Michael Fallon has used his visit to the Falklands to pinpoint Jeremy Corbyn – not Argentina – as the biggest threat to islanders. During his trip to the Falklands, the Defence Secretary insisted that Argentina wasn’t the main worry for the Falklands – it was actually the Labour leader and his party. He said:
‘The biggest threat at the moment isn’t Argentina, actually it is Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party who seem determined to override the wishes of the Islanders. That is the immediate threat.’
His comments are a clear attempt to politicise both his visit to the Falklands and the islands themselves. It’s hard not to blame Fallon for doing so and trying to label Corbyn as the ‘biggest threat’ to the Falklands. After all, the Labour leader did suggest last month that Britain should hand back the islands as part of a ‘power-sharing’ deal with Argentina. But painting Corbyn as the main ‘immediate threat’ to the Falklands is an exaggeration which just doesn’t wash.
One of the main problems with Corbyn’s rhetoric last month about handing the Falklands back was the simple fact that it went against the wishes of the islanders themselves: with the 2013 referendum in the Falklands showing that 99.8 per cent of Falkland islanders wanted to stay British.
But in also trying to speak for the islanders, Michael Fallon looks, ironically, like he is doing something similar to Corbyn in turning the Falklands’ residents into mere pawns in a political row. That seems to be the reaction from some of those on the island. Speaking to the Today programme this morning, Michael Summers, the chairman of the Falklands legislative assembly, said the biggest threat is ‘undoubtedly Argentina’. He added:
‘Mr Corbyn has his views…I don’t think he is a threat’.
Corbyn’s views on the Falklands may be foolish and unwarranted. But suggesting the Labour leader is a bigger threat to the islands than Argentina just looks ridiculous.