Securing our post-Brexit future

Carmen Gomez

Sir Lyndsay Hoyle; Gibraltar’s great friend and defender; the new Speaker of the House of Commons; back in 2014, wrote to the Spanish ambassador to London, complaining about the treatment received by some British people on their way across the border; and the three line response to him at the time was; that this was what “we” should expect as long as “we” continued to pursue outdated colonial desires to occupy a piece of Spain illegally. 

Most recently it was another Spanish ambassador, Agustin Santos, who at the United Nations General Assembly, condemned the “pernicious effects of having a colony; note; nestled” in his country’s territory. Then again Theresa May; when despite all her shows of support towards us, failed to include any mention of Gibraltar’s sovereignty in her letter to the EU commission, when invoking article fifty, this gave Pons the vindication he needed to say that Gibraltar was not part of the United Kingdom, but a colony!

We all know this is absurd. We all know why this is absurd; but the fact remains that said description of us, is now down as a footnote, in EU legislation.


In June 2016, when I wrote about the importance of knowing where we stood” I also wrote of the Falkland Islands, and how the Argentinian ambassador had hailed Corbyn as one of theirs, because they felt he could push public opinion towards a solution; as he had claimed that the Falklanders should not have any veto on any arrangement to be made. We all know what he said about us and direct rule! This is the same Labour leader with whom we might have to work with, depending on how the elections go!

At said time Mr. Cameron had said that a change of status for them would never happen unless desired by them; exactly what is always said in our case; and certainly not as long as he was in office. This is the problem with prime Ministers, that sooner or later they are no longer in power, and one never knows what will happen with their well meaning words after they have gone!

Boris Johnson has said in the past that Britain would take whatever action was necessary to safeguard Gibraltar, including a well functioning frontier with Spain. That has not come about yet; nor any change on the question of our waters. Then again one has to consider complex issues that may arise when politicians are trying to get into power and along the way make certain promises which later, once in the driving seat, may not be possible to realize.

As Samantha Power; author of the definitive book on stopping genocide; “a problem from Hell,” which won her the Pulitzer price; describes, when she was asked by Barack Obama to join his team; someone for whom, despite all, continued to greatly admire him to the end. She recalls how in his campaign, he promised to stand for human rights around the world. She worked by his side as his adviser on the National Security Council and later as Americas ambassador to the UN. In the first two months of his presidency however, matters which as a candidate he had promised to rectify when in office, were being sidelined. She witnessed how the President avoided the issue.


As an idealist, she soon learnt that power was a complex figure. One could also argue that Mr. Johnson at present is in a very precarious position; not knowing whether he is staying or going; so he has little time for such matters which are of such importance to us. Everyone is with us and everyone is offering us their support; but we still have not had anything from the UK Government that translates into something more tangible, in order for us to be able to look to the horizon, and not see the shadow of Spain looming over us, nor have to absorb its threatening breath.

There are many articles at present in the media which touch upon the precarious position that the overseas territories find themselves in. True that for us all, Brexit is the major event threatening change. However, being bundled up in an overseas territories of forgotten stakeholders, is not for us, because our situation is far more dire than any other I believe, and quite different too.

Remember the white paper from 1999, and one noble viscount Lord Montgomery of Alamein, who said that the only common factor running through the report on the Overseas Territories, was that they were responsible for issuing extremely beautiful stamps, which frequently became collectors items.


He was right to a point; as it happens, we have very little in common with any of the other overseas territories; with the exception of the Falkland’s with whom we have empathy with, as far as their political aspirations are concerned, and with whom we have built certain bonds over the years. I think we must endeavour to make those in power aware of this; aware that they can and must give us our place in their midst, because we have worked hard to be where we are, and have become a mature democracy with high standards and ethics worthy of their class.

We are not trying to have our cake and eat it, because securing our post-Brexit future as a fully fledged member of the UK is after all a fundamental right of ours. We have earned the recognition of our peers, and that must translate into a full acceptance into the family and not, as happens in some families, when they say “sorry, you’re not invited as it’s only for the immediate family.”