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Saturday 1 April 2017

Gibraltar - HOW DARE THEY?

Our free and fearless press was, it seems, looking to tone down its howling denunciation of anything and everything coming out of the EU: after Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, had set out his draft negotiating position on Article 50 talks, both the Daily Mail and Sun were about to adopt a more measured tone. But, after a perusal of the small print, both were aghast - and hostilities were duly resumed.
The normally thundering tone of Daily Mail Comment, the authentic voice of the Vagina Monologue, was replaced withA welcome end to EU sabre rattling” (the pretence that the EU, by merely sitting there in Brussels, is “sabre rattling”, must be maintained). Over at the Baby Shard bunker, today’s Sun Says tellsThere’s plenty to object to in EU’s response to Article 50 letter - but let’s not overreact”. So what changed all that?

Ah well. The sting in this particular tail is Gibraltar, ceded to Britain in the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 and now a British Overseas Territory. There, the vote to Remain was a massive 96%. The Rock is heavily dependent on maintaining free movement: thousands of its workers cross the border with Spain every day, coming over from the nearby town of La Linea de la ConcepciĆ³n. The concept of “hard Brexitwould not go down well there.

And the press, as so often, forgot about that until the news broke yesterday: “After lobbying from Spanish diplomats, a clause has been inserted in the EU’s draft Brexit negotiating guidelines that appears to allow Spain to exclude Gibraltar from any transitional single market access arrangement or future trade deal with the UK if it is not satisfied with the status of the territory”. Whoops! And there was more.

This suggests that unless Britain is willing to let its citizens on ‘the rock’ be subject to an inferior economic future than those in the UK, the EU has effectively handed the Spanish government a veto on Britain’s entire future relationship with the bloc”. Those dastardly foreigners - how very dare they! This only served to confirm press conviction that anyone who talks foreign is not to be trusted. There was, by common consent, “fury”.

Fury as Spain is handed the right to BLOCK Gibraltar from any Brexit deal by the small print of Donald Tusk's Article 50 planhowled the Mail. “Fury at EU plans for Spain veto on Gibraltar … Spanish power grab row clouds progressscreamed the Sun, telling readers “An EU official said Gibraltar was ‘disputed territory’, despite being in British hands for 300 years”. But they have red phone boxes! We must dispatch a gunboat!

There was a predictable response: “The move infuriated Tory MPs who accused Spain of trying to steal sovereignty”. There would be “no sell-out”. Dammit, they would write to the Times about it, I tell you! But none of those frothing and ranting had understood the very basic point: Britain no longer has a seat at the table. Every other EU member state is agnostic on Gibraltar - except Spain. Spain lobbies; Spain wins. End of story.

Gibraltar was always going to be a problem for Britain and an opportunity for Spain. That the Europhobic press missed that only underscores their uselessness. No change there.


Arnold said...

It's what the UK voted for last year. Odd how Brexiters are such bad winners.

POTUS said...

Spain? Isn't that a part of Mexico or something? Just build a wall and make them use their pesos to pay for it.

rob said...

But, but there could be "hopes and expectations" of massive job opportunities for those wishing to travel to Gibraltar and be window wipers for those car owners queuing to get into Spain. As there might possibly be in Dover.

Look on the bright side of life - the anthem of the Happy Clappy Band from Lalaland.

Rivo said...

The weird thing is, problems like Gibraltar and the Irish question were raised by Remain campaigners both during and since the referendum. And every time the gallant Brexiteers brushed away such questions with the familiar airy dismissals of "Project FearTM", "German cars!" "Will of the people" and "You lost, get over it"

Ceebs said...

The thing that amazes me is that our nationalists, thinking they are acting in the interests of our country, are suddenly shocked that other countries nationalists will act in what they perceive to be their national interests. How can this possibly be a surprise? especially when the Spanish government publicly announced that they would be doing this the day the result was known.

A.Robot (Mrs) said...

And our foreign secretary, using the language of Paul Burrell and the medium of Donald Trump, tweets some lame crap about his 'rock-like' commitment.
Cometh the hour, cometh a bunch of nonentities .......

Unknown said...

The Tories only care about Gibraltar as an imperial bauble. It's not as if it's Surrey, is it?

Get ready for Gibraltar to be explained away as surplus to requirements when they opt to become an autonomous Spanish province. We have always been at war with Eastasia.