Argentina wants to be a colonial power


           Argentina is indulging in a new wave of rhetoric about how the Falkland Islands should be Argentinian. Their latest ploy is to paint a rosy  picture of how the current islanders could live happily ever after under Argentinian government. They condemn the UK as the old colonialists, as if the UK had placed the Falklands under some kind of hated military rule that needed throwing off for freedom.

         This is such a grotesque caricature of the truth, that it is worrying that the US and others think we should sit down with Argentina and talk about it. There is nothing to talk about, other than Argentina’s unreasonable conduct. The Falkland islanders asked the UK to liberate them from Argentinian colonalism when Argentina last invaded the islands and tried to establish government by force.  We did so, and the islanders are grateful. At their request the UK pledges military support to defend  against any future invasion. The only menacing colonial power as far as the islanders are concerned is Argentina, not the UK.

            I pay tribute again today to all those UK service personnel who gave up their lives, and to those who risked their lives, to restore freedom and self determination to the Falkland Islands.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    It is, perhaps, rather a betrayal of these service personnel that our recent governments have so stretched (with counter productive aggressive wars) and under resourced and equipped our forces (and indeed our economy), such that they would have great difficulty defending it again should it ever need to.

    Thus vastly increasing the chances of them needing too and a potential repeat of the loss of blood.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      It is difficult to disagree with much in Norman Tebbit’s Times article today:

      It rather remind me of John Major’s endless whinge that he felt people did not like him due to his “class”. What they did not like was that he was clearly useless, both as Chancellor, a conservative and as Prime Minister. He further added to the insult by not even apologising for his entirely predictable (and indeed predicted by many) ERM fiasco and by ramming the EU treaty down the UK voters throat without permission.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Nothing much more to add, other than:

    Should it all start to turn nasty, do we have the capability to defend the islands with no carriers and no harriers.

    We have but for the use of a single runway perhaps a problem with being able to re-enforce the islands quickly, should the need arise.

    • StevenL
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      I think they just use the latest Block IV Tomahawk missiles, launched from subs these days. A bit like the end of Return of the Jedi when the Death Star starts blowing the rebel cruisers to smitherines one by one.

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Well said!

  4. Tedgo
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    While one welcomes our governments stance regarding the wishes of the Falkland’s people, I wonder how long that position will last in the event that all the nations of South America start exercising trade sanctions against the UK.

    How much backbone will our government have in those circumstances, I see a U turn coming.

    Perhaps we should encourage the native South America’s to reclaim their homelands from the Spanish and Portuguese invaders.

    We lost too many soldiers in the Falkland’s war, to ever hand the islands over to Argentina.

    • Normandee
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      and Royal Navy personnel, Royal Marines, RAF, and civilians.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      How much do we trade with South America? I doubt any of them are major trade partners.

      Also Chile is unlikely to side with Argentina as one of the families on the Falklands during the Argentinian invasion was Chilean, so they strongly opposed this invasion.

      • Tedgo
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        Recently, because of problems with Argentina over navigation around Tierra del Fuego, the Chileans are now unable to supply fresh vegetables to the Falklands from Punta Arenas. The ship also carried Chilean workers to and from the Falklands.

    • HJ
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Other nations in South American have no intention of exercising trade sanctions.

      Behind the scenes, most support the British position, yet publicly they try not to fall out with their neighbour.

    • davidb
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Might I suggest your readers and everyone they know copy my own policy and exercise their right to boycott Argentine produce? They supply cherries and other soft fruit, wine, beef products and olive oil to my certain knowledge, all of which I actively boycott. Read the labels at your supermarket or specialist retailer. And if their neighbours join the party add them to your list too. Trade is a 2 way street. It only works if traffic flows both ways.

  5. Caterpillar
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    One might wonder how successive UK Govts have failed to win the narrative.

    1. Why isn’t the history of the Falklands (and the other British Overseas Territories) well known?
    2. Why hasn’t the UK Government managed to persuade President Pinera to back the UK, rather than Argentina? (Does the Foreign Office have any strategy about overlapping Antartic claims?)
    3. Will the UK continue to support Brazil as a future permanent member of the UN Security Council, even though all Latin America supports Argentina?
    4. Why didn’t the PM manage to get President Obama to give a public statement recognising the self-determination of the Falklanders? (Does the UK Government not appreciate the role of the hispanic vote in this US Presidential election year?)

