Saturday, 16 October 2010

Surprise, Surprise ... UK Restrained over Bay Incursions.

On the 7th October I wrote, "Gibraltar does not have enough power ... in the military sense to defend against any aggressive act from Spain ... My thoughts ... turn to the incursions by Spain into Gibraltar's territorial waters ... It seems to me that there is little that Gibraltar can do about these ... without full assistance in every regard from the UK." (see blog "The Bay, the Secretary of State at the FCO, the Governor and the Government"). Events in the last couple of days give full credence to this statement. It also highlight the limitations on what will be done and the extent of the role that will be played by the Royal Navy.

Credence because in his Ministerial Statement of the 14th October the announcement was made that a letter had gone from the Gibraltar Government to the Secretary of State, William Hague, asking for the UK's support and the deployment and intervention of the Royal Navy. Limitations because the reply from a Foreign Office spokesman has been "The Royal Navy is already present and their role is well defined already". How that role is defined is unknown to me. It seems, rightly and understandably, that aggressively defensive action is not on the cards.

"Rightly and understandably" because Gibraltar is no longer facing a Spain controlled by a fascist dictator. The UK and Gibraltar are dealing with a European democracy, a fellow member of the European Union and a NATO ally. There is absolutely no question that the UK can or should take any steps that could be interpreted as the UK adopting an aggressive stance against Spain. Deploying the Royal Navy, as requested by our Government, probably an irresponsibly move, is such an act. Issues between fellow members of the European Union and Nato are resolved through diplomatic channels and by mature discussion. The UK's stance is measured and correct and rebuffs the Gibraltar Government's request, which, if it had been heeded could have had unnecessary and detrimental repercussions on Gibraltar.

What this incident and its aftermath emphasizes is that the central issue for determination is the issue of sovereignty. The suspension of technical talks due within the trilateral process is of no great significance, although it is symbolic. What is of significance is that the thrust of the Trilateral process is not aimed at resolving the central issue of sovereignty. Talking about peripherals whilst that issue is ignored has little point. Talking about sovereignty is not within the realms of possibility simply because Gibraltar does not wants any change on that front.

What should be done? Well, there are some immutable facts. Spain, in direct conflict with the wishes of Gibraltar, maintains its claim to sovereignty. Neither Spain nor Gibraltar will shift on their respective positions in the foreseeable future. The position of both is so entrenched that there is absolutely no room for compromise. In this situation there is only one option for Gibraltar. Gibraltar must stoically and in a dignified manner defend its stated desire to remain British. The responsibility of Gibraltar's politicians is to continually monitor, analyze and assess this policy and ensure that it remains a policy that is in the best interests of Gibraltar. If this were to change or if it has changed it would be or is their responsibility to honestly tell the electorate and support their position with strong and persuasive argument. This is what leadership is about.

To defend itself stoically and in a dignified manner, Gibraltar must continue to act authoritatively, in the same manner as it has always acted, to exert its control over its British territorial waters. The relevant government agencies must continue to exert their authority over these waters. In the event that Spain engages in provocative acts, these must be dealt with in a controlled and sensible manner. Each incident will be different and each incident will need to be managed with care, which will place a huge responsibility on the individual on the ground. These individuals must be briefed fully on how to react. They must avoid acts that will lead to an escalation of any incident, no good will come of any heightening of tensions. We must be "British" about this.

Gibraltar will gain the high moral ground if it maintains its position in a peaceful and dignified manner. Maintaining the high moral ground will improve Gibraltar's diplomatic case. Maintaining the high moral ground will not undermine the fact and reality that the waters surrounding Gibraltar are British territorial waters. Spain's acts do not enhance their case one iota. Gibraltar's reaction to those acts may well do so in so much as attention is drawn to a non-issue (Spain's assertion). Non-issues have a habit of gaining a momentum of their own if they are exacerbated. Third party countries can become involved. We should remember that Gibraltar is important and big for us but to most third party countries we are but a nuisance, however unfair that opinion might be.

It also borders on the incautious to submit our case to an international court of law as has been suggested by the Government. Diplomatic problems between States should not be handed over to judges for resolution. However strong Gibraltar's case might be (and there is no doubt that Gibraltar's case is as strong as the Chief Minister says that it is), there are enough conflicting and competing principles in international law to enable judges to justify any conclusion they wish to. An international court has to take many factors into account. It may well come to a wrong conclusion. If it were to do so, Gibraltar would find that it is not in a good place.

International disputes are resolved by diplomacy and negotiation, if they are capable of resolution at all. If there is no solution, then each one to his own. After all, life in Gibraltar is not so bad, nor are local cross-border relations bad. Thankfully, no one's life is at risk. Let diplomats resolve those disputes that, if resolved, save lives. Gibraltar will remain a good place to live in whether or not Spain continues to pursue its claim and provoke incidents in the Bay. We should take comfort in knowing how frustrated Spain must feel at making absolutely no progress over its claim. We should all get on with our lives like we do now and did during the closed border era. If Spain places inconveniences in our way, they can never be as bad as those that we faced when the frontier blockade was in full swing.

Did the issue really require a Ministerial Statement? I am not sure. If it did not, what was the motivation for it? Certainly electors in Gibraltar seem to have taken it in their stride. I certainly have.


  1. I think your last comment hits it on the head...Why did PC bother if he knew the FCO's position was to solve things diplomatically resorting to an agressive response from the RN is out of the question as you say ...I guess PC had nothing to lose and everything to gain ..That's Politics my boy always keep tthe upper hand and give nothing away..Electioneering pure and simple...

  2. Pepe says:

    Mr Caruana knows full well that the Royal Navy does not have any ships anyway!

    Black humour aside, Britain will deal with this diplomatically because it is the only thing she can do, but she will probably do so with a close eye on the parallel issue of the Falklands.

    Spain and Argentina are playing a tag-team game on Britain, whether it is co-ordinated or not it is impossible to ascetain, but it is probable that in Britain's mind yielding on Gibraltar would signal the thin end of the wedge as regards the Falklands; in a twisted way we should find some reassurance in this - there's a lot of money to be made in the Falklands from oil and gas. It could be purely coincidental that the President of Britain's old regional ally, Chile, is visiting London.

    For her part Spain will continue to try and control all waters, including the entire width of the Straits, and down to the Canaries. The international lawyers amongst you will quickly see the relevance of goat populated islets like Perejil in this equation. All of this poses a threat to Morocco, exacerbated by Spain's oblique, and not so oblique, support to the Saharawis - think of that coastline in terms of oil, fish and minerals, and a population of barely 300, 000.

    Where does this leave us? Managing tensions and striving for the status quo really, because anything else would mean a destabilisation for Spain and Morocco that could lead to further internal disruptions.

    To my mind, the status quo ante is also desirable because the current economic and security threats present the region with unprecedented levels of risk.

    The problem of course is that if the Right-wing gets into power in Spain they may seek greater regional hegemony. The last time this happened Colin Powell stepped in, what the US reaction would be under a new set of circumstances is not known.

  3. Over this week end there have been several press items in Spain and UK including the Spanish vice president's comments. If we had to rely only on the Gibraltar media the earliest we would find out about anything is tomorrow Monday. GBC in particular is failing in providing up to date news as expected from Broadcasters. It seems to me that many in the GBC newsroom are just marking time before retirement. Weirdly Llanito world is the only pint of reference during the wee end in Gibraltar.

  4. Robert,

    Not sure I follow your reasoning. You acknowledge our economic interest in maintain jurisdiction over our side of the Bay, you acknowledge Spain's superior power in denying us that jurisdiction, you acknowledge the UK's reluctance to enforce matters as sea-level (like Spain did over Perejil), you acknowledge we have a good case to argue - but then you say no importa, let us all enjoy a quiet life. Erm.....are you still dreaming of the Grand Canal?

    Hound Dog

  5. Hound Dog:

    We have jurisdiction over British territorial waters that surround Gibraltar, this is an incontrovertible fact. I advocate that it is us who should not bring this into doubt. Spain does not deny us that jurisdiction. It claims it and intermittently behaves mischievously in pursuit of that claim. We should not escalate those incidents by resorting to violence. It is the UK who have indicated that they will not escalate the incidents at sea. Having a strong case does not mean that the case will be won in a court of law. I do not say "no importa" i say let us be stoic and dignified about it and maintain authority over these waters.

    What article have you read that you can traduce so much?

  6. Robert, Many thanks for replying so swiftly. As a matter of law, denying the RGP the right to arrest someone is a denial of jurisdiction by any standards. A long line of Spanish jurisprudence and policy statements also backs this up.

    In any event, the upshot is, that this is not about high politics or winning elections. This is about a vital resource that brings in millions to our Treasury through receipts linked to bunkering and other port related activities. Let us not play a Casino Royale-style of poker game with our economy.

