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We can’t have been the only people ...

scratching our heads during Gibraltar’s

latest minor rumble with Spain.

Like the Falklands, Gibraltar is very much a relic of empire – albeit a small

self-governing nation  that's older than the United States of America

and yet it's a relic that seems to arouse incredibly strong feelings in anyone 

who goes anywhere near the subject of its sovereignty. This film represents 

a very personal view of the subject: director Ana Garcia is Gibraltarian and 

her take on the issue is doubtless filtered through family experience

'Britain may be a small island, but I would challenge anyone

to find a country with a prouder history, a bigger heart or

greater resilience' - as our Prime Minister David Cameron stated

at the very latest G20 Jamboree in St Petersburg - the result of

which brings into question - CAN WE literally afford to continue with

even the idea of a United Nations let alone the continually rising

cost of war and every aspect of alleviating the consequences of

consequences of a species riven apart by ethnic, cultural and

economic divisions !!!???                                                                                     

TIME OUT London's diplomatic sum up of their own viewing - presumably

disconnected in time, space and action - was about par for the course ...

It’s a useful primer to Gibraltar’s contested  history, although the Spanish

case doesn’t get much of an airing so it’s hard not to suspect that one side

of the argument is being glossed over. Still, whatever the historical rights

and wrongs, it’s easy to see why Gibraltar didn’t want to be subsumed by

Spain during the Franco years and equally obvious that the long period of

border closure was a petty gesture that has left deep scars.

BUT I for one, was very moved by the experience and found this whole  

situation extremely symptomatic of everything - which is wrong with 

everything political which is sold by the representatives of the people, 

to the people - because of the sheer arrogance of those supposed  

representatives - as they continue with their self-interested actions of

doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

Which brought back very poignant memories of the time when it was that

Linnie and I first decided to get married during a trip to Yugoslavia in 1967,

the first time that Tito opened the borders to passport holders without a

visa. We went with a party of friends in a Vauxhall Viva Van, a Triumph

Herald and my own VW Beetle 1500, which I had only recently purchased.

On our return to the UK, Linnie qualified as a Radiographer and I as an

Air Traffic Controller and so it was that Linnie had to buy the engagement

ring, because I was still paying for my car and we purchased our first home

together in High Wycombe and got married on April 4th 1968 - to be able

to re-claim the very last married couples tax rebate - at the time that the

Gibraltar problems which Ana Garcia refers to, erupted. It was then in 1971

that a request for secondment to Eurocontrol in Brussels, was granted, and

we arrived there, full of the hope of becoming active members of a truly

United Europe, to be faced with the fact that our Prime Minister Harold 

Wilson had vetoed Spain's entry to the Eurocontrol fold because of the

Gibraltar situation. 

Watching this BBC4 showing of the documentary last evening - and why

was it that our supposed glorious BBC was the last to broadcast this after

Finland, Australia and Spain ? - brought home to me in bucket loads the

age old reasons for why the impasse which has now been reached by the

United Nations, the European Union and the G20 over the situation in Syria,

are reminiscent of the demise of the League of Nations - and reminded me

of the fact that it was the United Nations who were determined to remove

imperial control from Gibraltar without even considering seeking the

consent of the Gibraltarians themselves.


As rikkel has made comment on the youtube posting of the BBC Four transmission - 

I keep thinking of Spain's claims as a form of hypocrisy. Everything they say

about Gibraltar's situation can be said about Spain's enclaves in Morocco,

Ceuta and Mellila (and don't forget the numerous islands which they still


Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Worth a look for an insight into the impact of wider

geopolitics on a small nation - which, in this case,

I would suggest, already represents the very global

template of a ... multi-cultural and multi-ethnic

community solution - to the problems with which 

every nation on earth is faced today - but this seems 

unlikely to represent the last word on the subject.


Views: 78

Comment by Michael Grove on September 9, 2013 at 22:22

"England went through incredible changes: a war against the US; wars against France; wars against Germany twice, the rise and decline of empire; and universal suffrage. Yet society remained stable through all this turmoil, with the same institutions and political structure. We think the reason is respect for tradition, yet willingness to make changes when needed."

Daokui Li, a member China's upper chamber or `House of Lords' (CPPCC)

and a professor at Beijing's Tsinghua University.

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