    Overall it seems that the Government has allowed President CFdK to paint an image of the UK and the PM has no strategy to communicate a clear and effective message to the world. The UK PM may be inexperienced but it appears he and the Foreign Office need to improve their game immediately. Their apparent inability may not only be damagaing to the future of the South Atlantic, but impoverishing the MoD (as a small country historic accumulation is important to defence), inabiltiy to sort the economy and inabiltiy to garner stong and convincing support from supposed allies are together, well … frankly embarrassing.

    Despite special relationships, unbreakable partnerships etc., the UK appears to be lonely as well as sick, have the past two years of reaching out to the rest of the world accomplished nothing but a degraded label?

    If the PM succumbs to more brevity on colonialism-calling & staunch committment rather than a clear, complete speech explaining the full history then he will have failed. If the Foreign Secretary continues with his ‘work with Argentina’ rhetoric he will have failed. They need to understand the deep indoctrination of the Argentinians with respect to Las Malvinas. Walk around Buenos Aires and the map is emblazoned on gifts, tea-towels etc. (And the belief is said to be held even more strongly in Patagonia). With this deep cultural belief, set alongside the ‘education’ of resource nationalism, trade barriers etc. there is a huge re-education needed. Another strategy is required from the PM and FS.

    • Rebecca Hanson
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      It was interesting to see this being covered on Russia Today about a month ago Caterpillar (now available free here in the evenings on Digital TV).

      The did it in one of their slots where they have four people debating the issue. There were no Brits but there was an American who clearly understood the history of the islands presenting it clearly – as we would recognise it.

      What was clear from the other three commentators is the effort some in Argentina have gone to create a cloud of convincing propaganda from starting points with no foundations and quite how toxic this propaganda is.

      I think we don’t talk enough about the positive aspects of the British Empire – the common values it sought to promote and the human values which eventually led to its demise. We are often too self-derogatory about it.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        Thanks Rebecca, it is good to know that there is a media world that can debate more fully than the UK’s own.

      • Cliff. Wokingham
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Yes, we should be more proud of our empire and what we achieved.
        The life expectancy, in many former empire countries in Africa, has fallen through the floor since we left.

        I would have prefered to have stayed closer to our empire and commonwealth, rather than being part of the EUSSR.

        • alan jutson
          Posted April 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink



          • APL
            Posted April 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            Certain very prominent members of our society make a big song and dance about the Commonwealth, but when it comes down to the knuckle, have sold out to the European Union.

  6. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    We should no more cede the Falklands to Argentina than we should cede the Channel Islands to France.

    • Jonathan
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Actually, France has a much stronger claim to the Channel Islands than Argentina does to the Falklands.

      • davidb
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        But what about Englands claim to both Normandy and Aquitaine?

  7. Winston Smith
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The current Argentinian regime has identified an opportunity created by the Cameron and friends following the defence review. They probably went on a boat tour and observed half the Royal Navy rotting in Portsmouth harbour. They can see a nation tinkering on the verge of bankruptcy, a Tory party run by weak, wet, unprincipled incompetents, sharing power with a partner that would happily do a deal with the Argentinians. A great opportunity to for them to win some access to the Islands or any oil fields.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Winston Smith

      Ahh Yes

      Almost forgot.

      We can borrow a French Carrier, that should stop them from selling missiles to the Argentinians.

      • Tom William
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 6:44 am | Permalink

        To be “fair” to the French I was told that they actually used their navy’s Super Etendards to carry out dummy attacks on the task force as it sailed south to provide defensive practice. And at the time of the war Argentina had Type 42 destroyers which we had sold them.

        • stred
          Posted April 3, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

          While Dassault had a team in Argentina fitting Exocets to their Etendards.

  8. stred
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    During the Falklands war, when the scale of the deaths, injuries and cost became clear, I wondered whether the whole thing could have been settled by the Argies bunging each islander a few million quid to clear off. This was before oil was discovered so these days it would have to be much more.

    In those days, the ordinary Argentines were not interested in moving to a freezing cold windy place to raise sheep. But the Falklanders could not have stayed put without risking a trip over the Atlantic and exit out of the rear door.

    Although our military capability has been reduced to a laughing stock and the Argentinian military has been reduced correspondingly, without US help it would still be difficult to chuck out an airborne invading force. Perhaps we could buy back the Harriers we sold them for parts. In the end it will be all about the value of the oil.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      The chances that 2012’s South Falklands Basin drilling campaign will discover commercially extractable hydrocarbons are considered less than 50% .

      If however they did manage to prove two of the prospect types the basin would be derisked and the taxation revenue per islander , even with attractive fiscal terms , could run into the tens of millions .

      They really could end up being the richest islanders in the World .

      Forget direct flights to Puntas Arenas , they would be laying on direct flights to Las Vegas .

      • Caterpillar
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Commercial extractability depends in the direction of market price. I think it used to be the case that Canadian and Venezuelan oil sand reserves were not even recognised in the world reserve count.

        (Also I wouldn’t be surprised if the Latin Americans ‘win’ the political battle for British Oversseas Terriotries that the next move won’t be Antartic claims)

  9. Mark
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Aren’t these plans

    a bit of an extreme reaction to the election of Mr. Galloway?

    Why do Whitehall and Downing Street believe that we should become like the USSR, Saudi and the DDR? Such measures indicate a complete loss of democratic legitimacy, and a regime in fear of its people. They should be opposed with maximum effort. The history of such measures is one of abuse by those who have access to the information.

    • Tedgo
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      What our government is proposing is highly objectionable, but is very tame compared to what the USA are doing. Just Goggle “NSA Utah”, the entry is a good start. They are building a centre able to intercept and store every telephone conversation, email and other Internet commercial and financial transactions across the world. They have the capacity and desire to store the communications of every citizen on the planet.

      • sjb
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        US citizens are protected by the fourth amendment to the US Constitution. So, unless judicially approved, the interceptions will be limited to foreigners’ communications.

        • Mike Stallard
          Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          After yesterday’s little joke, I honestly thought this was an April Fool too!

  10. A Different Simon
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Do the British politicians who are trumpetting the Falkland Islanders rights to self determination recognise the irony in what they are saying ?

    There is another set of little islands even closer to a bigger mainland .

    Shouldn’t they be allowed a referendum to decide whether they want to be ruled from the mainland too ?

    Reply: In my case there is n o irony, as I too wish the UK people decide their own future government by referendum.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Thanks John ,

      My jibe was not directed at you .

  11. John Bracewell
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Well said, Mr Redwood. I join your tribute to the UK military forces personnel who defended the Falkland Islanders right to choose who governs them.

  12. Bernard Otway
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Why oh Why does our govt.of any hue NOT equally propagandise the facts on the Falklands
    especially with supposed allies like the USA [is not Hawaii a COLONY,AND it is THOUSANDS of miles in the Pacific] what about Alaska seperated from the mainland by the whole of British Columbia,AS FOR FRANCE ,Tahiti and polynesia,Surinam,Guadaloupe etc
    ALL next door to now independant former British or Dutch colonies,ESPECIALLY France
    if we are COLONIALIST because of The Falklands WHAT ARE THEY? even tiny Reunion
    is a PROVINCE of France right next door to Mauritius which is independant from British
    rule. It is an EASY HOME RUN HIT for any PR person to counter the Argentinian stupidity
    and those that back it up. Come on Mr PR man CAMERON “FIGHT BACK”.I use all these arguments with people and guess what I get back “SILENCE” especially if I have my ATLAS with me.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Bernard, I do like reading your posts, full of logical argument in most cases, with sometimes a little twist of the knife at the end, just to make sure it gets home.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget the USA and Puerto Rica.

  13. NickW
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Globally, it is not in any Country’s interests to encourage any change of national boundaries to accord with either geography, or the situation as it was at any point in the past thousand years.

    Any global politician who supports the Argentinian claim will be opening Pandora’s box and releasing forces which may come back to bite them.

