Nile Gardiner delivers one great big long sledge against the Argies over the Falkland Islands:
Just last month, Argentinaâ€™s foreign minister Hector Timerman declared that the Falkland IslandersÂ â€śdo not existâ€ť. Well they do exist, and clearly do not wish to live under the boot of Argentina. Many of the Falklandsâ€™ 3,000 inhabitants have lived under Argentine occupation, and have no desire to do so again. Argentinaâ€™s increasingly unpopular government, desperate to whip up nationalist sentiment againstÂ a backdrop of Socialist-driven economic decay, will attempt to dismiss the referendum as an irrelevance. But there can be no doubt that the huge vote in favour of the status quo on the Falkland Islands will make Kirchnerâ€™s campaign to turn the Falklands into â€ślas Islas Malvinasâ€ť even more futile. It will make it harder for Mrs. Kirchner to stomp around the United Nations calling for negotiations over the sovereignty of the Islands, when barely any of its inhabitants share her views. The Falklands referendum result will only further reinforce the image of Cristina Kirchner as a desperate figure who lives in her own parallel universe, destined to become a laughing stock even among her own Latin American neighbours, who will only grow more and more weary of her Falklands obsession.Â
This week’s Falklands vote is a victory for the principle of self-determination, and a powerful rebuke to those who wish to suppress it. The Kirchner regime can rage all it likes, but it has no prospect of seizing the Falklands. For as long as its inhabitants wish to remain under the protection of the Crown, Britain will defend them, and stand up to Argentinaâ€™s threats and intimidation.
Argentinaâ€™s government claims the Falklands will be theirsÂ within 20 years.Â This is the language of delusion, and the stuff of pure fantasy, the pathetic ranting of a failed presidency, which cares little for the prosperity of its own people, and nothing at all for the freedom and liberty of the Falkland Islanders. There is of course no room for complacency on the part of the British government, which must maintain a robust military presence in the South Atlantic. But it is hard to escape the conclusion that the feisty inhabitants of the Falklands have succeeded, through the ballot box, in humiliatingÂ the bully of Buenos AiresÂ and her decrepit regime.