Let’s change our tactics at the UN

Let’s change our tactics at the UN

We ought to change our UN tactics, adopting a new tune - but it would be wrong to blame the present CM because it is something that goes back a long time - and I am sure Mr Picardo may agree with me when he reads my proposal.

The purpose of the exercise is to remove Gibraltar from the list of colonies, but for as long as the UN keeps saying that we are a colony, it is the Spanish contention that wins the day for them - even if we do not like it. 

And a reason for our failure to make headway is that we keep repeating the same arguments year after year, instead of inventing a strong, new line that will shake the foundations of the United Nations. Other people do so, why cannot we?

So, there we are talking about the nasty things that Franco did against Gibraltar and its people. That his strategy was to isolate Gibraltar physically and economically. And that he failed to do that.

And then comes the story of the ripe fruit. And that we did not surrender - a great feat, indeed.

But it is all old hat. Then we warn that any foe, however mighty, who seeks to remove us from our homeland will fail. And that Spain contends that her territorial integrity is at stake in the decolonization of Gibraltar, despite the fact that she ceded Gibraltar 'for ever' in 1713.

And we end, as Mr Picardo ended this year, saying that "the future of our country must be freely and democratically decided by the people of Gibraltar in exercise of the right to self-determination."

Of course, we all agree with that and with the contents of the rest of the submission. But the fact is that we have heard it all before. Not only us, but them - all the member states of the United Nations!

And if such submissions have got us nowhere , why persist with it? The trip to the UN has become a waste of time, not because we should not go there, but because of what we say - the same story time and again that has got us nowhere.

So what we must do is change the tune. Give them a storyline that will shake them, that will make them think, that will make them change their minds on our Gibraltar. That we get what we want.

And we will not win the day if we have a repeat story, which they have heard before and which they have rejected.

We need a new approach. We need new content. We need to shake them up!

Because we may like what we say. But our speech is essentially for home consumption; it is essentially for domestic consumption which we may applaud. It may even be necessary in that context.

But it is not a submission for an international audience in the context of the United Nations.

Whether we like it or not. And I’m sure that Mr Picardo agrees. So let us change the tactics - and see if we can win the political battle!