Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Counterfactual: The Second Falklands War

No, it really didn't mean anything, the Foreign Office official told David Miliband. "They do things like this all the time, Foreign Secretary," he soothed. "We've got good relations with Argentina. Nothing to worry about." It was the day after the Argentinian President had issued a Presidential decree forcing all shipping to get prior permission before entering Argentinian waters adjacent to the Falkland Islands. But as usual, the Foreign Office was worrying too much about appeasing potential enemies.

The First Secretary of State's political nostrils twitched, sniffing a political opportunity. "Get me Lady Thatcher on the phone," Lord Mandelson yelled to his private secretary.

LATER THAT AFTERNOON

"Adam, get over to Number Ten, something's afoot," shouted the Sky News producer. "We've just had a tipoff." This was why Adam Boulton loved 24 hour news. You never quite knew what was going to happen next.

Fifteen minutes later, the crimson Daimler entered Downing Street. It was nearly twenty years since the occupant of the luxury car had left in tears. As the car glided over the security grids, the memories came flooding back and her eyes moistened. As the car came to a stop, Lady Thatcher's private detective opened the door for her, and at the same time, the door to Number Ten opened, as if by magic. As Lady Thatcher exited the car the flash bulbs went off, creating an effect of sheet lightning. "Lady Thatcher," shouted Adam Boulton. "What's going on, why are you here?" "Are you back for good," screamed Paul from the BBC News Channel. As questions continued to be shouted, Lady Thatcher turned to the cameras, smiled, waved and said something which the microphones couldn't quite pick up. To the policeman guarding the door to Number Ten it sounded very much like "rejoice".

Prime Minister Gordon Brown emerged from the darkness of Number Ten grinning as if his life depended on it. Shaking his predecessor but two warmly by the hand, he guided her over the threshold and into the building which she had lived in for eleven and a half years.

"Well that's got them wondering, Prime Minister," said Lady Thatcher softly. "Let's get down to business." As they sat down on a sofa in the Prime Ministerial study, Gordon Brown proceeded to outline the overt and private threats being made by Buenos Aires. "I'd value your opinion," he told the woman whose Premiership was defined by the victory in the Falklands. "Be firm, don't go wobbly. Take no notice of the Foreign Office. They're quislings," spat Lady Thatcher. "Send some ships South so they are in no doubt that we mean what we say."

They talked for a further twenty minutes before being interrupted by Brown's two sons, who had been encouraged by their mother to say hello to the woman their father had spent a decade opposing throughout the 1980s.

TEN THIRTY PM THAT NIGHT

Lord Mandelson was purring. "Alastair, is that you?" he murmered into his iPhone. "Good pics on the Ten, eh? The Iron Lady and the Iron Man. Will go down very well in Basildon, don't you think?"

"Very good. Very good indeed," came the reply.

"Now what you need to do is get some info on the Argentinian military capability. See how quickly they could launch weapons against the Falklands. Can't take them more than 45 minutes, I wouldn't have thought. See what Mi6 can find out."

"Good thinking, Alastair. Missing you already," slithered the Dark Lord. "We might need to make more of your services if things go according to plan. Let's keep in close touch."

And so it came to pass. Within a week, Gordon Brown had mobilised what remains of the Royal Navy and despatched it south. It was hardly comparable to the task force of 28 years previously, but it would probably do the trick.

And three days later, Brown called an election. He wasn't quite dressed in Khaki, but he might as well have been.

27 comments:

Paddy Briggs said...

Iain

Don't give up the day job!

Martyn said...

I'll never get those minutes back.

Salmondnet said...

The least credible part of that Iain, is the idea that we have sufficient conventional naval assets remaining to deter anyone.

Our armed forces, through no fault of their own, could not save The Falklands, or Brown. They would be stretched to defend the Isle of Wight.

Jules said...

The Advert -
Royal Navy: life without limits

The Reality -
Royal Navy - life without ships

Wallenstein said...