    Hound dog.

  7. Hound Dog:

    The physical act of violence committed by the Guardia Civil is no more than a criminal offence under the law of Gibraltar, no more or less than when the RGP went to Alcaidesa in a recent incident, neither incident denies jurisdiction. They are both BREACHES of jurisdiction. What is important is the assertion diplomatically of the British and Gibraltar positions, not an escalation in violence. Yes Spain's arguments are different but we DO NOt accept them.

    I agree let us not play Casino Royale-style poker,hence my suggestion to maintain a resolute diplomatic position and get on with our lives, using British territorial waters, as we have always used them. If there is more serious Spanish interference, then I am sure the Royal Navy's well defined role makes provision as to how they should react, keep your faith in Britain, they have always done the right by the UKOT's, remember the Falklands.

  8. Pepe says:

    Hound dog, I'm afraid that Gibraltar is about geopolitics and grand strategy for Spain, and her statecraft reflects this fact.

    It is unfortunate for us that the FCO is no longer adept in these subjects and seems unwilling at the very least to factor in the possibility that some states do operate in terms of balance of power and national interest, even if its entire foreign policy reflects other philosophies. This strategic myopia from the FCO and a spotty 3rd Sec or two may explain the debacle over the European enviromental areas.

    Having said this, and probably because of it, I agree with you that we should not be playing poker. I would add the need for a shrewder analysis of the regional context and its implications to Robert's call for stoicism.

  9. I disagree that "electors in Gibraltar" have taken "in their stride" the assault on our unarmed police in British Gibraltar waters by elements of a body which forms part of the Spanish armed forces.
    For months the right wing press in Madrid and the PP have been goading the Guardia Civil to assert jurisdiction in our waters. They have used the Mayor of La Linea in the same way but whereas Alejandro Sanchez may be treated with derision by some, the 90,000 heavily armed Civil Guard cannot.
    No doubt the Guardia Civil is an efficient arm of the Spanish State but it does not have an unblemished track record when it comes to obeying democratically elected governments.
    It was Civil Guards who in 1981 took the Spanish Parliament hostage, shot up the debating chamber and assaulted an elderly pro-democracy general in full view of the cameras.
    The British Government would be very wrong indeed to underestimate the importance of the events of the 26th September in the Bay and I would be surprised if the F&CO did not appreciate all the repercussions - including the possibility of a renewed crisis over the Falklands (Argentina now has more support from its South American neighbours including Brazil but, bar, possibly Chile but certainly from the Spanish right wing which is about to replace the PSOE in government).
    Peter Caruana has struck exactly the right tone in his Ministerial Statement. The behaviour of the Civil Guard is the tip of an ice berg and should be treated very seriously.
    The British Government is responsible for defence and foreign affairs.

  10. Dear Charles:

    By "it" I was referring to the need for a Ministerial Statement and not the seriousness of the incident in the Bay involving the Guardia Civil, which is serious, hence my reaction.

  11. Pepe says:

    Although wary of hysterical reactions, I have to broadley agree with Charles Gomez, who righly factors in wider angles in Latin American diplomacy.

    At a time when some question the importance of the Royal Navy Britain might be advised to look at the Atlantic area through prisms other than the old ideas of the Russian threat in the North Atlantic. We are not talking about war with Brazil here, but we are talking about the ablity to project a meaningful presence in Britain's Atlantic "backyard".

  12. Pepe says:

    True Robert, but NATO is in deep crisis over Afghanistan, and some question its future viability. As for the EU: when did it ever bat for us?

  13. Dear Robert, You did not say "it" you said "it all"!But I am glad that we seem to agree on the substance. The forthcoming installation of Mariano Rajoy in the Moncloa Palace could bring untold trouble to the region of the straits and also to UK interests in the South Atlantic.

  14. Pepe and Charles:

    Do not forget one important difference that impacts on Gibraltar that I allude to in my piece: Spain is a fellow member of the European Union and an ally in NATO.

    I am sure, also, that the F& CO are more than aware of the wider issues, have them fully analyzed and their reaction takes these into account.

  15. I agree with Robert, and am intrigued by his (correct) assertion that "If this were to change [the assessment that remaining British is in Gibraltar's best interest] or if it has changed it would be or is their responsibility to honestly tell the electorate and support their position with strong and persuasive argument."

    As a Gibraltarian I feel duty-bound to support, in broad principle, the Chief Minister's statement although, as Robert says, given the lack of any meaningful statement in the statement beyond a vague call for the Royal Navy to come to our aid, I would question the value of making it in the first place, at least in the manner in which it was done.

