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Should Gibraltar be returned to Spain?

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Should Gibraltar be returned to Spain?

Post by Ivan on Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:34 pm

First topic message reminder :

Tension with Spain has flared up again recently, after Gibraltar began the construction of an artificial reef in the waters off the Rock with 73 blocks of hollowed-out concrete. In retaliation, Spain has introduced stricter border checks at the crossing and is considering a 50 euro (£43) crossing fee, which is probably illegal under EU law. Britain is threatening legal action against the Spanish government, while dozens of Spanish fishing vessels have started protesting near the artificial reef, which they claim is designed to disrupt their fishing fleet.
 
Reclamation of Gibraltar for Spain by peaceful means has been the policy of the Spanish government for many years.
 
The history
 
Royalty has a history of in-breeding and the result can sometimes be a misfit like Charles II of Spain, who was once referred to as “the last stunted sprig of a degenerate line”. He was physically weak and mentally unstable but ruled Spain from 1665 until 1700. The main interest of his reign focused on when it would end, and because he had no children to succeed him, on the will which he made just a couple of months before his death. To cut a long story short, the will meant that Spain could end up being ruled by France. The Dutch and English didn’t want that and declared war on France in 1702. During the war, when returning from a failed expedition to Barcelona in 1704, an Anglo-Dutch fleet laid siege to Gibraltar and it surrendered after three days.
 
Gibraltar had in earlier times been occupied by Vandals and Visigoths, and from 711 until 1462 it was under the control of Moslems. (The name ‘Gibraltar’ comes from the Arabian words ‘Gabal-Al-Tariq’, meaning ‘the mountain of Tariq’). It was then under Castilian and, after unification, Spanish rule until the English and Dutch took it in 1704. The Tory government told the governor of Gibraltar to expel all foreign (that is, Dutch) troops in 1711, in order to strengthen Britain’s claim to sole control of the Rock. After the war, the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 forced the Spanish to cede Gibraltar to Britain for ever. Gibraltar, at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, was to prove a useful and strategic base over the years.
 
Between 1713 and 1728, there were seven occasions when British ministers were prepared to bargain Gibraltar away as part of their foreign policy. However, Parliament always frustrated such attempts. Spain tried to recapture Gibraltar in 1727 and between 1779 and 1783, but didn’t start to pursue its claim again until 1954, when Mrs Windsor went there to mark the 250th anniversary of its capture. That angered Spain’s fascist dictator, General Franco, who imposed restrictions on the freedom of movement between Gibraltar and Spain.
 
When papers were released under the thirty-year rule in 2002, it emerged that Ted Heath’s Tory government had in 1971 considered exchanging sovereignty for a 999-year lease on Gibraltar, as it was felt it had ceased to be of any military or economic value, but nothing came of that idea. When Spain joined the EU in 1986, its border with Gibraltar was fully re-opened.
 
The case for Gibraltar remaining British
 
Gibraltar has been a British overseas territory for 300 years now, so why change the status quo?
 
The vast majority of the citizens of Gibraltar want to remain British. When a referendum was held in 1967, over 99% of Gibraltarians voted to stay British, maybe in some cases because they feared being ruled by Franco. In another referendum in 2002, the people of Gibraltar soundly rejected a joint sovereignty proposal on which Spain and Britain were said to have reached "broad agreement”.
 
Spain owns its “plazas de soberania” (“places of sovereignty”) in Morocco, the largest of which are the cities of Ceuta and Melilla. If it can continue to own them, despite vocal protests from the Moroccan government, how can it possibly complain if Britain owns Gibraltar?
 
The case for Gibraltar being returned to Spain
 
Britain captured Minorca in 1708, and at the Treaty of Utrecht five years later, Spain was also forced to cede that island to Britain for ever. However, Minorca was returned to Spain at the Treaty of Paris in 1783. We captured it again in 1798, before once more returning it to Spain at the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, despite protests from Horatio Nelson. If Minorca can be handed back, why not Gibraltar?
 
