In Defence of Gibraltar: Time to Hit Hard

by The Editor

The past weekend has been witness to an escalation in the Spanish campaign against the Rock. A standoff at sea, queues of up to seven hours in the border, and the beating of a British subject, have finally managed to dispel any doubts as to Madrid's intentions, which are simply to resort to force, and the threat of force, to achieve what they will never achieve in the ballot box. It is clear that the people of Gibraltar will never surrender, and that this latest string of incidents will only serve to steel their determination to resist the common, or garden, dictators in their quest for domination. Having said that, the absolute confidence in our final victory should in no way serve as an excuse for inaction. It is thus necessary to examine the ways in which Madrid may be successfully deterred from further aggression.

By Alex Calvo

The past weekend has been witness to an escalation in the Spanish campaign against the Rock. A standoff at sea, queues of up to seven hours in the border, and the beating of a British subject, have finally managed to dispel any doubts as to Madrid's
intentions, which are simply to resort to force, and the threat of force, to achieve what they will never achieve in the ballot box. It is clear that the people of Gibraltar will never surrender, and that this latest string of incidents will only serve to steel their determination to resist the common, or garden, dictators in their quest for domination. Having said that, the absolute confidence in our final victory should in no way serve as an excuse for inaction. It is thus necessary to examine the ways in which Madrid may be successfully deterred from further aggression.

Let us begin by ruling out what will surely not work. Here we can include all sorts of words, be they in the social media, the press, or conveyed through diplomatic channels. This does not mean, of course, that it is not necessary to extensively report on what
is happening. The value of such reporting is two-fold. Within the UK, to mobilize public opinion and dispel any appeasing temptations from government circles. In third countries, to inform the people and their governments about the true facts on the
ground. Concerning the British media, despite a slow start, we cannot but note that the volume of reporting had grown by the end of the weekend. With regard to media in third countries, it is most important to seize the initiative and deliver one's narrative.
otherwise there is the risk that the Spanish version will prevail.

Let us now direct our attention to the economic sphere. One of the ironies of the case is that the harassment of Gibraltar and the threats against the Rock's inhabitants are being funded by the British taxpayer. Let us not forget that Spain has been receiving massive tax subsidies from the European Union, a significant portion contributed by the United Kingdom, and that she later received a joint EU-IMF bailout. Many observers believe this will likely be followed by a second bailout or some other form of international assistance. What this means is that there should be ample scope for London to put significant pressure on Madrid. There is no reason why British taxpayers should subsidize aggression.

Another area where pressure may be brought to bear is trade. On the one hand the British border authorities could easily start being more careful when inspecting certain goods. Or, given the lack of personnel, simply lay down some priorities. In addition, there is nothing preventing British consumers from checking labels in their supermarkets.

Then, we have immigration. Recent years have seen a surge in the number of Spaniards moving to the United Kingdom in search for jobs or benefits. It would of course be a pity if they suffered the consequences of the threats against the Rock, but any complaints should be addressed to the Spanish authorities, who by their reckless disregard of international law are endangering their jobs and livelihood. Additionally, we cannot but help to notice that Madrid is competing to host the 2020 Olympics. By employing force against Gibraltar, Spain's capital has lost any moral right to be selected, and this should be made clear before the International Olympic Committee meets in September to choose a city.

Finally, it is necessary to understand that the goal cannot simply be to put an end to the latest incidents, or to buy some time. The ultimate objective cannot be any other than a formal statement acknowledging British sovereignty over the Rock, including her
territorial waters, the right to self-determination of her population, and renouncing any form of pressure or disruption in normal trade and personal relations. Furthermore, Brussels' silence proves once more that the myths about the EU are just that, myths. The organization was supposed to put an end to the possibility of war among European powers, and to guarantee freedom of movement of people. Well, how come is it then saying nothing when a member state prevents the citizens of another from peacefully crossing a border, and when that same state is employing force against a fellow member? Is it then surprising to see a growing majority of the British people in favour of leaving?

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