    • sjb
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      “The possibility of declaring a 200-mile zone round the islands is remote without the agreement of the Argentine because of the difficulty of enforcing the licensing of fishing or oil exploration. Successive Governments found that that was not possible in the absence of an agreement. There is also considerable difficulty relating to investment and the extension of credit to the islands because of the fear of investors that the dispute may frustrate their investment. […] The details of any lease-back arrangement would first have to be considered by the islanders, and then it would be the subject of negotiation with the Argentine and then the subject of endorsement by the islanders and this House- It is impossible to go into detail with any accuracy, but it is not envisaged that any money would change hands, either in the transfer or in the lease. ” – Nicholas Ridley (then Minister of State) [1]

      Although Argentina has fewer combat aircraft than in 1982, Brazil (the ‘B’ in BRIC) and Chile are now allies in the Malvinas cause. If the world wants to benefit from the oil production scheduled to start in 2016(?) then it seems the dispute will have to be settled.


      • uanime5
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        I wouldn’t put Chile in the same category as Brazil. Paraguay and Uruguay offer Argentina far more support than Chile.

        Give the UK’s investment in Chile and Colombia it would be prudent to convince these countries to either side with the UK or not side with Argentina.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted April 3, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink


          President Piñera has given his full public support to President CFdK over Falklands, South Georgia and South Sandwich.

      • A Different Simon
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        So far there hasn’t been enough oil discovered in the Falklands to get excited about or justify building infrastructure from scratch .

        With a lot of luck the 2012 drilling campaign in the South Falklands Basin could change all that and provide the critical mass to get a new province going .

        Argentina is on it’s way to oil independence thanks to extracting hydrocarbons from it’s onshore shale formations such as the Nequen basin .

        They are almost as far ahead of us in shale oil extraction as they are in football .

        They don’t actually need any oil which may or may not be discovered in the Falklands .

  14. lola
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    The despicable duplicity of Obama and La Clinton on this matter is disgraceful. The USA is a firm supporter of ‘self-determination’, as witnessed by their own history and their actions on the global stage since 1945. Someone needs to explain that to them.

    • rose
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Someone had to explain it all to the US government back in 1982 too.

      Even British people don’t seem to know the history of the Islands and how they were British several centuries before any Italians emigrated to the Spanish colony of Argentina; and quite a few years before the Fench sold a bogus claim to them to Spain, on which the newly independant colony much later based her claim.

      Just because that newly independant colony of Argentina eventually seized the islands in the 19th century (before they were taken back by the RN), doesn’t mean they should own them now. They are a long way off the continental coast, and the dependencies, which are what the Argentine government is really after, are very much further away still. Other South American countries could equally well assert a claim to them on purely geographic grounds – grounds which would not be accepted if we asserted a claim to Iceland, or France to us.

      We had two young Brazilians to lunch that Saturday in 1982 that the House of Commons debated the Argentine invasion. They kept saying “We all hate those Argies. You will fight them won’t you?” Later we had some Chileans who congratulated us on the sinking of the Belgrano. Even French people whom we encountered at that time took a similarly robust view of it all.

      While somewhat shocked at all this Latin red-bloodedness, as you would expect mild-mannered English people to be, it was interesting to hear how sharply their sentiments contrasted with the propaganda at the time about Latin American anti-colonial solidarity. And by the way, these Latin people were progressive liberal types, moving in left wing university circles.

      • Tom William
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

        I am sorry to say that this history of the Falklands is not correct. It is much more complicated, involves France and Spain, and an alleged secret agreement. Government papers of about 100 years ago show that there was indeed doubt over a historic British claim to sovereignty. But of course there was never any doubt about the dependencies.

        BUT by then, and especially after the 1914/18 war, it was internationally accepted law that long term occupancy gave legal right to sovereignty, regardless of any historic arguments. Consequently the Argentine now has no legal claim.

        • rose
          Posted April 3, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

          It is indeed a complicated story, in which as I have already said, the French sold their bogus claim to the islands to the Spaniards in the 18th century, and the newly independent Argentina then asserted in the early 19th century that it had “inherited” that bogus claim from its former colonial master. It is further complicated by the fact that many of the settlers in Argentina are of Italian descent, not Spanish, though they speak Spanish. The name Malvinas is a corruption from the French name – after Saint Malo. The Argentines haven’t just never lived there themselves, unlike that handful of Frenchmen in the 18th century (for just a year, on just one island) after the British had already laid claim to them in the 16th century according to the rules of the day. They had never even had their own name for them, either in Spanish or Italian.

          I disagree with your last statement and consider it unwise to assert a claim on long term occupancy since the 19th century only, and on self determination. Not least because the 19th century was the peak period of Britain’s imperialism and that is now out of fashion to say the least. It was never going to win friends abroad. Much better to stick to the historical record going back to the 16th century, when the original rules about who could claim and own uninhabited territory were laid down.

          By all means back it up with self determination and long term occupancy, at the UN, but don’t base it on that.

          The Edwardian lawyers you refer to who were advising the government will have been just as much on the other side as they are today. Lawyers are never on one’s side. That is an old truth we are all familiar with. And the same can be said of the FO.

          • rose
            Posted April 3, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

            PS I’m not including the failed attempt at setting up a penal colony as “living there themselves”.

  15. Demetrius
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink


  16. Mark
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    The Argentine government is simply employing tactics to distract its population from its incompetence.

    What is increasingly worrying is that the same now applies to the current government.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      “The Argentine government is simply employing tactics to distract its population from its incompetence. ”

      It would be complacent of the UK Govt to hope for this. The Argentinian narrative has been spread (and signed up to) throughout Latin America and is now spreading more broadly.

  17. AJAX
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    At what point does H.M. Foreign Office cease playing the Eagle’s poodle?

    The Wikileaks data dump revealed how utterly supine HMG is to the USA still, so much so that it even embarrasses their State Department officials dealing with it

    It’s quite pathetic.

  18. outsider
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this post Mr Redwood.
    It seems unclear whether Argentina actually wants to take the Falklands or simply to force Britain to cede its mineral and fishing rights.
    No doubt the Government is against invasion, although if Argentina bombed the airport and landed during the Olympics we would now be hard-pressed to defend it. Fortunately the seasons are unfavourable to that.

    When it comes to ceding economic rights, we have few friends either in Europe or across the Atlantic. I see no sign of resolve anywhere in Whitehall, though we could do with both the fish and any oil. The US seems to take the same attitude as it sometimes did with the IRA: follow domestic self-interest and do not worry about offending Britain.

    We have only ourselves to blame for this because we continue to treat the Falklands, like other British Overseas Territories, as colonial relics for which we have no future strategy. Contrast this with France, which simply made its overseas territories integral parts of France (and therefore part of the European Union).
    Same with Portugal and the Azores.

    We need new thinking. These non-European territories should be offered union with the UK and EU. The tax havens would doubtless not want that but most of the others, including particularly the Falklands, would probably choose the greater possibilities of being part of the UK/EU rather than remaining as forgotten relics that are treated in Whitehall as embarrassing legacies of the past that they would love to be rid of.

    • outsider
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Update: Argentina’s president has focused on precisely this point, that more than half the world’s remaining colonial outposts are British. Why do we have to be so stupid ? Yet another case where we need to learn from France.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      Outsider, good post. Sadly the UK Govt does not seem to be able to develop a broader and deeper strategy.

      (On Argentina invading the islands, we shouldn’t forget that President CFdK has suggested reinstating civilian flights directly from Argentina. Who would shoot down a Trojan civilian airliner of special forces?)

  19. StevenL
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been watching a few of the recent TV programs about the Falklands. It looks to me like Argentina could have won, but for making some absurd decisions. The worst was surely not arming their super-sonic jets with air-to-air missiles and telling them to shoot down the Royal Navy Harriers.

    I also thought it very callous of the Argentine regime to send teenage rookies and reservists to war against the professional soldiers of a war-faring nation like the UK.

