Anorak | British and Spanish monkeys fight over Gibraltar and slave rights

British and Spanish monkeys fight over Gibraltar and slave rights

by | 3rd, April 2017

Former Tory party leader Lord Howard has assured the people of Gibraltar that Theresa May would show the same “resolve” as Mrs Thatcher did over the 1982 Falklands Conflict. Why is Howard saying the country is prepared to go to war with Spain over The Rock, a British territory? Because the Spanish worked a clause into draft EU negotiations giving them a veto in any Brexit deal and Gibraltar is ours.

Talking to Sky News , Howard recalled when “another woman prime minister sent a taskforce halfway across the world to protect another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country. And I’m absolutely clear that our current woman prime minister will show the same resolve in relation to Gibraltar as her predecessor did.”

It is fighting talk. But is Howard’s jingoism wrong? Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry says it is. “Inflammatory comments like those by Michael Howard will not help Britain get what it needs from these difficult Brexit negotiations,” she says. Lib Dem leader Tim Farron picked up the smell of traditional Tory nationalism and British imperialism. “In only a few days the Conservative right are turning long-term allies into potential enemies,” he said. “I hope this isn’t a sign of the government’s approach to the long negotiations to come. Brexiteers have gone from cheering to sabre-rattling for war in four days, it is absolutely ludicrous.”

Howard later told Channel 4 News : “I think it was ill-advised of the EU to insert that reference to Gibraltar in their draft guidelines. Since they have done it, I can see no harm of reminding them of what sort of people we are.”

And aren’t the Spanish to blame for any looming row? Gibraltar was ceded to Britain in perpetuity when Spain signed the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, after an Anglo-Dutch naval force captured it in August 1704 as part of the War of the Spanish Succession. That was an international fight involving Spain, France, Great Britain and their allies to work out which of them was the ultimate colonial power. Britain got Gibraltar and, among other things, the rights to slave trading in Spain’s American colonies. Since then The Rock has endured 15 sieges by Spain. But now the fight is over fishing rights, cheap ciggies and The Rock’s 10% corporation tax, which Madrid sees as unfair competition.

In 2013, Boris Johnson, the then London mayor and now Foreign Secretary, saw Spanish newspapers report that Spain was seeking a “united front” with Argentina against Britain, joining their respective claims to Gibraltar and the Falklands. “HMS Illustrious is about to bristle

You have already read 1 premium article for free today
Access immediately the premium content with Multipass

Or come back tomorrow

Posted: 3rd, April 2017 | In: News, Politicians Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink