As a microcosm of imperial retreat and colonial enterprise in decline the Falklands story is intriguing for many reasons, but our concern in this chapter is with matters directly concerned with policy formulation and implementation. What was the character of the community whose wishes and interests were paramount in the conduct of British policy? Through what kind of political processes were its views articulated? And, finally, how were those views relayed by the lobby which acted on behalf of the Islanders in London? Only by considering these matters can we say anything sensible about the contribution which the Islanders made to the debate about their future, how that contribution was formed, and ultimately whether the outcome could have been different. Examining these issues will also serve to reinforce the basic argument that the failure of Falklands policy before the war was essentially a political one, and that underlying this political failure were the complexities of a small but intricate political problem.
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