Sunday, 11 September 2011

National Day, Self-Determination, UK and Spain

Everyone enjoyed National Day tremendously, as usual, but, whatever the GSD may believe or preach, it is a day also for political contemplation. It is this consideration that militates toward all leaders of all political parties issuing a message on that day. It is worth considering and analysing what each has said. It is then my intention to finish this blog with my own brief explanation of how I consider that  progress on the path towards the final goal, namely self-determination can be made, at this juncture after the 2006 Constitution.

The Chief Minister, in a message that is noteworthy for its brevity, emphasised the celebratory aspect of National Day, saying that it is a day on which "... we celebrate Gibraltar within our families, friends and in community." His only political allusions were to Gibraltar's successful economy with the consequent lack of social distress. He said also that "Gibraltar is politically strong because we are united on fundamental issues affecting our political rights as a people, and in our determination to see them prevail". 

The later sentence has three aspects which are significant:
  • He does not disclose exactly what, in his mind, is the issue that unites Gibraltar, so it is left to us to assume he is referring to the international status of Gibraltar. 
  • Is he referring to all political parties being united on this undefined issue? If he is, then it is not obvious from the manner in which he behaves toward other political parties and their leaders.
  • He makes no reference to decolonisation or self-determination. There again he cannot, can he? He has said that under the 2006 Constitution Gibraltar ceased to be a colony. Further that the referendum that agreed the 2006 Constitution was an act of self-determination. He can hardly go back on these, in my view inaccurate statements (as analysed in my blog " or now say that Gibraltar has not exercised its right to self-determination. The latter is especially so, as the question asked at the referendum was framed by him in terms of it being an exercise in self-determination. Or can't he? He has made comments about an Andorra solution, which indicate that even he thinks that there is some way to go on the road to self-determination.
All in all a very politically insipid message, but having backed himself into a corner by past pronouncements, it is difficult to see how he can say much more, without saying anything that would be more electorally unpopular.

I turn now to Fabian Picardo, the Leader of the Opposition's message. One thing is that it was certainly longer but not too long to deter people from reading it. He makes reference in it to the date, 10th September. It is the anniversary of the 1967 referendum. His reference is on the basis that, by this annual event, we are remembering the 1967 referendum. That cannot be so. The vote on that day in 1967 was the antithesis of both the quest for nationhood and self-determination. It was the date on which Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to remain a British colony. It was, however, different times to now but, in my own mind, the significance of having National Day on the 10th September is not remembrance. It is that it was a significant date connected with a democratic expression of its wishes by the people of Gibraltar at that very difficult juncture in our recent history.

His most significant political comments, however, are first, that irrespective of the adoption of the 2006 Constitution there should be no diminution in the assertion of political rights as a nation and the right to self-determination. Secondly he makes an odd, and in my view gratuitous and unnecessary, reference to having  to " ... defeat those who would relish the disappearance of Gibraltar as a distinct Nation and to try to stifle our further progress in the process of decolonisation and the assertion of our rights." Gratuitous and unnecessary because, if he was referring to the UK or Spain. he should have identified them. He did not, so he must have been implicitly referring to persons in Gibraltar, specifically other political parties. I do not believe there are any such persons in significant enough numbers to merit such a comment. It is playing at divisive rather than adversarial politics. Dividing Gibraltar is not a positive way for politics to be played out in Gibraltar, irrespective of the GSD's penchant for following that course.

He then goes on to say "The clear message that we have to send to those who challenge our right to our land is that the Spanish flag will never fly over any part of our Gibraltar." This statement only serves to antagonise. It does not take our cause anywhere. It is so obvious that we need to stop repeating it. Repetition simply weakens our cause. It is clear that the present mood of Gibraltar (and likely the long term mood) is not to make any accommodation with Spain on the fundamental issue of sovereignty. The UK knows this and has given its commitment in the 2006 Constitution. Spain knows it but will not desist from pursuing its claim. It is unlikely that we will change any of these factors in the foreseeable future, nor would we want to change the UK's opinion on this point. We need to live with them for now and take advantage of and rest easy with the UK's commitment, whilst remaining vigilant and alert. What is dangerous is to join up the fight for decolonisation with the wish not to accommodate Spain's claim on sovereignty. The first has to be pursued. The latter has to be resisted. That the latter affects the first, presently, perhaps. That is a consideration that needs to be managed, not rushed and made worse with hyperbole.

