The Falklands: a reader

On the 30th anniversary of the conflict, here is the best of the NS coverage past and present.

1. Learn from history and make peace now

In this week's New Statesman, Anthony Barnett discusses the ongoing significance that the Falklands conflict has for politics and power in the UK.

2. Why Britain is in the wrong over the Falklands

In a Staggers post, TJ Coles argues that the UK has no legal right to the islands and only defends them to exploit oil and gas reserves.

3. The islands of black gold

In a 2010 NS cover story, Peter Wilby asks: as UK companies drill for oil and Argentina mobilises support, are we moving towards another, deeper conflict?

4. Why the Falklands must remain British

The Labour MP Gerald Kaufman launches a fierce attack on the Obama administration for its neutral stance on the issue.

5. What if... Britain had lost the Falklands war

Dominic Sandbrook writes a counterfactual account of the conflict.

6. Rules of engagement

Andrew Roberts reviews Sir Lawrence Freedman's Official History of the Falklands Campaign.

7. Why Maggie was wrong

Richard Gott disputes Roberts' view that the Falklands war was impeccably handled.

8. Was Mrs Thatcher right?

William Gill, checking old rumours about the Falklands war, talks to an Argentinian ex-captain, with surprising and unsettling results.

 

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Theresa May is paying the price for mismanaging Boris Johnson

The Foreign Secretary's bruised ego may end up destroying Theresa May. 

And to think that Theresa May scheduled her big speech for this Friday to make sure that Conservative party conference wouldn’t be dominated by the matter of Brexit. Now, thanks to Boris Johnson, it won’t just be her conference, but Labour’s, which is overshadowed by Brexit in general and Tory in-fighting in particular. (One imagines that the Labour leadership will find a way to cope somehow.)

May is paying the price for mismanaging Johnson during her period of political hegemony after she became leader. After he was betrayed by Michael Gove and lacking any particular faction in the parliamentary party, she brought him back from the brink of political death by making him Foreign Secretary, but also used her strength and his weakness to shrink his empire.

The Foreign Office had its responsibility for negotiating Brexit hived off to the newly-created Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) and for navigating post-Brexit trade deals to the Department of International Trade. Johnson was given control of one of the great offices of state, but with no responsibility at all for the greatest foreign policy challenge since the Second World War.

Adding to his discomfort, the new Foreign Secretary was regularly the subject of jokes from the Prime Minister and cabinet colleagues. May likened him to a dog that had to be put down. Philip Hammond quipped about him during his joke-fuelled 2017 Budget. All of which gave Johnson’s allies the impression that Johnson-hunting was a licensed sport as far as Downing Street was concerned. He was then shut out of the election campaign and has continued to be a marginalised figure even as the disappointing election result forced May to involve the wider cabinet in policymaking.

His sense of exclusion from the discussions around May’s Florence speech only added to his sense of isolation. May forgot that if you aren’t going to kill, don’t wound: now, thanks to her lost majority, she can’t afford to put any of the Brexiteers out in the cold, and Johnson is once again where he wants to be: centre-stage. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.