Only 15% of Argentines think Falkland Islanders should have a say in their own future, and a quarter still believe that the islands will one day be governed from Buenos Aires, but in the UK, 88% of British people said the Islanders should have a say on who ruled them.
Those answers, in an opinion poll conducted by YouGov for Sky News, come on the eve of a referendum in which Falkland Islanders will be asked whether they want to remain a British Overseas Territory.
It is expected to result in an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote, but the Islanders' enthusiasm for Britain doesn't seem to be reciprocated in the UK.
When asked what was the most important international issue affecting their country, only 1% of British respondents said the Falklands, while the figure was 24% in Argentina - just ahead of those worried about the economy.
And the divergence of opinion between the two countries over the rights of the people on the Falklands to have a say in their future was extremely marked: nearly nine out of 10 surveyed in the UK thought the Islanders should have a say on who ruled them, while six out of 10 (59%) Argentines thought they should have no say on sovereignty.
Regarding defence of the Falklands, most British adults believe the UK government should be ready to consider military action in the face of an invasion threat, according to the public opinion poll.
The research found six in 10 adults believed the UK should keep all options - including the possibility of military action - open when deciding how to respond to a threat of invasion, while just 16% disagreed and 24% did not know.
The two-day referendum will arguably be the most significant moment in the history of the Falkland Islands since British forces liberated them ten weeks after they were seized by an Argentine invasion force in 1982.
The result is not in doubt, only the precise number voting yes. And those who have organised the referendum acknowledge that they need a high turnout to send a clear message.
Dick Sawle, member of the elected Legislative Assembly said that I think if we got 100%, people would think it was rigged. I think we will get a very high percentage, in the nineties, voting for yes.
There may be a few no votes, because while nobody is thought to favour Argentine rule, there are a few who would prefer complete independence from Britain.
One or two people might think that No means that they could have independence immediately, said Mr Sawle. But I don't think this country is ready for independence yet, I think we have a long way to go in terms of government structure, in terms of responsibility for elected members and so on. We're too small.
The Argentine anti-Falklands policy has become more inventive in recent years, with adverts being placed in British newspapers, and a video secretly shot in Stanley showing one of their Olympic athletes preparing for the London games by training on what the video said was “Argentine soil”.
And only a few weeks ago Foreign Minister Hector Timerman denied the existence of the Falkland Islanders, arguing they are an implanted population.
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Lots of RGs are going to be very disappointed on Tuesday. They are stuffed...Mar 09th, 2013 - 11:20 pm 0
Given the very multicultural nature of the UK and the lack of general education on the matter 88% is not that surprising, but I am surprised that even 1% of the UK would put the Falklands as the most important international issue affecting the UK. With defences in place, it is simply a none story and thus any actions by the British government regarding the Falklands are not exercises in winning votes or distracting the public from other issues, but just trying to do the right thing by the people concerned.Mar 09th, 2013 - 11:24 pm 0
With 15% of Argentinians saying the Falklanders should have a say, and 59% saying they should not, it would be interesting to know where the other 26%'s opinions lie. The fact that over 40% believe the Falklanders should have some sort of say in their own future is at least one positive for the Argentinians to build on: There is hope for them yet.
Leaving emotions, wishes and phantasies aside, the Falklands' Britishness is recurrently discovered after a cautious philosophical research.Mar 09th, 2013 - 11:49 pm 0