Monday, March 11, 2013

QTWTAIY

With all apologies to John Rentoul. The question in, um, question is that posed by the residents of the Falkland Islands:
Do you wish the Falklands Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?

Now's not the time for going into the historical and legal background to the sovereignty claims to the Falkland Islands. Suffice to say, on the one hand you have de facto possession dating to 1833, and a de jure formal claim dating back to 1690, and on the other you have the fact that the two capital cities are a mere 1180 miles apart (the distance between Buenos Aires and Port Stanley is roughly the same as that between London and Reykyavik).

What's odd though is the Guardian's sustained hostility to the idea that, in a dispute as to which country the Falkland Islands should belong to, the opinions of the people actually living there should be taken into consideration. In the past week there have been three articles on the referendum, variously describing it as 'meaningless', 'with no purpose' and 'rigged', from such august and impartial commentators as the Argentine ambassador. The last story, which states that the referendum "amounts to a rigged ballot", justifies that by the fact that only people who have been resident in the Falklands for seven years are entitled to vote. This is a surprisingly elastic definition of vote-rigging (it is, for example, less restrictive than UK election laws).


What's also slightly odd is that, in all the welter of comment on a referendum "called by the British in which only British citizens can vote to decide whether the territory they inhabit is to be British," no reference is made to the 2012 census - in which "fewer than a third of people consider themselves British, while 59% say their national identity is "Falkland Islander". Maybe staff at the Guardian ought to start reading their own newspaper, though God knows I understand why they don't.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Sandman said...

Even if you take the distance between the Falklands and the Argentine mainland, it is still about 300 miles away. This is much further away than the Faroe Islands are from the UK mainland.

Nobody has ever seriously suggested that the Faroes should be British.

By the same logic the Channel Islands are closer to France and should be French.

Bizarrely, Argentina also claims South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands - more than 1,500 miles away from the mainland.

These are not reasonable people.

4:16 pm  
Blogger Tim J said...

Well quite - and that's Patagonia, which was only settled by Argentina (via the irreproachable colonial method of slaughtering the inhabitants) in the 1870s, some 40 years after the permanent establishment of a British settlement at Stanley.

4:35 pm  

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