Return of Kevin the Zombie

A lot of names have been in the press recently. The vast majority are politicians who have won seats, lost seats, resigned and reinstated themselves. Nigel Farage has undergone a resurrection. George Galloway may be lurking in the shadows. Yvette Cooper is on her own “road to Damascus” and then there is Kevin Pietersen.

Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen is arguably one of England’s greatest cricket players. On his day he is a prodigious run scorer and capable of turning a game in a single innings. In form he is a spectacular player and potential match winner and yet he languishes outside the boundary of the international game.

The downfall of KP from superstar to pariah was marked by a series of events. First there were the falling out with the England coach, Peter Moores. Then came the texts to the South Africans that lead to his first departure from the England side. Following rehabilitation there was the disastrous Ashes tour of Australia that lead to his sacking from English international cricket. The final nail in his coffin was the venomous book KP: The Autobiography,where Pietersen sort to set the record staight.

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Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss celebrating success in happier times.

The appointment of Andrew Strauss as the director of England cricket means that it is highly unlikely that KP will return to the test team, particularly as both Joe Root and Gary Balance have proved their value. Yet in spite of all this, there still seems to be a whiff in the air that he might not be dead and buried. Could Kevin Pietersen return and represent England again?

There are roles that he could fulfil.

Imagine the situation in the next Ashes tour where England are 2-1 down in the series. England need to win the final 2 games to take the Ashes but Joe Root is injured. Who would you want to call up as a replacement; a promising but unblooded youngster or an in form Pietersen?

Imagine another scenario as England fight to regain credibility in the short game formats. The ECB uses these formats, rightly or wrongly, to develop leaders in the international game. KP is placed in the team as the Vice Captain, to draw on his extensive experience in one day and 20/20 cricket, specifically to mentor and develop the youngsters.

There is nothing unusual about this, the Army does it all the time when it pairs young officers with experienced sergeants. It works well, generating respect and life long friendships on both sides. Why not do  it for English cricket?

Could Kevin Pietersen make an immediate return to English cricket? The short answer is no. KP has proved to be too disruptive and as Andrew Strauss has said, he is simply not trusted. That should be the stake through the heart, or what ever it takes to kill a zombie.

But he is not dead and KP, if he is determined enough, can rise again if he takes 4 simple actions:

Develop and improve his self awareness. KP’s behaviour is perceived as ego-centric and he needs to develop his self awareness. This provides a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. It would allow him to understand other people and how they perceive him, his attitude and his interaction with the dressing room. It’s KP’s lack of self awareness that has landed him in trouble.

Understand team dynamics. The team, particularly a sporting or military team, is focussed on a specific shared goal.This creates a dynamic between the individuals as they are all interdependent on each other to achieve the result – win or lose.

The team supports each other as the going gets tough

The team supports each other as the going gets tough

No single individual is above the team and KP must understand the role that he has to play to achieve success for the team.

Develop a basic understanding of leadership. We expect competent individuals to lead without developing them. It is one of the most common failings in British business. Most individuals will have to show leadership at some point in their lives and it is expected of senior players. Only by understanding leadership can Pietersen support the leader and contribute to team success.

Be in the form of his life. A batsman able to intimidate aggressive bowlers and turn games in a single session.

Does Pietersen really want to return to first class cricket? There is no doubt that he is a great talent who has been mismanaged. He made mistakes but the sacking saga was ridiculous. There is a gulf of trust between him and Andrew Strauss that will have to be bridged but rehabilitation is possible. Kevin Pietersen is the only person who can decide to take the first step.Kevin-Pietersen-action-wallpaper-hdI hope he does. It would be glorious to see him hammering the Australians or any other team for that matter.

Kevin if you decide to give it go, call us and we will help you out.

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I am not Charlie

Je suis Charlie was the rallying call that resounded in France following the murderous attacks in Paris in January this year. The French made a clear statement when four million people took to the streets: “we will not be cowed by these attacks on our right to free speech, nous sommes Charlie, we are free people.”

I, in common with most of you, had never heard of Charlie Hebdo before the attacks.

I now know that it’s a left wing, anti-religious, anti-racist, in fact anti-almost-everything satirical weekly publication. Its cartoons are hard hitting and spare no blushes; some made me laugh while almost all were very close to the knuckle.

