Models of British grit and rugged independence

Having staked her political destiny on the recovery of the [Falklands], Mrs Thatcher could not subsequently admit to any doubts that they were worth it. Not noted for her sense of irony, she had no choice but to elevate the hardy but notoriously unenterprising ‘kelpers’ into models of British grit and rugged independence. She invested the homely names – Goose Green, Tumbledown, Fitzroy and Mount Kent – with the glamour of Alamein and Agincourt. Towards the end of 1982, John Nott visited the islands and gave the Cabinet on his return a graphic description of how cold, wet and dismal they were, ending ‘You must go there, Prime Minister’ – at which everybody laughed.  But Mrs Thatcher did not laugh. She wanted to see for herself where her destiny had been decided.


Mrs Thatcher reverently walked – in most unsuitable shoes – over the hallowed soggy terrain where ‘H’ Jones and other heroes had fought and died (she refused to wear wellingtons), while Denis memorably characterized the islands as ‘miles and miles of bugger all’ and sighed for a snifter in the Upland Goose. At one point, being driven over West Falkland, she spotted an abandoned ammunition box. ‘What a terrible waste!’ she exclaimed.  ‘For God’s sak, woman,’ Denis begged, ‘don’t get out and count them.’

- John Campbell, Margaret Thatcher, Volume Two: The Iron Lady