What is the UK waiting for

Carmen Gomez

Recognizing that we are at the mercy of Spain if the UK leaves, the question poised to Lord Callanan in the House of Lords recently was, “What are we doing for Gibraltar?” His reply, “I have not heard any detail about that.” Not very reassuring to say the least! Then he went on to say that if the issues put to him, were of such importance to the Government (UK) then surely it; i.e. the UK government; should have been up front and clear, as to precisely what they were offering, and should have considered whether compensation, or something else of that kind might be required. 

Don’t you find this troubling? Forgive me if I have misread the content here, but is the learned gentleman considering an oncoming situation of deep incertitude for Gibraltar? Has he in mind thoughts of Spain’s closure of its frontier with Gibraltar, at which time we were offered financial support from the UK? Is this what he means when he talks about compensation? Don’t you get a strange sensation at the back of your neck when you hear this?

Gloom and doom

Thinking on this I remembered an interview last year that Judy Girling; the lady I have referred to in the past as, Miss gloom and doom; saying amongst other things that she believed from the start, that brexit was bad for Gibraltar, no matter how it was spun. Somewhere along the line when she was asked if it was likely that the UK Government would concede some form of access for EU vessels in UK fishing waters, she replied “I’ve said right from the beginning, Gibraltar is the only card we’ve got.” She said that Spain very much wanted access to fishing waters and the UK very much wanted Gibraltar to maintain a special status in terms of the border and workers crossing; adding “they may not be connected, but that’s what negotiations of this complexity are all about; joining up the dots between seemingly unconnected issues. Is this all adding up I ask?

We know that we can not expect any special treatment, despite our serious concerns, as we, as part of the whole UK family, will be leaving together; for better or for worse; like in a marriage. Except, I was under the impression that after all this time of high level meetings with our leaders and telling signs of support, that the UK Government might by now, have agreed on a framework with Spain, in exchange for an undertaking from them to stop this harassment of our territory and our sovereignty.

I really believed for one stupid moment, that Brexit was the UK‘s chance to come up with some gem, which rather than proving to be a means of managing the so called “Gibraltar problem”, would resolve it once and for all! How many times have we been here? How many times has Britain had the chance to foreclose this nonsensical claim of Spain’s to our territory? Why was it ever upheld in the first place?

It’s as ludicrous, as it is unbelievable that a country that signed away their rights to another in perpetuity, should not only have laid claim to it before the ink was dry on the page, but furthermore pursue it for three hundred years!

Do gooder mentality

But the worst thing is, that because of Britain’s do-gooder mentality, imbued with wrongly placed guilt, they have proved unable to handle this Spanish idiosyncrasy which haunts us since time immemorial. Despite our hard work and good governance; to become a modern, successful and honest democracy, we still find ourselves with our backs against the wall, alone, and pedalling furiously against the tide in order not to capsize.

Remember when the Prime Minister Harold Wilson voiced support for the idea of integration for us on more than one occasion, seeing how we had made rapid strides towards self government, and especially after Spain revived its claim to the Rock at the UK? That idea went nowhere because the British Government remained reluctant to pursue the idea due to the potential knock on effect on other territories. Except it was never acknowledged that none of them had the wolf at the door as we did.


Dr. Garcia explained as much last year when he said that Gibraltar faced challenges which are quite unique and which are not shared by the other members of the British family of Nations. Even when we were a colony, the colonial office suggested a Channel Islands status for the smaller territories, including Gibraltar. That was again dismissed because at the time, the UK did not wish to extend the right of entry into the UK to colonial territories.

Mabel Strickland; editor of the “Times of Malta,” on the matter of integration for Malta at the time; commented in an editorial on April 1943, that the Second World War had shown that Malta was as much a part of Britain as Portsmouth or Croydon and wanted Malta be a county of England, as an integral part of the United Kingdom represented at Westminster.

Ms Strickland felt they needed protection for any future changes in Britain’s defence dispositions in the Mediterranean. For their acknowledged heroism they received the George Cross. British MP`s requested this very honour for Gibraltar which was as much deserved for the role that it played in the same said war, but this never came to be; no doubt so as not to hurt Spanish sensitivities!

We too need protection and thus our reason for requesting representation at Westminster. As the Deputy Chief minister said back in April of 2017, “our future post-Brexit relationship with Spain will have strategic implications.” The wolf is ever present at the door and already it has got a look in! What is the UK waiting for?