Some 1672 eligible voters are having their say in the Falkland Islands’ two-day referendum on whetherthey want to remain the UK’s Overseas Territory. It is expectedthat the overwhelming majority will vote in favor of retaining thestatus quo of the South Atlantic islands.The poll has already been dismissed as “a silly game” by BuenosAires, which says the islands – called Las Malvinas in Argentina -were stolen from them by Britain almost two centuries ago.Meanwhile, speculation grows that the referendum is all aboutoil prospects rather than the islanders’ national identity. And itis these prospects that are also believed to be behind theintensified diplomatic tensions between the UK and Argentina aroundthe islands.There are an estimated 60 billion barrels of oil in theFalklands’ basin worth US$167 billion dollars. And that would meanmore oil than the reserves of the USA, Qatar, or evenLibya. “It has always been questionable whether it’s morally orlogistically sustainable to try to protect a colony that is 8,000miles away. I suppose the argument that one could have added tothat is: is it economically sustainable sending warships and so onand so forth. But of course the oil rather changes all that,”Ken Hurst from TNT Magazine website told RT.However, he went on to say, it only changes it if you believeit’s morally justifiable to go on “a colonial plundering mission- something we did in the 18th and 19th centuries.”“And personally I don’t happen to believe it is,” theexpert added. In any case, the March 10-11 referendum will not help to resolvethe British-Argentinian dispute, Hurst concluded.“Referendums don’t resolve disputes. Actually, negotiationresolves disputes. And that’s what really needs to happen downthere in the Falklands or the Malvinas, whichever you callthem,” he believes.However, John Glen, a British Conservative Party MP argues thatif “the vast majority” of the Falkland Islanders wish to remainpart of the UK, then “what’s the purpose of anynegotiation.”“Surely, we must respect the democratic will of that majorityof the population,” he stated in an interview with RT.Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner “has beenramping up the rhetoric over the last couple of years” – a timewhen the country’s economy had an inflation of 25-30 per cent, Glenpointed out.“She should leave British territories alone when the vastmajority of people want to remain so,” he stated.In Glen’s opinion, the “Argentinian president could perhapsdo better service to her people by focusing on the failing economy,the ridiculously high inflation and concentrate on domesticeconomic policy rather than this silly and childish saber-rattling,which does nothing to persuade the people of the Falklands thatthey want to change where they are.”Commenting on the role of natural resources in the heated uprhetoric, Glen stated that “there is a lot of ambiguity over thesize of the oil finds off the Falklands.”“The reality is if these are the sovereign territories of theUK with the islanders to determine the best way forward as and whenthese reserves are exploited – that’s a matter for them,” heunderlined.He stressed that the Falklands “are part of the UnitedKingdom, they always have been and they always will be.”A war between Argentina and Britain over the islands began onApril 2, 1982, and ended 74 days later with a Britishvictory.