The Corner

Re: Falklands Question For Jos

Thanks, Peter. I’m still curious to see what JOS comes up with, though. He

was in the thick of it, as much as a journalist can be.

I was not in the thick of it, just a London office worker who was also a

foot soldier for my local Conservative Party office. As I recall, pretty

clearly, the sequence of reactions among ordinary Londoners went something

like the following.

“Argentina’s invaded WHERE? … Oh … Well, doesn’t look like there’s much

we can do about **that**. … There’s another bit of the old Empire gone.

… It was fun while it lasted, though, wasn’t it? … Hey ho … What’s on

the telly tonight? … Whoa! What’s this? Maggie’s going to fight? … A

**task force**? … Yee-hah! Good old Maggie! … Let’s roll!…”

By 1982, everybody in Britain had internalized the “imperial decline”

narrative. Everyone assumed that in a case like this, passivity would carry

the day. Margaret Thatcher’s response was greeted with surprise. Delighted

surpise, to be sure, but surprise.

The old jingo lion was there waiting to be awakened. If Maggie hadn’t

yelled in its ear, though, it would have slumbered on quite happily.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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