This blog bows to no-one in its opposition to racism.
Xenophobia though, is a different matter.
What The Knife loves most about Argentina’s pathetic scurrying off to whinge at the United Nations is not just the fact that Britain has really only sent a fairly small, if effective, warship there, but that they felt the need to specifically complain about a prince too. Are they worried that he’ll bring fairytale powers with him, or just a small private army?
Throw in the predictable fact that this week’s president, Cristina Kirchner, is using the Falklands as a bit of propaganda to boost her popularity at home, given the fact that what progress was made with quality of life and the economy under her late husband seems to be stalling at the moment ***. Ms Kirchner seems to gleefully fit the stereotype of a Latin American woman and a leader of a supposedly democratic country, although in reality one that has a dodgy past history of torture etc and occasional economic calamities. Unsurprisingly, she has been quick to make a personal fortune, and after taking over from her husband, she’s now grooming her son Maximo, a chubby lad with bad hair, to take over from her.
All this melodramatic posturing does is make the Brits dislike the Argies even more. It’s not often that The Knife quotes the Daily Mirror approvingly, but as Tony Parsons wrote:
In the Falklands, Maggie showed future prime ministers that gaining quick military glory was infinitely easier than solving the problems of home.
You can see the appeal for the likes of Cameron and Blair – soft little men who never heard a shot fired in anger in their lives, who never thought about the dead, the boys in wheelchairs, the men with their faces burned.
Because of the Falklands, British servicemen gave their lives and limbs in Iraq, and the cash-strapped British people gave millions of pounds for Libya, for our intervention in conflicts that we could have so easily avoided.
The Falklands War had a toxic effect on British life because of the seductive effect it had on British prime ministers who can’t solve the problems of home.
And that is savagely ironic because fighting for the freedom of the Falklands was a good and noble cause. Seized by the military dictatorship of a grotesque fascist thug called General Galtieri, the Falklands were worth fighting for.
And as long as they wish to remain British, they always will be.
It doesn’t matter what you think of Thatcher, or how she milked the Falklands for the rest of her career. The servicemen who went to the South Atlantic in the spring of 1982 were fighting for a cause no less righteous than their fathers who fought older battles at Normandy and Dunkirk.
Two hundred and fifty seven British servicemen gave their lives for the freedom of the Falkland Islands, a part of the South Atlantic that is as resolutely British as Liverpool or London or Cardiff.
All true, and a nice summary of the serious aspect of all this. Which brings me to the fun side. 10 years ago, England met Argentina in the South Korean World Cup. Tensions were high, as they always will be following Maradona’s pathetic cheating in 1986. On the Yahoo message boards the day before was a truly magnificent rant, by Falklandsheroes, which I can only quote in part (the rest is very very funny, but a bit too much):
Re the Argies….”then they go back to their homes made from cardboard boxes and located in sewers and apply grease to their silly long girlish hair while brushing their rottenblack teeth with garlic paste using a toilet brush. Then they kiss a picture of England and dream of one day living there before pledging undying love to the Queen of England who is also the ruler of Argentina – although she pretends she isn’t because she is too embarrassed. In fact I have heard that we plan to sell Argentina to America for $10 so that they can use it as a sewer…”
Well, it made me laugh. And England won 1-0.
*** A week or so after The Knife posted this, here is a superb Jeremy Warner blog pointing out just how screwed – and dishonest – the Argentine government is, including a nice dig at the failed economic guru, Paul Krugman.