Gibraltar – finally confiscated by the Spanish

Brexit, ladies and gentlemen, is a theme as complex as it is ridiculous. To understand it fully, one must obtain at least a PhD in international relations and perhaps a masters in Politics for good measure. It would seem that even our own politicians are not able to fully understand what it is they have done. They have divided a country in two, a theme which has occupied screen and pages since that fateful day on July 26th 2016. However, the media doesn’t seem to have much of a handle on the situation either.

(Andy Rain / EFE)

For example, some select titles regarding Brexit (paraphrased):

  • A year of weak investments, businesses get nervous pre-Brexit
  • A no deal Brexit could unleash 14 days of chaos on the roads
  • Brexiters dont understand the importance of the European single market
  • Corbyn says that he wasn’t negotiating Brexit during “useful” meeting with Barrier
  • The United Kingdom could use Brexit to avoid prohibitions from the EU on agricultural antibiotics
  • Boris Johnson urges Theresa May to discard her Chequers plan.

We don’t know where to how to handle the issue. However, the people of the United Kingdom have got over the period of complete incredulity, and now the predominant humour is of resignation. Brexit will happen, the only detail is that nobody has any idea at all what it will look like.

The people most involved are, like rats, abandoning the sinking ship. Where is dear David Cameron, from whose infinite wisdom Brexit was born? Where is Nigel Farage, captain Brexit during the months before the vote? Where is Boris Johnson, ex-foreign minister and right hand of Theresa May? Incluso el enigmatic leader of the United States of America has commented (amongst many other things) “Brexit isn’t what what British people voted for” (of course, he was wrong, but that’s neither new nor surprising).

That being said, this post won’t try to explain Brexit (maybe future post will be dedicated to such an…exciting topic). No, this post is focussed on what Brexit will mean for Gibraltar. In fact, although Sean O’Grady said in the Independent that “Gibraltar is always an afterthought in the Great Brexit Debate.” Ken Clarke (father of the house of commons) said that “it will make the Ireland problem look like a picnic”.

Gibraltar voted in the referendum in 2016, and, taking into account that 98% of Gibraltarians want to stay part of the United Kingdom, 96% voted to stay in the EU, the highest count of any region. Depending on the style of the Brexit for which the British government opts when it finally comes to pass, or according to the deals made with Brussels, the situation could be more or less complicated. There is a range of possibilities; from special protocols for Gibraltar so that it can remain inside the Single Market, to the lunatic idea floated by Michael Howard (ex-leader of the Conservatives) that Gibraltar could provoke a war between Spain and the United Kingdom (although I wouldn’t worry unduly on that front, the idea has caused various defence experts to be hospitalised due to excessive mirth).

The upshot is that it could be a dogs dinner.

Within the whirling maelstrom that is currently the Brexit, does the possibility exist that Spain could, in fact, reclaim sovereignty of the small peninsula? Well, as it stands, yes. Through aggressive polemic means, exceptionally unlikely. That is to say, using the two million expatriated Brits languishing on the south coast as leverage is surely not the best way to negotiate.

However, it is rather obvious to all and sundry that Gibraltar is a tax haven, a fiscal paradise. If Spain were to manage the inclusion of Gibraltar on the European Union’s list of tax havens, that would surely be a huge step towards changing the quality of life between Gibraltar and and the surrounding area.

The reincorporation of Gibraltar into Spain must be a decision of the people. For that to happen, Spain has to seem more attractive. Personally, I already find Spain to be wonderfully attractive, so perhaps, in time, the Gibraltarians will begin to change their minds too…


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