More on the Gib sitrep. (Situation report for anyone who hasn’t worked in the health service, armed forces and anyone else who uses that abbreviation).
Let’s start with HMS Westminster who sailed into Gib yesterday. Do warships sail? Anyway she is a Type 23 frigate off for a jolly in the Med where everyone practises whatever they practise. Then she’s off to somewhere near Suez to support our allies. Um, it would be nicer if you stayed in Gib and supported your British Overseas Territory actually.
Peacekeeping is one thing, but surely the Ministry of Defence should be doing just that? Defending.
HMS Westminster was accompanied by some Royal Fleet (Air Arm?) auxiliary ships
That’s the official position. The goss on the street position is that our boys and girls in blue were sitting outside the Trafalgar pub, and on a Pippawalk (obviously not with Ms Sprained Ankle) they were heard to say they wanted to see some action and kick some Spanish arse. Or similar such words. Good one, boys and girls.
This morning they were up bright and early, and off for a spot of exercise – running up the Rock. Some of them were carrying rucksacks too. I tell you, I wouldn’t be messing with anyone fit enough to run up the Rock of Gibraltar. Please stay, nice people. Please?
Proposed border toll
Speaking of nice people, that nice Señor Barroso, Portuguese pres of the EU has told Spain that it is not legal to impose a toll to enter/exit Gib.
As most of my readers weren’t around three years ago, I’ll give you a quick history lesson. Back then I wrote about a proposed toll to enter/exit Gib by the then Mayor of La Linea, Alejandro Sanchez, a member of the Partido Popular (PP). At the time, Zapatero was in power. Zap was prime minister of Spain and a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE). I quite liked Zap, he did some good things.
The proposed toll was five euros. It was rejected as illegal by Madrid, ie by the Spanish (PSOE) government.
Now we have the reverse situation. The current mayor of La Linea is PSOE, Gemma Araujo, and she has worked hard to establish a good relationship with GIb. Would that not be sensible given that thousands of Spaniards cross the border daily for work, and – normally – Gibraltarians go shopping in Spain. And it is Madrid, ie the PP, that is proposing the astronomical €50 euro border tax.
Just to make this clear, three years ago the local right-wing mayor proposed a toll and the socialist government knocked it back. Now we have a right-wing Spanish government proposing an even higher toll and the local socialist mayor disagrees with it. Politics or what?
To understand the Gib sit, a basic knowledge of Spanish politics is called for. The PP is a so-called watered-down version of the fascist Franco régime.
Franco was the dictator who ruled Spain from 1939 until 1975. No-one knows how many deaths he was responsible for but figures vary from 30,000 to 50,000. Depends whether or not you include the Civil War deaths or the executions afterwards.
How about a couple of personal examples? My neighbour’s father was dragged from the family home (they were Andalucían peasants working on the land) and carted off to Oviedo where he died – aka was killed – in prison when she was just a young girl, leaving her mother, her and her sister to pick beans to survive. That’s why she can’t read. No school for her.
Adelina’s husband José also had a Civil War death. His family weren’t Franco supporters so someone decided to shoot his younger brother in cold blood. Not much point reporting it to the fascist police was there?
It was Franco who closed the border with Gib from 1969 to 1985.
The PP was founded (in 1976) by a former Franco minister the year after Franco’s death. It is basically, the direct inheritor of the Franco régime but in a so-called democracy. It favours the rich, bankers, aristocracy, the church, and victimises the poor, the working classes, and women.
On my previous post, one – Spanish – commenter objected to me calling Rajoy fascist. Now the PP may well not be called fascist per se but their actions are. And talking about cutting off Gib is exactly what Franco did, and that is what the PP are now threatening. Fascist bullies.
Here is the comment from the previous post:
your views look of great interest given that you live in both sides of the line. I don´t agree with some of your points. I don´t consider our president a fascist and I think that we came back to talk about Utrecht Treaty because of the Gibraltarians throwing some blocs of concrete into the sea. I think some other matters such as queues to enter or leave the Rock, good relationships between the Gibraltarians and Spanish people and agreements on conditions of a colony or an independent country must be solved out. The will of people in Gibraltar counts a lot, but do not forget those on the other side.
A couple of points.
1) I do consider Rajoy and his government to be fascist in attitude and actions and it is my right to say so
2) No Spain did not start talking about Utrecht because of the concrete blocks. Spain has been bleating about Utrecht ever since it was signed and the deal was done. Utrecht was brought up when the runway was built. Utrecht is brought up every time Spain can find an excuse.
At the time of signing 300 years ago, Gibraltar was a small citadel. Spain considers that anything outside the city walls in not applicable to Utrecht. Things change, time moves on. Is Gib really supposed to just remain within the city walls because Spain thinks it shouldn’t build or expand? We aren’t invading Spain.
Did Spain abide by the Treaty of Utrecht when it repeatedly tried – and failed – to recapture Gibraltar in the eighteenth century? There’s not much mention of that comes up these days is there?
3) Gibraltar is not a colony. It is a British Overseas Territory. The fact that the UN does not accept this is because Spain disputes it. Just like Argentina disputes the Falklands. Exactly the same.
Just like Morocco disputes Spanish sovereignty over Ceuta, Melilla, Luta/Perejil, Chafarinas Islands, Alhucemas Islands, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, and with Portugal we have Spanish disputed territory over Couto Mixto, Olivenza and Táliga.
And Spain is accusing the UK of colonialism?
Gibraltar’s status is very clear. There is nothing to ‘solve out’. It is an independent state but part of the sovereign realm of the UK. Easy. It has its own government, but the UK is responsible for foreign policy and defence. Spain ceded Gib in perpetuity in 1713. That means like forever for the benefit of those Spaniards and anyone else who doesn’t understand.
