So here we go again – the British Prime Minister makes an impassioned speech from what can look from certain angles as the moral high ground. He will defend the little islands known as the Falklands or the Malvinos and confirm his military muscle if Argentina threatens this last outpost of Empire.
Diplomacy will go out of the window, this government’s speciality, as it did thirty years ago when Mrs Thatcher saved her political reputation for her supporters at least by throwing everything into a bloody 74 day war. You can forget the austerity budget here in the UK too if Britain decides to escalate the aggression. It will be full steam ahead for our naval fleets and for any aircraft that we still own. I forget what we decided over those aircraft carriers – maybe we will build a new one after-all.
I know we’ve been there before, the Falklands that is, thirty years ago this year in fact but I wasn’t talking about the billions of pounds spent on defending that small British outpost since 1982 no, I was referring to our, and other countries’ enthusiasm for high principled warfare whenever oil pops up through a pipe in the ground.
Oil companies are expecting to fill 8.3 billion barrels with Falklands Oil in the waters around the islands this year whilst the small but aggressively named company Rockhopper Exploration Plc is asking one of the big oil companies for $2 billion to develop the Sea Lion field, apparently the islands’ first economically viable oil find.
If this project is as successful as the “experts” are predicting then all eyes will turn to that little group of islands – it explains why David Cameron is so keen to attack Argentina’s “colonial” attitude to what he sees as a British possession that lies 300 miles from the Argentine coast.
Mrs Thatcher persuaded Britain last time that a Falklands War was a good idea, it will be a tougher job for the politically much less astute David Cameron. Mrs T had her exocet missiles but at least Mr C has a much more potent weapon – he can deploy the nation’s pin-up in the centre of things in the person of a sweet-natured prince, our very own Prince William in the role of a brave helicopter pilot. I can see the television reportage already.