The Corner

The Falklands

I am afraid that Derb’s memory is deceiving him on the Falklands. I was in London when they were invaded. Both the popular mood–and the parliamentary mood that reflected it–were firmly in favor of military action. MPs who counseled anything like caution were shouted down.

From the first, there was strong popular (yes, almost jingoist) support for retaking the islands. The mood became more somber after setbacks like the sinking of HMS Sheffield, but it never became appeasing. And those who wanted appeasement repeatedly complained that they felt they were living in a foreign country. When there was popular rejoicing at the British victory, for instance, Alan Bennett confided to his diary that he felt “Not English.” Mrs. Thatcher’s leadership was indeed crucial in maintaining a brave policy against all kinds of pressures, mainly international but some domestic, but she led a people who wanted to win.

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