This post brings to light an astonishingly blatant lie by the BBC, one that is intended to smash Thatcher’s reputation and claim she, and the ‘deeply unpopular’ Conservatives, would never have won the 1983 election if the British Public had known the ‘truth‘ about ‘secret’ negotiations to sell out the Falkland Islanders to the Argentinians.
The BBC line is also a betrayal of all who served and fought to retake the Falklands by suggesting their sacrifices were based upon a lie fighting an unnecesary war.
Odd that the BBC should present the negotiations as a sell out…..here are John Humphry’s recent thoughts:
‘So the time has come for Britain to negotiate. A deal should be struck which establishes Argentinian sovereignty over the islands while allowing the islanders to remain British and which perhaps shares the spoils of oil exploration.‘
The Falklands War was the defining moment for Thatcher that set her on course as the Iron Lady and brought her characteristics as a leader to the fore…a capable, determined and strong leader in a major crisis.
The BBC aims to destroy that image and reputation…this programme is the latest in a long line of efforts to undermine the Thatcher years and achievements.
To the BBC she is essentially the foundation of the real Tory Party much as Churchill was to Britain as a whole in the war….she represents everything that the Tories value and which put this country back on its feet, and would again given the chance.
The BBC want to tarnish that image in the belief that if they can destroy her image, one based on real achievement not media spin, they can put the final nail in the Tory political coffin.
The programme, UK Confidential, presented by Martha Kearney, looks closely at the Falklands War….
‘With unique access to secret government papers, Martha Kearney presents a look at the political events of 1982 as told through the Cabinet minutes, Prime Ministerial papers and Foreign and Commonwealth Office documents and briefings that are being released to the public at the end of the year.
Close to 30,000 Government papers containing top secret memos, notes and briefings are included in the release, and the Radio 4 team have been given special access over the last few weeks.
In addition we may well find out details of how the Franks Inquiry into the Falklands War put politicians and civil servants under the spotlight and how those around Margaret Thatcher sought to capitalise on her renewed popularity in the wake of the victory in the South Atlantic.’
The programme has to report the ‘facts’ of course, up to a point anyway….but it is how it interprets them that is important…in this case that interpretation is inclined to be negative, attempting to ensure that Thatcher comes out with little or no credit for her stance over the Falklands….and indeed hopes to pin blame for an ’unnecessary’ war onto her…..claiming either that she fought the war to win an election….never mind that it was the Argentines who started the war, or conversely, that because she was surprised that the Argentines invaded she was out of touch and incompetent.
Kearney tells us what an election winner the Falklands War was…
‘The Tories were deeply unpopular but now as a result of the Falklands factor they [the Conservatives] could look forward to an election with some hope of success.
It was a very important factor in winning the 1983 election.‘
But was that the motivation?
Mrs Thatcher says far more was at stake…
‘Nothing remains more vividly in my mind, looking back on my years in 10 Downing Street, than the eleven weeks in the spring of 1982 when Britain fought and won the Falklands War. Much was at stake: what we were fighting for eight thousand miles away in the South Atlantic was not only the territory and the people of the Falklands, important though they were.
We were defending our honour as a nation, and principles of fundamental importance to the whole world – above all, that aggressors should never succeed and that international law should prevail over the use of force.
The significance of the Falklands War was enormous, both for Britain’s self-confidence and for our standing in the world.’
The Falklands factor had repercussions around the world for how the West was viewed by likely ‘enemies’…..
‘We had come to be seen by both friends and enemies as a nation which lacked the will and the capability to defend its interests in peace, let alone in war. Victory in the Falklands changed that. Everywhere I went after the war, Britain’s name meant something more than it had. The war also had real importance in relations between East and West: years later I was told by a Russian general that the Soviets had been firmly convinced that we would not fight for the Falklands, and that if we did fight we would lose. We proved them wrong on both counts, and they did not forget the fact.’
Kearney goes on to quietly denounce the sinking of the Belgrano which she thinks was ‘illegally’ sunk because it was heading away from the Falklands…..despite these revelations….and the fact that whichever way the ship was heading it represented an enormous threat to the British forces who were supplied and reinforced by sea….sinking it was a legitimate course of action.