Keith Azopardi, leader of the PDP suddenly seems to be tiptoeing on many issues. Why might that be? On National Day he also (as well as the Chief Minister)  emphasises the celebratory aspects. He alludes to its political importance only in terms of the past struggles for constitutional developments and as to the future in terms of "... the continuing struggle to assert our rights internationally because of Spanish opposition." Spanish opposition only? It is not opposition that we get from Spain it is an assertion of the rights conceded under the Treaty of Utrecht and a pursuit of its claim for the return of Gibraltar. I commend Keith to read the Despatch to the 2006 Constitution in which the UK precludes Gibraltar from the option of independence because of the Treaty of Utrecht. 

He also refers to the political rally forming " ... but a small part of the overall celebrations." Hence one reason for my reference to his tiptoeing. What does he say is the significance of the political rally? he suggests that it is to "... reflect on the political aspects of our sovereignty, our rights, our self-determination and our resolute wish to exist as a separate people in mutual respect with neighbouring communities." "Reflect"is a word far removed from "campaigning" or "aspiring" or "achieving" or many other, more powerful, positive and optimistic words that he could have chosen. Perhaps he needs to tread a careful path because he was one of the architects of the 2006 Constitution whilst he was a Minister in the GSD Government.

Have all of them given up on immediate progress on achieving self-determination in the foreseeable future? It seems clear to me that each of them has measured his words carefully on this issue, the Chief Minister more so than the others. It may be that this use of diplomatic or careful language on the subject of self-determination is motivated by a desire not to encourage a belief in the electorate that further progress on self-determination is round the corner. I agree that progress on overall self-determination will be slow. I said as much in the blog "The Self-Determination Delusion", to which you will find a link early on in this piece. 

I do, however, believe that there is another path to self-determination that will take us to the destination over time. It is a path that needs to avoid inflammatory statements and behaviour towards both Spain and the UK, however great the provocation might be from time to time. It is a path that requires a defined, very close and inclusive working relationship with the UK on matters of government and administration. There is no need to react adversely toward any approach or interest shown by the UK in matters of the administration of Gibraltar, especially if based on a mistaken belief that such reaction is a  sign of not being a decolonized people. All mature nations and decolonized people work in conformity and co-operation with each other, without it being a submissive colonial relationship. It only becomes so if it is done self-consciously in that belief. We should learn to act in the same mature manner as independent nations act and not self-consciously and defensively as colonised persons act, which is contrary to our interests. 

Finally my suggested path is one that requires our successive governments to strive for the highest degree of good governance and a strict adherence to the Rule of Law. What is the Rule of law? Well it is a massively complex subject. I have just finished reading a 250 page book by Lord Bingham "The Rule of Law" published by Penguin. I strongly recommend it to all. It is an easy read for both lawyers and non-lawyers. It debates interesting and topical and current subjects and the impact of those issues on the Rule of Law and of the Rule of Law on how those issues have been dealt with recently. Lord Bingham briefly (but with great depth) defines the Rule of Law  as the principle:

"... that all persons and authorities within the state, whether public or private, should be bound by and entitled to the benefit of laws publicly made, taking effect (generally) in the future and publicly administered in the courts."

Lord Bingham's definition captures the functions of each of the Legislature, the Executive (which importantly is bound by the law and can only act under the authority of law enacted in and by Parliament, within what is permitted by the 2006 Constitution) and the Judiciary. He then explains his brief definition in great detail. 

My point is that, upon each arm of government abiding strictly by the Rule of Law in Gibraltar, the powers reserved to the UK under the 2006 Constitution to ensure good governance are incapable of use against us. The result is that de facto Gibraltar slowly advances its status as a self-governing territory. This is progress down the path of self-determination without reliance upon any third parties. Going forward in this fashion will also enhance our case immeasurably in the eyes of the international community. It will lead us to a time when self-determination for Gibraltar can and will become more acceptable amongst a greater number of nations and organisations. Gibraltar's goal will be reached in a changed international environment to which change Gibraltar will have contributed.


