The title of this post is from a poem by Rudyard Kipling, but could the 2017 General Election be a rerun of the 1983 General Election, where Margaret Thatcher gave Michael Foot, the order of the boot?
Jeremy Corbyn is actually two years younger than Michael Foot was at the 1983 General Election, which was incidentally when he was elected for the first time.
At the 1983 General Election Margaret Thatcher was in her late-fifties and now Theresa May is in her early-sixties.
I think that humorists and cartoonists will be having a good election, drawing comparisons.
Thatcher won her biggest victory in the Falklands, so will May win her victory in the Brexit negotiations?
I certainly feel that far outposts like the Falklands and Gibraltar could figure in this election.
I’d never heard of the British colonial administrator; Sir Cosmo Haskard, until I read his obituary in The Times.
In the 1960s, he was the Governor of the Falkland Islands, when Harold Wilson’s government was seeking to transfer sovereignty of the islands to the Argentinians. He realised the islanders wouldn’t be a favour and fought a virtually one-man campaign to stop the transfer. The Times tells the story in detail, but I can’t find it elsewhere.
It is a fascinating tale, but without the efforts of Sir Cosmo, the history of the world would be very different.
This report on the BBC about the end of the GOCE satellite, was to me very much a must-read, as it covers a lot of my interests. It probably will make a lot of others think about the Falkland Islands too. But it was this paragraph that caught my eye.
American military data timed this event to have occurred at 00:16 GMT, or 21:16 local Falkland time – just as Bill, his wife Vicky, and dad, Tony Chater, were making their way home after spending the day with King Penguins.
There really are some amazing places in this world, some of which are virtually inaccessible.
You could argue for years about Margaret Thatcher.
But it wasn’t what she did or didn’t do, that she leaves behind. In the course of history, there are only a few politicians, philosophers and sad to say despots and dictators, who have changed the world.
Margaret Thatcher showed that no rule or thought in traditional thinking is sacrosanct, when it comes to shaping the world. Since then we’ve seen lots of radical ideas work, that would have never even been thought of, had not Margaret Thatcher and a few others shown that you could do something different.
Would Tony Blair have been able to reform a Labour Party, stuck in the 1920s, without Margaret Thatcher showing what radical thinking could do? Or Ken Livingstone, reinvent himself, to make a comeback as the London Mayor. I suspect, if Margaret Thatcher hadn’t been a radical Prime Minister, we’d have had a succession of useless worthies in the last few years.
I’ll only give one example of where Margaret Thatcher ditched conventional thinking.
In 1982, conventional thinking, said that to attempt to retake the Falkland Islands after the Argentine invasion was utter madness, and many on all sides of the political spectrum said that to give the islands away was the best solution. How many people today, think that the decision to retake the islands was wrong? Not many I suspect! I’ve even met an Argentinian, who felt that we did his country a favour, by effectively getting rid of the evil dictatorship of General Galtieri.
Without Margaret Thatcher my life today would be very different.
After I had sold my first successful software; Pert7 to ADP, I received an offer to go to the United States to write a PERT system for a large US computer corporation.
How they got my number or the fact I’d sold out, I don’t know?
Soon after, I was approached to write a PERT system, which later became Artemis, so I turned the Americans down.
I suspect that if that hadn’t happened, I’d have eventually moved across the Atlantic, as it was just impossible to provide for a growing family with the tax rates, then in force.
i didn’t move, as neither C or myself could have ever lived abroad permanently.
But Margaret Thatcher’s Tax and other reforms enabled me to stay in the country of my birth. If tax rates were still as the eighty percent plus they were in the nineteen seventies, I doubt many of the brightest in the UK, would not have gone to where pastures were greener.
One aside here is a story from my accountant of the 1980s. A confirmed Socialist, he was not a supporter of Margaret Thatcher, but felt the tax reforms of the time were very good for the country. Although tax rates were lowered, her Chancellors were good at closing the myriad loopholes that had been developed by clever members of his profession. There may be a lesson here for today’s politicians, who need to both maximise the tax take and keep voters happy.
Whatever the Pope thinks about the Falklands is all fairly irrelevant, despite what was said in the my post about the Daily Mirror, as he has other more pressing problems.
In the end though, economic arguments will win through, so consider these facts.
