The Falklands War: Myth and Countermyth by David Monaghan

By David Monaghan

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319) but as a comforting mirror image of the motherland, with the result that it became possible to develop racist and imperialist discourses simultaneously without any danger of the one tainting the other. The role of the Falkland Islands and their inhabitants in giving tangible form to Thatcher's idea of the 'real Britain' and in advancing her racist agenda was supplemented by some of the functions assigned to the British troops in Falklands War mythology. In addition to the obvious part they played as national heroes setting out on a quest to liberate the Falklands, army, navy and airforce personnel performed an important role in integrating an image of the traditional family into the broader fabric of Thatcher's authentic nation.

Opposition politicians also attacked the Government by characterizing the tone of utterances issuing from the Conservative benches as 'gung ho' (Morgan, p. 46) and 'jingoistic' (p. 89) rather than fervently patriotic. The Financial Times picked up on this theme by offering a critique of Thatcher's 'melodramatic attempts to strike a hushed Churchillian tone' (Davidson, p. 17). Support for these debunkings of the style of Thatcherite discourse is provided by a number of cartoons that mock the Prime Minister's belligerent and grandiose posturing.

Neither are there any grounds, other than in rhetorical flourish and fanciful metaphor, for positing the Falkland Islands as the living embodiment of the authentic Britain, even assuming that such a place ever did or could exist. Far from being a rural idyll, the Falklands are cold and bleak and their inhabitants eke out grim lives of near poverty, totally dependent not on some benevolent squire but on the Falklands Islands Company, a subsidiary of the asset stripping, multinational Coalite Company.

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