Surely a candidate for the application of Internet Rule #43... :-)

WV = Packet (hehe)

Jimmy said...

...Lady Thatcher put down her drink and said: "If you have any sort of naval presence there I suggest you withdraw it at once. It will confuse them. Trust me on this..."

Mirtha Tidville said...

Maggie going back into Downing Street.......that would be a vote winner...now if only the Tories could get rid of Bloody `Dave`...

Curmudgeon said...

We don't have sufficient forces to recapture the Falklands now anyway. And can you imagine Brown and Miliband doing anything but a craven, humiliating climb-down?

The Purpleline said...

you know Mandelbum and Brown only too well.

We should have rolling news with pictures of Subs leaving Britain and pictures of the task force leaving port.

I would Nuke Buenos Aires just for the HAND OF GOD goal. Before we upgrade we must use Trident to show it is really worth the money.

I have stopped going to Gaucho's in Broadgate untill we flatten Argentina, at least my weight will improve stopping steaks

Hawkeye said...

It is true that the Navy lacks sufficient resources in terms of surface ships, but Mrs T showed us the way. We have plenty of submarines.

We can break that blockade without ever being seen by the Argentine navy.

Hythlodaeus said...

Iain, when in years to come, you are facing the Alastair Campbell-style existence of life after politics, please don't do what he did and turn to novel writing. At least, not without a ghost.

As for remains of the Navy, we have an ocean going force which is more then sufficient for our needs. With a bit of luck whoever Dave drops the war on will have the balls to cut the nuclear program which is probably the biggest waste of money in Britain today.

Hawkeye said...

Two other points.

1 - Cruise missiles can be fitted with conventional warheads and fired from mid ocean by either ship of submarine. The conflict of today would be very, very different from that of the early 80s.

2 - To go to war requires a decision which is not one of Brown's strong points. To fail to go to war would be to generate an enormous backlash here in the UK.

Future History of England said...

Sad, really sad that I actually read that...
Its a very important thing, which Gordo will screw up, and DC, well, so will he.
Come to think of it, we might as well run up the white flag now, we got nothing..

tapestry said...

I just read the book describing the bombing of Part Stanley by Vulcan 607. They needed 14 Vickers tankers to fuel the flight from Ascension.

I guess if Argentina invades again, their air defences would be light years better than last time, and we wouldn't stand a chance of recovery.

Not mention the vulnerability of ships to faster and more educated torpedoes.

It would be another Jonah moment.

albertmbankment said...

Wag the Dog!

tapestry said...

There are 500 troops permanently on The Falklands though these days compared to the 23 last time. And they would fly in reinforcements onto Mount Pleasant rapidly if the islands were threatened.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_the_Falkland_Islands

trevorsden said...

We have a nuclear hunter killer submarine on patrol in the south atlantic.

We have an airfield with jet fighter interceptors.

Good luck to Argentina if they were ever to attempt an invasion, which of course they are not.

Presumably what Argentina are doing is totally against intentional law and given all the importance people seem to attach to this (judging by the Iraq Inquiry) we must assume they will be hauled up in front of the UN.

Jimmy said...

I think Iain's scenario is that Attila the Hen is being asked for advice on how to persuade Argentina to invade. After all, who better?

Gallimaufry said...

Gordon Brown could launch Trident missiles at Buenos Aires then claim his nuclear deterrent account had been hacked into by scum sucking pigs. The BBC would buy that.

richard.blogger said...

LOL!

There is one thing that you've missed. That's the Naval review and the plan by the government of the day to cut the supply vessel for the islands for a saving of a mere quarter of a million a year. With a bit of Endurance, I am sure you could roll that in there somewhere.

Calum said...

From a military point of view, the Falklands are covered, provided we can leave Afghanistan to the Americans. British forces are configured, amongst other things, to cover a range of specific scenarios which have a significant possibility of occuring - Russia deciding to roll east, that kind of thing. Falklands II is one of those scenarios.