    • Anthony Harrison
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Eh? You need to read up on the aircraft involved, and their armament. The Argentines had very good Mirage fighters, and although the aging French radar-guided missiles with which their Mirage IIIs were equipped were no use, they also carried competent Matra Magic 2 AAMs; and the Mirage V/Daggers carried the Israeli Shafrir-2 AAM used by the Israelis to shoot down a hundred or so Arab aircraft… After the first day’s air combat in which three Argentine jets were downed by Sea Harriers, and a Turbo Mentor T-34 was damaged by cannon fire – all for no losses to our Harriers – the Argentines pretty much gave up on air-to-air combat and concentrated on bombing our ships, at which they were all too successful.
      What you say about the Argentine occupation army being largely composed of inexperienced draftees is true (though there was a hard core of competent professional Marines and others) but only to be expected from a regime that is said to have murdered up to 30,000 of its own people in the “Dirty War”.

  20. Bernard Otway
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    YES . Nick W is completely correct.
    In South Africa I once said to Cyril Ramaphosa of the ANC about every boundary on that continent being a COLONIAL CONSTRUCT,that the main island of Equatorial Guinea was
    actually GEOGRAPHICALLY part of CAMEROON so really it and it,s OIL belongs to
    Cameroon,rather than the independant country of Equatorial Guinea which was a Spanish colony and its main part is on the African continental mainland farther away from it,s island
    than the island is from Cameroon. The look of HORROR on his face and subsequent agreement that COLONIAL CONSTRUCT boundaries are BEST LEFT ALONE. In fact the
    oil rich island waters of the island of Equatorial Guinea are CLOSER to Cameroon than
    the Falklands are to Argentina.Actually at what Geographical point does ownership of islands cease to belong to a main continental land mass. Does Japan belong to China on the Argentinian basis of mileage proximity. Cuba is closer to Florida than the Falklands
    are to Argentina.

  21. forthurst
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    What is the Argentinian claim based on? Spain originally claimed the uninhabited islands before giving independence to Argentina. Does the document ceding this independence refer to the islands? When the British occupied the unoccupied Falklands they became the aboriginal inhabitants and it is hard to see how any prior claim would have any weight especially after so much passage of time.

    Are we to trust the USA not to use the Falklands as gambling chips for co-operation with another illegal ME war?

  22. backofanenvelope
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Since 1982 the Argentine armed forces have fared even worse than ours. There is no chance of them repeating their initial success in the Falkland islands. We could easily reinforce our forces there by air.

    The biggest danger the Falkland Islanders face is in Whitehall.

  23. Spartacus
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    The only reason the current government of Kitchner is banging on about the islands is to distract from unemployment and inflation and all her failed policies at home – surely a few millions spent on advertising this and attacking her on Argentina TV would kill off this nonsense.

  24. matthu
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think the French are going to be interested in mounting a joint taskforce in defence of the Falklands.

    Maybe we could outsource this vital role?

  25. Martin Ryder
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Why don’t the Falkland islanders declare their independence from the UK, apply to join the UN and then sign a defence treaty with Britain?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      Is this because the UN doesn’t recognise the Falkland Islanders’ right? The UN ‘Committee of 24 (Special Committee on Decolonization)’ essentially targets the UK’s British Overseas Territories as colonies ( so I think Argentina is then able to argue that the islanders’ votes shouldn’t count, they are not indigenous.

      The UK Govt perhaps should not just focus on the self-determination argument, without continually demonstrating the historic reason for that right of self-determination to exist

  26. Susan
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, I agree. However for me you have left one person out of your tribute and that is Mrs. Thatcher, because without her taking the brave decision to go to war in the first place, the Falkland Islanders would not be enjoying their freedom now.

    I do think at some point the UK will have to defend the Falklands again, because where there is oil disputes will always follow. It is to be hoped that we will still have the ability to do so.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Susan, here here.

      On BBC radio 4 The World at One today, Simon Jenkins was allowed to give his take on the Falklands, and made my blood boil. He asserted that Mrs. Thatcher’s primary motivation for sending a task force was to boost her low political popularity at home. I have never heard of any evidence in support of this, and he offered none.

      If that is a measure of his judgement then it is a judgement I have no use for.

      • rose
        Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Typical glib, shallow, overpaid journalist’s opinion. We had our fill of it in 1982, especially after Borges’s cynical remark about the comb. (It took a proper writer to put the idea into their heads.)