At the heart of the French response was the declaration that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was an attack on our fundamental right to free speech. By implication, the vicious satire of Charlie Hebdo spoke for everyone who believes in free speech, which makes me uneasy.

Free speech is a great gift from the time when Europe broke free from absolutism. It enabled public debate that fermented revolutions in Britain, America and France. It broke the bonds of the Christian theocracy that dominated Europe. It generated ideas and innovation that expanded knowledge and science.

It was the bridge that enabled Europeans to move from the Inquisition condemning Galileo for heresy to the age of scientific and philosophical enlightenment under the likes of Descartes and Newton. It is now one of the four pillars of a democratic state.

Free speech is a principle intended to generate debate with the application tempered by legislation relating to harm, offence, hate, lawlessness. In reality none of us truly practise free speech because we are aware of the potential for an emotional backlash.

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Published Charlie Hebdo

Satire is the tool of free speech. Its object is to ridicule the vices, follies, abuses and short comings of individuals, corporations, governments, or society with the intent of shaming it into improvement. The great Frenchman Voltaire was renowned for his brilliantly funny and popular diatribes aimed at the great and corrupt. In modern times the British television programme “Spitting Images” cut to the heart of Mrs Thatcher’s politics.

The problem with satire is that it is supposed to cause offence. It is designed to reflect the uncomplimentary view that others have of the target. It works brilliantly when the audience is in tune with the joke and can enjoy the offence it causes to the target, but when it is misunderstood by the audience it becomes insulting, demeaning or humiliating.

This leads to a perceived attack on self-esteem which in turn can engender an emotional response, often leading to a violent reproach. Satire, like dynamite, is a tool that should be handled carefully.

All the more so when it is targeted against religious belief. True religious belief must be strongly held. The need for faith is paramount which makes religious belief one of our most deeply held values. Attacking religious beliefs will inevitably cause deep offence among believers.

Published Charlie Hebdo

Published Charlie Hebdo

We are used to this in the West. We went through our own religious reformation and the subsequent Enlightenment that ushered in the age of reason and science. We understand that everything should be challenged, whether it causes offence or not, to drive change and innovation. We value free speech and the debate it enables, however offensive, as a means of keeping our society fresh.

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Raif Badawi – Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison.

Conversely, free speech and open debate is forbidden in many parts of the World. The Islamic religion has yet to go through its own reformation. Arab nations remain deeply suspicious of the West. It is, therefore, unsurprising that our use of satire is easily promoted as a deliberate insult against their religion.

All of this provides ammunition for the murderous revisionists who seek to turn back the clock in the name of Islam. The cartoons of the central spiritual characters of Islam simply pour petrol on the flames of conflict, and for that reason Charlie Hebdo does not speak for me and many others – I am not Charlie.

The irony is that satire can open up debate and in doing so play a role in helping to defeat the revisionists’ repressive and repulsive ideology that fuelled the attacks in Paris. But it needs to have the right target and right audience.

Satirists must deliver material that will enable the moderate Muslims to support their reformation. That means material designed to ridicule and mock those that prosper under repression – the absolute rulers, the theocracies and their associated clergy, the secret and religious police, and the hypocrites – those that preach and practise one thing in their own country but another when abroard. There is no shortage of targets to entertain and amuse.

At the same time satirists must avoid attacking the central spiritual characters of Islam. These characters cannot defend themselves or change their words. Ridculing them serves no purpose, does no good and risks alienating the very group who will eventually drive change.

If the deaths at Charlie Hebdo are to mean anything, they should mean this:

  • We must assist the repressed to start their own open debate and develop free speech.
  • Satirists can do this by providing material to the moderates that targets the extremists at the heart of repressive regimes, while avoiding the emotive spiritual nerve that will alienate moderate believers en mass.

I doubt that I will ever be a reader of Charlie Hebdo but if that happens, I might become Charlie.

Published Charlie Hebdo

Published Charlie Hebdo

Maysan Revisited: What good will come of it?

  Lawyers are not a popular breed, especially when they are perceived to be chasing ambulances. But in some cases they can actually help, although not always in the way you might expect.

Take, for example, an incident in which six British soldiers died when their outpost at Al Majarr Al Kabir, in Maysan province of Iraq was overrun by local tribesmen. It sounds like an Al Majar Al Kabirevent from Britain’s colonial past but in fact it took place on 24 June 2003.