Argentina’s economy is pretty much a basket case and with policies like nationalising oil companies as reported here, they are annoying possible supporters like Spain.
Spain too, would like to get rid of that irritant Gibraltar, but with their economic problems, they are not going to do anything rash in the area. Although, they do block various EU measures because of it. I think the Spanish are sensible enough to realise that British visitors are an important part of their economy.
The UK, is also a big destination for Spanish unemployed, where they are one of the bigger groups of immigrants.
And then there’s the Spanish enclaves on the coast of North Africa, which to Morocco are probably the same sort of irritant as Gibraltar is to Spain and the Falklands are to Argentina.
So the economy and the politics go round and round.
Throw in possible Scottish independence, which would be an encouragement to some parts of Spain, that yearn for independence and you have a big, interconnected mix.
You probably have two sensible players and one that has a reputation as a bit of an opportunist.
In some ways it’s rather sad what has happened to Argentina. Before the Second World War, it was much higher up the league of prosperity, than it is now. It just shows how bad government can ruin a country.
I found this article on the Daily Mirror written by a journalist, who comes from the Falkland Islands.
I think most people in the UK, would agree with what he says, as we tend to have fairly strong feelings about those faraway islands in the South Atlantic. I don’t think I’ve ever met a UK citizen, who thinks we should give the island to Argentina.
The writer of this article finishes off like this.
So Pope Francis, I urge you to join the rest of us in the 21st century and recognise the Falkland Islanders’ democratic rights.
Oh, and while you’re at it, how about changing your mind on contraception, abortion and gay rights into the bargain?
Sadly, I think there’s more chance of me becoming the next Pope than any of that happening.
I think my advice to the Pope would be to stay out of the row and try to be a calmiong influence on all parties.
The Sun has taken out an advert in an Argentinian paper to put their version of the British view on the Falklands direct to the country.
It’s an interesting tactic, but I don’t think it will soften the Argentinian view that the Falkland Islands are theirs.
I think we are right to say that the Falkland Islanders have the right of self-determination.
On that basis, does that mean that say the Isle of Wight has the right to do what it wants? It might ban people from wearing yellow socks for instance.
That may seem a silly example, but various religions and political factions in this country, would like to create enclaves, where they do what they want.
Can we have it both ways?
The Times today has a detailed account of the Battle of Mount Tumbledown in the Falklands War. It is told by four soldiers from the Scots Guards, who took part in the battle. This paragraph tells how they went in.
The Battalion went in wearing berets, because their helmets were too clumsy; rucksacks were left behind; they had no body armour. They carried SLR rifles, with bayonets fixed, 80 rounds of ammunition, a sleeping bag, grenades and first-aid kit. Communication was through “open” radio. “I talked to my company commanders as easily as I’m talking to you,” Scott says. Their only password in the dark was “Jimmy,” the idea being that, since the Argentinians could not pronounce their Js, they would be easily identified.
Would soldiers do that today? Certainly, a lot of armies wouldn’t!
I once used to live next to a Colonel in the British Army. He would have loved the bit about the passwords. As he once said to me. “In case of war, burn all the rulebooks!” The more I read about the Falklands War, the more it was a war where convention went out the window.
I think even the Americans thought we would be unable to regain the islands. I’ve always felt that it put the wind up the Russians and they then realised that they would never be able to walk their way across Europe, when they would be fighting the strong and well-trained volunteer armies of Western Europe. I think even in 1980, a lot of experienced high-ranking officers in the Red Army had seen the horrors of the Second World War and felt they wouldn’t ask their soldiers to go through that again.
I hope we never have to fight another war like the Falklands.
This seems to be a good idea, although I don’t think it will come to any agreement acceptable to Argentina.
It does seem though that referenda are all the rage at present. We may have one about EU membership, but I think it would be better if we concentrated on getting all of the countries in Europe sorted first. We could all start with balancing the books.
Spain makes two sets of headlines today; it has got a massive loan to sort out its banks and it is expected to protest loudly at the Wessexes visit to Gibraltar. Although, we are not directly effected by the Spanish bailout, we could be in future, through the London market or the IMF.
Spain remember has a row going with Argentina over the nationalisation of Repsol’s assets in that country.
And then there’s the Falklands! Where Spain has usually supported Argentina.
There are reasons to believe that relations between Spain and the UK are going to be difficult in the next few months.