    The CM made no clear "quo vadis" statement on his policy vis-a-vis the Tripartite in the wake of the incidents at sea. He gave Spain no clear position and no diplomatic ultimatum. And he must surely know that despite the UK being responsible for our defence and foreign affairs, Westminster will never allow that responsibility to impinge on her own national interest with regards to her relations with Spain. Surely we must see that, increasingly, the British interest is at variance with the Gibraltarian one. We saw it during the joint sovereignty episode and we are likely to see it again now. The UK will do NOTHING do protect the RGP.

    Perhaps it is time to make that re-assessment about what our own interests are and how to best defend them.

  16. Reference Calpetano's contribution at 11.54: I do not think that it is right to say that the Chief Minister called "for the Royal Navy to come to our aid." What he said was that the Royal Navy needed to be seen to protect British Gibraltar territorial integrity. That is the duty of the British Armed forces (including the many Gibraltarians who have acquitted themselves so well in Britain's most recent wars). Needless to say it is also the duty of British diplomacy to ensure that the situation does not arise whereby the military have to be involved. This applies in Gibraltar as well as in the South Atlantic or indeed any where else where British interests are at stake. I tend to agree with those who say that the F&CO is cognizant of everything that we are talking about and much, much more but it being a quiet Sunday morning I thought of flagging up the dangers that will arise when the swivel eyed characters of the PP (Rajoy, Aristegui etc take over from Zapatero).

  17. Charles Gomez should be in Parliament.

  18. The Royal Navy's Gib Squadron WAS present during the September 26 2010 incident but they prudently exercised restraint in a very volatile situation whilst at the same time reinforcing British sovereignty by their presence.

    They were monitoring the incident and would no doubt have stepped in if things had gone beyond RGP officers being "manhandled". The Gib Squadron does patrol Gib waters but it has very strict rules of engagement so it is generally left to the unarmed RGP to patrol / police Gib waters.

    So why did the CM chastise the Opposition for urging him to procure a more powerful police launch when it was he that announced the purchase of this larger launch about a year or so ago? One possible answer may be that he has now realised that he cannot afford it and hates being reminded of his unfulfilled public pledge by Dr Garcia.

    One thing that intrigues me is: who managed to persuade Raul Tavares Garcia of San Roque to turn himself in just in time for the news of his court appearance to precede the Ministerial Statement? Miguel Angel Moratinos' officials desperate to salvage the trilateral talks?

  19. a frustrated spaniard17 October 2010 at 21:51

    "...who managed to persuade Raul Tavares Garcia of San Roque to turn himself in just in time for the news of his court appearance to precede the Ministerial Statement?"
    Do not you smell the fear and despair? Elections in Spain will be in May 2011. And the frustration grows.
    "We should take comfort in knowing how frustrated Spain must feel at making absolutely no progress over its claim."
    Dónde están las llaves, matarile rile rile, dónde están las llaves matarile rile ron, chin, pon...

  20. Well said Guy...

  21. Well now, where does what Guy is reported in the Chronic to have said leave the GSD's Tripartite process, if, as he says, Spain must be told in no uncertain terms what the position is on sovereignty? Can we carry on sending mixed messages? Can we carry on running wit the hare and hunting with the hounds?

  22. Who is sending "mixed messages" on sovereignty? What are these "mixed messages"?

  23. The mixed message comes from Mr Caruana himself who has said that Spain can come out with some imaginative ideas and that Spain can try in the future and ask future generations of Gibraltarians about sovereignty. To me this is a kopout since we should be able to sort out the problem now ourselves and if we cannot we should not send the message that in future Spain can gain sovereignty. This is sending mixed messages and is even more dangerous Because it shows weakest.
    Be that as it may and continuing with the theme of mixed messages I think that Mark 17thOct 12.58 above is right in that it was PRC who wanted to procure boats for the RGP. now he says that quote
    "In the very recent past, some Gibraltar politicians, press and political commentators have made public statements implying that the RGP and the Gibraltar Government should do something to stop this Spanish behaviour and incursions. I believe this to be a dangerous misconception".....he adds "This is not about the Gibraltar Government buying bigger boats for the RGP so that they can fight physical battles at sea with the armed forces and agencies of a foreign country!".
    We must also note that he said in his statement
    "Nor, however much we may resent such incursions, is it a sound political judgement that it is in Gibraltar's wider interests, as some local politicians suggest, for us to pit ourselves in a situation of direct physical battle and confrontation at sea with Spain". May I remind you and this includes PRC that you said that when a Guardia Civil approaches you, you should fire your flare. So you PRC have according to yourself cannot make a sound political judgement.
    With this I conclude my intervention.