The subsequent Board of Inquiry conducted its work thoroughly and “found that the incident at Al Majarr Al Kabir was a surprise attack, which could not reasonably have been predicted”.

The inquest in 2006 recorded a verdict of unlawful killing. The British Army learnt and implemented its lessons. The six soldiers were remembered along with the other 173 British deaths in Iraq between 2003-2009, during what was known as Operation TELIC.

That was it, until 31 July 2013 when Sky News announced “Murdered Red Cap’s Family To Sue Government”.

Following the landmark judgement from the Supreme Court in June, which ruled that soldiers at war in foreign lands were covered by human rights laws and therefore owed a duty of care, the family of Corporal Russell Aston is suing the British Government for negligence.

The lawyers will no doubt be looking forward to this. For some it will be the crusading instinct of testing their skill against the boundaries of the law. Others will be salivating at the thought of all the potential “no win, no fee” work ready to be scooped from past and future conflict. All will be anticipating some healthy fees. However, lawyers aside, what good will come of this legal action?

Will the family benefit? I doubt that the court case will provide much comfort to them, despite the £250,000 sum that Sky News is quoting in compensation. I don’t believe that it’s about the money.

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Photograph by Felix Spender

The adversarial nature of the court means that it will be win or lose and the stakes are high for the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Losing will perpetuate the family’s anguish and  winning will come at a price. I have never met anyone who has found tribunals or litigation less than traumatic, even if they end up on the winning side.

The best solution for the family would have been to resolve the conflict through mediation. This private, informal, consensual approach would almost certainly have delivered the answers needed by the family.

Sadly, it’s probably too late now, but if they were to change their minds North Light Solutions would support them.

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Photograph by Felix Spender

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 focussed the Army on unacceptable deaths under the Health and Safety umbrella . It forced commanders to take legal responsibilities for equipment and training through a system of competent army authorities. It became incumbent on all the Armed Services to make sure that individuals were properly prepared for operations and that equipment was fit for purpose.

If such an authority had been in place in 2003 it is probable that failings such as the lack of body armour, highlighted at the inquest of Sergeant Steven Roberts, who was killed by friendly fire in March 2003, would never have occurred.So a legally defined duty of care for soldiers on the battlefield should be a good thing. No more half measures, just proper support.

The MOD will be concerned that the legal action will result in an outflow of cash in damaging legal actions. Army commanders will be concerned that additional legislation would limit their freedom of action in operational theatres. And yet maybe that would not be such a bad thing.

The Army’s operation in Iraq was not the British Army’s finest hour, despite the best efforts of the youngsters on the ground.

British operations were shown to be under-resourced and under-committed. The withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2003 to garrison a peaceful Northern Ireland, just as the insurgency broke out in Southern Iraq, seems to me to have been a significant misjudgement.

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US Army Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles entered service in 2007.

The British Army showed none of the agility of the US forces who, once they realised they had got it wrong, were able to write the doctrine, design and procure the equipment and retain the force while our soldiers were still trundling round in the ill suited SNATCH Land Rovers.

A successful action will force the Army and the MOD, in particular, to look more carefully at resourcing operations. The political cap on manpower will have to match the task. No more “just enough, just in time” logistics that turn into “too little, too late.” 

Military priorities will have to be reviewed as new operations emerge. Allies will have to be asked about their intent; no more mates going to a party but business partners working together over clearly defined aims. The decision makers – politicians, civil servants and senior officers – will have to be accountable.

Nobody would be naive enough to believe that the risk could be taken out of military operations but we should all subscribe to the belief that if we are going to do it, we must do it right.

So will any good come from this action? As I said earlier, the family will find it devastating and I sincerely wish they would take the less adversarial course of mediation to meet their needs.

For the rest, I think it could be a catalyst for positive change and I will raise a glass if the family wins.

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Photograph by Felix Spender

Somali Piracy – The Reverse of the Coin

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Somali piracy is now under control. EUNAVFOR statistics show a dramatic reduction in sightings, attacks and boardings. No vessel has been successfully captured by pirates since May 2012. So great has been the success of the anti-piracy action that Somalia … Continue reading

Whispers in the Indian Ocean

  It is being whispered in some quarters that Somali piracy is defeated.

