Gibraltar is truly blessed. It has a great many influential friends abroad; or certainly well connected; both in the UK and in America. I no longer feel like we walk alone, as I felt some years back when I sometimes despaired at too little engagement. Time as always of course, will see the fruition of good intentions. The relationships fostered and bonds formed have come about through years of lobbying by our Government leaders. This is an indisputable fact! Groundwork and hard graft have gained us this welcome support which must give us much comfort and weight in the political arena. 

However, in politics where momentum counts for so much, it is easy to confuse a “we believe” with a “we know” if you get my drift. The US visiting Congressmen believe Gibraltar will become a part of a trade deal with Britain which is most encouraging.

We well remember Luke Coffey trying to gather support from us back in 2014, from the US, in supporting policies that advance American interests in Gibraltar; stating that as a British Overseas territory, the US access to the military facilities at Gibraltar was all but guaranteed. He also said that Spain’s aggressive behaviour toward Gibraltar and the UK could not be ignored; at which time he urged NATO to include the use of Gibraltar in its biggest ever training exercises in the region which were to take place in 2015. This never happened.

In 2015, US Congressman Golding, spoke of his disgust with Spain; not only on account of their appalling behaviour toward us, but of being absolutely shameful in trying to use, if you recall, its support of the war against the Islamic State terror group, to persuade US politicians to drop plans to officially back Britain’s claim over Gibraltar; i.e. using dirty tricks in efforts to persuade Democrat and Republican Congressmen to back down from supporting the resolution behind the self determination move.

This is not the first time that Spain has taken to threatening the US. Franco in the late 1960‘s threatened with the removal of the US base at Torrejon, in a vain attempt to put pressure on Washington, in the hope of obtaining further military aid and assurances of a full military commitment by the US to Spain’s defence. Washington assumed an uncompromising stand towards Spain, with the Nixon administration at the time showing little interest in granting Spain what they asked for.

The foreign policy in Washington threatened to cause a complete breakdown of Spanish-American relations; in fact Spain’s request was scaled back. As far as they were concerned, Spain remained of strategic interest to the US and worth having military bases in its country; but not at any price. Nixon was unwilling to make any lasting concessions to Franco, who in turn had little bargaining power left with the Americans. So I have never been able to understand why the British felt they had recognized the reluctance of the US administration to involve itself in Anglo-Spanish problems, on account of the American bases with Spain.

I am a great believer that when it suits a super power like the US, to take action against another country, despite what may be in play, it will do so. Remember when Lord Fisher said to Winston Churchill “what does it matter whom you offend? As long as England is saved.

I am fully aware that we are a small nation. I know that although valiant, we do not have the weight to say to the UK or the US, gentlemen, the time has come when we both not only want but need confirmation; assertion; assurances of your good will in exchange, if you want, for what we can do for you. A Benign neglect approach say from the UK when we seek to secure our position no longer holds water. Because let’s face it; we are of use to the UK, and we are of use to the US, and still we have spent too much time in the queue, already! In the case of Spain; a country that does not understand the meaning of accommodation; any effort made in their direction to look for a compromise is a waste of energy!

Apparently, the Junta De Andalucia has installed two offices; not in La Linea; not even one in La Linea and one in Algeciras; but two offices in the latter, to offer information and advice on Brexit matters. Naturally, the major of La Linea is furious; something which has earned him the description of being confrontational! Why is this happening? Because the major of Algeciras, the coordinator, aided and abetted by the PP and Ciudadanos, has come to the conclusion that that it is they who are taking the initiative that Susanah Diaz is not.

Remember when our Chief Minister deigned to visit the lady and spend time with her to exchange views and ideas of working practices? Well now they are the ones who will be able to steer the way to achieve the best for their zone and the Campo in brexit matters. This is a man who hates Gibraltar.

So whilst closer bonds have been sought between us and La Linea and the Campo by our Government representatives; and whilst the cross border party have worked their socks off to create an atmosphere of understanding and good neighbourliness; what we now find at the end of the day is that the La Linea major is being totally disregarded and isolated, because the man has committed the treacherous act of trying to work something out with the Gibraltarians.

Remember the Generalissimo’s words, that anyone who does so is no Spaniard and should be castigated? My friends, his influence lives on and imbues every breath they take!