  24. Anon

    Thank you for reminding me about the CM's advice to let off a flare when approached by a Spanish gunboat. I'd forgotten that but it's very relevant - and it would certainly have been very foolhardy of any Gibraltarian in a small boat to follow his advice when confronted by a Guardia Civil patrol boat.

  25. Charles:

    The dynamics of modern international dispute settlement is to keep the disputing parties talking about anything. Gibraltar's position on the Trilateral talks is that they are about cooperation. One mixed signal is precisely this. Cooperation entails giving Spain a say, perhaps peripheral, in matters that concern Gibraltar and so reflect on sovereignty. Spain receives a message on the one hand that sovereignty is non-negotiable yet discussions on matters that concern Gibraltar are held with them, which is indicative to them that there is potential for progress and involvement in Gibraltar's affairs.

    Another mixed signal is that Gibraltar rejects joint use/control of the airport yet an agreement is reached to attach an air terminal on the Spanish side with Gibraltar's air terminal with direct access to and from Spain.

  26. and also an airport, in gibraltar, jointly run by the spanish national airport operator....

    I believe the text is

    "“All passenger and flight services including all facilities and functions relating to airside and aircraft services, passengers’ check-in, baggage handling and passenger and baggage security will be provided in and by the terminal. Subject to EU directives the Government of Gibraltar will grant a contractual concession to operate the terminal and provide these services on a commercial basis to a joint venture company owned by Gibraltar and Spanish commercial interests.”

  27. Dear Robert, I know that blogs are not supposed to be too complicated but we do need to be coherent. We are discussing the RGP/ Guardia Civil clash and you say: "Can we carry on sending mixed messages?" This can only imply that some one on our side has said or done something which might have encouraged the Civil Guard to overstep their authority (again). There is no evidence to support such a notion. In fact there have only been repeated and crystal clear assertions on the part of the Government of Gibraltar and all other political bodies and commentators here (most recently Guy Stagnetto QC) that the usual territorial limits apply around our littoral. To say otherwise is to sow confusion and demoralisation in a matter of national importance and to give succour to our enemies. Let us watch what we say with more care and a sense of responsibility.

  28. Dear Charles

    You read and reply top my comment completely out of context to aid your argument on incoherence. This is one of your endearing habits in many arguments. My comment is a stand alone comment in the new context of what Guy is reported in the Chronic to have said. It is clearly a reference to the mixed messages being sent by the GSD Government and buy the Tripartite process. It has nothing to do with the Guardia Civil incident in the Bay or sovereignty of British territorial waters around Gibraltar. My comment is entirely coherent in context.

    I agree with your advice that Spain should not be given any succor and that we must be responsible. Please start by not dissembling what I write and also by directing that advice to the GSD Government's Tripartite process.

  29. The FCO's recent statement that the Royal Navy in Gibraltar "is already present and their role is well defined" seems to me to present a whole new set of problems for us. Where now for the CM's strategy as outlined in his Ministerial Statement the other day? Surely he cannot have been so naive as to think (as some Gibraltarians still do) that the RN would have come to our aid, or more specifically adopted a more forceful stance, against Spain on the waters issue.

    There is a continued failure on the part of the UK to defend Gibraltarian interests which is perfectly understandable given that, increasingly, the UK national interest and Gibraltar's own interests are diverging. The priority for the UK, regardless of who is in power at Westminster, has been, is, and will continue to be the protection of London's far more important relationship with Madrid. This means that any effort to "protect" or "stand up" for Gibraltar must necessarily be secondary to that primary objective of good relations with Spain. I hope that by now Gibraltarians can understand this, even though some may still cling on to the dream of a protective "mother country" or, worse, of political integration with the UK.

    It is perhaps time for us to make our own assessments and decide whether the UK, in spite of her constitutional "responsibilities" is fulfilling those same "responsibilities" adequately, or not at all.

  30. I have always been against the Tripartite talks but I have to agree with Mr. Gomez that there is no link between that and the guardia civil incident. No one is running with the hairs and hunting with the hounds Robert. I also agree with Charles that our problems with spain shouln't course us to argue with ourselves.

