Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Islands In The Stream

Of course Margaret Thatcher used the Falklands War as a xenophobic election stunt. How is that a controversial statement?

As for the boys who fought, they were only there because of her incompetence. Few of them, like few of the boys who have ever fought in any war, either were, or have ever become, experts on the history or the politics.

To anyone who has bothered to educate himself in these matters, this is not even a "version of events". It is just fact.

The Falklands War has the status that it has among certain people purely because of who was the Prime Minister at the time.

If it had been any other Conservative Prime Minister, never mind a Labour one (and there very nearly was an Argentine invasion under Jim Callaghan, but he averted it), then they would be indifferent, if not downright hostile.

Most of them cannot remember another Conservative Prime Minister of whom they remotely approved, still less whom they worshipped.

If this had been Ted Heath's or John Major's war, then they would go so far as to say that the wrong side won, because they would side with absolutely anyone against Heath or Major. They have probably forgotten that Major did in fact have a war.

Even though he is not contesting the 2020 General Election, David Cameron is obviously hoping for another Falklands War. What a perfectly despicable thing to wish for. But one that is mercifully unlikely to occur.

In reality, if Mercosur and its allies were to threaten to divest from the United Kingdom such as to cost more jobs here than there were people on the Falkland Islands, and there are fewer than three thousand people on the Falkland Islands, then Thatcher's and Nicholas Ridley's original scheme, for a transfer of sovereignty followed by a leaseback, would be a done deal.

If the Falkland Islanders did not like it, then they could move over here and start paying the taxes that provided the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines.

If the Falkland Islanders were anyone else, then the readers and writers of The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph would regard them as an ungrateful nuisance.

If the Falkland Islanders were any other colour, then the readers and writers of The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph would regard them as an ungrateful nuisance. Hundreds of St Helenians now work on the Falklands, but you will never see them on any televisual depiction of the place. That is not an accident.

The Falklands War has left us with the most expensive empire in history. The cost of defending the only part that requires to be defended is now greater than if all the remaining British Overseas Territories were to be declared independent with a permanent annual grant of one billion pounds apiece.

Provided that rights of abode in this country could be retained for the tiny number of people involved, then that, which was suggested some years ago by Simon Jenkins, would not necessarily be such a bad idea. It would undeniably be far, far cheaper.

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