4) The will of the people of Gibraltar is paramount. And a 99% vote in favour of remaining British is pretty clear. Why should we take into account the views of those on the other side? Do Gibbos/Brits want to have a say in Spanish politics? No. Does Spain take into account the views of French, Portuguese or Gibraltarians? Uh? No.
Spain does NOT have a say in running Gibraltar. It is not Spanish, nor has it been since 1704 (date of actual Anglo-Dutch victory in battle of Spanish Succession, the treaty came later).
I thought it was an interesting comment as it well sums up a Spanish perspective:
a) there is a problem that needs sorting (no there isn’t)
b) it’s a recent issue due to the fishing dispute (no it isn’t)
c) Spaniards have the right for their views to be taken into account (no they don’t).
And, here is a nice political post just to emphasise that the PP really isn’t remotely fascist at all.
A PP mayor in Baralla (northern Spain) has said that the Franco victims probably deserved to die. Really?:
I would hate to think that Spain is edging towards the resurgence of fascism but Rajoy’s government is really pushing it.
Apparently the demonstration on Sunday was incident free. We put up the Royal Gib Police, the Defence Police, Port Authority, Customs and the RN. Street gossip however has it that one Guardia Civil vessel was cornered by one of our ships and a RIB then sat on it. Hm, that doesn’t sound incident free.
The good Spanish fisherpeople are threatening further action. WTF don’t they just go fish somewhere else? Have they nothing better to do? Or nowhere else to fish?
How about Manos Limpas? Clean hands for non-spanish speakers.
It’s a public service union that has filed a complaint to the EU against Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Governor of Gib, Sir Adrian Jones, for the creation of the artificial reef which has created environmental damage. As much damage as Spanish overfishing? While they were at it, they added smuggling, drug trafficking and money laundering to the list of gripes. Given that the Governor is the Queen’s rep in Gib I think that’s a bit OTT.
So who is/are Manos Limpias? Because all unions are lefty, yes? Not this one. Described as far right and came to fame when it criticised Spanish judge Baltazar Garzón who investigated crimes committed during the Civil War back in 2008.
To be fair Cameron (Brit PM) has pulled his finger out. He spoke to Barroso about the toll, who pronounced it illegal, although Spain has said they will make sure it is legal. Aaaaaagh! Not the previous excuse of a congestion charge. Can’t anyone see that Spain is just acting like a bully?
The EU is allegedly sending a team to look at queues in September. I mean it’s really difficult to get down to Gib isn’t it? AND Sept is too late. The GC always hold people up over the summer hols. David (Cameron) has asked the EU team to come down sooner but they aren’t playing. What’s wrong with a week in Gib in summer I ask, all exes paid?
One of our MEPs, Julie Girling, (Cons) has been abused on social media by Spaniards. It clearly isn’t shutting her up. According to Bluonthemove, she has suggested Brits shouldn’t holiday in Spain. I would recommend Morocco myself. Or Greece. Or maybe the UK, there’s a thought. Possibly even Gib? Nah, too dear for cheapskate sunhunters.
Denis MacShane, (Labour and former Minister for Europe) has criticised Cameron for involving the EU. Why? Apparently it isn’t the done thing to involve the EU in disputes between Madrid and London.
Perhaps I can just remind everyone that MacShane, as a former member of the Labour Party, and previous Minister for Europe, was a member of the UK government that was planning to give up Gib to Spain under Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, back in 2002. Also complicit in the plot were foreign office minister Peter Hain and sleaze arse prime minister Blair. I hope they all rot in hell.
Because, Gib was interfering with the UK’s relationship with Spain. Just ignore the wishes of 30,000 people eh? Who have a legal and inalienable right to British citizenship and sovereignty.
To end on a serious note, I have been told by people in the UK, Australia, Canada, and America that this situation is making their news. Thanks to Phil for the link to WSJ and EllaDee for the link to ABC (both links in comments to last post). Maurice (Newfoundland) and PMOTH (Texas) also mentioned they had read about it. As did Iquitoz in California.
The trouble is, this shouldn’t be making international news. It is elevating something to importance that it doesn’t merit and actually justifies Spain’s action by reporting it. Golden PR/media rule, don’t respond to/report something that isn’t news. Spain is trying to make it news.
I hope Spain’s corruption allegations and high unemployment rate are receiving as much coverage in overseas media. Because when Spain has sorted out those problems and got 27% of people into work, and their 50% of unemployed young people into work, maybe they can arse around about Gibraltar. Because my neighbour in Spain hasn’t had a full-time job since 2003.
Sort out your own back yard Spain.
Cameron has said no to bilateral talks, ie between Spain and UK on sovereignty and no to talks on fishing waters. Only possible talks to be included with Gib about fishing practices. Hmmmm, I could be persuaded to vote Conservative if I lived in the UK.
Ironically in Gib, it’s the opposite. The staunch defenders of Gib’s current status are socialist whereas the previous right-wing government was all for cuddling up with Spain.
And Spanish Foreign Minister Margallo is bleating about the artificial reef. It is an issue of ‘most immediate concern’. Unlike your domestic problems sweetheart and your economy. Apparently it is environmental violation – unlike overfishing.
Oh, and btw Spain has actually designated Gib waters as an environmental special area or some such crap. That still need to be fished by our good persons from La Linea and Algeciras.
Margallo wants the artificial reef removed. What about the artificial reefs the Spaniards have dumped around the Spanish coastine? Well Señor Margallo?
Now please, no more news, or I will never get this post published.
News sources: GBC and Partner