Diary: So, what is the real cost of defending the Falkland Islands?

With the 30 th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands only weeks away and the diplomatic war hotting up, one thing we cannot expect to be told is what it is costing to defend those islands.

The principle at stake is that the islanders wish not to be dragooned into becoming citizens of Argentina. They wish, it is often said, to "remain British", although about a fifth of them are not British because Margaret Thatcher's government took away their automatic right to citizenship the year before the Argentinian invasion. That was one of the reasons why the junta in Buenos Aires thought they would get away with occupying the islands.

At the last census, there were 2,350 British citizens on the islands, right, out of a total population of 2,913. They are now being guarded by 1,300 service personnel, a ratio slightly better than one soldier for every couple of Brits.

The cost to the defence budget will be £61m in 2012-13, which is expected to increase by £2m a year. That is more than £20,000 per islander, but is only part of the cost. It does not include accommodation, electricity and fuel, or various items tucked away under disparate budget headings.

The Ministry of Defence says that it cannot give an overall total because "to provide each top level budget's expenditure in relation to the Falkland Islands would incur disproportionate cost".

Married to Lembit? Not on your life

Last week I reported the latest escapade of the attention-loving former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik who, among much else, had a four-year relationship with the weather presenter, Sian Lloyd. Alas, I used the word "wife" where that word should not have appeared, provoking this riposte in an email to our news desk, which I quote in full: "Hi there guys. Could you PLEASE tell your journo Andy McSmith that I have never been married ( thank the Lord!) to Lembit Opik? Quel embarrassment! Thanks. Sian Lloyd."

I cannot apologise enough.

No love lost at the Tesco battleground

Barry Sheerman, long serving Labour MP for Huddersfield, has been subjected to an extraordinary attack by a public servant. He objected to a planning decision by Kirklees Council to allow Tesco to build a new superstore to replace a town centre store they propose to knock down. His evidence did not impress the inspector, Robert Mellor, who presided over the resulting inquiry.

In his written judgment, Mr Mellor set aside the normal language of officialdom, to treat Mr Sheerman to a scathing dismissal.

"Mr Sheerman had difficulty moving away from a surprisingly poorly briefed rant about Tesco and descending to actual planning issues," he wrote.

The MP's suggestion that Tesco had put "unfair" pressure on the council was "superficial and populist, and is unsubstantiated by any evidence. It is unworthy," he added.

The case against Tesco was "simply bizarre", he reckoned.

Whether it was wise to be so dismissive of an MP defending what he thought were his constituents' best interests is another matter.

Mr Sheerman plans to complain to the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles. "I'm very angry about these comments, they're unprofessional. I would expect better from a public official ... The inspector ran a very poor inquiry," Mr Sheerman told the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

Steer clear of my world, says Sinead

The life of the Irish singer Sinead O'Connor has had ups and downs, including a bout of depression in January after the collapse of her fourth and very brief marriage, but she talks good sense when the mood is right.

Speaking on Absolute Radio, she lambasted talent shows for imbuing the young with the "worship of fame". The young performers should take a good look at the panellists, she suggests, and see them "having emotional breakdowns and arguments and beating each other up". Then they might realise that it is "a world you don't want to enter". Her world, in short.

And in a separate interview with the March edition of The Word magazine, Ms O'Connor has this to say: "The Gallagher brothers had tea with Tony Blair. You set foot in Downing Street, you're fucked as an artist. You can't become part of the 'shit-stem'.

"I think it's just vanity. We artists want to feel real important and be like John fucking Lennon. So we think that if the Queen or Tony Blair invites us round, we're powerful and important musicians. And of course we're not. Tony Blair just wants to shut you up."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower