Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Falkland islands; a political football

“How much’s it want,” Syverson yells, “how much, this organization
you tell us about?”
“Dang it, Syve, all it wants is what’s fair—”
“Fair! It wants advantage is what”
“Okay! okay!” Floyd hollered, getting rattled,
“but all it wants is its fair advantage!”
Everybody laughed when Floyd made that slip, even old Floyd himself.

-          Ken Kesey, “Sometimes a Great Notion”

Much as the Italians like to make clever footballing allusions with the geographical position of Sicily and the boot the Falkland Islands/Malvinas sit like a political football off the coast of Argentine Patagonia in the cold winds of the South Atlantic.

The Falkland Islands can always be relied upon as a convenient cause to distract the populace from any problems at home. Whether that be high UK unemployment or 30% Argentine inflation one can trust the governments to step up the rhetoric and rouse the populace for a ‘just’ cause. This certainly helps shift copies of the Daily Mail and The Express as much as it helps Argentines do what they do best; gather and protest wrapped in national flags.

The UK really is not paying the game very well. Falling for these taunts they have committed some rather serious faux pas in upping the ante. Even if sending Prince William to the Islands was routine it was not smart. It feeds the popular sentiment in Argentina and reinforces perceptions. Much the same with the deployment of HMS Dauntless. Cameron is not very good at reading the political subtext on these occasions in much the same fashion as he got shafted during the EU fiscal pact agreement.

In recent days many weighty voices in the environment of global diplomacy have weighed in on the issue including the esteemed Sean Penn. Sean Penn seems to have forgotten that he is an actor or rather he is overplaying his role which dictates that he now go around Mercosur emulating various political leaders both in rhetoric and appearance; 

H/T Guardian

If I were one of the 3,000 islanders (or half a million sheep) I might care. If the Islands were able to declare independence and call themselves an island nation like Vanatu  there would be no question in the UN about sovereignty – the right of the people to self determination would prevail. If the British claim is colonialist then so is the Argentine claim.

What really matter is why does anybody in the UK or Argentina really care? Who are these people that have the time, passion, commitment and zeal to protest on the streets of Buenos Aires or lambast in the newspapers of Britain over the islands? It never ceases to amaze me the distractions we humans find for ourselves. I mean seriously how many Argentines would emigrate to the Malvinas if they were actually ceded? In many ways the issue is simply an emotive symbol – one could imagine Argentina gaining the territory and then giving it away again just so they can bemoan the loss all over again!

“HARRY THE HAGGLER: Oh. Uhhh, twenty shekels.

BRIAN: Right.


BRIAN: There you are.

HARRY THE HAGGLER: Wait a minute.

BRIAN: What?

HARRY THE HAGGLER: Well, we're-- we're supposed to haggle.

BRIAN: No, no. I've got to get--

HARRY THE HAGGLER: What do you mean, 'no, no, no'?

BRIAN: I haven't time. I've got--

HARRY THE HAGGLER: Well, give it back, then.

BRIAN: No, no, no. I just paid you.


BURT: Yeah?

HARRY THE HAGGLER: This bloke won't haggle.

BURT: Won't haggle?!

BRIAN: All right. Do we have to?”

-          Monty Python -  “The Life of Brian”

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