In terms of winnability, if the Argentinians did the same as last time, it would be a walkover, as the force asymmetry is much larger than last time. However, if they ran a full scale invasion and occupied en masse, it would be a bloody war and one that would polarise opinion quite rapidly. I suspect the reality is by 2040 we will be negotiating a joint sovereignty agreement whether the islanders like it or not.

Lord Lavendon said...

Iain, we should of course defend the falklands if it were attacked again. The islands are British and to surrender them would be the same as giving your beloved Norfolk to Norway or Germany.

Can we launch a military operation on our own, that is the question. The socialists have done nothing but underfund our defence forces for 12years (whilst at the same time sending british troops all over the world to fight).

I think we could, but it would be down to the bravery and pluck of our men, rather than from any help from this government.

Pogo said...

@Jules: - The Reality -
Royal Navy - life without ships


... but lots of Admirals.

AntoinedelaTremoille said...

When I read the hysteric reaction of some loyal subjects of Her Majesty regarding the dispute about oil drilling in the Malvinas/Falklands Islands, I must remind them that this country, Argentina, has been ruled in the last six years by a very horrendous couple, the Kirchner’s, we don’t have any army left, our officers has to work in other jobs to survive, the weapons are so old that they are useless, the navy doesn’t have enough ships, and those that we still have, are old fashion and they never participate in any manoeuvre, even with the fleets of our neighbours like Chile and Brazil. The Argentine Air Force has old Mirage from the 1970’s or American planes, but in the last years many pilots found their death in accidents because the shortage of spare parts. The budget for all the Armed Forces is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere. So what kind of threat this ludicrous government can represent to the islands? Totally inexistent, thanks God there are people in high places in London that know quite well this reality, and they will not allow and escalate to the point of sending a Task Force. We aren’t any in the early 1980’s and Argentina had bankrupted in 2001 and 2002, a country in default cannot represent any real threat to a naval power as the UK still is. So please in this discussion use some common sense, the less common of all senses. We cannot even take care of our territorial waters, even foreign fleets are catching fish just few miles off shore of our Patagonia and nobody can stop them. The British community in this country is totally shocked with certain reactions like the ones that I am reading right here, and we are speaking about the largest community in the Americas immediately after the USA and Canada.

AntoinedelaTremoille said...

When I read the hysteric reaction of some loyal subjects of Her Majesty regarding the dispute about oil drilling in the Malvinas/Falklands Islands, I must remind them that this country, Argentina, has been ruled in the last six years by a very horrendous couple, the Kirchner’s, we don’t have any army left, our officers has to work in other jobs to survive, the weapons are so old that they are useless, the navy doesn’t have enough ships, and those that we still have, are old fashion and they never participate in any manoeuvre, even with the fleets of our neighbours like Chile and Brazil. The Argentine Air Force has old Mirage from the 1970’s or American planes, but in the last years many pilots found their death in accidents because the shortage of spare parts. The budget for all the Armed Forces is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere. So what kind of threat this ludicrous government can represent to the islands? Totally inexistent, thanks God there are people in high places in London that know quite well this reality, and they will not allow and escalate to the point of sending a Task Force. We aren’t any in the early 1980’s and Argentina had bankrupted in 2001 and 2002, a country in default cannot represent any real threat to a naval power as the UK still is. So please in this discussion use some common sense, the less common of all senses. We cannot even take care of our territorial waters, even foreign fleets are catching fish just few miles off shore of our Patagonia and nobody can stop them. The British community in this country is totally shocked with certain reactions like the ones that I am reading right here, and we are speaking about the largest community in the Americas immediately after the USA and Canada.

ryan.swan said...

a poor man is a dangerous man if it has it eye on jewels

lewis said...

screw tth Argies. The Falklands are 350 miles offshore, France is only 22 miles away : IF THEY ATTACK BRITAIN AGAIN, THEN MAYBE WE WILL INVADE THEM .