Unionists in Gibraltar saw risk in Brexit, unlike Unionists in Ireland. The author read with interest Ben Lowry’s article entitled “Unionists in Gibraltar”. Having lived and worked in Spain on and off for over 30 years, she takes a great interest in anything Spanish, so much so there is now an Hispanic Society of Carrickfergus.
Difficulties at the border between Spain and Gibraltar are legendary and indeed it has been closed completely on several occasions. Gibraltar has the best of both worlds – a thriving economy based on financial services and e-commerce, and the ability to cross the line and enjoy the delights of Spanish culture – food, wine and music. The Gibraltarians the author has known do not seem to have suffered the inner turmoil of many Irish people. No “Troubles” there – no infighting, all brought on by the British arrogance and sense of entitlement. The Gibraltarians are staunchly British but at the same time embrace the Spanish language and culture of Spain.
The author is surprised that Spain did not take the opportunity of making another bid to add Gibraltar to its territory. In typical modern Spanish style, dialogue ensued and an agreement was reached. Democracy at its best. You won’t find much democracy in Scotland, despite its growing financial independence from Westminster. The politicians are, in the main, lazy and purport not to understand issues. They are secretive and uncommunicative. They even try to cover up environmental disasters by ignoring questions from journalists, as does the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman and the Highland Council.
Franco, of course, was no democrat and did not believe in dialogue, but modern Spain most certainly does in my experience. The way the town hall in Competa is embracing the idea of sustainable tourism and aims to become the first “green” destination in the Axarquia is a result of dialogue with a business, mine, which is now engaging with the folk at Green Destinations and local businesses. That is a democracy of which they should be proud. Forward thinking brought about by the meteoric rise of tourism in Competa and the feeling by some that Competa is growing too fast, and the “Spanishness” of the village is being lost. Take the Art Walk – there are no Spanish artists listed as members, although there are many in the village. The organiser wants a professional event manager to take over – free of charge – how is that professional – as well as the marketing. This smacks back to Scotland, wanting everything done on a voluntary basis while ignoring the talents of the people on their doorstep. Why don’t they get a Spanish coordinator. It is because they don’t speak the language, despite having lived there for years. The author can think of at least one very capable Spanish lady who would help out if asked – but she doesn’t speak English – and would want paying.
So. The tripartite of Ireland, Scotland and Spain is becoming clear. The Scots and some expats living in Spain want everything free of charge while charging the artists to join the art walk as well as raising sponsorship. The Irish first ask how much things are and are democratic – aka the Civic Conversation. The Gibraltarians have a great lifestyle by entering into dialogue with the Spanish. However, the parties can’t agree in Ireland, leaving it without a government and spending powers for almost two years. Decisions centralised again in Westminster. Who is right? Ireland, Spain, Scotland or the ever present Englishness and overbearing attitude of Westminster and the House of Lords who couldn’t negotiate their way out of a paper bag, aka Brexit. Mrs. May is the best person for the job. Let her get on with it. She at least sees the field clear but is propped up by the DUP. Send in the Irish. They will charm Mr. Barnier and his cronies into a good Brexit deal for Ireland. One is not needed for Spain and Gibraltar. They have done it already, but still have the power to veto anything Mrs. May puts forward, as have the DUP.