Sunday, 8 August 2010

Sanchez: Don't Bite the Hands that Feed your Constituents

There is no doubt that the La Linea Ayuntamiento has substantial financial problems. Problems that if it does not resolve will result in social unrest and possibly worse. What is not a solution is to take steps that will not ameliorate but will rather worsen their problems. La Linea is a net economic beneficiary of Gibraltar's economic success and wealth.

If Gibraltar did not employ residents of La Lines, its residents would be worse off and less able to pay their municipal charges. If the people who work in Gibraltar did not rent, buy, drink, eat and make merry in La Linea, people there would be even less able to pay their municipal charges. If people cannot pay their municipal charges the financial state of that Ayuntamiento would be a lot worse than it is already.

It is not enough for Sanchez to say that his proposed toll is not aimed at Gibraltar and Gibraltarians but at the Government in Madrid, whose economic problems are known internationally. It may be that his intention is to get heard by Madrid but the affected community is not the Madrid Government, it is Gibraltar. In a hostage situation it is not an excuse for the hostage taker to say that he does not wish to harm the hostages but rather the persons that he is making demands of. Sanchez's logic is equally distorted and disingenuous.

Irrespective of what Sanchez says or the excuses he makes Gibraltar must react. A complete boycott of La linea is called for. I would go so far as to say that tobacco should not be sold for a week. It would be the fastest way to get a reaction. I wonder whether tobacco suppliers would join in that type of boycott? A short sharp economic lesson would bring some sanity to the situation that Sanchez is provoking.


  1. I believe that a boycott to la linia would be one of the best ways that Gibraltar to react to the proposed toll charge! if us gibraltarias where to stand up for what we believe in we would do something like this, this type of action i believe would get the attention of Sanchez and his fellow followers in la linia (which i hear is not many nowadays).

    i for a fact have no need to go to la linia to buy anything as all i need i can find in gib! i think gibraltarians should think and buy local! lets show Sanchez how much he truely needs our money spent in "his" shops!

  2. No sale of cigarette cartons for a week from the moment the 'toll' starts if indeed it does. This step should be supported by Alejandro Sanchez since he does not like 'la cultura del carton de tabacco!'.......ATP

  3. As the VOGG says, and I hope they keep their word, if Sanchez goes ahead with his stupid idea, we should all go to the frontier and block it, say between 7am and 9am, ya vera el ayuntamiento de la linea como proto se le llena.

  4. Well, this Sanchez chap is cleverer than we thought. Saturday's Chronic said: "La Linea will probably levy its controversial visitor tax on vehicles as they leave Gibraltar and not, as originally thought, as they drive in."

    Had it been the other way round it would have been to our benefit - because tourists would renege on paying the toll to drive into Gib and would leave their cars in La Linea thereby unclogging our seriously congested roads. And they would still spend money here - possibly more as they would be walking and would therefore linger at shop windows and spend more.

    This way Sanchez has a captive market: tourists have no choice but to pay the toll to leave Gib and get back to Malaga Airport to catch their planes home - and we're still stuck with the clogged roads full of Spanish-reg cars.

    In addition to stopping selling tobacco for a week, as suggested by LWRV, why not also stop selling petrol to Spanish-reg cars for the same week. That would unclog our roads even more as many of the Spanish-reg cars that create the terrible queues at both sides of the frontier are only coming in to fill up on petrol.

    If Joe Bossano is right and the real drivers of our economy are tobacco, petrol and gambling (rather than financial services, port & shipping and tourism as Peter Caruana says) then it will make a dent in our economy but will only be temporary for a week and will be worth it.

  5. Fred says:

    Sanchez is PP and he is only going to get help from Madrid until hell freezes over.

    Anybody who read El Pais today will have noted that Exteriores and others are less than enthused with Mr Sanchez's initiative.

    However, there is little doubt that Mr Sanchez will proceed with his initiative, so where does this leave us?

    At this point I am of the view that it is simply wrong to punish the Linenses even further. These people have already suffered from the actions of their own corrupt politicians, and now a global economic crisis.

