ABSTRACT: When the Ionian Islands were placed under British Protection in 1815, they were granted the right to regulate their internal affairs, but in the resultant 1817 Constitution political power emanated from the High Commissioner and was exercised through an authoritarian system of government. Ionian opposition acquired salient nationalist connotations during the Greek War of Independence although in the 1830s it was mostly confined to demands for liberal constitutional reform expressed by the so-called Ionian liberali. As the British introduced a reform programme that met many of the liberals' demands during the 1840s, a more radical opposition group emerged in Cephalonia, the largest and poorest of the seven islands. These political activists, who became known as the `Rizospastai' (Radical-Unionists), challenged the legitimacy of British Protection and favoured major internal socio-political changes on the basis of the right of national self-determination and the principle of popular sovereignty. Although they were involved in various popular demonstrations of discontent, they remained parliamentarians rather than revolutionaries and promoted their ideology through the press, political clubs and parliament, which they first entered in 1850. The growing popularity of the Rizospastai led the moderate liberal majority to co-operate with the High Commissioner in an effort to eradicate radicalism and exclude its representatives from the islands' polity. Most energetically pursued in Cephalonia, this governmental policy temporarily silenced the old radical leadership. However, a new leadership emerged from Zakynthos and, in the altered circumstances of the late 1850s, it redefined radicalism on purely unionist lines and carried most of the popular base with it. The `old' radicals, still considered heroes by a rather bewildered popular following, were isolated during the last years of the Protectorate and adamantly opposed the terms on which the Ionian Islands were finally ceded to Greece in 1864.Calligas, Markides and Holland remain intrigued by the history of these years, not least because the dynamic tensions between different groups within the Ionian and mainland polities which Gladstone and his successor Sir Henry Storks in Corfu, Sir Henry Elliott in Athens, Lords Palmerston and Russell in London tried to understand, navigate and exploit, exist but slightly transmuted to this day - they are in the Hellenic grain. I hope there's another book there. I like Calligas's reference to a 'rather bewildered popular following'. Holland and Markides suggest that the way the British government extracted themselves from Corfu served as a precedent for colonial departures to come. What this talented Greek-English authorial collaboration call the 'abandonment' of the Protectorate, was an early model for finessing imperial withdrawal - one that the British have been doing quite well for over a century, and which the English are now doing from Scotland and Wales, after grim practice in Ulster (my talk in Tokyo - "England: her own last colony"). Giving up power is no less fraught than taking it, but there's a more pervasive moral underlying these proposals and rebuttals, interpretations and counter-interpretations of what happened when Corfu and Britain separated - Holland's and Markides' theme being continuing relations between the British and the Hellenes. This is less dry - a matter of passionate inconsistency among all parties; an enduring affaire, full of rumour, misinterpreted motives, hidden agendas, exaggerated simplifications, curses, tearful embraces, forgiveness, anger, reproach, estrangement and reconciliation. Sounds like family.
26/9/08 Environment Commissioner on climate change BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni): Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, replying to a question by the press shortly after his meeting in Brussels with Polish Environment Minister Maciej Nowicki, expressed confidence that the European Union will not back down on the commitments it has undertaken to combat climatic changes as a result of the fiscal crisis. "…the crisis of climatic changes is permanent and it is threatening the planet. It is not permissible that targets should be changed because a crisis has broken out this month or because some other one will break out in the next." See his page on landfill and associated issues - Green Cities for Life - and his warning to Greece earlier in the year.
"The deadline for shutting down illegal landfills by the end of 2008 that was imposed by the European Court of Justice is fast approaching...A decade ago, Greece was forced to pay €5.4 million in fines before shutting down the major landfill of Kouroupitos on the island of Crete...future fines will be steeper. The ECJ now imposes hefty fines that would make the Kouroupitos case a painless memory by comparison..." 21 April 2008