Carmen Gomez

It is common to come across sites on the Internet where reports have been put together by Spanish intellectuals on the subject of Gibraltar. Reports which speak of the toxic influences of the Rock on Spain and describing us as upstarts who need to be put in our place; whilst at the same time urging the Government of the day to take the dispute to International forums and tribunals, with a strategic option to be followed over the coming years. For if nothing concrete is done in the meantime, it is feared they run the risk of an event such as the UK`s exit from the EU, or a change of tack in the UN`s position on territories pending decolonisation, as taking over the initiation dictating of Spain’s policy. 

It’s curious that this comes up, because it shows that they are worried and not that sure anymore, of achieving their aim! This is quite heartening, but we nevertheless have to keep reminding the UK, that despite the problems facing them on their home front, Spanish machinations on how to grab the next available chance to pull one over us, is ongoing. We were once told by a UK Government representative that it was up to us to pull our finger out, because we had to play our part too. Well right now it feels like we are the only ones on the case!


I mean, what can be said about Spain and its utterly wearisome attitude towards us that has not been said before? Nothing! The trouble is, that neither can be said different about the UK and its attitudes and policies towards them! Only recently we read how during the Lord’s debate; a place of wonder and illusion; where every question is met with a non reply; if that makes any sense; Lord Callanan replied to a question posed by Lord Chidgey, as to where Gibraltar lay in the interests of the UK department for Brexit; by first stating that they would have to wait and see the effect of the Spanish election. Why? What difference will that make? It has never made a difference before; not with the PP in power; not with the PSOE in power or some coalition of sorts.

To the Spanish, Spain’s claim to Gibraltar is a national symbol. This will never go away and furthermore, seeing how the UK keeps stressing that they had a good working relationship with the Spanish government; what effect are they waiting for? It’s all humbug! How many times have we heard this? How many? Too many I say, and I am sure that many of you will echo my sentiment!

How can anyone, honestly stand up and say, that there is a good working relationship, with a Spanish Government who has tried time after time in recent times, to make life as awkward as possible in Brexit negotiations for Britain, and furthermore played dirty by getting the EU to insert clauses which are damaging to Gibraltar? what are we talking about here?

How long are we going to be lead up the garden path by the UK? Lord Collins of Highbury; who in July 2016 asked if our Chief Minister was going to have explained to him, the serious consequences of leaving the EU; now says that Gibraltar cannot be sustained without a proper deal! Is this not worrying when faced with today`s brexit scenario, where no one appears to show any leadership?

In the past we have been told by our Deputy Chief Minister that the position in Gibraltar is a unique one, where we have taken control, as opposed to what we have seen occur in our midst. This is true, and our leaders continue here at home to try and unravel their way through these murky waters to make some kind of sense of it all; with no one here at home except for them, appearing to care very much at present! All we have heard recently from one of the leaders of the opposition is to vote remain! I believe we all know by now, on what side our bread is buttered! Whatever we do, the bottom line is we are bound by the UK and the decisions it will take.

Consecutive Governments in Gibraltar are making and have made progress, some more than others, and taken giant strides to make of Gibraltar a secure nation for its inhabitants; but it is of little or no comfort to us to have our mother country living in a cocoon as far as Spain is concerned.

In 1972 Sir Alec –Douglas Home believed that Spain, on account of joining the EEC, could hardly, after having received Britain’s support, afford the risk of upsetting Britain over Gibraltar. It’s never-ending; this dogged belief in a nation they neither understand nor comprehend; like we do; and this creates a huge stumbling block for us.

What’s clear

What’s clear is that even the English citizens living in Spain believe wholeheartedly in Spanish diplomacy and its Royal decrees; as if they were cast in stone! Amongst the many examples to disprove this fallacy, is the case of the nuclear agency CSN, that recognizes that there are six radioactive contamination sites in Spain, but admits that none of the zones listed by the CSN; with one between Madrid and Toledo; are officially classified as such, because Spain has yet to produce a formal inventory. This, ten years after a “Royal Decree” ordered one to be compiled. Royal decrees are three for a penny in Spain; like promises which are seldom kept, or treaties which are never honoured.

Has Brexit sucked so much energy from the UK government that it can’t think straight anymore? Frankly, it feels like we are on a flight to somewhere unknown with no one in the cockpit.