  1. RV

    Excuse my ignorance, but I would like to know what is meant by self-determination (SD)?

    My concerns might sound stupid even puerile but I find the self-determination debate to be an esoteric subject that the ordinary man of street somehow confuses it with our rejection of the Spanish claim of the Rock. Although related and inter-twined, I am sure that self determination is a much more complex issue which requires further clarification.

    Hence for the benefit of those like me who probably fail to grasp the bigger picture I would like to know the following:

    Does SD mean that we get the acknowledgment and recognition from the International Community that we are entitled to self-determine our future?

    If (and it’s a big if) we are granted (and I don’t know by who – I suspect UK and Spain) that we were allowed such a move, what then?

    Let’s assume that we now can decide or determine our future, what are our options? To date I have not heard anyone provide me with plausible options!

    At this point, ie that we can determine our future would the UK still be bound to us under our constitution or do we have to renegotiate our relationship with them? Would they still want the Rock and its inhabitants under the same conditions we have now?

  2. Disciple X:

    It is not ignorance at all. Self-Determination is a much used phrase in Gibraltar, without many defining or understanding it. There are tomes written on the subject so what I write here will be the bare bones of what it is.

    The rejection of the Spanish claim is different from the principle of self-determination but intrinsically intertwined with it in the case of Gibraltar. I will explain further below.

    The principle of self-determination in essence is that each nation has the right to choose its sovereignty and international political status. The choice should be exercised freely without any compulsion or interference from external sources. That is why the referendum on the 2006 Constitution was not an exercise of this right. The very constraints referred to in the Despatch i.e. that the UK considers independence not to be available because of the Treaty of Utrecht was a form of external interference that is not permitted in the exercise of the right.

    The principle does not not explain how either the choice is to be made or what the options are. The options are wide and include, independence, federation, protection, autonomy or assimilation. the issue that arises in the case of Gibraltar is what constitutes a nation? Spain claims it is an integral part of its territory for many reasons. One is that under the Treaty of Utrecht if Britain cedes sovereignty then Gibraltar reverts to Spanish sovereignty. Even in the case of other territories this debate is fraught with no conclusive outcome.

    It is in the sense explained in the previous paragraph that self-determination is inter-twined with the Spanish claim. If there was no claim the issue would be simple. Gibraltar could freely choose without compulsion or interference from Spain. Otherwise the rejection of Spain's claim to Gibraltar is separate from the issue of self-determination. It is the quest for self-determination that renders us more vulnerable in light of the acceptance by the UK of its obligation under the Treaty of Utrecht for Gibraltar's sovereignty to be returned to Spain in the event of it ceasing to be British.

    I trust that tis answers your questions. I have no answers to your question about what commitment the UK might want or not want over Gibraltar should the existing arrangements terminate by an act of self-determination. It may be the the choice of remaining with the UK would not be available because the UK would not want this commitment in the future. Perhaps we should leave well alone?

  3. You contradict yourself. You start off by pointing out the politically provocative nature of Picardo's words only to say later that he has "measured his words carefully".

    Picardo is politically incapable of "measuring his words carefully" when it comes to Spain. How can he, with the party executive being controlled by the eminence grise of Juan Carlos Perez. Does nobody read Mr. Perez's Hispanophobic rantings in the New people, for heaven's sake.

  4. Anonymous at 08:47:

    I take your point but the measuring of words comment was in the context of the subject of self-determination. I was not referring to the issue of relations with Spain.

  5. Lord Bingham's definition of the rule of law does not really give us the the full picture. You quote him as saying: "... that all persons and authorities within the state, whether public or private, should be bound by and entitled to the benefit of laws publicly made, taking effect (generally) in the future and publicly administered in the courts." My question is: do we know who makes the law and how? In Gibraltar some of our laws are made in Europe and Britain and are used to bind us under the authority of international obligations. Most of those including those for the protection of the environment and fair play in business are good but others are very politically charged. I read Charles Gomez' recent court submissions on the importance of margin of appreciation when it comes to interpreting these "international obligations" and feel that the debate on self determination may need to be expanded from the current limited focus as an antidote to Spain's arguments on territorial integrity.

