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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Geoffrey Howe dies, aged 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.