The scourge of the Indian Ocean crept into our consciousness in 2005, was caricatured in South Park in 2009 following the hijack of the MV Maersk Alabama, rampaged out of control in 2010 and 2011, before being suppressed in 2012.

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Capture of MV Symrni
Courtesy of OCEANUSlive.org

The EUNAVFOR statistics are impressive. Attacks are down from a high of 176 in 2011 to just 3 in 2013. Sightings of pirate attack groups are rare and boardings rarer still. No vessel has been successfully hijacked and placed under pirate control since the capture of the MV Symrni in May 2012.

There is no question that the situation has dramatically improved but are we at the end game? In order to answer the question you need to go back to the beginning of the problem.

Why and how did it start?

Back in 2005 the Somalia was devastated and the economy shattered. The coastal fishing communities had been hard hit by a series of economic and social hammer blows. The small fishing industry which provided 5% of GDP collapsed in the 1990s following the fall of the Siad Barre regime.

Villages were hard hit in 2004 by the Asian tsunami reportedly displacing 5,000 people. European and Asian fishermen surged into Somali waters depleting fish stocks and driving local fishermen from their own fishing grounds.

These conditions provided the breeding ground for pirates while the lack of government authority and endemic corruption enabled pirates to operate from safe havens on the Somali coast.

Piracy proved to be a lucrative business model. It had relatively small start up costs and potential life changing returns. The risks were high but as an alternative to subsistence living it was an attractive proposition. The “entrepreneurs” and organisers moved in, and it soon grew from a cottage industry to a multi-million dollar business.

So what has changed?

Somali fishermen in Mogadishu.  Courtesy of AU-UN IST PHOTO / STUART PRICE

Somali fishermen in Mogadishu.
Courtesy of AU-UN IST PHOTO / STUART PRICE

Despite improved governance and recent economic growth, Somalia remains a chronically poor country. GDP in 2012 was assessed as $6 billion for a population of 10 million Somalis – compare that with the $208 billion for the same size Greek population. The vast majority of Somalis continue to live on or below subsistence levels.

The piracy business model continues to a good one and the guns, skiffs and engines remain available. A start up cost of thousands of dollars has the potential return of millions, providing a life changing lump sum for the lowest paid pirate and untold wealth for the key investors. The rewards of piracy, like drugs, will continue to appeal to the disadvantaged of society.

Some of the older pirates, notably Mohamed “Afweyne”Abdi Hassan, have gone into retirement – or other lucrative employment – but the younger middle order are still there, hungry to secure their financial positions and promote their standing in Somali folklore.

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Pirate guards on a captured fishing boat 2013
Courtesy EUNAVFOR

So to answer the question, is Somali piracy dead, I would answer – No.

The battle to deter piracy at sea is proving effective for the time being. The combined measures of better coordinated maritime forces, the deployment of armed vessel security detachments (VSD) provided by private security companies and the adoption of Best Management Practise by ship owners have reduced opportunities for attacks.

But from all other angles the pirates’ motivation, intent and capability remain intact. All they are waiting for is the opportunity for success.Eventually the costs of the security operation estimated at between $2.7 – 3.1 billion will start to bite.

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Courtesy of US Navy

Shipping companies will take risks – currently only 35% of vessels carry VSD – to reduce costs and vessels will be taken. Maybe not in the numbers seen previously, but enough to maintain the business aspirations of pirate investors.

The problem is that the high profile security operation is only a means to an end. It buys time and stability to solve the problem. It is the bandage applied to the wound while the antibiotics take effect.

So what needs to be done?

Alongside the strategic tasks of establishing a functioning political system, fighting corruption and increasing national governance there are two practical matters that should addressed.

There needs to be much greater cooperation between the international law enforcement agencies to enable them to go after the system – money and investors – that enables the multi-million dollar business.

More fundamentally, we must recognise that the long term solution to piracy lies on land. More needs to be done to help coastal communities develop an alternative economy to reduce piracy’s appeal. An answer lies in establishing a sustainable fishing industry to support the local communities.

There is no reason why this cannot be done and every reason why it should be done. Interestingly, it can probably be done at a fraction of the cost of maintaining the fight against piracy at sea for another 5 years. More of that in my next piece.

 Photos courtesy of AU UN IST PHOTO / Ilyas A. Abukar & Tobin Jones

Courtesy of AU UN IST PHOTO / Ilyas A. Abukar & Tobin Jones

Iron Lady of the South Atlantic?

