Sunday, 19 June 2011

What future for the Falklands?

BBC News reports:

Sir Sandy Woodward, the retired admiral who led the British taskforce which set sail for the Falklands in 1982, told a newspaper earlier this week he feared the islands were "now perilously close to being indefensible".

He told the Daily Mail: "Twenty-nine years ago today, we re-claimed the Falklands for Britain in one of the most remarkable campaigns since the Second World War.

"The simple truth is without aircraft carriers and without the Americans, we would not have any hope of doing the same again today."

Adm Woodward questioned whether the US would continue to support Britain's sovereignty over the islands, pointing to Washington's call last week for negotiations.

The Americans' reference to the islands by their Argentinian name - the Malvinas - didn't "leave too much doubt about which way the wind may be blowing", he said.

The terrible financial legacy of the Labour government does not excuse the Coalition's neglect and mismanagement of our armed forces. They did not need to decommission the Ark Royal. Its Harriers could apparently fly for another seven years, having recently been expensively upgraded, but instead they are being sold to the Americans for scrap. Waste abounds, both within the MoD, and in other departments. If the government thought we needed a few billion more to properly protect British territory, they could have found it. The money squandered on Euro bailouts, international aid, and increased EU budget contributions would probably cover it. And they're not even making the most of the money they have.

Whether the Falklands are worth fighting for is a reasonable question, but our government appears to be setting us up for trouble. We must ask why.

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