by Mark Angelides
After several hundred years of complaining about the UK ownership of Gibraltar, Spain is looking set to make a final play for the territory. Gibraltar has long been recognized internationally as belonging to Britain with only Spain criticizing the position; and the Brexit negotiations may be their last real chance of getting it.
One of the most decisive and well-managed military actions of modern history was former Prime Minister Margret Thatcher, responding to the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands. Nowadays, Thatcher is much maligned by the left, but few would criticize her leadership during the time of the crisis. She boldly led the UK in a defensive war that showed Britain as the true naval power it was. And what’s more, she had the whole nation behind her. But times and attitudes have changed, and what would have been regarded as fair military action, is likely to end with the media and the Establishment denigrating the UK for defending sovereign territory.
Both the European Union and Spain seem to be operating in concert over Gibraltar, making it a bargaining chip in the forthcoming negotiations. Many are questioning as to why a territory owned for several hundred years has anything to do with the EU which has no mandate or authority to deal with national borders. The EU council, on Friday, said that a veto may be available to Spain on any Brexit decision that involves Gibraltar.
In 2002, Gibraltar had a sovereignty referendum which asked the residents if they wanted Spain to share in controlling their home. 98% said no. This is a clear answer to the sovereignty question, however during the Brexit referendum, the majority of Gibraltar residents voted to remain in the European Union.
The EU referendum result will likely be the focal point of any moves by Spain to take the territory. But it should be remembered that voting to stay in a customs union is in no way similar to renouncing one’s British citizenship to become Spaniards.
With the European Union looking to punish the UK for daring to vote leave, there can hardly be a more direct threat than plotting to actually take part of your nation. Despite the EU’s tough negotiators plotting each angle, they may have miscalculated this move. The one thing guaranteed to scupper any punishment plans is the rallying of the British people. When Margret Thatcher made the decision to launch warships to take on the Argentinian army, the politicians and the press were initially appalled, but the public were behind her, and where the public go, the elite must follow.
Britain’s elected politicians, unelected politicians (the House of Lords) and the compliant media will swoon and decry a British response of strength, but the people will not. And the people will lead the cowards at the heart of the establishment to where they need to be.
by Mark Angelides