“We’re at war, son” my Dad said, sat on my bed on a bright spring morning in 1982, clearly disappointed that the gravity of his delivery was matched only by the apathy of his offspring’s reaction. But aged nine, with only a cursory awareness of current affairs, or any affairs really, I assumed that unless the Falklands crisis escalated to include food rationing and conscription haircuts, then normal tree climbing activities would continue largely unaffected. As indeed they did.
Thirty years on, with tree climbing sadly a declining element in my daily routine, we face an escalation of tensions between
Then, as now, Argentina’s claim over the Falklands is as much a political distraction as an issue of sovereignty. Nothing unites a nation like a rallying call to arms, using patriotism as the Polyfila to smooth out the cracks when confidence or the economy is crumbling. The irony of ’82 was that the desired feel-good factor fell not to the Argentine administration, but the baroness-to-be; Margaret Thatcher. The determined approach of the iron lady won post-war plaudits at home and abroad, the milk-thief made matriarch in a mere 74 days. Battle is the best friend of the bullish and the brazen. Arrogant and inflexible becomes stoical and resolute, just add war and stir. Would a peacetime Churchill have left as impressive a legacy?
This week’s sabre rattling rings hollow however, as Argentina could no more afford an incursion than the UK could muster a taskforce. David Cameron could no doubt do with a little Dunkirk spirit, but 8,000 miles is, I fear, a tad too far for even the most ambitious of Blighty’s fishing boats.