  31. Anonymous at 15:33
    I make no link in the sense suggestrd by Charles, please see my reply to him.

  32. I am very worried about Robert's statement that cooperation entails giving Spain a say, perhaps peripheral, in matters that concern Gibraltar and so reflect on sovereignty. What do you mean?

  33. Sorry Robert but Charles is right. You did seem to be confabulating a number of issues. But now I understand what you meant to say. Although I have to say that I find your idea that by talking about co-opeartion we weaken our position on sovereignty nothing short of preposterous. As a lawyer you know that parties in litigation are supposed to try to solve their disputes out of court. If you are right then no cases would ever be settled and in the international sphere all disputes would end in war. I rest my case.

  34. Dear Robert, I have just re-read the relevant parts of this blog and think that there is a bit of ducking and diving on your part. I am touched that you find my style of argumentation "endearing". I have to admit that I find your own method highly amusing, y tan amigos.

  35. The waters issue highlights the weakness of Gibraltar's position in the trilateral talks. These talks are dangerous because at the outset Spain was never required to recognise the territorial integrity of Gibraltar, its waters and airspace as a prerequisite for Gibraltar's participation in the trilateral process. Without extracting this from Spain cooperation with them is a nonsense and they will see every accord reached with them as a sovereignty gain. This position may seem unrealistic but then there was never and there is no point in persisting with a process that has not really achieved anything tangible for the people of Gibraltar apart from a few extra phone lines. If the technical talks restart soon as both Spain and Britain want what will Gibraltar be forced to concede - joint patrols in the bay and on the eastside so long as they take place in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters because I do not see the Spanish Government agreeing to the RGP patrolling in their waters jointly with the Guardia Civil. The best PC can do is stall, stall and stall because Britain and the FCO will never let him walk out of the process. PC got himself into this mess and now he has no way out and his latest ministerial statement will not appease the electorate for long. That statement was for domestic consumption only so that he can trumpet himself as the defender of the people of Gibraltar. It was not very convincing.

  36. Anonymous at 16;26

    I do not make "statements". I am not a Minister. I simply write my OPINION.

    I give you as an example the siting and size of the new air terminal which needed to take into account co-operation with Spain to allow direct access and egress to and from Spain and consequential immigration arrangements.

    It is also an issue about cooperation at a time when the fundamental dispute over sovereignty has not been addressed, see further below.

    Anonymous at 16:40:

    Charles was right as issues became confused. The reason for this is down to the comment by Anonymous at 19:22 on 18th October who posted the link to the article in the Chronic about Guy's talk. I was reacting to this comment only, as can be seen by the context and reference. I hope that this is now clarified.

    On you contention about cooperation not weakening our position on sovereignty, you commit the classic mistake of members of the barristocracy (with accreditation to Dominique Searle who gave birth to that term). UK/Gibraltar are NOT dealing with a legal dispute. It is an international dispute between sovereign nations (Spain and UK) involving a claim of sovereignty over Gibraltar. The same rules do not apply in international disputas as apply to the resolution of legal disputes. At the simplest level "witout prejudice" negotiations simply do NOT exist. It is extremely naive to make this comparison. Cooperation in itself sends a message in international negotiations.

    All disputes or most in another age did end in war. It is in the modern Western World (let us not forget North Korea and the Middle East) that diplomacy takes precedence over war. The process of international negotiation and diplomacy is very different from that applied in dispute resolution between individuals and corporations. It is a mistake to think otherwise.

    Two sovereign nations can engage in cooperation. Gibraltar is the subjectmatter of this dispute. Gibraltar is not a sovereign nation. In these circumstances agreements on cooperation in which Gibraltar participates can become or be perceived as indirect engagement in Gibraltar's affairs, which is corrosive.

    To Charles:

    si tan amigos but I do not believe that there is any ducking and diving. Is there any truth in the rumours that you will be standing for election with the GSD at the next election?

  37. It is a well known fact that PRC has for some time now been telling the FCO to keep out of Gib affairs cocerning Spain. That he deals with this himse. (his frequent unofficial lunches/dinners with high officials of Spain's foreign office in Sotogrande and elsewhere)
    Accepting apologies from Rubalcaba, and giving apologies for the Alacaidesa RGP fiasco)
    Now that he is in a fix he runs to the FCO to have them deal with the matter.
    He cannot have it both ways.

  38. Anonymous at 00:36:

    Possibly, running with the hare and hunting with the hounds?

