Falklands : GUARDIAN ARTICLE LONG ON RHETORIC BUT SHORT ON FALKLANDS’ FACTS
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 06.02.2012 (Article Archived on 20.02.2012)
Over the weekend Mr Peter Preston of the Guardian wrote an article entitled “Falkland islanders will be sold out sooner or later,”
GUARDIAN ARTICLE LONG ON RHETORIC BUT SHORT ON FALKLANDS’ FACTS
An Editorial by J. Brock (FINN)
Over the weekend Mr Peter Preston of the Guardian wrote an article entitled “Falkland islanders will be sold out sooner or later,” in which he said that British Prime Minister David Cameron, “amid all-party harrumphing, pledges eternal security for the islands, may believe it for a few days. The next prime minister in line, and the one after that, may profess to believe it too. But it's still self-serving rubbish; and it still sells the best future for the Falklands perilously short.”
He went on to say that “Nicholas Ridley, a stalwart right-winger when he wasn't being a Foreign Office minister, went to the islanders 33 years ago,” saying that “Britain couldn't bear the cost of supporting and defending them any longer. Too much cash, too much redundant toil. They'd get on far better if Argentina was a helpful neighbour. Geography and commonsense dictated a peaceful solution: leaseback. That way the islanders lived their lives as before, but Buenos Aires took sovereignty in the long run. It was what Ridley and, by inference, even former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher thought best.”
However, that was 33 years ago and circumstances were very much different in that the population was approximately 1820 and not the 3,000 Mr Preston seems to think were present then. It cost considerably less to maintain the marines at Moody Brook and patrol with the HMS Endurance than it does nowadays. Our main income came from wool and most people lived in camp. At present it comes from fisheries and potentially from hydrocarbons.
Mr Preston fails to acknowledge that the Falklands are not grant in aid and haven’t been since we set up our fisheries conservation zone in 1986.
Though defence costs in the Falklands are approximately £77Million (peanuts compared to what has been spent in Iraq and Afghanistan) should significantly viable hydrocarbons reserves be exploited in Islands’ waters, there could be a contribution from FIG to defray costs, if not all of them in due course. This promise was set forth in the 1995 Battle Day letter, written by Falkland Islands Councillors to HMG in London. As such, any argument that it would cost Britain more to defend our hydrocarbons reserves may turn out to be Mr Preston’s wishful thinking.
One thing Mr Prestonn may have forgotten is that it is HMG policy and not the whim of any particular party or Prime Minister, to defend the Falkland Islanders’ right to self-determination.
He also turned a blind eye to the fact that the Falkland Islands had a budget surplus of several million pounds last year and it is expected to increase. It’s a better performance than the country wanting to take us over; and we did it despite the economic terrorism experienced lately at their hands.
Islanders expect sabre rattling from the Argentine press but hope for better response and research from newspaper columnists in the UK. In this case we’ve been handed the remains of yesterday’s fish dinner. Don’t expect us to eat it.