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.