The people of Argentina are suffering as inflation and a badly run economy, caused by decades of maladministration undermine their society. But as always the interests of the people are not the same as the interests of the people.
Ask the people of Argentina how they think somewhere in the region of £145 million of their money should be put to use and you won’t find many who would suggest buying military aircraft. But nevertheless, that is what Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her government have just chosen to do.
As if that were not bad enough, what the gobby old girl from La Plata has chosen to spend the money on is buying a fleet of 20 Mirage F1 fighter jets from Spain, built since the 1970s and recently decommissioned by the Spanish Air Force. In fact, despite modifications and upgrades, so old and lacking in capability are these jets the nickname the pilots had for them was ‘La abuela’ or the Grandmother.
With Argentina stepping up its false claim over the Falkland Islands along with its efforts to impose a de facto economic blockade of the islands, some see the acquisition of these Mirages as the de Kirchner administration attempting to bare its teeth.
That is certainly the hype-fuelled take of the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express (which puts the purchase price at a mere £10 million) who immediately try to paint this as a threat to Falklands territory and link the Spanish sale to the dispute over Gibraltar.
But given these aircraft are little more than museum exhibits, the modern aviation equivalent of a musket, the only thing on show are a new set of Argentine dentures. Not that the cor blimey British media, with its ‘powerful reputation for accuracy’ understands.