Nations have no permanent friends or allies

Carmen Gomez

By Carmen Gomez

Lord Palmerston once said that “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.” This has never rung true in Whitehall as far as Spain is concerned; but actually it does with Spain, as far as the UK is concerned. Spanish friendships are purely “postizos” and ushered by self interest.

 Spain never acts out of a sense of doing what’s right; but of what they can get out of it for themselves. There are myriad examples out there of this type of attitude in their chequered history.

They are opportunists and users; they will not hesitate from calling in their markers when the moment is appropriate. Ex foreign affairs minister Margallo, who now spends his time penning articles; a great many with Gibraltar as its theme; recently admitted something we have known for years; simply because it has affected our lives from our quest of self determination to our sporting activities; that consecutive Spanish Governments have been in the habit of pressuring Governments to make them tow their line, and go against others interests, when it suits them.

Seeking alliances

He himself has admitted seeking alliances for express purposes, as in the case of the Catalans; doing everything within his power to make sure they are not listened to; received; or their views taken into account. He can do this because the PP is a very influential party, even in opposition and his previous connections go far and wide. Last year he apparently sought the support of the Governments of the Baltic States in order to make them side with Spain on the matter of our self determination aspirations. He did this by reminding them that territorial integrity was paramount for his country; of how Spain had complied as a loyal and trustworthy friend by voting religiously in favour of sanctions against Russia, after the Crimea crisis; including favours done them by their military efforts by land, and air. I mean, how can anyone refuse this?

But it doesn’t stop there. If we recall back in 2015, Congressman George Holding had managed with the support of seven other congressmen, Republican and Democrats, to table a resolution in support of Gibraltar’s right to self determination. What happened next was that the following year, using its support of the war against the Islamic State terror group; in other words “Blackmail”; Spain tried to persuade US politicians to drop their plans to officially back this resolution.

Spain’s Ambassador at the time, Ramon Gil-Casares, a close friend of Aznar`s, dared to use the “war against terror” as a lever over the issue. Particularly appalling was the fact that it was done shortly after the beheadings of American and British soldiers. On top of this, it became known that they were nowhere to be seen when Britain, the US and other coalition members, bombed ISIL positions in Iraq. They are so arrogant that they don’t even recognize who they are dealing with.

Ghost of Franco

But coming back to the writings of one whose fixation with the Rock does not allow him a moment’s rest; as you can see in his blog, under the title “La voluntad nacional” (he sees himself as the ghost of Franco the dictator) sits a photo of the Rock flying the Spanish flag. It was he who said in 2016, that all of Spain; as if they had nothing better to think about; should hold as if it were their own, the objective of recuperating sovereignty over Gibraltar. His concern for Spain, as a matter of national importance, is what he claims to be the negative effects that Gibraltar has over the interests of the Spaniards.

Which are I suppose; not that he bothers to mention it; the £400million plus the £96million of expenditure and investment in their country by Gibraltar and its people; which accounts for 25% of the GDP of Andalucia; making Gibraltar the second largest employer second only to their regional Government; and, oh yes, including the 30,000 frontier workers who make a living on the Rock. But as the Spanish ambassador Santos said to the UN recently, all we are doing is creating a negative economic imbalance on neighbouring Spain.

He confirms that Spain has two aces left up its sleeve, for this coming year. He also said Brexit might be Spain’s last opportunity to advance its claim over the sovereignty of Gibraltar. Words uttered by a man who lives and breathes “Gibraltar Español” since he had use of reason. A man who has studied the chances that come once in a lifetime, like Brexit; like an astronomer who knows when the moon is in the right orbit to make things happen. Like a hunter who knows when the opportunity is ripe to strike.

Make or break

He believes that Brexit is “make or break” for Spain. With this in mind, I ask; are we in for a dealing hand from Spain that might knock us sideways? Curiously the web site “Gibraltar Español” wrote recently about our Chief Minister; as they call him “Picardo endeavours not to cede anything to Spain, and in the end, you’ll see, he will achieve this.” Sounds strangely defeatist does it not?

So far we have our Chief Minister saying that a deal has been struck between the UK and the EU covering Gibraltar’s status after a Brexit deal is reached; and we have the Spanish PM telling us that a deal has been struck between Spain and the UK on this same issue; whilst other well known institutes talk about a possible solution to Gibraltar being “a diffused sovereignty and shared functions.” The ink is not yet dry on the page; let alone anything finalised; and yet I get the impression that a hunt of sorts is already under way. I suggest that Spain does its research before going on a wild goose chase. There are those who say that when bait is put out for ducks, it’s the hunter who is caught; why? Because it is unconstitutional!