        The opinion polls were already reflecting the upturn in the British economy before Galtieri attacked and invaded the Islands. Not that I have any time at all for these distractions. I admired Sarko’s speech on that theme and commend it to our own government.

    • sjb
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      I suspect you mean defend following any new assault. However, the UK has been defending the Falklands for years now. Consider just the cost of maintaining British forces there for one year – £75m [1] – which works out at £25k per islander.

      [1] FY 2010-11. The Defence of the Falkland Islands – Commons Library Standard Note, (page 6)

      • Susan
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:13 am | Permalink


        Sorry, yes I did mean defend as in following a new assault, I should have made that clear. I don’t really care how much the Falklands costs per year, the UK wastes far more money on things that are not important. To me you cannot put a price on freedom and I could not respect a Country that would walk away from these people.

        The Falklands was worth defending then and it is worth defending now.

  27. Martyn
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    The Falkland Islands war arose during a period where the governement was struggling with a very weak economy, savage cutbacks in defence, selling our aircraft carriers and withdrawing HMS Endurance prior to being scrapped and, perhaps above all a UK Foreign Office deeply involved with the EEC (now the EU), all of which signalled to Argentina a UK lack of interest in the Falklands. It was also a fact that Argentina’s economy under its dictator Galterie was on the point of collapse with civil riots and unrest and he decided that taking the Falklands would divert attention from the true state of affairs and encourage the people to celebrate the victory.

    Sounds sort of familiar, does it not, for are we not in the same position now as then? Other than, perhaps, that ‘call me Dave’ is far from being an iron-willed Maggie Thatcher, so the outcome when push comes to shove is uncertain.

    • Julian
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      “are we not in the same position now as then? ”
      Not really, the islands have not been invaded.

  28. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    On BBC Radio 4 PM Programme today they covered the Argentinean President’s 30th Anniversary speech. Seems no foreign ambassador took up the invitation to attend, so I think we can ignore so-call South American unity on the “Malvinas”.

  29. Martin
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Did the freedom that a lot of people fought and died/were injured for include the right for the government to have a snooper database?

  30. Jon
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Far too many people buy the rhetoric of Argentina and their twisting of colonialism. Would it be right for Australia to anex New Zealand. the Unites States to anex the Bahamas and so on. All on the sole basis that its near. That is colonialism, part of our past as it is the past of many a nation, times have moved on and we have the right to self determination.

    Self determination means voters in Scotland will decide whether to be a part of the UK. Should they decide to do so then the Argies can invade Scotland and good luck to them on that one but don’t they dare invade the Falklands whilst the citizens wish to be part of the UK.

    The UKs response to the Falklands makes me feel proud and that our nation has enviable values. I hope those who fought know the pride they gave us.

    • Doug
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      “…don’t they dare invade the Falklands whilst the citizens wish to be part of the UK.”

      The Falkland Islands aren’t part of the UK.

  31. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    A footnote from someone who has been around women since at least 1963 (married, daughters, teacher, artist……):
    They all stick together like a union. Hurt one and you hurt them all.

    So when Cristina Fernandez and Hillary Clinton stick together, why are people surprised?

  32. Iain Gill
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    shame we dont have carriers with planes on them, we seem to prefer giving billions to Indian which is so poor it has what 3 or 4 carriers with planes on them

    we are a joke

  33. REPay
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I like the way JR deploys the colonial rhetoric of numbskulls such Sean Penn against the Argentinians. I would add the decisive argument of self-determination of people. When the Falkland Islanders vote to be argentinian we should hand over the Malvinas. Why are our politicians not deploying this argument?

    • A Different Simon
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Because they don’t won’t to deploy the same argument to the British people and allow them their referendum on Europe ?

  34. Julian
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I think that in fact David Cameron did secure an undertaking from Obama, on the recent visit to the US, not to prompt the UK to talk about sovereignty against the wishes of the Islanders.

