Yet more on Gib – yes!

Righty tighties.

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).

HMS Westminster
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
.

HMS W hiding around the back of the tower at the naval dockyard.  Other two ships up front,
HMS W hiding around the back of the tower at the naval dockyard. Other two ships up front.

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.

http://wp.me/p1XwsS-qr

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.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/10223329/Threats-to-cut-off-Gibraltar-inappropriate-says-mayor-of-Spanish-border-town.html

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?

Spanish politics
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?:


http://digitaljournal.com/article/355967

I would hate to think that Spain is edging towards the resurgence of fascism but Rajoy’s government is really pushing it.

Moving on.

Fishing
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.

UK action
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.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/jul/12/gibraltar.politics

Media
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.

Latest update
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

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37 comments on “Yet more on Gib – yes!

    • Cheers H, Spaniards are Ok. Their politicians are corrupt for the most part.

      Most people are really, self first. That’s why, as you say, people will still fly to the costa del sol or costa del wherever.

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  1. The greedy buzzards. Spain just can not leave well enough alone. Ego maniac politicians who should be worrying about how to make Spain better and instead want to stir up s—t. All of that rabble would be making me nervous. Extremely good post here and learned a few things or as much as my brain will absorb at this time of day. :-).

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    • Other end of the day here but I must be tired too as I read it how you intended! Anyway, fixed now. It’s a complex issue or rather there is a lot of history behind it and Spain chooses to make it an issue using as many excuses as possible. I’m pleased if you learned something and enjoyed the read.

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  2. Aljazeera had a piece on the Gib/Spain dust up Sunday. Couldn’t get a link due to our ISP problems which hopefully are now solved. For some reason AJ’s story was not as in depth as your report. 😉 Aljazeera America channel started broadcasting today. Suppose only those USers inquisitive about the ouside world will watch. RT (Russian Television) and the in English Chinese news CCTV always interesting to watch. Different sides to news and some wonderful documentaries. Always enjoy listening to BBC’s Costing The Earth podcasts. Informative and thought provoking.

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    • I thought AJ was good a while back, but when I was writing about the Turkish alleged terrorist who lived in La Linea and worked in Gib (on Partner’s firm) for years, their reporting left something to be desired and had a fair few errors. So I’m somewhat cautious when I read their news now, I think it has deteriorated. I read about them starting a channel for USers. I think reading different news sources is an excellent idea which is why I did look at AJ for a take on the terrorist arrests story:

      http://wp.me/p1XwsS-Z7 (don’t know if you read it or whether you were on internet holiday)

      In Spanish I tend to look at El Pais, they did good job on the above terrorism story. There’s more about my analysis of sources on the post.

      The problem with an incident like Sunday’s protest is that you can’t take anything in Gibraltar in isolation, it’s always tied up in the past, which is why I tend to remind people of the history. ‘Those who don’t know history,’ and all that ….

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    • As far as I know they are. Well the ones out of work, short of money and suffering cut backs in public services are. So are a lot of women as well as there was a big demo regarding anti-abortion law a while back.

      But yes, it’s standard practice to have a go at Gib when they have domestic problems. Some of the older Gibbos just roll their eyes, and say’ here we go again, we’ve seen it all before.’

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  3. A couple of points. First Dennis MacShane.

    From Wikipedia ‘On 2 November 2012, he was suspended from the Labour Party after the House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee found that he had submitted 19 false invoices “plainly intended to deceive” the parliamentary expenses authority. Later that day he announced his intention to resign as MP for Rotherham.’

    No comment from me needed on that. Whilst its nice to see Cameron standing up for Gibraltar one has to wonder if its only because of his be tough with everything to do with the EU, which in this case is the Spanish.

    I’m told by a diver friend of mine (who learnt to dive originally in Gibraltar) that reefs help develop fish stocks and the environment on the seabed and thus are ecologically a good thing.

    Finally pic on this page from the BBC of the collision between the Guarda Civil and Royal Gib Police boats. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23746532
    Its the sixth image in the slide show.

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    • i did read that about MacShane on Wiki. Real pillar of the community or rather the Commons eh?Not someone I would be trusting in a hurry.

