The flags are waving, the result is clear and a drizzly little archipelago with just 2,841 people on it has made world news. However, for the three Falkland islanders who voted “no” in the referendum, and who now find themselves marooned in a sea of 1,513 “yes” voters, this must be a nervy time.
“Last night down at the Whalebone Arch, with the cameras and everything, everybody was saying: ‘I wonder who those three people were?’” says Cathy Jacobsen, landlady at the Victory Bar in Stanley. “We said we’d all club together and get them a ticket to Argentina.”
However, that may not fairly represent those “no” voters.
The question they answered was: “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?”
There could be other reasons to refuse that, besides closet Argentophilia. Nevertheless, the refusals are a stain on the result for some islanders.
Indeed Jacobsen says she is surprised that the “yes” vote came in below 100 percent and has no idea who might have demurred — yet.
“In a small community, it won’t take long to find out who voted no,” she says.
If this sounds unfriendly, she insists the consequences will be mild.
“I think people would be a bit annoyed with them, they’d say their piece, and that would be it. They might lose a few friends,” she says.
Down at the West Store shopping center, the manager of the home appliance store, Liam Short, sees things differently. He voted yes, but still expected a much larger no vote — and lost a bet because of it.
Was he aware of anybody actually calling for a no?
“I did speak to one person and they were saying they were going to vote no,” he says. “More for a reason of independence.”
Could he ask that person if they would talk to me about it?
“I’m pretty sure that they won’t broadcast it,” he says.
And yes, Short calls back to confirm that the person did indeed vote no, but will not talk — not even anonymously.
“Down here, it would destroy their reputation,” he says.