Madrid and Buenos Aires Do Not Get It: Government Is Based On Consent
by The Editor
The latest Spanish demand for negotiations on sovereignty over Gibraltar has been promptly and rightly rejected by British Prime Minister David Cameron. What Madrid still does not understand is that this demand was not only rejected for historical, legal, and practical reasons, but that it was not properly addressed.
By Alex Calvo
The latest Spanish demand for negotiations on sovereignty over Gibraltar has been promptly and rightly rejected by British Prime Minister David Cameron. What Madrid still does not understand is that this demand was not only rejected for historical, legal, and practical reasons, but that it was not properly addressed. Spain would like the Rock to be Spanish?, fine. Talk to the people of Gibraltar. Seduce them. Convince them. Present to them the alleged advantages of being Spanish. And then, wait for a decision. A lot of people call it self-determination, there is not need for this word, you can simply call it democracy. Yes, this is what democracy means, it means that the people decide. And they do so openly, after an informed public debate, and through the ballot box. Without threats. Without fear.
The same applies to Buenos Aires. Do you want the Falklands to be Argentine? Fine, present your case. Talk to the islanders. Listen to their problems and their aspirations. Turn your country into an attractive proposition. Respect their way of life. Again, this is called democracy. The people of the Falklands are not minors, they are perfectly able to think for themselves and decide what is best for them and their families.
It is funny how Spain still claims that Gibraltar is a colony. How can a territory free to decide its constitutional status, its future, be a colony? Gibraltar is British because the people of Gibraltar want the Rock to be British. If they wanted her to be Spanish, it would be Spanish. As simple as that. As democratic as that. On the other hand, isn't Spain which is still holding to her last colony? Isn't Spain which is claiming that nobody can leave, without bothering to ask whether they want to leave? This is the greatest irony of her persistent claims over Gibraltar: we have a colonial state employing colonial methods to keep her colonies and acquire a new one, while claiming that the territory it covets, which is actually free to decide a future, is somehow a colony. Pathetic.
Buenos Aires' position is also lacking the slightest logic. Argentina claims to be battling colonialism, but she also wants to acquire a colony, using exactly the same methods as … yes, you guessed right, her former colonial master. If Argentina had the right to decide to leave the Spanish Empire, why should she now deny the Falkland Island's exact same right to decide their own future?. Ironic indeed. Pathetic too.
Now, naked force or smoke-filled room deals, are no longer acceptable, at least not among democracies. Their utter defeat in 1982 taught the Argentines a lesson concerning the former, while Spain was tempted, strongly tempted, but successfully deterred. However, both pariah states still believe in force. Not in the shape of classical war, but rather in a “lighter version”. Incidents, provocations, insults, posturing, economic warfare … all with a single objective, to find someone in London ready to trade what they covet and the people who live there in exchange for some peace in our time. Well, we have bad news for these two North Koreas: they will find nobody. The British people are united in their determination to preserve, by force of arms if necessary, the liberty of the peoples of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, and their right to remain British for as long as they like. In other words, their democracy.
Furthermore, neither Spain nor Argentina will become true democracies until they cease and desist from any further pressure on Gibraltar and the Falklands and openly accept the right of the peoples of both territories to freely determine their future. Democracy is indivisible. It cannot be kept at home while denied abroad. As long as Buenos Aires and Madrid insist on might, rather than right, on command, rather than consent, they will remain semi-democracies at best. The sooner they realize this, the sooner they will be able to become respected members of the international community. Meanwhile, they will remain economic basket cases, shelters for nostalgics of Nazism, and a laughing stock. Our message to Spain and Argentine must thus be: embrace democracy, it is in your own interest. And if you don't, do not for a minute imagine that we shall betray the Rock and the Falklands. Never. Not even in your wildest dreams.