Saturday, 6 March 2010

Getting serious again

I rarely touch upon political matters and never offer an opinion on party political matters believing that my politics is a matter that is private to me.  What I am about to write is political but sectarian only in that it reflects upon national and international affairs.

So oil has been discovered in the Falkland waters and Argentina wants a share of the revenue.  Surprise, surprise.  The view has been expressed in our media that this is a gesture, mere posturing, by the Argentine president for home consumption and that there is no intention of taking the matter as far as invading the Falkland Islands on the spurious grounds that they belong to Argentina.  The last time they tried this, in 1982, we very quickly despatched a task force and liberated the islanders.  Of course, in those days we had a navy with sufficient ships to make a task force.  These days our entire navy probably consists of fewer ships than were in that task force.  Fortunately the Falklands are garrisoned by a larger number of troops than was the case in 1982 and they would probably be sufficient to deter any landings.

Why is it, I wonder, that our politicians are unable to learn the lessons of history?  It was 80 years ago that we started to run down or navy, only to find that we needed it again in the fight against Hitler, and history shows that we did exactly the same thing after the battle of Trafalgar in 1805.  The Government has, I appreciate, the difficult job of keeping down taxes while keeping up expenditure on defence, the National Health Service, education, etc etc.  But if there was less wastage on ridiculous ideas such as the national ID cards (the latest example is £41 million on an abhortive attempt to introduce road pricing) and less of the snouts in trough, not to mention the EU, well, then there would be plenty for all the important things.

But back to the Falklands.  Hillary Clinton has kindly offered to mediate between the Argentine and British governments, but she and Bill are personal friends of the Argentine president.  Impartial mediation?  Anyway, there is nothing to mediate.  The oil is in Falkland waters and belongs to the Islanders, who want to remain a British dependency.  Full stop.

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