    • Stephen O
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      It does seem US statement have had a change of tone post visit. I suspect if David Cameron and those that briefed him had a better grasp of the historical facts, they might have moved the US even a litttle further our way. But I do not want to begrudge what success they did achieve, they are rare enough…

  35. David Langley
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Looking back 30 years I just feel sadness for the lost lives and maimed bodies and spirits that resulted from this so called “War”. Arguing that conflict has not resulted in a satisfactory outcome for either party is quite justified. Determining how to create an environment that will satisfy the needs and desires of the Falkland Islanders is obviously beyond present leadership on both sides without looking at the possibilities of further future conflict.
    Clearly Argentina has no real assets to mount a sustained conflict, and the chances of South American military support looks equally slim. Politically there may be some sympathy from various sources but sympathy is cheap.
    The Royal Marines manned Naval Party 8901 in the Falklands, and looked after South Georgia and other interests using HMS Endurance, The British Antarctic Survey host ship.
    Their ability to withstand an assault with a small detachment was obviously limited but one admires immensely the continual sacrifice the RM made in manning this outpost for so many years.
    Providing the main assault forces together with the Parachute Brigade the RM Commandos showed how their tough training and superb morale could over a short period defeat an entrenched force of largely inexperienced and poorly trained troops. The Commando Batteries also provided a massive impetus to assault plans and the final regimental fire mission was I believe check fired to save unnecessary slaughter of retreating Argentinians.
    When the abortive Afghanistan debacle ends next year there will be a lot of superbly trained men looking for a new mission, if I was an Argentinian diplomat I would try and get a deal now while there is a window of opportunity, or am I pushing at an open door?

  36. Robert Taggart
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Could Blighty not ‘pull a fast one’ on Argentina ? – co-operate with Chile over the extraction of resources. Chileans could be housed on the Islands – they may then settle there – becoming ‘natives’. After some years there numbers may be equal to the long established natives. Hold a referendum over sovereignty – Blighty or Chile – ‘incentivise’ (£) the latter choice. Result – a peaceful handover to a local ‘power’ and no more bother for Blighty.
    SORTED !

  37. Stephen O
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Argentina’s claims do rely on a ‘grotesque caricature of the truth’. Yet they seem to have the enthusiastic backing of much of South America (and beyond), while our own ‘allies’ in Europe and NATO seem either silent or even unhelpful on this issue despite being supposedly bound by far stronger ties to the UK such as NATO and the EU. The fact is that this is the 30th anniversary of a war started by Argentina as an act of unprovoked aggression backed by popular acclaim in that country.

    This should be a time of shame for Argentina, instead they seem to be easily keeping the UK on the back foot. Despite their absurd claim that fighting against colonialism means imposing on a people rule by a foreign government they reject (what is wrong with colonialist if not that?) and despite Argentina having falsified the historic record to justify their claim, which is surely eloquent testimony to its weakness (see links).

    I would very much like to see this issue settled by Argentina renouncing their claim (this time for good) and it is sorely disappointing to see our government bungle the chance to win the argument through (most likely) ignorance of the historical record and incompetence.

    It is not enough to stick to repeating the rights of the islanders to self determination when they are clearly allowing Argentina to win the argument, by conceding the historical argument about events leading up to 1833. The government needs to point out the glaring weaknesses in Argentina argument that the island were by right theirs in 1833 and educate the Argentine people that the history that has led them to so passionately believe the British Falklands are a historic injustice is false.

    The government ministers responsible need to start earning their salaries and put the case for the Falklands.

  38. peter davies
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    the only reason the argentinians are making such a big thing of this is to detract from their own woes domestically – a president having a go at the UK will do much to detract from domestic issues.

    Secondly, the issue of oil and fish have added to this – think about the $ they are missing out on once oil production gets under way.

    The Americans clearly have interests in Latin America so I guess they dont want to upset them.

    The best solution is for the oil exploration to get under way, the Falklands to become a country in their own right and recognised by the UN and pay the UK to be their protectorate from Argentinian aggression.

  39. Matthew
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Yes, the US pulls us in Afghanistan, along with the rest of NATO, invoking clause 5
    You would expect more “Goodwill” from the USA than we seem to be in receipt of.

  40. sm
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Why not just purchase a lend-lease option on Nimitz class carrier for the duration of the capability gap- or buy one off the shelf- could it be built in England?

    • stred
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Perhaps a cheaper carrier from India and rent back some Harriers from the US.

  41. Atlas
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Yep John, your analysis is on the ball as usual.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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