This was a hatchet job. Make no mistake about it. A British Overseas Territory, full of British citizens, votes to remain under Britain’s umbrella of sovereignty. The result would have pleased even the most despotic of dictators; 1513 of the 1517 voters who bothered to show up decided Britain was a more attractive proposition than Argentina. I’d never of guessed. The four who didn’t vote yes must be feeling pretty weird right now. Maybe Argentina could make them honorary citizens? That’d be four off the islands, leaving about 1,700 to go.
I make light of this because to my mind the whole situation a little bit farcical. There is nothing funny about war or the threat of it, Falkland Islanders of a certain age know that all too well, but conducting this kind of vote still doesn’t serve a purpose. It won’t stop the recent resurgence of vitriol by Argentina’s government against the islands, known in Spanish as Islas Malvinas. We remain in the same position as we were before the vote. Nothing is going to change the current make up. Argentina is not going to invade again and physicallyÂ lay claim to a group of islands only a handful of people really, honestly, care about. The fact that Argentina still whines about Britain taking the islands in 1833 is all a bit pathetic. Get over it. Move on.
But Argentina refuses to. Argentina says the vote doesn’t change anything. Now there’s is something we can agree on. But Argentina’s reasoning is different to mine. They say the islanders’ views don’t count, and that this is a dispute between themselves and Britain over what amounts, going back in history,Â to colonial rule. I can imagine the reaction at the UN when “any other business” comes around. Argentina’s hand shoots up, while everyone else groans at the thought of another nonsensical “debate”.Â Part of me wishes Britain (in fact everyone)Â would just ignore Argentina when it mentions the Falklands. Or maybe just point to a Union Flag before putting a finger to the lips. Anything to stop what will end up being a glorified attempt at a nationalistic shouting match.
The islands are home to under 3,000 people, the majority beingÂ nativeÂ Falkland Islanders. At least as native as you can be.Â Leave them alone. They are about as unobtrusive as anyoneÂ could possibly be. The Argentine government should stop deflecting attention away from it’s real problems at home, and the British authorities should stop rising to it. Concentrate on important issues, not on a small collection of islands in the south Atlantic, and definitely not on a hatchet job of a referendum.