  39. If Charles Gomez does stand as part of the GSD slate in the next election it might explain why there appears to be a Charles Gomez fan club on this blog, constantly informing us that he should be in Parliament.

  40. Why is anonymous above trying to reruit Charles Gomez for the GSD? I think he is much clever than that. Why would any one back a party that is on the way out and which most people in this blog believe that they on the way out and especially when Peter Caruana is putting his foot it in big time? Charles should probably consider standing for the Alliance GSLP/LIB if anything!!!

  41. Anonymous at 12:35:

    The electorate decides an election. Some people who comment in this blog hold the view that the GSD will lose the next election but that is only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is that there must be a party who is able to win. I fear that the GSLP/ Libs are not doing enough to win. They need to get their act together in very sphere including their slate and leadership.

  42. Anonymous at 10.08:

    If Charles Gomez has a fan club on this blog, might it not, simply be, because people across the political divide respect him as an objective independant thinker? Just because he happens to agree with the GSD on this one point, does not, by default, make him a GSD candidate !

  43. Morantino's gone. Another hits the dust.
    Caruanna's lucky, now there is an excuse from the spanish side not to proceed with the planned Tripat meeting before the end of the year due 'new on the job' excuse.

  44. The link that everyone seems to have missed is that the Guardia Civil have adopted a far more aggresive stance since our very own RGP officers went over to Alcaidesa to conduct a search!!

    Heads should roll and we should at the very least see those responsible held accountable for these actions which have brought great shame to ALL of us!

    Two wrongs do not make a right, but we shouldnt have given them any ammunition in the first place.

  45. I said that Charles Gomez should be in parliament but it did not occur to me that it should be with the GSD. I just think that as his intereventions in this forum show his ability to get to the crux of issues would be of benefit to Gibraltar if he were in Parliament.

  46. Anon

    I think that, on the contrary, Moratinos' departure will pave the way for a fresh start and a resumption of the tripartite talks. Moratinos guaranteed the continuation of the talks - and he will be proved right - but the price he had to pay for a bumpy ride vis-a-vis Gib is that he was obliged to fall on his sword. Tripartite talks involving Gib may seem trivial in comparison with world affairs but very important for Spain for historical reasons and for local consumption in Spain. Fresh start with Trinidad Jimenez, who has been rewarded by Zapatero for her unstinting support over many years. 48-year-old Malaga-born lawyer. Think she'll get on well with Caruana.

  47. I think that Charles is being edged (egged!!)on because at least he has the guts (or has nothing to loose) in putting this name to his comments something other people including me do not do since we sign as anonymous! All in all I still think that Charles can be a good candidate for the GSLP/LIBs. As to Robert's comment that the GSLP/LIB are not doing enough I wonder what they need to do to be enough? It's a question of damned if they do, damned if they don't. Other people critise the GSLP/LIBs for bringing out press relases nearly everyday and constantly critising the GSD Govt. What is very clear is that GSD are failing Gib in General and that the opposition seem to be gaining ground by doing what they are currently doing and if this is the case it seems that when they start doing what ever Robert thinks they should be doing then I suppose it will be a landslide victory for the Alliance.

  48. This is my third post on the same subject. I realise it has nothing to do with the topic in question, but it has to do with some of the arguments used to critizise the opposition. My first post was months ago when Llanito World was running out of ideas for this blog, the other was last night after watching GBC News, and the third today. Could we have GBC as a topic of discussion? Please. I hope this time I see this post appear for on the other occasions they have lost or vetted.

  49. Anonymous at 14:17

    First your posts have all been off-topic hence their non-publictaion. I have releneted due to your persistence.

    First I do not think I have ever run out of ideas as proven by my pro;ific writings, which are not more extensive because i happen to work as a laweyer 12 hours a day.

    Second this blog is not public property it is MY blog to write about what I want. GBC is as at it is. People will judge it for what it is. I have written about the press including GBC in the past. I may write about issues raised by GBC in the future.

    If you are referring to the reply to the Ministerial Statement it is my inetention to write about the GSLP/libs generally tonight and this is one of the topics that i will touch upon.

  50. I totally agree with anon 14.17 that it would be good to have a discussion on GBC since we have had this GSD government contracting Alan King (as if no-one in Gibraltar can do so) to reform GBC. To date we have not seen any changes yet what seems clear is that they are all dancing to the tune OF THE GOVT OF THE DAY. (count how many minutes of newswatch is spent on Caruana or even starts with AND THE CHIEF MINSTER HAS said...) I believe that they are not independent and fear that funding will be cut by the Govt of the day. I believe the funding should be secure and they should be without fear or favour which is what they are in now. One other point look at the constitution of the board and most are known supporters of the GSD as was from the GSLP when they where in govt. The difference is that the GSLP did not believe in using them as mush as this govt does. I suppose it is or was their own fault.