    Let's not forget that these are families we are talking about here que le va a falta, o le esta faltando, un plato de comida - or, are the Llanitos now going to say: "Let them eat cake?"

    Instead of seeking to attack the Linenses we should probably find ways to help them, rather than just self-righteously pointing out how many are employed in Gibraltar - thank God that we can.

    Attack the politicians, solidarity with the people of La Linea.

  6. We keep getting stick from Spain, whether it is the waters soverenity issue,guarda civil intrusions, our sportsmen participation in international competitions,
    illegal fishing in our waters, and now La Linea's new mayor toll charges (he said today that it could apply to Gibraltarians).

    When are we going to show some teeth, when are we going to do something concrete about this once and for all.

    I bet never, Why? because our own 'businessmen' will not support any action as it will affect their businesses, and it will also affect those living in Spain.
    Yes, we have come to depend to much on Spain.

  7. I agree with RV, Gibraltar must react.

  8. I hope the Gibraltarian spirit is ressurected because it died quite a few years ago and this "twilight Zone" scenario requires that we fight back!

    P.S To the Businessmen of Gibraltar - this is one of those times when your loyalty should be to your community and not to the pound!

  9. When are we going to open our eyes with spaniards like sanchez?

    He was no friend of gibraltar yet we received him with open arms. He is partido popular (pp).

    He has set out to ruin gibraltar's economy (yes believe it), cause zapatero more problems, cause resentment towards the gibraltarians and make some money out of it, which the people of la linea will never see.

    we should take over la linea and let peter caruana run it like he does gibraltar. That is the only salvation for the people of la linea.

    La linea politicians have called sanchez an idiot but he is a woolf in sheep's clothing and a dangerous dwarf.

    Did you know he has not been elected through the ballot box? He only took over from disgraced juarez and he's very unpopular in the municipality.

    Don't give sanchez any more publicity please. There's no money to carry the toll project. This idiot is bluffing.

  10. He's not bluffing. He's going to do it if the central Govt can't stop him. In some ways he's right: La Linea only exists to service Gibraltar and it is only right to help them out when they're in trouble financially as is the case now.

    After all, our CM often reminds us and the international media that Gibraltar is the fifth most prosperous country on the planet so we certainly have the means to help.

    Why will his congestion charge not be considered illegal in Spain? Because Spain doesn't recognise the existence of our international frontier. That's why they always refer to it as a 'verja' or gate. It will be an internal congestion charge, as exists in various other countries.

    I think Mayor Sanchez will go ahead with the toll and we should be glad to help our neighbours, who have serviced Gibraltar in so many ways through thick and thin (except when Franco prevented them from doing so) by paying it.

  11. Contrarian.........

    Our neighbours have never helped us out of the goodness of their hearts.
    Their very existance,after they ceased to be camp followers was due to the fact that they serviced Gibraltar. They gave a service, we paid for it.
    We have read this past week in one of our local papers that according to oficial figures 44 millions leak out of our economy into the hinterland, yearly.
    This is in wages to frontier workers. But according to unofficial figures 66 millions is the correct amount.
    I assume this money is spent in their economy .
    The amount we spend when we go over to shop, dine, go on holidays and maintain second homes (that is those who have them) adds a few more millions.
    Is that not enough?

  12. I agree...we should boycott La Linea. No more Zen, La Pampa or el Okay!

  13. Fred says:

    Anon 22:39, even the great Aaron Cardozo was a camp follower in a sense, as many of us have been for centuries, except not to the Bourbon armies.

    Going on what you say it might be an idea to actually quantify how much Gibraltar puts into the regional economy - didn't the Chamber commission report a few months back?

  14. I agree with Fred. This time, we and the Linenses are on the same side. Sanchez will make us both suffer. On this issue, we should be united against him.

  15. Anon

    You said that "according to oficial figures 44 millions leak out of our economy into the hinterland, yearly.
    ... But according to unofficial figures 66 millions is the correct amount"

    I think you'll find that the lion's share is not only accounted for by frontier workers. Remember that many local businesses are owned by Gibraltarians who live in Spain. So the more we spend in Gib the greater the profit for these wealthy business owners who will purchase larger and more luxurious properties - and increasingly bigger tracts of land - in Sotogrande and Guadiaro.

