The Voice of
12TH. JANUARY 2004
However much one can welcome last week's somewhat surprising visit by the British Ambassador to Spain, The Voice of Gibraltar Group wonders whether the circumstances surrounding the trip were a simple matter of when to deal with the now standard Spanish reactions; before or after the event.
Is it not rather remarkable that since the Referendum, a number of ministers and/or officials from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office have come to the Rock on 'familiarisation' visits. Perhaps if there had been as many prior to the relaunch of the Brussels Process, the British Government would not be in the position it now finds iteself in; stuck between saving-face with the Spaniards and upholding its constitutional obligations to the Gibraltarians.
Whilst in complete agreement with the Governor for the need to rebuild bridges between London and Gibraltar, The VOGG must question whether the F&CO is actually committed to such a reconciliation, based on mutual respect, trust and democratic principles. Merely creating a lull that maintains the status quo, to facilitate a future meeting-halfway, is a futile exercise. Why ? Because once in the middle, all that will be waiting there is Jack Straw's policy statement of 12th. July 2002.
The VOGG is absolutely convinced that present F&CO tactics are not 'bridge-building' but 'mending the fences' knocked down by Gibraltar's campaign over the last two years. Let no-one be in any doubt, this cosmetic 'change of heart' reeks of HMG's own vested interests and nothing to do with the Gibraltarians' wishes and rights.
Once again, the VOGG calls on all Gibraltarians to be vigilant of "Perfidious Albion'. There is no option but to fully support the Rock's elected representatives on the issues at hand, self-determination, decolonisation and a secure permanent future. The last two years have seen HMG perpetuate the worse aspects of colonial power. As Sitting-Bull or Geronimo would have said; 'White man speaks with forked tongue'.