Saturday, February 21, 2009


The socialist senator who speaks for PSOE on foreign affairs, José Carracao, has stated that the visit by the Princess Royal to Gibraltar in March is “inopportune” as it “injures the sensitivities of Spanish public opinion and that of the Campo in particular.”

“We have nothing against the Royal Family or the Princess of course. What is provocative is that Princess Anne should come over to open a medical centre with her own name built on the isthmus. And this on a territory that is subject to dispute.”

I somewhat doubt whether the visit does injure the sensitivities of the Spanish people – I think they are more concerned with whether they’ll keep their job, how they’ll find a new one, or how to put food on their tables and pay the bills in the economic crisis. However a Royal visit to the Rock is a good diversion in troubled times.

The former mayor of Jimena and president of the Campo de Gibraltar town halls went on to say: “If it is high profile it could, I think, prejudice the talks” being the Tripartite Forum between Britain, Gibraltar and Spain. “If the visit sees the princess swamped by the multitudes I would not be surprised if it derails the talks.”

There is a lot of nonsense talked by Spanish politicians on this issue. Gibraltar has been British for over three hundred years and the people of the Rock have the every right to be visited by a member of their Royal family. In the very same way that the Spanish populations in the North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla have the right to be visited by their King and Queen. Indeed on those occasions Spanish politicians care little for the “sensitivities” of the Moroccan people and nation who claim the enclaves as their own.

As a Briton living in Spain I am totally indifferent as to whether Gibraltar remains British, becomes Spanish, has joint sovereignty or total independence. What I have always maintained is that the right to self determine their future lies with the people of Gibraltar alone –and the Rock is not for Britain to give away or for Spain to take.

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