Who are the Falklands three?

"No one will ever admit it," says one islander after just three (0.2%) vote not to remain an overseas territory of the UK.

It is votes like that on the status of the Falkland Islands that remind us why the secret ballot was invented. Of the 1,517 who took part in the referendum (a turnout of 92 per cent), 1,513 (99.8 per cent) voted in favour of remaining an overseas territory of the UK and just three (0.2 per cent) voted against. It was a result that would make even Kim Jong-un blush. Asked who the "Falklands three" might be, one islander told the Guardian's Jonathan Watts: "no one will ever admit it". 

The British government, unsurprisingly, has been quick to trumpet the result as proof that Argentina should relinquish any claim to sovereignty over "Las Malvinas". David Cameron said that the Kirchner government should take "careful note" of the result, while William Hague said: "I welcome today's result, which demonstrates more clearly than ever the Falkland Islanders' wish to remain an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.

"We have always been clear that we believe in the rights of the Falklands people to determine their own futures and to decide on the path they wish to take. It is only right that, in the 21st century, these rights are respected.

"All countries should accept the results of this referendum and support the Falkland Islanders as they continue to develop their home and their economy. I wish them every success in doing so."

Kirchner, however, is in no mood to back down. Following the result, Senator Daniel Filmus, a close ally of the president, declared: "We must denounce this trickery that pretends to represent the popular participation of an implanted population. This publicity stunt has no validity for international law." 

The Argentine Senate will vote this week on a motion to reject the result of the referendum and to reaffirm its claim to the islands. "The United Kingdom lacks any right at all to pretend to alter the juridical status of these territories even with the disguise of a hypothetical referendum," the country's foreign minister Hector Timerman said. 

In the meantime, the race continues to find one of the three. 

Residents gather in Stanley, Falkland Islands on March 10, 2013, during the referendum. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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The UK is dangerously close to breaking apart - there's one way to fix it

We must rethink our whole constitutional settlement. 

When the then-Labour leader John Smith set up a report on social justice for what would be the incoming government in 1997, he said we must stop wasting our most precious resource – "the extraordinary skills and talents of ordinary people".

It is one of our party’s greatest tragedies that he never had the chance to see that vision put into practice. 

At the time, it was clear that while our values of equality, solidarity and tolerance endured, the solutions we needed were not the same as those when Labour was last in power in the 1970s, and neither were they to be found in the policies of opposition from the 1980s. 

The Commission on Social Justice described a UK transformed by three revolutions:

  • an economic revolution brought about by increasing globalisation, innovation and a changing labour market
  • a social revolution that had seen the role of women in society transformed, the traditional family model change, inequality ingrained and relationships between people in our communities strained
  • a political revolution that challenged the centralisation of power, demanded more individual control and accepted a different role for government in society.

Two decades on, these three revolutions could equally be applied to the UK, and Scotland, today. 

Our economy, society and our politics have been transformed even further, but there is absolutely no consensus – no agreement – about the direction our country should take. 

What that has led to, in my view, is a society more dangerously divided than at any point in our recent history. 

The public reject the status quo but there is no settled will about the direction we should take. 

And instead of grappling with the complex messages that people are sending us, and trying to find the solutions in the shades of grey, politicians of all parties are attached to solutions that are black or white, dividing us further. 

Anyone in Labour, or any party, who claims that we can sit on the margins and wait for politics to “settle down” will rightly be consigned to history. 

The future shape of the UK, how we govern ourselves and how our economy and society should develop, is now the single biggest political question we face. 

Politics driven by nationalism and identity, which were for so long mostly confined to Scotland, have now taken their place firmly in the mainstream of all UK politics. 

Continuing to pull our country in these directions risks breaking the United Kingdom once and for all. 

I believe we need to reaffirm our belief in the UK for the 21st century. 

Over time, political power has become concentrated in too few hands. Power and wealth hoarded in one corner of our United Kingdom has not worked for the vast majority of people. 

That is why the time has come for the rest of the UK to follow where Scotland led in the 1980s and 1990s and establish a People’s Constitutional Convention to re-establish the UK for a new age. 

The convention should bring together groups to deliberate on the future of our country and propose a way forward that strengthens the UK and establishes a new political settlement for the whole of our country. 

After more than 300 years, it is time for a new Act of Union to safeguard our family of nations for generations to come.

This would mean a radical reshaping of our country along federal lines where every component part of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions – take more responsibility for what happens in their own communities, but where we still maintain the protection of being part of a greater whole as the UK. 

The United Kingdom provides the redistribution of wealth that defines our entire Labour movement, and it provides the protection for public finance in Scotland that comes from being part of something larger, something good, and something worth fighting for. 

Kezia Dugdale is the leader of the Scottish Labour party.