As many readers will be aware, 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War. I believe it is very important that we commemorate this event and remember all those who served and those who gave their lives during the conflict.
The Government is clear that the future of the Falkland Islands is a matter for the Falkland Islanders themselves. As long as they want to remain part of the United Kingdom and be British, they should be able to do so. The Government has also said that it will always ensure that the Falkland Islanders’ right to determine their political future is respected. Recently Argentina has accused Britain of militarising the area around the Islands. The fact is that there was a minimal military presence there until the Argentinians invaded the Falklands. It is only because of that unlawful action that there needs to be any military presence at all.
I recently took part in a debate on this issue in the House of Commons and certainly feel that the Falklands conflict is a period of our history that we must not forget. In Britain we are extremely fortunate to have a fair political system and we must be aware that others are not so fortunate.
Some 252 British personnel died during the conflict in the Falkland Islands and they should never be forgotten. It would be an affront to the memory of those people if the Falkland Islanders themselves were not able to determine their own nationality. The Falklands conflict was about ensuring self-determination for Falkland Islanders, an issue that many islands around the world are struggling with today. We must not forget this important part of our history nor those who lost their lives fighting for this basic freedom.