  6. Anonymous at 09:29

    The making of law and how it is made raises a different point, which is the sovereignty of Parliament. Lord Bingham deals with this in detail in his book. The sovereignty of the UK Parliament is maintained because it retains the ultimate decision making power on all matters, including continued membership of the EU and it was Parliament that decided entry and the basis of entry. The Gibraltar Parliament is not a sovereign Parliament in this sense. It is a subsidiary Parliament whose power is circumscribed by the 2006 Constitution. However, the main bulk of our laws are made by our Parliament. I agree that the self-determination issue is much wider than just an antidote to Spanish arguments. I believe that I make this point in my blog.

  7. RV,

    Going back to our earlier exchange. If in indeed Self Determination is a process which leads to the unknown where we could in theory end up worse for wear isn't it a valid argument to keep things as they are?

    I am still confused! What is to be gained by Self Determination if independence is not a viable option. UK may not even want us then. How do we backtrack or what is Plan B?

    Other than that, I am quite weary of the fact that to engage, as you suggest, in an appeasement policy where we as people maintain a "mature" posture despite Spanish provocation is almost tantamount to political suicide for any Gibraltarian Government. To remain silent without retort will always be seen as a sign of weakness. Admittedly improved Governance is a way of promoting political maturity but I would think that that should occur as a matter of course rather than as a means to achieving SD.

    Unless there is an alternative arrangement, with the UK, already planned for the future, I see Self Determination a route fraught with too much uncertainty.

  8. Robert, an excellent blog in constitutional clarity and 'foreign' policy but also an indictment of the thick political fog that emanates from each of the three party leaders.

    Constitutional progress and parliamentary reform, contrary to what Caruana says, should not be left solely in the hands of the local "architects" of the 2006 Constitution...their words are the living proof of why they shouldn't be allowed a second time round!

  9. Disciple X

    I agree with much of what you say, it is why I finished my reply to you with the words "Perhaps we should leave well alone?". I do not believe that there is a Plan B. My belief is that the Despatch to the 2006 Constitution has led us into a blind alley with no way out. I have so said in that same blog "The Self-Determination Delusion". Hence my suggestion that we bide our time for the present.

    I do not suggest an appeasement policy. I suggest a mature outlook based on the realities that I write about and that you are now also writing about. I take your point on on how silence might be taken by the local electorate. It is precisely this that requires all politicians to behave maturely and not score cheap electoral points at the expense of the whole of Gibraltar. In many ways this is what has occurred with the National Day messages, barring Fabian Picardo's jibe.

    Improved governance is a MUST and a constitutional requirement. It is an added bonus that by acting as we are obliged to act we can make progress on the road to self-determination. I believe that with time the uncertainties will either become palpably worse or improve to an extent that a window to achieve self-determination might open up. If it does not are we really that badly off as we are from a self-governing perspective?

  10. Re Ken how does the margin of appreciation work? Is it like the principle of subsidiarity that used to be mentioned in the context of local autonomy from the Europaen central government?

  11. Bryan Zammit Snr says "We have for the first time in Gibraltar 100% freedom of speech thanks to the Gibraltar Politics group". Now, come on, Bryan, you have to admit that Llanito World was first!

  12. RV,

    Me deja confuso/a :)

    Like good politicians/Lawyers, dice mucho pero no me dice nada!! :(

    Frankly speaking:

    What would be your ultimate aim/goal for Gibraltar after Self determination has been granted?

    (forming part of an EU state no me vale...EU is falling apart... ;)

    What status would you like Gibraltar to have?