    How many Chamber of Commerce directors live in Gibraltar? I think you'll find they're very much in the minority (if any).

  16. Fred.......

    The words camp followers was not meant to be in a derogatory manner, just factual.
    I think that the report commissioned by the chamber claimed that 20% of the wealth in the Campo de Gibraltar was created by Gibraltar. That is far more than what the gaming companies generate in Gib.

    Anon 12:07

    I do not think that we and the Linenses are together on this, if taxing us means that the workers in the Ajuntamiento are going to get paid, do you think they care two hoots if we have to pay? Now those who work here, is another matter for they are worried as to how this levy is going to affect them or the repercussions that might arise here in Gib for them.

  17. Bay of Gibraltar11 August 2010 at 17:16

    Fomento veta desviar el tráfico para cobrar peaje de entrada a Gibraltar
    Caruana, el PSOE e IU critican el plan del alcalde del PP de La Línea - El Ayuntamiento pretende recaudar unos 30 millones al año con la tasa
    C. ROMAGUERA / A. RIVEIRO - Algeciras / Madrid - 11/08/2010 El País
    El alcalde de La Línea de la Concepción, Alejandro Sánchez (Partido Popular), recibió ayer del Ministerio de Fomento el primer revés a su plan para implantar una tasa de al menos cinco euros para el paso de vehículos hacia Gibraltar.

    Read the rest of it hear:

  18. Bay of Gibraltar11 August 2010 at 20:53

    Gibraltar should still boycott LL (Sanchez) por soberbia and because what he has attempted to do is absolutely contrary to the spirit of good neighbourliness.
    LL constituents should ask for his resignation forthwith.

  19. sanchez must resign or the linenses boot him out

  20. 5 euros to queue up to be sure = add insult to longstanding injury

    the big fat sanchez lie in this 'decongestation initiative' is in the figures

    the expected revenue makes no targeted allowances for reduction in traffic volumes to be sure

    wanna keep same traffic volume to maximise profit to be sure = the first modern siege of gibraltar

    well done to the GFA supporters. they sussed out sanchez to measure

  21. I think an adequate solution might be to attract worldwide coverage to the situation. Embarrass our Spanish counterparts through the media.

    I think the most likely scenario is that despite Madrid opposing the idea they are not going to take any steps to try to prevent it, at least not for a few months. By which time La Linea would have taken enough money to cover a portion of their debts and substantially hurt our economy by scaring off tourists – at least those that come across the border.

    Of course that fact that Madrid oppose the idea doesn’t really mean anything, history has shown that they are just as liable to change their minds and support Mr Sanchez.
    So for this reason I think that we should try our best to attract BBC or Sky News to come and view the situation. Try and get the media on our side, because at the end of the day what Sanchez is proposing is illegal. Let’s not forget that. Sanchez can paint his idea any way he likes but at the end of the day whether it’s a “congestion charge” or not it is still illegal!

    Involving the media would embarrass Madrid, who would immediately distance themselves from Sanchez and take steps to stop his plans.
    Reacting in a way which could be potentially harmful to hardworking Gibraltarian's is not that way to go about fighting Sanchez. We would just be hurting ourselves if we stopped selling cigarettes to Spaniards.

    Think about how the petrol companies would react if they found out that we were prohibiting sales – especially BP who we all know are suffering heavy losses.

    An eye for an eye situation isn’t going to help us in any way. In fact this would only play into the Sanchez’s hands as we would be thrown into a bad light for preventing cigarettes and petrol to be sold to Spaniards. Could you imagine what external reaction would be to this?

  22. Changing the subject but remaining in the vecinity of this one - wonder who will fill the New Airport CEO position....

  23. Sanchez is taxing gibraltar...he has said was never a congestion charge

    Sanchez has invented a parasitic economic theory for la linea - no nobel price for that

    If he is not stopped, it will kill Gibraltar's economy and destroy cross-border relations between the towns. It is also bad publicity

    If the EU does not stop him, the community is allowing the creation of a precedent that can ripple across the rest of regions in europe