So, the whole Falkland Islands row has resurfaced. In an open letter to David Cameron, printed in the Guardian and the Independent, the Argentinian president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has demanded that the Falklands be returned to her nation. David Cameron, in reply, has basically said shove off, it’s nothing to do with you, it’s down to the inhabitants, so there.
The more eagle-eyed among us (or, at least, those who scrolled right to the bottom of the page) may have noticed that the open letter was copied in to Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This is the international equivalent of ‘telling daddy on you’, which got me thinking: old Ki-moon, with his cheeky face, could learn a thing or two from us parents.
And so, here is my own open letter: from a parent to Ban Ki-moon.
Dear Mr Ban Ki-moon,
Ban Ki-moon, Ban Ki-moon. Your name bears a resemblance to the sound a trampoline makes when someone is bouncing on it. It also sounds a little bit like an old TV programme, but I’m just getting confused with Button Moon. Anyway, we digress. I didn’t write you a letter to discuss how your name sounds a bit funny.
I am a parent of three children: one of whom is a baby, and therefore relatively immobile and hassle-free (although she doesn’t sleep, so if you’d like to come over and babysit one night whilst my wife and I nip down to the Holiday Inn for a night’s peace that’d be great). My other two, however, are boys, just two years apart in age, and they fight. A lot.
It has struck me that, in becoming involved with the spat between David Cameron and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, you too are playing the role of a parent in this little ‘I had it first, it’s mine, I’m not talking to you any more’ argument. So, on behalf of all parents, I would like to suggest a few ways in which you could resolve this whole drama before someone gets hurt.
Send one, or both, to their rooms to calm down. If, like my sons, David and Cristina share a room (unlikely, I know), then send them to different rooms. They’ll cool down eventually, after a lot of banging, crying and shouts of ‘I HATE YOU, BAN KI-MOON’.
- Take some toys off them as punishment. I’m not sure exactly how this would work, in your particular dilemma. Perhaps you could kidnap Diego Maradona to punish Argentina, for example, or take Kerry Katona from us. Actually, you can keep Kerry Katona. And that Rylan guy. And everyone from ‘Made in Chelsea’.
- Get them in a vice-like grip. Sometimes, if they’re really stroppy, my sons will start throwing punches. In this instance, it is often wise to grab their arms and hold them in a straitjacket-like grip for a while, until they’ve calmed down.
- Make them laugh. Nothing defuses a potentially explosive situation like humour, and it can avoid all manner of hurt and anguish. Might I suggest the following things, which you can do to either David or Cristina: tell a joke, pretend to fall over, blow raspberries on their tummies, tickle their armpits. I find blowing raspberries particularly effective.
- Finally, the naughty step. Plonk them on the steps of the United Nations headquarters until they’ve calmed down. It is recommended that you leave them one minute for every year of their age. For David Cameron, that’s 46 minutes. For Cristina, it’s 59 (hey, she looks pretty good for an oldie, don’t you think?). If, after almost an hour of cooling off they’re still angry, then I’m sorry. You’re on your own.
We wish you good luck, and urge you to act now, before it all ends in tears.
Lots of love,
PS. Ban Ki-moon, Ban Ki-moon. Your name kills me, man.