Like a semi-Spanish friend said: “Jesus, just when you thought the PP had hit rock bottom, they take out a shovel and start digging”. I’m of course talking about the sudden flare about Gibraltar, where the government of Spain in an apparent attempt to bolster national feelings so that everyone would be deflected from fuming at the government’s alleged corruption.
For many reasons, History and the past has granted, blessed or saddled the UK (take your pick according to your bias) with overseas bits of land. Thankfully, for us and for the inhabitants of those overseas lands, we’ve given back or lost most. In the case of the Falklands and Gibraltar, the locals have said they want to remain with us, and so they are.
One could of course launch into a tirade about imperialism and imperial possessions. With any country but Spain that may have been a fruitful distraction and a chance to air some oft-repeated talking points.
But we’re talking about Spain, who created the second biggest empire of world history and who still cling to bits of land – just as the UK does. One such bit of land lies on the opposite side of the Mediterranean from Gibraltar. The enclave city of Melilla has for a long time functioned as a focal point for Moroccan ire.
When Spain declares its intention to negotiate about Melilla’s status with Morocco, I suppose one could bilaterally talk about Gibraltar with the PP. However, ultimately, the citizens of both cities are the ultimate decision makers of what national entity they want to belong to. And, apparently, the inhabitants of Gibraltar have made no secret of their desire to remain British.
Now, if only the UK government could clean up its tax haven status and banking practises. But who are we kidding here? The government likes to have those things, or we wouldn’t have several such havens. We’re not the bad boys of banking in this country for nothing.