Friday, 15 March 2013

Referendum Postscript

Dear Reader,

I'm sorry I left you in suspense over the outcome of the Referendum to decide the Political Status of the Falkland Islands (see last week's "Referendum Special").  In case you didn't hear.........
Hard-working counters being Observed by Observer

Fear not!  As many of you may now be aware, it was as I accurately predicted!  A huge turn-out of the electorate: 92%, and a massive majority of 99.8% voting "Yes" to remain a British Overseas Territory.  Three brave people voted against the proposal, one person spoiled their paper, and about 100 people didn't exercise their right to vote.
The secret ballot meant there was no way of knowing how people voted!
The result was declared by the head of the Falklands Islands Government,  a sensible Yorkshireman, who decided, after hearing that a voting paper was missing at the end of the counting process, not to ask for a recount!  His historic announcement was met with cries of joy in the Town Hall and scenes of jubilation on the Whalebone Arch green, beside the Cathedral.
Dick Sawle, MLA, being interviewed by the world's media.
 The many news crews sprang into action, interviewing the politicians and voters in the Town Hall.  Several cameramen moved on to record the scenes of celebration on the Whalebone Arch Green in the Town Centre about 500 yards away.
The pile grows.....
 Shortly after the announcement, the team of Observers reported from the stage that they were satisfied everything had been done fairly and lawfully.  In fact, apart from that one missing vote, everything went like clockwork.  Great credit is due to the team of civil servants (one of whom I'm married to) who organised this in the glare of the world's media.  As one of the MLAs (Member of the Legislative Assembly) said, we usually only see the Penguin News reporter on election nights!
"One of our votes is missing....!"
 There was some surprise expressed about the 3 "No" voters, and some people wanted a 100% "Yes" vote. But as another MLA, Jan Cheek, shrewdly observed, only dictatorships get 100% votes
Whalebone Arch sees some revelry
 Personally, I'm puzzled by the 100 missing voters.  I know some people had to be evacuated to Chile for unforeseen medical emergencies, and couldn't vote.    But, given the constant awareness of the sacrifices that servicemen made 30 years ago to rescue people here from a military dictatorship, I would have thought exercising a hard-won democratic right was a good way of repaying those men...
The Observer  team (or the crew of  the starship Enterprise about to be beamed back onboard.  The Earthlings are friendly...)

And I was right about another "prediction" ("Is the Pope a Catholic?") last week. He is, indeed, and an Argentine to boot!

By the middle of the week, the journalists and cameramen were about to pack their cameras and notebooks and do some sightseeing while they waited for their flights at the end of the week.

But suddenly, they were told by their offices to find out what Islanders felt about the new Pontiff.  Never has the local Catholic priest been in so much demand.  The media scrum outside St Mary's Church spilled out onto the road.

Hopefully, normality will resume next week.  But will the Falklands be the same again?


  1. The new pope has a less than sterling record in Argentina during the Dirty War and the Falkland War. As I wrote recently he "went along to get along" for the most part just as the Catholic establishment did. In the face of evil, which he no doubt was aware of, he was no Archbishop Romero, or he too would be dead and on his way to sainthood. He has expressed support for the rightness of the Argentine claim to the Falklands. This is not surprising.

    Perhaps, a time will come when an invitation to him to visit the Falkland and the site of the buried Argentine soldiers. It would be a grand gesture for the Islanders. It would be an educational experience for him.

  2. I'm not sure if there has been a glitch or a change of heart, but a comment seems to have disappeared.

    It was to do with the new Pope. I hear today that the Argentine President has asked him to intervene in the Falklands dispute. I would have thought there are more pressing issues for his attention...

    However, the Pope did intervene in a border dispute between Argentina and Chile in 1976, so there is a precedent. And the decision didn't go Argentina's way.... But, no, I can't see a Papal visit to Stanley happening soon.

  3. Ah, I've found out what happened. The comment was automatically labelled as spam, and so wasn't published. Sorry about that.