Queen Elizabeth Land: nice idea, dangerous politics

Decision to name a chunk of Antarctica after Queen is provocative, says geopolitics professor

LAST UPDATED AT 09:49 ON Wed 19 Dec 2012

THE FOREIGN OFFICE's decision to mark the Queen's Jubilee by naming a large slice of Antarctica after her risks causing a fresh diplomatic row with Argentina which disputes the territory, says a leading expert.

The Queen visited the Foreign Office after attending Cabinet yesterday morning and, as a present, Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that a tract of frozen land in the British Antarctic Territory was to be named Queen Elizabeth Land.

The area is around twice the size of the UK, and makes up just under a third of the land mass of the British Antarctic Territory.

However, Argentina disputes Britain's claims in Antarctica, and its own claims on the land overlap Queen Elizabeth Land, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The move could spark another diplomatic incident with Argentina following rising tensions over the Falklands Islands earlier this year. While 2012 was the year of the Diamond Jubilee, it also saw the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War.

Klaus Dodds, professor of geopolitics at University of London, said Argentina will almost certainly launch a formal protest over the move, adding the re-naming was "a calculated move to reinforce UK interests" in the area.

He said: "I think it's provocative and it's significant because place-naming is one of the most powerful ways of reinforcing your sense of ownership of a territory, and the use of royalty is, in turn, the most powerful way of cementing a connection with the UK."

"It's a ratcheting up of the parlous relations between Britain and Argentina."

All claims on Antarctica are held in abeyance under the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, which neither confirms nor denies competing claims but prevents new claims being made.
 
William Hague made no mention of Argentina's claims on the land, saying: "The British Antarctic Territory is a unique and important member of the network of 14 UK Overseas Territories. To be able to recognise the UK's commitment to Antarctica with a permanent association with Her Majesty is a great honour." · 

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What a load of rubbish - Hague, you moron, if you must name it after anyone why this hereditary privileged anachronistic woman? The government has gone barmy - bring in the straight jackets someone.

I thought it hilarious on TV. I thought they had given her a penguin!

Colonial land grabbing all over again?

Were the painful consequences of land grabs in Africa in the 19th century not enough of a lesson?

What happens when China or the "Muslim world" decides that they too want to make a land grab?

William Gladys -- We all have hereditary privileges. Mine included both the health to serve this gracious lady and the academic ability to spell words such as straitjacket. You should list yours, which may include being a British subject, and count your blessings. Perhaps, as your decision to write this offensive post suggests, even your adopted rank of churl may be an inherited privilege, although if not inherited you are dishonouring your parents.

William Gladys -- We all have hereditary privileges. Mine included both the health to serve this gracious lady and the academic ability to spell words such as straitjacket. You should list yours, which may include being a British subject, and count your blessings. Perhaps, as your decision to write this offensive post suggests, even your adopted rank of churl may be an inherited privilege, although if not inherited you are dishonouring your parents.

If the aim is to keep the Argies out , how about Penguin Land for a name. Then UK could bring in nuclear submarines at a billion or so a go and murder bigger targets than the Belgrano.

Referee - you are free to regard yourself as a "subject" and to also regard yourself as "serving the queen" if you so wish, however your sense of duty does not apply to all of us, and choosing to regard oneself as a "citizen" as opposed to the queen's subject is neither the mark of inferiority nor the mark.of unpatriotism as your post appears to suggest.

Anonymous -- My post "appears to suggest" no view on either inferiority or patriotism. Why do you pretend it does?

William Gladys referred to our Sovereign Lady as a "hereditary privileged anachronistic woman" and my view of that choice of words in that combination is that it was churlish. Would you deny that?

If you seek suggestions or, more accurately here, implications, then you may consider his hereditary privileges to include not being born a girl in an Afghan hill village or a boy to an AIDS victim in Zimbabwe. These possibilities are all part of the lottery of birth to which he and the Queen, and you and I, are all subject. Where we ourselves are sovereign is in our choice of the words we use, and in that he voluntarily degraded himself to churl.

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