  13. Disciple X

    Self-determination is not granted it is. The problem for Gibraltar, whether we like it or not, is the acceptance and continuing affirmation by the UK of the Treaty of Utrecht. The last time being in the Despatch to the 2006 Constitution. In that Treaty there is a clause that gives Spain the right to the return of Gibraltar if it ever ceases to be British. I have explained this i earlier blogs. The ultimate aspiration for Gibraltar to achieve a self-determined status is independence. This, the UK argues (in the Despatch again) is not possible without Spain's agreement, so we are trumped for now.

    Personally, and I have said it frequently before in this bog and elsewhere, I have absolutely no complex at all about where Gibraltar is today save for the democratic deficit. I am in no rush for any other change. If it became in reality possible and there are many considerations aside from Spain before that happens e.g. international recognition, arrangements for consular and ambassadorial representation throughout the world, acceptance in the EU etc. etc. I would ASPIRE to (but not want or actively seek) independence. In practical terms I see this as an impossibility so I do not worry my head about it. I maintain what I say in my piece above, give matters time, lets sort ourselves out and leave well alone for now.

    Anyway, why is it important to you to know what I want? It really is not for me to decide that for anyone :)

  14. RV,

    - My apologies for not reading the pertinent blog. Mind you, I did check! -

    True, it is not for you to decide for anyone but you are now a well followed blogger and your thoughts are well sought out. I am no exception. You certainly provide clarity and logic to some contentious issues you consider important.

    That is not to say that I agree with you entirely. I do not. On some occasions I have written about my concerns and on others I have reserved my judgement/opinion.

    Nevertheless reading about different perspectives and arguments to local problems is a welcome change to that which we are fed via other local media. LW provides another perspective but more importantly provides substance to the topic, which undoubtedly is one way of learning.

    On this issue I am in complete agreement with you as regards the status quo, at least for the time being. Your persistence for reforms and the logic you apply in this blog now makes far greater sense :)

  15. Disciple X

    Fine, I enjoy your incisive questioning ... please keep it up. I do not expect agreement on all my views. I hope that they do stimulate thought, debate and disagreement.

    Thank you for your continued support.

  16. L.E.F. says,

    I agree that it is of paramount importance to get our house in order, in the way we govern ourselves, to prove that we are mature enough and united to know where our future lies.

    I too have no rush to achieve self determination but seeing we are already well on our way on that journey one day we will eventually arrive.
    I believe sooner rather than later.

    One day when we come of age and we put to rest once and for all ,our petty differences ,we will be able to close this chapter which our forefathers started.

    Self determination means that we have a right to aspire to determining our future. To securing our future. It is a human right. Even though I admit its interpretation is varied we have to believe in our inalienable rights as a people.

    Our future cannot be left indefinitely in the air for others to decide. At present we are a listed British Overseas Territory. We are a colonial people in status. A colonial people with a threatened status.

    We have our neighbour Spain, trying to eradicate us as a people and our owners, saying that either we remain British or we will have to be eradicated by our neighbours.

    That is not self determination.

    As I believe Spain will never change its position over us can I trust my masters to look after us forever?

    We might have preambles or a constitution that states that Britain will never sell us down the river.

    What happens when the words do not match their actions. Remember Jack Straw's joint sovereignty deal a few years back.

    What about the current mess with our waters. Do our masters really care enough about us to confront their friend and partner,Spain.

    Self determination is a process . I agree that it is better to travel the slow but sure road, but at one stage we will have to confront those hills in the distance if we are to climb to the summit.

    Our forefathers could have succumbed in their endeavours in repatriating the population and we might not be here today writing in English.

    Self determination is not given. It has to be strived for but only when we as a people have come of age.

    Gibraltar Libre

  17. RV

    My apologies once again for being obtuse but:

    1.“Self-determination is not granted it is.” What do you mean? Surely some “entity/ies” (read that as components of the International Community) must agree that Self Determination be applied in our case?

    We don’t arrive at that juncture, especially in our case, without concensus! If nobody recognises us , for whatever reason, what do we do then?

    Re: Gibratar Libre –

    What is meant by

    1. “...we put to rest once and for all ,our petty differences ,we will be able to close this chapter which our forefathers started.”

    Are we sure that this was the journey they embarked on?? What petty differences? There will always be differences!

