as a 'slap in the face' !
Prime Minister Brown - no improvement on Blair's dismal performance With reference to the above, there is now an online petition which those who are British subjects are asked to sign.
The petition reads as follows:
"We are shocked and appalled to learn of the appointment of Joan Ryan as special envoy to Cyprus. It is our belief that Joan Ryan has not taken a balanced or fair approach on Cyprus issues and we are deeply worried about the prospect of her deciding what the British governments approach on this issue should be. We are deeply worried that Gordon Brown is going to continue Mr. Blair's discredited approach on Cyprus which has completely let down all those who fled their homes during the illegal 1974 Turkish invasion. Joan Ryan%u2019s appointment as special envoy underlines that this government will continue its biased approach against a just and fair solution with ultimate aim the division of Cyprus and the appeasement of Turkey. We petition the Prime Minister to appoint a new special envoy after consulting the leaders of the Cypriot community in the UK and the Cyprus government and obtaining their approval."
The petition is available online and is open for new signatured until October 2007
Please take a moment to sign the petition