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Scepter’d Isle

Telegraph | News | Tiny island that's ready to stop Europe in its tracks

In the decade since they voted to join the European Union the islanders of the Aland archipelago in the Baltic Sea have been outvoted and overruled by Brussels, time and again.
Now Aland, a unique, autonomous region of Finland, is about to teach Brussels a lesson in democracy it may never forget.....

A week ago, few if any readers of this newspaper would have been able to locate Aland on a map, still less known how to respond politely if offered a nice relaxing mouthful of snus.

So it is nothing short of delightful to contemplate the possibility that, when the history of the European federal project's downfall is written, the projectile that socked into the forehead of Goliath will prove to have been a wad of Swedish chewing tobacco, and the David of the scenario will have been the duck-hunting, jumper-wearing, snus-chewing, freedom-loving people of a small Baltic archipelago.

The freedoms the Alanders seek to defend are based on much that Brussels seems to stand against: the right of a small population to govern itself; and long-standing, historically determined constitutional tradition.

A pity another, slightly larger, island to the west doesn't also hold and defend its rights and traditions.

Comments

The Åland islanders are largely regarded as leeches on the side of mainland Finland, as the area gets heavy net subsidises courtesy of Finnish taxpayers.

And what do we get in return? Arrogant attitudes and outright linguistic discrimination against small Finnish speaking minority on the Åland islands (that is by their definition monolinguistic Swedish speaking). They have the nerve to bite the hand that feeds them!

By the way, how would you English feel to study obligatorily some lesser used celtic language throughout in England? How would you feel if your civil servants would be enforced to prove their capability to use that obscure and mostly useless language? Just because some language minority could use this legal situation to leverage disproportional quotas in education and in public services?

Well, we Finnish speaking majority in mainland Finland are in a simililar situation with our 5 % minority language, Swedish language, that in reality is not indigenous language in Finland.

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