It’s Christmas Eve, so let’s have an off-topic giggle.
Yesterday, the Daily Mail published an absolutely hilarious alternative history article, supposedly looking back from 2012 when Argentina have…yes, you’ve guessed it…re-invaded the Falklands. Along the way they manage to come across every right-wing bugbear and nightmare. Our Brave Boys and *shock* Prince Harry are defeated and humiliated, not just by those dastardly Argies, but also the EU, Barack Obama, the Occupy Movement and feminists.
Ah well, it’s Christmas, so I guess they wanted to serve their readers with every bit of fear they ever wanted, and also give the rest of us a good laugh. So, let’s dive in to this “terrifyingly plausible” dystopia.
The date is July 27, 2012, and in London the Olympic Games are about to begin. For months, the British people have been looking forward to the jamboree of patriotic enthusiasm.
But now that the day is here, the mood feels heavy with gloom. The crowds are thin, the drizzle pours down. The Union Flags hang forlornly in the dull breeze.
Even the nation’s new Prime Minister, the blinking, stammering Ed Miliband, cuts a remarkably limp figure, a melancholy leader for a nation sunk in misery.
Okay, well Miliband as Prime Minister being “remarkably limp” does at least sound plausible. But what’s getting us all down?
Several thousand miles away, across the cold seas of the South Atlantic, the atmosphere could hardly be more different. For in the capital of the Islas Malvinas, the archipelago formerly known as the Falkland Islands, an Argentine victory parade is underway.
Though victory in the Second Falklands War was secured only a few weeks ago, the islands’ conquerors have already been busy.
The Argentines definitely have been busy. They’ve already erected a giant statue of President Kirchner in Port Stanley (did they ship the statue over with the invasion fleet?) and renamed the main street Avenido Leopoldo Galtieri – which seem’s a little odd, since they previously slung him in prison, and he spent his final years under house arrest.
So, how did this state of affairs come to pass?
For as 2011 neared its end, the Argentine president was keeping a close eye on events in Europe.
Heartened by the freezing of relations between Britain and its Continental partners, Mrs Kirchner calculated that the rest of the European Union would never back Britain’s claims to the disputed islands.
Indeed, discreet signals from Paris indicated that President Nicolas Sarkozy would look kindly on an Argentine invasion, since it would bring David Cameron to heel. Over Christmas and New Year, Argentina’s military chiefs drew up their plans.
Sarkozy! Such hypothetical treason!
The islands, they told their president, were protected only by 1,000 British soldiers, four Typhoon fighter jets, a warship, and, from time to time, a nuclear submarine.
‘Thanks to the cuts, there is little chance that the British would muster an adequate response to the liberation of the Malvinas,’ wrote her principal military adviser. ‘What is more, the international position has never been more favourable. If we strike now, we will enjoy the support of our neighbours as well as the muted encouragement of Great Britain’s European rivals.’
Yep, that’s true, we no longer have an aircraft carrier to send. Well, apart from the great big unsinkable aircraft carrier known as RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands.
What appealed to Mrs Kirchner was the fact that the spring of 2012 would mark the 30th anniversary of the first Falklands War, in which Margaret Thatcher’s intrepid British task force had retaken the islands.
Indeed, some reports suggest that it was her outrage at Meryl Streep’s triumph at the Oscars for the Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady that made up the Argentine president’s mind.
Yes, well done for your Oscar, Meryl. Potentially.
And with Britain’s economy plunging back into recession, Vince Cable quitting the Cabinet and the anti-capitalist Occupy movement spreading to city centres across the country, the South Americans knew the time was right.
Stop it, Occupy! You’re encouraging the Argies!
And so, Argentina invades, Cameron is resolute, anarchists are treasonous, and Ed Miliband stammers a lot.
But Britain was losing the struggle for world opinion. In the U.S., Barack Obama, facing a tough re-election battle, promised audiences that he would stay out of the conflict.
‘My predecessors allowed themselves to be dragged into foreign conflicts of which we know nothing,’ he said to loud cheers. ‘I will not make the same mistake. My motto is simple: America first.’
Most South Americans naturally backed Argentina. What was shocking, though, was that the EU failed to voice its support for Britain.
It turns out the spinelessness of Obama and the treachery of the French know no hypothetical bounds. Worst of all:
Just days before the Euro 2012 football tournament was scheduled to start, Uefa President Michel Platini announced that England had been kicked out of the tournament — because, the Frenchman said, half-suppressing a smirk, the team posed an insurmountable ‘security risk’.
For the Coalition, the European betrayal was a dagger in the heart. And in a sign of the ugly public mood, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, the Spanish wife of the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, was subjected to a hail of vile abuse on the streets of London.
The next day saw Mr Clegg turn up at Cabinet with red-rimmed eyes. And when the Prime Minister next rose to speak in the Commons, his deputy was absent.
His presence, Mr Cameron said, would have been a ‘distraction’. But there could be no distraction from the disaster unfolding in the South Atlantic.
It turns out the Task Force has been hobbled not only by defence cuts but also by gender equality.
Indeed, plans to send Britain’s nuclear submarines had to be scrapped when it transpired that, thanks to the decision to lift the ban on women serving beneath the waves, they were undergoing a £3 million refit to make them ‘female friendly’
What, they decided to refit them all at the same time?
And so, our Brave Boys are defeated, 600 are killed, and the worst calamity of all comes to pass.
News that Prince Harry — who had insisted on serving on the front line — had been captured seemed only to pile humiliation on humiliation.
And though the Argentines promised to release him in time for the Olympics, the day has come and yet he is still in captivity.
Just in case there’s any doubts about the “terrifyingly plausible” nature of this scenario, there’s a few people in the comments threads who seem to know a bit more about military matters than the article author. From browsing their comments (and checking with Wikipedia), it turns out that the Argentine Air Force have barely upgraded their aircraft since the original Falklands War, and they were shot out of the sky back then. The Argentine Navy fled to port as soon as the Belgrano was sunk, and would be likely to do the same again. The British forces based at Mount Pleasant may seem small, but are vastly superior in training and technology to the Argentine military, and would be likely to turn any landing into an extremely bloody affair. Besides, at the merest hint of a military build-up in Argentina, they would be rapidly reinforced.
For a more realistic view of these kinds of shouting matches between Argentina and Britain, I heartily recommend Arrsepedia’s Refighting the Falklands War article. As is so often the case, it appears to be the squaddies to have a clearer understanding of what these things are about than the politicians and pundits.