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Not everyone thought well of Mrs Thatcher

In March, as the bells tolled, the people of Britain remembered Margaret Thatcher for better or for worse.

She was also remembered in the South Atlantic by the Falkland Islanders who owe their continuing autonomy to Mrs T’s resolve in 1982.

In another part of the South Atlantic the people of Argentina should have given thanks to the grocer’s daughter for the role she played in bringing down the Junta. The Iron Lady believed in democracy, she believed in doing what was right and in doing so opened the way for the return to democracy in Argentina.

The Falkland Islands were catapulted to prominence following the Argentine invasion in 1982. The war changed the British view of the Islands; they were no longer inconvenient smudges on the map to be sloughed off; they became the manifestation of Thatcher’s revitalised Britain.

I never visited Argentina during that period of new democracy but I got a sense that Les Malvinas were not, at that time, a national issue. People were focussed on democracy and the economy.

In the 90’s, I enjoyed very amicable relations with the Argentinian officers with whom I worked on various overseas military missions. The Falkland Islands were rarely mentioned and we spent more time reminiscing about Maradona’s “hand of god” goal in 1986.

Now things are very different. President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner has shrilly pursued Les Malvinas as far and wide as the UN and the Vatican. Her response to the overwhelming vote in March to remain a British Oversea’s Territory ( the results showed that 99.8 per cent of the Islanders had voted yes, with a 92 per cent turnout among the approximately 1,650 Falkland Islands eligible to vote) was to declare that it was as if “a bunch of squatters were to vote on whether or not to keep occupying a building illegally.”

Another Argentine politician, Senator Daniel Filmus described the vote as a “publicity stunt”. He said “We must denounce this trickery that pretends to represent the popular participation of an implanted population.” These are extraordinary remarks from the child of European immigrants, who now acts as a democratic leader.

The question which perplexes me is why do the Argentinian leaders expend such energy on the issue of Les Malvinas? England and France came to working arrangements over the Channel Islands, which are only tens of miles offshore, many centuries ago.

Is it the sense of loss? Hardly. The Falkland Islands are 500 kilometres away from the Argentine mainland – apply that in Europe and it takes you from Dover to the town of Wiesbaden in Germany. They were never continuously settled by Argentinians and it appears to have been a dead issue between 1849 – 1941. There is no emotional similarity to the forced division of Ireland or Germany.

Is it a useful means to divert the Argentine population from the economic woes? Perhaps. The Argentine economy is struggling with reduced growth (2.6%) and rising inflation with an official figure of 10.5% – disputed by the International Monetary Fund – and the real figure assessed to be around 25%. Difficult days for the majority of the population.

Is it a means of capitalising on the South Atlantic oil bonanza? Possibly. It is estimated that the Falkland Islands could receive up to $10 billion in tax revenues and royalties over a 25 year period. However the Argentine economy is rated at 22 in the world with a GDP of $474 billion, which makes the Falkland Island oil income a mere drop in the ocean.

Is it to enhance de Kirchner’s personal standing? Probably.

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President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner

Christina de Kirchner has set her sights on changing the Argentine constitution to enable her to have a third, and who knows possibly fourth consecutive, term in office. But she is beset with falling ratings and accusations of corruption in the Argentine media.

Who could blame her if she aspired to portray herself as Argentina’s Iron Lady by reclaiming Les Malvinas?

The problem is that de Kirchner has no chance of achieving this and runs the very real risk of making herself look naive in the world’s eye. The Falkland’s issue is deadlocked with de Kirchner refusing to hold discussions with the Islanders, the British Government refusing to hold discussions without the Islanders, and the Islanders refusing to hold discussions on sovereignty issues.

Meanwhile the UN and the US sit on the sidelines encouraging the parties to find a resolution, in the knowledge that there is little they can either do or want to do to influence matters.

Ironically, the only person who could break the deadlock is de Kirchner herself. If she took the long view and studied the work of the British and Irish governments, in the run up to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and the subsequent amendment to Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution in 1999, she might be able to come up with a cunning plan to normalise the South Atlantic to everyone’s mutual benefit and great personal acclaim as a stateswoman.

Is President Cristina de Kirchner brave enough to take bold decisions?

kirchener 1Only time will tell if she can become Argentina’s Iron Lady.