  51. Who said "... for Gibraltar the ability to HOST Britain's military installations is OUR way of being able to invest something back into the Grest British family of which Gibraltar is an integral part ..." Well, it was the same person who was, just last week, asking the UK for the Royal Navy to be deployed and to intervene in any Spanish incurions in the Bay.

    this staement formed part of the CM's speech to those gathered at the Guildhall in London on Monday eveining of this week. I wonder what all MOD personnel present there thought about the concept that they were merely guests in Gibraltar?

    "Host" is a carefully chosen word to impart a very particular meaning. It is someone who entartains or received guests into their own home.

    My own view is that Gibraltar is British and that the presence of any British military here is as of right. In addition the UK is respsonsible under the 2006 Constitution for defence and external security, so it must be their right to base their military here. The call to deploy the RN, whilst in my view an over reaction, has logic, in the main, on the basis of this view.

  52. LLanito World.

    I realise that the Blog is your property and that it is your perogative to write about what you want. I was merely making a suggestion. I am greatful that people like me can express an opinion through this medium. An acknowledgement
    on your part to take my suggestion on board or not take it would have sufficed.

    When you started this Blog the main thrust was on the lack of democracy in being able to voice an opinion and the lack of unbiased reporting. That is why it is surprising that you have not tackled GBC.

    All of us who log in to this Blog are aware that you are a very prolific writer, that, is not in question, but some time ago you mentioned that you were finding it difficult to think of topics of general interest, or words to that effect.

    I will quote sentence and paragraph when I find it, I have an excellent memory and I am very patient.

    You say that I might be referring to the reply to the Ministerial Statement by the GSLP, but that is too specific I am saying in general.
    Lack of un biased air time in GBC happens every day. Just to quote an example, Moratino the Spanish Foreing Minister has been replaced. GBC has asked Caruana what does he think of his departure and his replacement. GBC has not asked the opposition, those of us who voted GSLP/LIB and are nearly half of the electorate want to know what the party we voted for thinks. GBC constantly ignores those over 8,000 voters that did not vote for Caruana. What thy do not seem to understand is that most of us switch to another channel when the GSD propaganda begins.

  53. Anonymous at 18:00

    Absolutely, and please feel free to express your views about GBC. I have said that I have made points about the media in past blogs and will do so as and when.

    Yes, I did say that on occassion it was difficult to find tiopics to write about but soon after the world opened up. So do not spend time looking for that. I acknowledge I did have an aside to that effect as an explanation why sometimes I did not write two blogs a week.

    Please wait for the piece i have planned for tonight, which whilst not on the topic of GBC specifically will deal with that and other observations about the GSLP/Libs.

  54. Llanito World........

    "They need to get their act together in every sphere including their slate and leadership"

    What do you mean by "getting their act together".

    The GSLP is the only organized party who holds elections for their executive, leader and candidates, and no matter what anybody outside the party says things will happen when they are scheduled to happen not before or after.

    Their manifesto at election time is always the best, spelling out commitments in detail and giving target dates for implementation.

    These manifestos have been ridiculed, deemed as impossible to deliver or accused of trying to bribe the electorate but later COPIED.

    Press releases are the only way of making their voice heard and these are on most occasions distorted by GBC or answered by the Government before they see the light of day.

    The notion of allocating air time on equal terms on GBC is a non starter. They forget how close the election results were and how Gibraltar was nearly broken in half.

    The opposition has always been very clear and consistent on external affairs even when they have been a lone voice like for eg. on Brussels. So on what do they have to get their act together?

    Why the hurry to know the leader and the slate, so that some people can begin sooner with their character assassination as they have already began to do? You will have ample time from the moment the elections are called to election night.

  55. I am writing a blog to explain my comment on the GSLP/Libs right now ... be patient and my opinion will be revealed.

  56. "Press releases are the only way of making their voice heard and these are on most occasions distorted by GBC or answered by the Government before they see the light of day."

    This is an important point and has been mentioned before.

    Why oh why do the Chronicle and GBC insist on publishing / broadcasting press releases from either party without asking the opposing party for a response or comment? Isn't that one of the most basic premises of professional journalism?