Most of the people of Gibraltar are not of British origin. Many settled there from Genoa, Spain and Portugal, plus a large number of Jews from Morocco. Successive Spanish governments have insisted that the Gibraltar dispute is a purely bilateral matter between Britain and Spain, and that the current Gibraltarians are mere settlers whose role and will are irrelevant. This principle appears to have been reflected in UN resolutions on the decolonisation of Gibraltar in the 1960s, which focused on the "interests" and not the "wishes" of the Gibraltarians.
 
Many Gibraltarians own second homes on the mainland of Spain. Over 800,000 ex-pat Brits reside permanently in Spain, but they’re still British. If Gibraltar was returned to Spain, wouldn’t Gibraltarians still be British? It would be the land that was becoming part of Spain, not the people. And in any event, Britain, Spain and Gibraltar are all part of the EU, so why the big deal?
 
Gibraltar is a tax haven which is actually harming Britain, so why would we want to keep it? As Richard Murphy writes: “It’s a little ironic that as the UK demands fair treatment for Gibraltar from Spain, it has had to itself declare war on Gibraltar as the centre of the offshore gambling industry that costs the UK hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue each year.”
 
After Israel captured the Golan Heights in 1967, it started moving in Jewish settlers. Many of the local population of 100,000 fled as a result of the Six-Day War. By 2010, there were around 20,000 Jewish settlers there. If and when the settlers form the majority of the population, and they no doubt decide that they want to remain Israeli citizens, will that legitimise the occupation? Not in the eyes of many people, I suspect. Doesn’t that undermine the “wishes of the people” argument for not returning Gibraltar to Spain?
 
Isn’t it time for Britain to give up the last vestiges of empire? Gibraltar was stolen from Spain in 1704. The passage of time doesn’t lessen a crime. How would we feel if a foreign country had taken over Cornwall?
 
So, should self-determination, or territorial integrity, be the criteria as to who owns Gibraltar?
 
Sources:-
 
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/spanish-boats-in-gibraltar-protest-over-artificial-reef-8772977.html
 
Roger Lockyer, ‘Habsburg & Bourbon Europe 1470-1720’, Longman, 1974.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_history_of_Gibraltar
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disputed_status_of_Gibraltar
 
http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2013/08/17/the-uk-declares-economic-warfare-on-its-gibraltar-tax-haven/
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golan_Heights
 
(To clear up any confusion over the use of names in this post – ‘England’ applies before the Act of Union with Scotland in 1707, ‘Britain’ afterwards.)
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Re: Should Gibraltar be returned to Spain?

Post by boatlady on Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:40 pm

wonder what offensive soubriquet will be coined for the Spanish?

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Re: Should Gibraltar be returned to Spain?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:17 pm

There are already many, more epithet than soubriquet, but well-documented in history commencing with Henry VIII though evidently not yet complete.

It may be relevant that the name Gibraltar commemorates for ever the fact that it was originally an Arab possession, Jabal Ṭāriq (جبل طارق), meaning "Mountain of Tariq", from a time when Spain was an Arab country.
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Re: Should Gibraltar be returned to Spain?

Post by boatlady on Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:37 am

Cool study
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So it begins - vultures circling Britain's post-brexit corpse

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:12 am

Theresa May has 'more important' issues to worry about than Gibraltar's Brexit fate, Spanish government sources claim

"Theresa May's government appears to have “more important things” to worry about than the fate of 28,000 Gibraltarians, according to Spanish sources who warned Gibraltar will crash out of the Single Market without the cushion of a Brexit deal transition deal."
The Telegraph
By James Crisp, Brussels Correspondent and Hannah Strange

http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/theresa-may-has-more-important-issues-to-worry-about-than-gibraltars-brexit-fate-spanish-government-sources-claim/ar-BBFyoaE?li=BBoPRmx&ocid=iehp


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Re: Should Gibraltar be returned to Spain?

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