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Saturday, June 14, 2003
 
Gibraltar again

On 9th November, I reported wryly on Gibraltar's referendum on whether or not it should join Spain. The result was 17,900 to 187 for staying British.

Britain's Europe minister, in the form of Denis MacShane, has been having talks about the matter again. I'm delighted to say that MacShane has said he's going to stop banging his head against the wall - the people still seem not to be for turning.

This interesting article sets out some of the similarities between Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish enclaves in North Africa. There are some comments from Spanish sources, explaining that the big difference is that Ceuta and Melilla are represented in the Cortes; Gibraltar has no elected UK representation.

In the long term, as the EU develops, national boundaries will have less and less meaning. Meanwhile, until that happens, Spain might help its case by being nicer to its coveted neighbour. The article concludes
Mr MacShane's main message to the Spaniards was that it was now up to them to persuade the Gibraltarians that it is a good idea. He suggested, perhaps optimistically, that it may take another 30 years to get there - and that Spain had better start now.
It is a matter for debate how long to wait but there is a sure fire way to make it much longer before the Gibraltarians will reconsider the matter. In the past, when the Spanish have been rebuffed by the people of Gibraltar, they have peevishly resorted to nasty tricks. Things like cutting phone links and closing border crossings still will not help your case, Ramon de Miguel (Spain's Europe minister).

And if you really persist with your dog in the manger attitude, we'll give Gibraltar its own elected member of the House of Commons. Then the silly Spanish won't have a leg to stand on.



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