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The Falkland Islands Scab

As a young lad, I rode my bicycle at high speed. A consequence of this was that I inadvertently parted company with it and badly cut my right elbow. As the scar healed my mother beseeched me not to pick at it, which I ignored to my detriment. This episode taught me that a picked scab takes a lot longer to heal.

These thoughts came back to me as I read of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s advertisement to assert Argentina’s claim over the Falkland Islands. This is just one of a long running series of stunts that have characterised Argentina’s approach to sovereignty claims since the 1960s.

Falklands Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral, Port Stanly, with its iconic whalebone arch

The modern stunts, which include the Argentine Olympic hopeful Fernando Zylberberg filming himself for YouTube outside the Globe Tavern in Port Stanley, are tame compared to the more sinister hijacking, hostage taking, gun boat attacks and covert military landings that preceded them. However, they do continue to be a source of irritation, which does nothing to make the Falkland Islanders want a closer association with Argentina.

President Kirchner’s claim is that 180 years ago, Argentina was stripped of the Falkland Islands by the British. As many commentators have already pointed out, that this is not strictly correct. The ebb and flow of 18th and 19th century expansion meant that the islands were settled by various European power, whalers, sealers, German settlers from the United Provinces of the River Plate, American pirates and a penal settlement.

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Desolate, razor backed mountains outside Port Stanly

None of these settlements were sustained, although most of them placed flags and plaques claiming the territory for one nation or another. It was reported that the German settlers “appeared greatly rejoiced at the opportunity thus presented of removing with their families from a desolate region where the climate is always cold and cheerless” when the USS Lexington destroyed Luis Vernet’s settlement in 1831on grounds of piracy.

The British reappeared in strength in 1833 to re-establish a military outpost, followed by a sustainable colony in 1840 and stayed.

What is clear from all this is that the Falkland Islands were inhospitable and sufficiently distant from any nation to warrant significant interest or investment. However, the British settlers endured and learnt how to survive on this very edge of the habitable world.

They developed their own culture and way of life, which I have witnessed during numerous visits to the islands over a 10 year period. They became Falkland Islanders, just as the other British settlers in the New World colonies became American or Canadian or Newfoundlanders.

International lawyers will no doubt make a good living arguing over the principles of self- determination and territorial integrity in years to come but the fact is that 180 years of unbroken settlement is a pretty definitive claim. I remember the US Bicentennial in 1976 and I don’t recall the UN debating the American legitimacy of occupation.

President Kirchner knows that her country missed its opportunity to acquire the Falkland Islands during the late 1960s and 1970s when the British government behaved like a seasoned matron as it did its utmost to push its wallflower daughter into an arranged marriage.

Argentina, unable to comprehend the long game, failed to seduce, despite it being the country of the tango, and instead sought to impose its will on the islanders. The macho Latin culture collided with the ‘kith and kin” Anglo-Saxon culture and the marriage of convenience was never consummated.

Falklands mine field

Daily reminders of the Argentine invasion of 1982

The Argentine “smash and grab” attempt in 1982 changed everything. There is no turning back to what might have been possible beforehand. The British public became aware of the Falkland Islands, through its champion The Sun newspaper.

The opportunity to pass the islands quietly to Argentina was lost. The islanders were granted full British citizenship and increased protection, which involved the building and maintenance of a significant military base on the Islands.

Since then the Falkland Islanders, despite Argentina’s best efforts to hinder them, have developed a thriving and sustainable economy. They are a self-governing British Overseas Territory and are comfortable with their relationship with Britain, as Barry Elsby, a member of the Falklands Islands Assembly, states.

“We are not a colony,” he says. “Our relationship with the United Kingdom is by choice.”

They have no reason to join with Argentina, so why would they want to?

The reality is that President Kirchner knows that she will not see the Falkland Islands peacefully integrated into Argentina during her life time. It is, however, a convenient rallying call for her own political ends and follows the well-worn tactics of previous Argentine rulers when things are difficult at home.

It is a short term strategy that sours neighbourly relations and increases the odds against any future partnership between the Islanders and their Latin neighbours.

My advice to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is to stop picking the Falklands scab and in two, maybe three generations a meaning relationship might be developed with the islanders that could enable Argentina to benefit from the Falklands Islands oil bonanza.Falklands-seal