11th March 2013
I watch the preparations for the Falklands Referendum on whether the Islanders wish to remain British with interest. There are numerous parallels between these islands in the South Atlantic and the ‘Rock’ of Gibraltar. Both territories are populated by people who want to remain British. Both are threatened by a foreign power that wishes to change that relationship without their consent.
We have seen from bitter experience in Gibraltar how little the wishes of the people matter to those who seek to thwart their right to self-determination. Gibraltar has twice gone to the polls to defend their right to be British. Regrettably, this democratically voiced opinion has proven of little consequence to Spain. I fear that the opinion of the Falkland Islanders will matter even less to Argentina.
The Argentineans and Spanish have already shown that this isn’t about democracy, it is about distraction. Both Governments are seeking to deflect public attention away from national problems and onto a perceived foreign foe. The irony is that both Argentina and Spain accuse the British of acting like a colonial power. Who is it I wonder who is ignoring the wishes of the people?
I applaud the efforts of the Falkland Islanders in asserting their right to self-determination. It is most regrettable that Argentina shows no sign of respecting those rights.