    2. “Self determination is not given. It has to be strived for but only when we as a people have come of age.”

    What age? When do we know we are mature enough?

    We must stop using incomprehensible technicalities (for the less knowledgeable) and banalities which serve no purpose. Self Determination requires greater debate and clarity and it is for those whose responsibility it is, to lead the debate. This not only refers to politicians but everyone else.

  18. Disciple X

    No entity grants self-determination it is a right that exists under the UN Charter to al NATIONS. The issue for Gibraltar is (1) are we a nation, which has many answers depending from what and whose perspective one looks at it and (2) that the UK constantly re-affirms the Treaty of Utrecht, so whilst this is so unless Spain recognises the right Gibraltar is stymied because the UN will likely, for now not take sides on the dispute. I have tried to explain this, already, so the simple answer is:it is down to the UK and Spain to agree. This simplistic analysis is complicated because the UK has given a commitment that it will not go against the wishes of Gibraltar ... hence the stalemate. Therefore, one reason why I suggest lets wait and see, it is not too bad as it is or is it?

  19. RV,

    Your explanation is duly noted re :.“Self-determination is not granted it is."

    My more obvious concern was with the post by LEF and his/her use of terms which mean nothing on their own.

  20. L.E.F.says,

    Re, Disciple x

    I can agree that for the benefit of all of us who choose to share our ideas on this blog,that we should be more specific and more to the point.

    With so much spin abounding in Gibraltar I might also have fallen victim to this diatribe. I apologize.

    I can concede to that point and that point only.

    I will try to answer your questions with my point of view but would also like to share your opinion regarding the statements of fact about our colonial status and to what will we do if Spain keeps pushing the boundaries and Britain does not stand up robustly in defence of our rights?

    Like for example the current incursions and the gradual loss of our waters.

    I will begin with our coming of age and putting our petty differences aside.

    I believe that worldwide events push a people along and our history shows us that we galvanised as a united people after the second world war.

    We have always united as a people when we are pushed to the edge and our wellbeing is threatened. Repatriation of evacuees, Referendum , Joint Sovereignty.

    What I mean is did our forefathers have to wait to be told how to do everything? Did they know when they had to press forward together? Did the whole of Gibraltar know that they had to come out in numbers and make themselves heard to the world to defend their rights.

    I believe not. I believe that they had to do it out of necessity without knowing the final outcome. Our past leaders strived hard for our evolving as a people with rights, and did their best and have brought us along to what we are today. The journey has however not finished.

    In this everchanging world, events will one day push us forward as a people and if we have come of age we will rise up to the occasion and without even knowing it will take another step forward on the road to self determination. Like in the past.

    We always rise as one when our homes and families are at risk . When we are being subdued to extremes.

    Petty differences are our party politics which blind us completely as a people. I believe that we all want the same goals. A peaceful and prosperous Gibraltar where our children can look forward to a secure future.

    If we cannot see the deficiencies in our democracy due to party allegiance or choose to settle for better the devil you know rather than to value and merit each topic on its substance. What chance do we have of moving forward as a people?

    None, because we are too busy fighting amongst ourselves,defending leaders and party lines ,against our better judgement.

    If this was the journey our forefathers embarked on? I am not sure. Maybe not but that ship has sailed.

    What I am sure is that the journey commenced and one day it will finish.

    What the outcome will be , will be up to us.

    That is what Self Determination is.

    Gibraltar Free

  21. Genuinely glad to see that Selwyn came across as much more confident in the latest GSD party political broadcast and that the production on a whole was significantly less "cheesy" than the previous broadcast. It was a good piece of propaganda.

    One cannot argue with the good things the GSD have done and they should be applauded for the good work that they have done. However, that good work doesn't excuse all of their significant other proven failings discussed here on this blog.

