Gibraltar sovereignty

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April 6

Dear Editor,
On the matter of sovereignty of Gibraltar. I condemn in the strongest possible words the conduct of The Sun in their front page article of today under the headline, “Up Yours Senors” beneath a picture of the Rock. Such reporting amounts to gutter press at its ugliest and in the present instance this serves to do nothing for a satisfactory Brexit deal. I have had occasion in the past to study the history of the Rock and have re-visited that history many times since.
Apart from the crass ignorance in spelling, it appears The Sun has gone in with two size 14 boots and damn the consequences, let alone history. A parallel cannot be drawn between the Rock and the Falklands, however much others try to do so.
I base my own judgement on the facts and in this present matter however much we feel drawn towards the Rock’s inhabitants, this small inhospitable chunk of land was seized by Admiral Rooke in 1704 from the Spanish Crown during the War of the Spanish Succession under the pretext the British were acting on behalf of the pretender, Charles II, as it was seen to be an easier target than other ports such as Cádiz. It was seized under force of arms, albeit there were only a few inhabitants at that particular time. What we do know is that its inhabitants date back to the Neanderthals. Further, whilst the Rock changed hands many times through the ages, it is part of the Iberian Peninsula and it is my humble opinion it does belong to Spain, despite the all-embracing Treaty of Utrecht 1713 when it was ceded to Britain ‘forever’. That Treaty can have little force of value when considering Britain was a leading sea power when the Treaty was agreed. After all the bi-lateral sovereignty between Spain and France over Andorra works perfectly well and I have visited that principality on many occasions. The only time the Rock had any strategic significance was during WWII. That cannot be said of today
For the above reasons I would fully support proper talks between the UK and Spain as to the Rock’s future, particularly where my last awareness of the Spanish position was that they were seeking joint sovereignty, although I do not believe that would be a lasting resolve. Nevertheless, it would go a long way to show good will towards Spain and its people, rather than to equate the matter with the Falklands and rattling sabres.
I’ve only touched above the very basic history of the Rock. To cover it more fully one would need to write a book.
Morocco too also lays a valid claim to sovereignty over the small island of Ceuta which has been referred to as Spain’s African Gibraltar and which is just 18 miles away from Gibraltar. Melilla is but another example of colonialism where the boot is on the other foot and Spain has indicated that it has no intention of returning Ceuta to Morocco or giving up its other territories in Africa. The days of colonialism are long past with many former colonial powers giving up their earlier seized territories.

David Burrage

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