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Falklands Talks? There Is Nothing To Talk About.

3 February 2012

2:14 PM

3 February 2012

2:14 PM

So much for today’s Guardian. In the Independent, Philip Hensher has a grand solution for the "Falklands Problem": we should jst sell the islands to Argentina.

[I]t might be worth raising the question with the Argentinians. We’ve got absolutely no money. I really doubt we have much stomach for another Falklands War, and then another. They are clearly passionately keen to acquire some territory with rich resources, high GDP and as much sentimental value as you can maintain for something 300 miles from your coastline. It might be worth a lot of money in the future, but actually we could quite do with some money now, this second. Perhaps we can suggest to President Kirchner that half a trillion pounds would be quite a reasonable sum for this archipelago of 778 mostly charming islands. They wouldn’t have to pay all at once.

When Aden was abandoned by the British in 1967, Philip Larkin wrote rather an imperial poem saying: "Next year we shall be living in a country/That brought its soldiers home for lack of money". Well, we’ve been living in that country for a long time now – all my life, and probably yours, too. The thing is, we don’t have any money at all any longer. If they really want these remote and intermittently inhabited islands, we might as well abandon any shame we might once have possessed, and sell them to them, priced by the acre.

It’s true, as Hensher says, that selling sovereign land is scarcely unprecedented. Nevertheless, as tends to be the case when folk advocate sweeping solutions to the Falklands issue one poor group of people don’t get a look in: the plucky little islanders themselves. Their views appear to be of little account, as though they have become an embarrassment whose inconvenient presence thwarts any chance of solving the issue in any kind of grown-up fashion.

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Well, tough. The islanders have no desire to be Argentine and that’s that. Unless the Argentines relinquish their claim to the islands there is no point in talks since there will be nothing to discuss. Moreover the present Argentine meddling can only be designed to placate President Kirchner’s domestic constituency. That comes at a price, however, and seems likely to reinforce the islanders’ existing loyalties.

The rest of the world may (I think does) view this stramash with some baffled amusement. Nevertheless the islands are British and though far from the UK mainland are hardly in the mouth of the River Plate either. So that’s that.

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Show comments
  • rndtechnologies786

    Nice thought.

  • Aldos Rendos

    ‘Were Argentina to invade an independent Falklands, it would be Britain – probably not wearing blue hats – who would protect the islands.’

    Other than a hunch, I don’t believe you have reason or evidence to support that.

  • A. MacAulay

    The Falklands, like the Elgin Marbles are problems too useful to the various claimants to be solved. If a person, nation has a problem and the simple solution is at hand and it is not taken, then the problem has a higher value than the solution.What efforts have the Argentinians taken to inspire confidence and trust in them amongst the Falklanders? None. Where is dual-nationality, co-operation, sharing, trading, cultural exchange, etc., etc. Nowhere, and the Argentinians are neither interested nor bothered as long as they can make whiny-victim noises and distract their own voters from their very real problems. Theoretically, Argentina should be the “Canada” of South America.

  • donkeyhoatey

    Flor
    You have no proof. The circumstances were exhaustively examined by our French friends. But if you want to believe someone’s manufactured evil, you will.

  • Flor

    Remember that ten years ago Argentine dissenters were being thrown into the sea from helicopters.

  • Dick Turpin

    Two points. First of all the islands aren’t “ours” to sell. It’s up to the islanders who they declare territorial allegiance to, and until that situation changes, it’d be utterly hypocritical of any UK administration to sell or give the land away from under them.

    Secondly, Argentina doesn’t want to buy the island either, and even if they did they don’t have the money. The primary value of the “Malvinas” to the ruling classes is as a method of taking the populace’s mind off rank governmental incompetence.

  • Mr Danger 1

    People are right to think that the UK economy is in pretty rough shape at the moment, and that our public finances are looking pretty grim. But you really need a sense of perspective if you think Argentina represents a picture of economic health compared to the UK.

  • Beefeater

    “Time and demographics are against the Islanders”

    And against much of Europe. But if the islander population dwindled to zero? Are those islands not still British territory, staking our claim to the oil and other riches that might be found there?

    “…That way we can dispense with the dated notion of colonialism while protecting the Falklands under international law from any form of aggression from Argentina.”

    A good example of the new (delusional) idealism in international relations. Argentina is the product of colonialism, and is using historical (dated?) colonial events to establish their claim. Independent countries are protected from aggression by international law only when powerful nations – former and current imperialists – enforce it. Were Argentina to invade an independent Falklands, it would be Britain – probably not wearing blue hats – who would protect the islands.

  • walter coleshill

    The Falkland’s economy is improving with wool exports to China and an increasing tourist trade with more large cruise liners calling at Port Stanley. For the future: fishing and oil production are the bright spots.

    To the nay-sayers I reply: Go talk to the Falkland belongers and listen to their comments. They want no deal which could give (even partial control) to the Argentine Government. Remember that ten years ago Argentine dissenters were being thrown into the sea from helicopters.

    Put no trust in the Argentine Government who have banned Falkland Island vessels from calling at Argentine ports.

  • Pedro

    How about some self determination for England?

  • Aldos Rendos

    The best solution would be to give the Falklanders independence. That way we can dispense with the dated notion of colonialism while protecting the Falklands under international law from any form of aggression from Argentina.

  • Pot Head

    As we pay for the”plucky little islanders” to be there, the decision surely is ultimately the British taxpayers? And soon we’ll have a new generation of them who don’t remember the war and fascist juntas . Time and demographics are against the Islanders.

  • Bruce, UK

    Quite.

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