1980s >> 1982 >> no-936-august-1982

Letters: Falklands Issues

Dear Editors.

The July issue of the Standard, dealing with the Falklands War, reiterates the SPGB position about wars being caused by capitalist rivalries for markets, trade routes, etc., a litany which I myself have recited often enough.

However, the article ignores the fact that there is incontrovertible evidence that, on the British side at least. there was no economic motive which propelled the British capitalist class to send the Task Force. It is a well-known fact that for at least twenty years, far from wishing to hold on to the Falklands for economic reasons, British governments, Labour as well as Tory, have been doing their best to off-load them onto Argentina. When the war had been in progress for a week or two, there was a remarkable article by Pendennis in the Observer which pointed out that when a Tory junior minister called Ridley was questioned in the House about semi-secret attempts to do a deal with Argentina, there was a furious outcry from all sides, led by a potential leader of the Labour Party, Peter Shore (whose own government in its time had also tried to do the same deal).

It seems that this is a case of the exception to the rule. Whatever was the motivation on the Argentine side, on the British side the islands were regarded as a burden whose economic advantages were not worth bothering about. It is true that once the war had started, the same Tory government which had dearly wished to get shot of the Falklands suddenly found there was a possibility of oil riches. The coincidence should not fool a child. All Mrs Thatcher was trying to do was to invent some economic reason as well as the alleged principle of stopping aggression. She knows that the working class who compose the bulk of the electorate would like to think that ”we” were going to get some material benefits in addition to saving the world from a fascist dictator.

I think it would be less than honest if we failed to notice the incontrovertible evidence in this matter.

L. E. Weidberg
London NW3