Kearney goes on to suggest that the Franks Report into the start of the war was a whitewash…..‘The Franks report exonerated the government, a conclusion critics say is a whitewash. In the flush of victory there was little appetite for censure.’
It is that last ‘little appetite for censure’ addition that gives away her thinking….that perhaps there should have been censure.
Then comes the Big Lie…..at the end of the programme we get the claim that the Falkland Islanders were sold out by Thatcher in pre-war secret negotiations …and that if the British Public had known of this they would have viewed Thatcher differently and voted otherwise in the election.
‘The Franks Report exonerated the government, a conclusion critics say is a whitewash. In the flush of victory there was little appetite for censure.
Kept out of the report was the record of secret talks Nicholas Ridley held in 1980.
Had the Public known how close the bargaining position had been less than 2 years before they went to war would they have viewed the conflict in the same way.
Prof. Paul Rogers (a professor of peace studies)….‘History could have had a different path.’
Simon Jenkins….‘Britain was preparing to sell out the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.’
So the talks were secret and the British Public had no knowledge of them?
What makes that such an obvious lie is that the BBC has had access to these documents and has been preparing this programme for weeks….
‘Close to 30,000 Government papers containing top secret memos, notes and briefings are included in the release, and the Radio 4 team have been given special access over the last few weeks.’
And yet literally 30 seconds on Google will turn up this from 1980 revealing that the Falkland Islanders themselves knew of the negotiations, were involved in them and that they were discussed in Parliament…so much for ‘SECRET‘:
Ridley and Leaseback
Extracts from the House of Commons debate of 2 December 1980
(First published in the Falkland Islands Newsletter No.9, December 1980)
The background to the proposal by FCO Minister Nicholas Ridley that sovereignty of the Falkland Islands be transferred by the United Kingdom to Argentina, who would then lease back the Islands to the UK for an agreed period of time, can be found in ‘A Brief History of the Falkland Islands’ on this portal
I therefore visited the Islands between 22 and 29 November in order to consult Islands councillors and subsequently, at their express request, all Islanders, on how we should proceed. Various possible bases for seeking a negotiated settlement were discussed. These included both a way of freezing the dispute for a period or exchanging the title of sovereignty against a long lease of the Islands back to Her Majesty’s Government. The essential elements of any solution would be that it should preserve British administration, law and way of life for the Islanders while releasing the potential of the Islands’ economy and of their maritime resources, at present blighted by the dispute. It is for the Islanders to advise on which, if any, option should be explored in negotiations with the Argentines. I have asked them to let me have their views in due course. Any eventual settlement would have to be endorsed by the Islanders, and by this House. ‘
Should that not have been enough there is this report from the Times, again from 1980, two years before the war:
Britain puts forward four options on Falklands
By Michael Frenchman
There is good sense in some of the options which Britain is putting forward on the Falkland Islands, particularly the lease-back formula. Under this plan, sovereignty over the islands would be ceded to Argentina but Britain would lease back the islands, either without a time limit or for say, 99 years.
It remains to be seen whether the islanders will agree with this or any of the other ideas which the British Government is canvassing after having taken soundings with the Argentines. The dispute over sovereignty has gone on for more than a hundred years.
Mr Nicholas Ridley, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, who is having talks with the islanders, apparently believes that a solution may be achieved by outright transfer of sovereignty, by transfer and lease back, by freezing the dispute for 25 years, or by taking what would be a drastic step and breaking off talks altogether.
An outright transfer would be politically unacceptable. The lease-back idea, on similar lines as for Hongkong, is the one Whitehall has been suggesting behind the scenes for some time. A freeze would merely defer the decision. A break-up of talks would probably lead to a confrontation.
During the past five years the population has declined from just over 1,900 to 1,720 (a census is imminent). Most of them are directly descended from the original British colonists, others have, come to the islands since the colony was founded in 1833.
1980 Nov 28 Fr Commentary (The Times)
Was there ever a clearer case of the BBC misleading the listener about one of the major events in British history with the intent of smearing a politician whose reputation they have spent 30 years trying to destroy?