Has the Falkland Islands Government lost credibility and stature by investing heavily in extremely difficult to recover gas & oil as part of a “Fortress” economy heavily reliant upon fossil fuels?
With £17 million of UK taxpayer funds invested in its defence annually, the distant dot of the Falkland Islands may soon become a maintained and protected anachronism; a 21st Century, fossil-fueled, fortress economy.
‘Thatcher wrote in her autobiography that ‘the islands had obvious strategic importance’, and during the Falklands war she attempted to win US support by emphasising their strategic role to President Reagan.’
From Britain and the Dictatorships of Argentina and Chile, 1973-82
“We present this Islands Plan at an exciting time for the Falkland Islands. We are on the cusp of potentially significant changes that a hydrocarbons industry may bring – but we must work hard to ensure that the desire for such an industry becomes a reality, and to ensure that the Islands are prepared to manage its implications – on our economy, on our society and on our environment.”
The mobilisation of a task force 40 years ago, followed by the loss of hundreds of young lives, can’t be seen as ‘justified’, given this screeching 2014 about-face by the FIG, with its lurch from natural farming to unnatural gas and oil.
This tiny outpost’s frantic pursuit of difficult to exploit, unsustainable fossil fuels risks jeopardising the UK population’s support, which has been understandably wearing thin over the years. Thatcher’s supposed justification for the conflict is now looking very shaky.
The islanders’ aspirations seem to have shifted alarmingly. How can these newly announced wishes remain ‘paramount’ 40 years on? And how can British citizens – who continue to fund the islands’ defence – continue to invest their money and trust into propping up the FIG?
Can fishing and tourism alone – with exports mainly to Spain and imports mainly from the UK – sustain these islands in the long term? It seems unlikely. I’d describe the FIG’s economic competence as myopic if not fatally flawed. Even if the oil and gas ventures are successful, they won’t last, and there’s a very real possibility the FIG will end up going on bended knee to the mother country for another large bailout in 40 years’ time. Or perhaps a lot sooner.
Return to Bomb Alley 1982 – The Falklands Deception
From Paul Cardin, a Falklands Conflict veteran. This is a biting commentary, told from the heart. Also included is a 1982 diary, written on location. This book forms a forensic inquiry into several conflict-related mysteries that have never been addressed or resolved - even after 40 years.