Monday 7 January 2013

Teaching a Monkey History

Argentina's Joker
Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner published an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, an ‘emotional appeal’, so described, for a return of the Falkland Islands.  It comes on the hundred and eightieth anniversary of Britain’s supposed ‘seizure’ of the ‘Malvinas’ in January, 1833, a blatant exercise, so she says, of nineteenth century colonialism. 

I see from the pictures published in the press that this woman’s lips are thicker than ever, inflated by her addiction to Botox.  I think it may have begun to affect her intellect, which is thick and getting thicker. Is there any point, I wonder, in teaching monkeys history?  But for those a fraction more perceptive than Madame Botox, which I think will be just about everyone who stumbles this way, let me explain the simple facts.

Kirchner claims that “the Argentines on the Islands were expelled by the Royal Navy.”  It’s rubbish.  To begin with the islands were barely inhabited in 1833.  The few ‘Argentines’ on the islands were allowed to remain.  In fact it was the remnants of a party led there in 1826 by one Louis Vernet, a merchant of Franco-German origin who came with a mandate from Buenos Aires.  The ‘Argentines’ in question consisted of Vernet’s family and about forty English and German colonists. 

Let the facts bite even deeper: Argentina, as we know it today, did not exist in 1833.  The country was then called the United Provinces of the River Plate.  It was only after it began the bloody conquest of Patagonia, an exercise know as the Conquest of the Desert, that the present name was assumed.  That same conquest, incidentally, of a desert that was not a desert, was based on the wholesale extirpation of the indigenous inhabitants.  This is something that Kirchner may call to mind when she drones on about ‘colonialism.’

The 1850 Convention of Settlement, also known as the Arana-Southern Treaty, regulating relations between Britain and Argentina, effectively ended that latter’s claim to the Falklands.  At the time Lord Palmerston, the British Foreign Secretary, said;

… a claim had been made many years ago, on the part of Buenos Ayres, to the Falkland Islands, and had been resisted by the British Government. Great Britain had always disputed and denied the claim of Spain to the Falkland Islands, and she was not therefore willing to yield to Buenos Ayres what had been refused to Spain. 10 or 12 years ago the Falkland Islands, having been unoccupied for some time, were taken possession of by Great Britain, and a settlement had ever since been maintained there; and he thought it would be most unadvisable to revive a correspondence which had ceased by the acquiescence of one party and the maintenance of the other.

So that, as they say, is that.  All Argentine protests were dropped.  The diplomatic realities were acknowledged by the Argentine leaders in their Messages to Congress in the 1850s.  The Islands were not mentioned again for another ninety odd years in Congress, not until 1941, to be precise. 

It’s also worth noting that the issue has come to the surface in the modern age, a continuing diversion away from Argentina’s internal problems.  This is a nation that, unable to cope with itself, was continually beguiled by demagogues: military dictatorship at one turn, outright fascism at the next.  Britain, in resisting the invasion of the Falklands in 1982, at least saved that benighted country from its own political stupidity. 

There are bigger issues here going beyond arcane matters of diplomatic history.  Kirchner talks of ‘colonialism’, seemingly without having the first idea what the word and the practice means.  The Falklands, as the Foreign Office pointed out, are not a ‘colony’ but a self-governing British Overseas Territory.  The Islands have their own government and the three thousand odd inhabitants a complete right to self-destination. 

This March the Falklanders will be asked in a referendum if they wish to continue their present status as an Overseas Territory.  Personally speaking I would offer them a further choice – full political union with the United Kingdom, in the same fashion as some of the departments of France located in the Americas.  That would settle the matter once and for all.  Any future attack should be regarded as an attack on Britain itself.

The truth is that Kirchner, in protesting against ‘colonialism’, would treat the people of the Falklands in a thoroughly colonial way.  What arrogance in the modern word to assume that the native inhabitants of a place can be ignored and disposed of by other powers.  Commenting on this the Foreign Office said;

The people of the Falklands are British and have chosen to be so.  They remain free to choose their own futures, both politically and economically, and have the right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter.  This is a fundamental right for all peoples.  There are three parties to the debate, not just two as Argentina likes to pretend.  The Islanders can’t just be written out of history.  As such there can be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until such time as the Islanders so wish. 

So there!  Poor Madame Botox; there she is, desperate to divert attention away from her own internal problems by raising this issue yet again to no purpose whatsoever. She fires letter in the way that her fascist predecessors fired bullets.  Letters or bullets it makes no difference.  The day that the people of the Falklands decide to join Cristina’s failing republic will be a cold day in hell...and in Buenos Aires.  


  1. A very silly woman with a clown-like appearance. During the British colonial period populations were imported and exported to suit British interests, a practice that has caused political, cultural and racial conflict to this day. Plantation labor around the world, like the importation of Indians to Fiji and Africans to the Americas, the expulsion of the French from Nova Scotia to Arcadia etc. The history of mankind is ripe with conflict.

  2. I am much wiser about the history of the Falkland Islands now after reading your article and of course I agree with you about who is right and who is wrong and what is the preferred solution for the future of those islands. However I foresee practical problems in safeguarding the rights of the islanders at some point in the future when political expediency and economic necessity may make a virtue out of doing the wrong thing. No doubt if that does occur the islanders will be offered hansom compensation and relocation. If in the mean time substantial oil and mineral reserves are found in the territorial waters surrounding the Falklands then that can only exacerbate the crises between Argentina and the UK. Argentina will be more intent on gaining possession and the UK will be just as intent on keeping possession. This is a saga that will run and run. Obama in the White house is not helpful to the UK position as the Latin vote is so important to him and the Democrat party.

    1. Antisthenes, yes, I agree with you. Militarily we are not in the position we were in 1982, but then neither is Argentina. I think it important to emphasise the exact political status of the islanders simply to refute the absurd 'colonialism' claim. These people cannot be disposed of in the way this stupid woman imagines.

  3. Foreign politics: all arm waving and shouting gibberish. Best to ignore them.

  4. Calvin, yes, all show and no substance. I hope you see this because a gremlin seems to be in the works this evening. None of my other published comments are appearing!

  5. First class blog Ana. Better than most I have read on the subject in the press at God knows how much a pop and a lesson in economy and clarity.