News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gurkha days numbered by Nepalese Maoist election victory?

The result of last week's elections in Nepal are still being finalised, but one thing is now clear. The Maoists won the plurality of seats. Nepalese elections don't generally have much of an impact on our lives in England, but that is changing. Firstly, places like Folkestone have a growing Nepalese minority, whose families may be affected by the Nepalese government. Of greater significance for the UK as a whole is one of the Nepalese Communist Party's policies - to abrogate Gurkha recruitment. That is, their manifesto pledged to prevent Nepalese citizens serving in the British Army's famous Gurkha regiments.

It isn't yet set in stone. The Maoists have a plurality of the seats, but not a majority, so the fate of Britain's Gurkha Brigade rests in the hands of the political classes' inter-party horse trading. It seems amazing that such a significant decision can be taken without the Nepalese people having a say, but that's one of the vaguaries of "democracy" under Proportional Representation, as I have previously noted.

Dan Hannan, Conservative MEP for SouthEast England and Telegraph columnist/blogger, is of the opinion that it is one of the pledges that will be dropped in the negotiations to form a coalition to run the country. I don't have any inside track on that one, but suspect he is right.

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