Animosity towards Argentina

March 05, 2010, 6:30 PM GMT+0

More British men than women would support sending ships to the Falklands.

An overwhelming 72% of British adult males would support the government if it were to send Navy ships to the Falklands to protect its mining interests, a survey commissioned by the Sun newspaper has found. Ownership of the islands – which are off the coast of Argentina, in the South Atlantic - is hotly contested, with both the British and Argentines claiming legitimacy over the islands. Some suggest that sending British ships into a highly contentious area could exacerbate an already tenuous situation.

The above statistic for men is in stark contrast to GB women, whose support for sending a naval fleet into hostile waters is notably lower - at 45%. Although these figures differ significantly, it is interesting to note that a sizeable 32% of women did say they couldn’t decide whether sending ships was a good idea, even when given a choice to oppose such an initiative outright, suggesting that they are not, in fact, totally opposed to the idea.

All in all, 58% of GB adults would support the MOD if it were to send ships to the South Atlantic to protect British merchant vessels. When one considers the current anti-war sentiment recently highlighted by other recent surveys, this represents a considerable number of people.

This change in sentiment may be explained by the memory of the Falklands war of 1982. It was a war in which the British were triumphant, but ever since, relations between the Argentine and British governments and people have been strained. Until recently, this sentiment has arguably manifested itself in highly emotive and competitive sporting events.

However, these results suggest that those who remember the initial incident still harbour some level of adverse feeling towards the Argentines’ claim over the Falklands. Fittingly, the most support for sending British ships to the islands is among the over 35s. Nearly two thirds (65%) of this group support the idea of a show of force in the region to defend Britain’s commercial interests and, some might posit, its national pride.

For survey details and full results, please click here