The end of an Era, or perhaps not

Carmen Gomez

After what seems a decade shaped by the introduction into our lives of a nightmare called Brexit, and the overwhelming desire by the peoples of the world; not so much its governments; to introduce new ways to try and halt climate change; it feels like the end of an era to me. Yet it isn’t. The question is whether this end of an era, will usher in the possibility of completing something satisfactorily, either on the Brexit front, or the convincement of certain governments to have the political will to change their ways and if not halt, at least delay climate change for now. Immediately after the UK election results, the mood in the EU towards Britain was no longer “you are out in the cold,” but, “what we now look for is close cooperation.” I once hard a local politician say that women talked too much; I believe it’s the politicians themselves who are over verbose, when they are made to feel uncomfortable. 


Again, shortly after the election results, there was on Spanish TV the usual insults thrown at Boris Johnson, calling him a despot amongst other pearls. On La Sexta an English journalist, name of John Carlin; took care to paint him in what he believed to be his true colours. Starting by saying that he had a moral deficiency; that he had no principles; that he was a liar; dishonest and a narcissistic so and so who regarded politics as a minority sport. I find it extraordinary how on Spanish TV there is no holding back on ones opinions or the use of derogatory language, however vulgar, against any public figure; on this particular occasion, the Prime Minister of a country who is supposed to be Spain’s ally. He ended up by saying that he had had enough of the UK and was moving to Spain. I’m sure they deserve him!

But what were of interest primarily, were the replies from a Spanish EU delegate on Canal Tres, when questioned by the presenter on matters concerning Brexit. He said that the primordial matter at hand was for the Spanish Government to start work immediately, to make sure that Spain had its rights firmly assured with the tourist industry; the fishing industry and the automobile industry. if you recall, I have on many occasions referred to the British fisheries and how they have been exploited and manipulated by Spain, with the UK`s blessing. Yes that’s all very well, the presenter said, but what about the people? His answer to that was that there would no doubt now be a soft brexit, and all would be well. What about the Campo area, was the presenter’s next question. To which the reply came; we will see to it that our workers rights are secured and respected, and their passage into work free of any delays or obstructions.


What about Gibraltar? Reply: This is a win win situation for the EU. We have no problem there, since we have the full support of the EU behind us to start making inroads as soon as the UK leaves. Spain now speaks through the EU. I suppose this is a sensible thing to do for them since Spanish journalists of late have described the politics in Spain as infantilized. One of them said it was pathetic to note on the matter of Pedro Sanchez trying to form a government, how the different entities or political groups he was contacting, were acting like children i.e. with responses from them like “If you arrange to see them first, I won’t play with you.” Adding that the spirit of the Transition was nothing like that of today.

None of this I’m sorry to say, gives us much hope of any breakthrough possible in the grown up world of politics where Gibraltar abides. Dominic Raab continues; much to the chagrin of some; in the post of Foreign Secretary. I read somewhere that he entered the Tory leadership race even though he had not read the Good Friday agreement from start to finish; and furthermore, did not understand the importance of Britain’s trading relationship with France. One cannot believe everything one reads, but the truth is that he has had little contact with our Government I believe, due to the brevity of his appointment, and I wonder how much interest he has in our affairs vis a vis Spain, or indeed how much he has read up, or been informed about the subject.


Does he know that in 1954, our Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, visited Gibraltar and what Mayhem ensued from the Spanish camp. Or that in 2009, when the Princess Royal came to Gibraltar on an official visit, we had fun and games from Madrid. Or that in 1981, when Prince Charles and Princess Diana started their honeymoon from Gibraltar, this caused disturbing comments made on Spanish TV, of how they would be punished by God; plus the Spanish King, Juan Carlos, having stayed away from Prince Charles’s wedding when he heard of the visit? Or that when Prince Edward and his wife Sophie countess of Wessex later visited Gibraltar in 2012, the Queen of Spain, Sophia, was made to pull out of attending a jubilee lunch at Windsor, because of it? All the time with us suffering the dire consequences of troubles at the frontier and at sea.

On every occasion of any Royal visit, there has been much to do from Spain. They consider Royal visits which are normal to British Gibraltar, as they are for Ceuta ands Melilla when the Spanish king visits Spanish Morocco; an offensive to Spain; an affront; inopportune; deeply offensive; deeply unfortunate and provocative. Will he understand what kind of mentality he will have to deal with in Anglo Spanish relations, or will he conduct himself in the manner of the UK ambassador to Morocco?