    The Angry Friar

  22. Sad that it takes a sloppy to realise how good we have it. Have a read.

  23. Anonymous at 14:20

    I reply by reference to some quotes as follows:

    "Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself." --Dale Carnegie

    "He that loves to be flattered is worthy of the flatterer." --William Shakespeare

    "Flattery is praise insincerely given for an interested purpose".--Henry Ward Beecher

    "You think I love flattery and so I do; but a little too much always disgusts me." –Samuel Johnston

    "The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticisms." --Norman Vincent Peale

    "We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter." - Denis Diderot

    "Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things."--Winston Churchill

    "The way we respond to criticism pretty much depends on the way we respond to praise. If praise humbles us, then criticism will build us up. But if praise inflates us, then criticism will crush us; and both responses lead to our defeat." --Warren W. Wiersb

    "Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you." --William Arthur Ward

    Where is the flattery coming from and why?

  24. The flattery could be coming from noticiasdelavillaCARUANA

    Where's the sick bucket?

  25. Ohu Robert, you've got it bad picha!

  26. Anonymous at 15:52

    The love bug? Yes but who is the lucky girl?

    Some have got it worse than me ... theyb appeared on the GSD Party Political broadcast last night :)

  27. Surely Robert youre not suggesting that you have a crush on Peter and just can't quite come out of your shell...:) You must admitt though, that article is actually spot on in content.

  28. Anonymous at 16:32:

    “For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.”
    Psalms (ch. V, v. 9)

    “What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet, But poisoned flattery?”
    William Shakespeare King Henry at IV, i.

    “They do not abuse the king that flatter him. For flattery is the bellows blows up sin; The thing the which is flattered, but a spark To which that blast gives heat and stronger glowing; Whereas reproof, obedient and in order, Fits kings as they are men, for they may err.”
    William Shakespeare Pericles Prince of Tyre (Helicanus at I, ii)

    “Flattery is all right if you don't inhale.”
    Adlai E. Stevenson Quotes

  29. And you are talikng about Madrid here Robert? Or could it be the Foreign Office?

  30. Robert

    What a shame that the topic under discussion has degenerated once again. I was thoroughly enjoying the thought provoking exchange on Self Determination between yourself, Disciple X and L.E.F.

    My overall reaction to your article was similar to Disciple X's but he was more inquisitive than I would have been.

    However, the one question I struggle to find an answer to is:-

    If I had the right to exercise one of the obvious options that would be available in the future were available now, what would my preference be?

    Any thoughts?

  31. Anonymous at 17:45

    LOL conspiracy theories ... love them ... NO I am not that important to either of them they each have far more urgent and important issues to deal with than Gibraltar :)

  32. Anonymous at 19:19

    That is the most difficult question to answer ... my honest answer has to be that I believe we are too small to be independent so the choice is stay as we are with the UK or make a suitable arrangement with Spain. The latter is not a possibility so I stick to what I said in my blog ... leave well alone for now.

  33. L.E.F. says,

    LW do you believe that we are too small to be independent because of our size, or because of the Spanish threat to our security and economy?

    If we are already self sufficient and mainly self governed, why not independence?

    I agree with you to bide our time ,slowly and sensibly, but surely till we do not get recognized as a people with a right to our land,by the UN, we will never lay to rest the threat to our existence as Llanitos.

    The danger we face is that as there is no plan B we will always face the same choices and questions as today until we face them.

    In the meantime Spain will keep on knocking and kicking on our door until we close it firmly.

    The longer we leave and ignore this threat the greater the Spanish effort will become to wipe us out.

    Maybe the Basques and the Catalans, who are also on the slow long road to self determination, might be the ones who open a path to our future and through their actions give us a helping hand to face our Goliath.

    Gibraltar Free

  34. Dear Robert, I see that this post is not going too well. Maybe the self determination debate has been settled in the minds of us Gibraltarians and we now want to delve into other issues. May I be allowed to try to raise the tempo / blood pressure by congratulating Paco Oliva on his Opinion piece in the yesterday's Chronicle praising the influence of Christianity on our western societies? (With the caveat that I found Paco's side swipe at the GSLP unnecessary).

  35. In my comment at 22:18 on the 12th September 2011 I used the word ASPIRE in a context in which I have been convinced by someone is actually contradictory. What I was trying to convey is that independence is an ideal or utopia that I agree with but that pragmatically I do not consider is achievable for many reasons.