      I’m no Tory and no Cameron fan, but at least he is standing up for Gib which is more than the Blair Govt did, trying to sell us down the river, or down the Med. Plus Blair and Aznar were pals and they all went leaping into Iraq together because America told them to.

      That reef comment is interesting. It would figure given coral reefs. I haven’t actually looked into it, I’ve concentrated on the news rather than the research behind the issues, and the history is just automatic these days so I can just churn that out without needing to look it up. You can’t live in Gib without knowing the history.

      Thanks for the pix link, they are good. Makes up for not going there. There was a TV crew around here yesterday filming the RN ships in the dockyard. They were from Antenna 3 (Channel 3) a Spanish station. One of Partner’s Gib colleagues started sounding off about them and nearly went ballistic! Feelings are running quite high among Gibraltarians.

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  4. As always, RS, I feel your pain as I see it in different ways here, too. A case in point: Churchill Falls, Labrador. Over 60 years ago we entered into a long-term ‘deal’ with Quebec Hydro regarding the transmission and sale of OUR hydro power. The situation is this: we are royally screwed by our neighboring province. They are reselling it at about 100x what we are charging and there’s no additional royalties to us. We have thoroughly checked the legality of their position and have discovered that they ‘did’ us well.
    And we have moved on. A deal is a deal. In a few years we won’t have to sell it to the effers but until the deal has expired we will.
    In the meantime we are now, as a province, pursuing a new hydro development. One that will create new power and will not put us at the mercy of that greedy bunch of bastards at Quebec Hydro. Guess what? They are now mounting a court challenge that says we have to sell our ‘new’ power to them at the same ridiculously low price they are getting it from the other station.
    “All” of “It” is not enough.
    That’s how greedy bastards work.
    Our Fed has repeatedly sold off our fishing rights to the EU (and, oh boy has Spain ever run with that one) apparently in pursuit of ‘bigger fish’ pun intended.
    That’s how greedy bastards work.
    We are little and very pissed off.
    We hate the greedy bastards at Quebec Hydro who would take what is ours.
    We hate the greedy bastards at Ottawa who would give away what is ours.
    We hate the greedy bastards in Spanish Fishing boats (like the Estai) who take what is ours.
    Sound familiar.
    RS–I feel your pain.

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    • Our Rocks have our similarities eh? Yours is bigger than ours, but we are both smaller than our neighbours and on the end of bullying tactics. That’s the essence of it isn’t it?

      I assume there is/or has been an ‘Independence for Newf’ movement? It probably isn’t economically viable. You need a Gib status, independent in everything but defence and foreign policy.

      When, as I said before on a previous fishing post, even Spaniards admit they overfish everywhere they drop their sticky little nets, I would have thought it was fairly clear they abusing other countries, their people, the environment and the oceans.

      As a slightly related aside, the last two chief ministers of Gib have both been lawyers. It’s not the case in the UK, where there is an army of civil servants and back-up, being UK Prime Minister is a totally different job. But in a small place like Gib with limited resources, I can see why being a lawyer as chief minister has built-in advantages. All Gib’s problems are caused by Spain citing alleged illegalities.

      Sounds like we inhabit the same murky waters.

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    • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Me da igual to be honest. I’m not interested in what someone considers Rajoy to be so long as he doesn’t get re-elected.

      fascism |ˈfa sh ˌizəm| (also Fascism)
      noun
      an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.
      • (in general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.

      An article from the FT on Rajoy’s latest distraction from the poor economy:
      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/376f6bf0-c477-11e2-bc94-00144feab7de.html#axzz2caBoZO8o

      I consider Rajoy to be de facto fascist, as is the PP. Proposed anti-abortion laws taking the right from women to choose what to do with their own body in order to placate the Catholic Church is pretty right-wing. As is threatening to shut off the border and isolate Gib. Both actions previously carried out by Franco (an acknowledged fascist). Next they will be banning nude sunbathing (banned under Franco).

      I take your point (although don’t agree) but it’s semantics isn’t it? Surely if you disagree with someone you have an objection with what they are saying, their logic, reasoning, argument whatever.

      verb |əbˈjekt| [ reporting verb ]
      say something to express one’s disapproval of or disagreement with something

      … would appear to bear me out

      I can live with disagreement on my blog. When it affects peoples’ lives it is slightly different. I posted the comment as it was a good example of what some Spanish people think. It’s a valuable insight. He added a later comment that I’ll probably post about later, I’d already written this by the time he had commented again.

      So no m’lud. Your suggestion of a new definition is rejected. As is your accusation of journalistic licence. My reporting and my use of English are as accurate as most, if not more than most.

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    • Thank you kindly. I’m probably the equivalent of a Gib special correspondent and given the years I have been ‘stationed’ here I should be able to provide an informed post. Plus, I don’t have any space/length/word restrictions so I can recap the background and the history.

      Fishing demonstration on its own isn’t much of a news story, add the rest of it and it is a much better report.

      Thanks re the ankle. I’ve got the patience (sort of) and I do keep it up some of the time. The pain seems to be receding a bit, so that’s a start.

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  5. On the historical thing… Spain didn’t actually exist as Spain until the union of the crowns of Aragon and Castille. That technically means that Gibraltar as an independent territory pre-dates Spain- and was not part of Spain until it was captured by the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1462. In turn that means that Gibraltar was only part of Spain for 230 years, less years than it’s been part of the British crown. A historical claim is laughable. If we’re going down that road why doesn’t France just claim Spain as part of its territory because Joseph Bonaparte was made King of Spain in the 19th century? Why doesn’t Britain reclaim the US and Canada? Why don’t the Italian’s take all of Europe since they once ruled it?

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    • I’ve done some history and date posts before but there’s only so much you can write before people drift off.
      .
      Spain, for want of a better word, also took Gib in 14th century but only for a few years. The union of Spain was 1501 AFAIR so it might as well be referred to as Spain when Medina Sedonia took it. In fact Muslims held Gib for longer than Spain and Gib put together.

      Territorial integrity don’t you know? Watch out Portugal. I don’t mind a reasonable and valid argument but I have yet to see one for Spain taking over Gib. And there is no way local Spaniards (ie the gente in the campamento de Gib) want that because they know they wouldn’t get the same wages, that’s if they even got work if Spain ever put it’s grasping hands on Gib.

      Politics and nationalism is one thing, but I don’t know a single Spaniard working in Gib who pragmatically wants it to be Spanish.

      I did make a similar comment to your last one on my previous post to one person. ie Why doesn’t the UK reclaim Canada, US, Australia, NZ, India – and that’s just for starters. It’s the same (il)logic.

      I am beginning to think there is something bizarre about the Spanish obsession with Gib that defies logic. Either than or they just want to control the entrance/exit to the Med :)

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  6. Love the history recap. Your on the ground view point is important. Regular media is so inbred and tainted. (Suspected much of this noise is Spain temper tantrums again). How hard is it? People of the area should decide who they are.
    Anyone who was in Spain during Franco can’t understand how anyone would consider going that direction; tanks going down the street. Barbed wire around universities. People being shot and disappearing without question being allowed to ask. Safe? Yeah, but scary – vey scary. TANKS in the street. Black uniformed soldiers on every corner. Did I say tanks? (it made an impression)
    You could get to Gib from Morocco – but no way from Spain at that time.
    You are right. It is some bizarre obsession that defied logic.
    Enjoyed the post.

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    • I know the history but I also know not everyone will remember it from previous posts, even though, for example, you have read most of them about disputes. It’s important to include the summary. Even I forget what I’ve written.

      Self-determination is a sound principle but not apparently one that Spain thinks should apply to Gib.

      I don’t think Spain is going down the TANKS road yet, although they were pretty oppressive when they were dealing with protesters a while ago. Some very nasty tactics went on. Pink summed it up eloquently in his comment (on the previous post I think) about Rajoy’s government practising fascist ideaology, anti-gay rights, anti-women’s rights, and curtailing media independence. That’s before you get into bailing out the rich bankers and the government corruption allegations and Swiss bank accounts.

      We were discussing the entry/exit route via Morocco the other day. There is currently a weekend ferry to Tanger, leaves Gib Friday, comes back Sunday. But apparently before, the trick was to sail out of Gib, enter Moroccan waters and then enter Spanish waters to dock in Algeciras, thus avoiding two trips.

      Thanks, pleased you enjoyed the read. There is more news now! but I think I have reached saturation point for now.

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  7. I am always in awe of your research and writing it for these posts, I was actually going to let you know a few days ago about the fishing and the border control and how it has blown up and hitting our main headline news. I read with interest your articles and I do not make any personal views except that I an British and on their viewpoint. But your words makes me smile as well as thinking how stupid people/countries and MPs can be. great read.’K’. ;)

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    • Thanks Gerry. Tbh, most of the Gib stuff is at my fingertips. I know the history and recent news because I have written about the subjects so many times :D A bit of multi-national (ie Spanish, Gibbo, Morrocan) gossip from Partner, a look at GBC news and shazzam! a post writes itself.

      Everybody within Gib is happy with the status quo. Everyone living over the border and working in Gib is happy with the status quo. So why call for a change that no-one wants eg the 99% vote in favour of remaining British in the referendums?

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        • Gerry, it has been on-going for years (309 to be accurate), it just doesn’t normally make news outside Gib or La Linea.

          I think Spain has upped the ante, crap economy, corruption allegations, so let’s pick on a weak victim, plus queues of six hours for a five/ten minutes border crossing – if that – at quiet times, and in journalism terms, August is the famed silly season when there is no ‘real’ news ie Parliament doesn’t sit, so any story is ripe for the picking.

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  8. Theres of obviously something in the Spanish mentality that doesnt grasp the concept of democracy, witness their bullying of Gib and their cousins bullying of The Falklands, but what would have to Gibs position in Europe if the Uk ever pulled out?

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    • I think when Spaniards are born they are drip fed the mantra ‘Gibraltar SHOULD be ours. It IS ours. We MUST get it back.’

      I don’t think it would make much difference. Spain doesn’t recognise us as being in the EU anyway. And as we have a frontier to cross, passports to show, that wouldn’t change either. Switzerland seems to manage all right.

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  9. Let me get this straight. There is ridiculously high unemployment in Spain. So Spaniards go to Gib for work. And their government wants to impose a twice daily toll on them (because it would apply to them as well as everyone else, right?) to cross the border? Just to screw with the British?

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    • Actually I’m not sure it would apply to Spaniards. I think the last proposed toll was going to exempt Spaniards. How you can have a ‘congestion charge’ that exempts one nationality without falling foul of discrimination is utterly beyond me.

      But yes, in answer to your last question.

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  10. Good history lesson, I enjoyed reading it. It seems to me that it really is for the people to decide and they seem to have made it quite clear where they stand and Spain should surely accept that but I don’t think we should demonise all Spanish people because of the dispute. I imagine that there are quite a few who couldn’t care less!
    However, did Gibraltar tell Spain that it was planning to build the reef? If not it seems rather confrontational, after all, if I was going to do some home improvements that might affect my neighbour then I think I would have the good manners to discuss it with them first! Just a thought!

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    • Thanks. It was really to set context.

      I’m not demonising all Spaniards. Definitely the government, and anyone who thinks Gib should be Spanish a) because it was 300 years ago and b) for reasons of territorial integrity. Gemma Araujo (Mayor of La Linea), for example, has worked hard to improve relations with Gib.

      That’s a good analogy. Let’s continue it. You allow your neighbours to visit your garden to pick crops and flowers. They’ve already stripped their garden bare, and those of a few other neighbours. (qv Maurice’s quote re fishing in Newfoundland) In fact one member of the family next-door readily admits that they have trashed their own garden so they need to go elsewhere to deplete others.

      Being a nice person, you have agreed for them to take what they want, making sure they respect the integrity of the plants. But they don’t. They just rip them out, leaving you with no successional crops or flowers.

      You decide to build a polytunnel. They aren’t happy with that. They threaten to destroy it. Instead they come and have a peaceful protest in your garden. You ask some neighbours in to monitor the demonstration and it nearly comes to blows.

      Your neighbours tell you your house isn’t legal, neither is your garden. They apply to the local council for your garden, and one of the councillors is a member of their family so the council rules in favour of them getting your garden.

      It doesn’t matter that you and Kim want to stay in your house, and that you have had it for donkey’s years. Your neighbours want it – for free, I might add. They want to kick you out on the streets.

      Their cousins want your other house – shall we call that one the Falklands?

      Shall I go on? You want to put some compost/turf/doesn’t really matter what, down in your garden for a new project as you still maintain the garden is yours. The neighbours blockade your garden and won’t let the delivery truck in because they say you have bought it illegally from some dodgy person up the street (refers to some sand trucks not being allowed into Gib).

      It’s not actually anything to do with the alleged illegality, it’s because your neighbours don’t want you to carry out the new project in your/their garden. (Refers to a development on Gib’s East Side).

      Good exercise, thanks for that. Perhaps I will make it into a blog post :)

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      • I realise that you weren’t demonising the Spanish, just some of your readers. Great response – That would make a good post but I still think it might have been a good idea just to mention it first, it might have stopped a lot of unnecessary trouble. Has it stopped you going back & forth to Spain? I was looking forward to one of your bus journey stories!

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        • I wasn’t demonising my reader. It was a good example of a Spanish mindset from the horse’s mouth. As was his subsequent comment which I may post up later along with the garden analogy.

          I have no idea whether or not it was mentioned beforehand but if you think that would have stopped any ‘unnecessary trouble’ then you are greener than the grass in your/their garden. Another excuse would promptly have been found.

          This is not about diplomacy. This is about politics and Spain’s crushed pride because the Anglo Dutch force naughtily stole Gib from them in 1704 and they have wanted it back ever since.

          Bunkering is illegal (when Gib does it), the reef is illegal and damages the environment, the runway is illegal, all the housing on reclaimed land is illegal, Gib is illegal because the Treaty of Utrecht was a long time ago and so now we should ignore it because Spain still wants Gib back. And a right rat’s arse they would make of it too.

          Let’s go back to the garden. Your neighbours won’t let you in and out of your house. Once you get out of the door, they won’t let you back in and you have to stand there for six hours. Same happens when you finally escape and want to return. It’s summer and it’s hot (OK maybe not in the UK). You are in full sun, while they are in the shade under a parasol with bottles of water.

          It doesn’t matter whether you agree to not build a polytunnel, not returf the lawn, let them take all the crops they want, They. Stll. Want. Your. House. They will do whatever they can to make your life miserable.

          It hasn’t but my sprained ankle has. See last post for really exciting pic of bruised and swollen ankle.

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  11. Your point that the Gib—Spain situation shouldn’t be making international news interests me, and it’s true, Spain gets a mention re global economies and unemployment but nothing in depth. I get all my real news via WordPress. At the moment in the local news media we are being inundated with quality Federal election news such as “Rudd muscles up to Abbott. Tough talk . . . ‘Does this guy ever shut up?’ Tony Abbott snapped at Kevin Rudd during the debate.” (AFR) In world news Syria is sadly, and rightfully, getting lead coverage.

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    • The point is that it is a manipulated, contrived, artificial situation, created solely by Spain as part of their constant bullying of Gib regarding their claim to Gib which they ceded 300 years ago. I don’t like that people even consider Spain to have any legal or territorial or any other rights to Gib.

      Gib doesn’t impose frontier queues. On leaving Gib there is no customs or police. On leaving Spain there are both. Yesterday evening there were three hour queues to go out. The truth is the queues happen every summer. A bit like rubbish collectors go on strike in summer because it has more impact with stinking bins.

      Gib doesn’t claim anything of Spain’s. We don’t fish in their waters, bleat about their bunkering, or their shitty oil refinery built under Franco that sends toxic fumes over here. But we’re just used to it here, people shrug and get on with their lives.

      To me Spain is trying to make news, gain sympathy, lobby for support to its claims, and that’s what I think is devious and unreasonable.

      I’m not up on Aussie politics these days. What I do read seems somewhat acrimonious. Blogs are a good source of news, I learn quite a bit from them too. It’s good that people talk about news items on their blogs, saves lazy me having to look elsewhere, plus you get the personal/local insight too.

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