Thursday, August 4, 2011


All too often what should be told first to Gibraltarians by their chief minister or GSD government appears in print in Spain. There are numerous examples, one of the most notable being Caruana announcement in Sevilla that he wanted to drag his people in to an Andorra-style joint sovereignty deal.
Now the respected Spanish national daily newspaper, ABC, says the election will be in October. A good guess or has somebody at No.6 been briefing or let the cat out of the bag? It notes Caruana will be bidding for a fifth consecutive term in power and hence to fend off his socialist candidate has become more nationalistic and anti-Spanish. Sorry I must have missed that.
The subject was raised as ABC says Spain’s minister for foreign affairs, Trinidad JimĂ©nez, has invited her British counter counterpart, William Hague, to Madrid for a re-run of the Trini and Willie show that first took place in London in February.
On the agenda is apparently the rescuing of the Tripartite Dialogue Forum in which no dialogue has been taking place for some time. The urgency is that Spain goes to the polls on November 20, after which Trini might well be looking for a new job out of government, and hence ABC mentioning the potential problems over dates because of Gibraltar’s own October poll.
Of course the Holy Grail of Spanish politics is the country’s belief that Gibraltar belongs to Spain and each party recites that mantra whilst following either a hard or soft relationship with the Rock. The PP are the hard ball players and hence Trini had to assure them and the media in February that the PSOE government had not changed or softened its stance with regard to Gibraltar and Spanish sovereignty.
In the run up to the Spanish election PSOE will want to demonstrate that it is taking no nonsense from Caruana even thought the majority of Spaniards are only concerned with the economy and the unemployment totals.
There has been no ministerial of the forum since October of last year with none seemingly likely in the near future as the disagreements rage over policing. Furthermore Caruana has antagonised Spain by tossing the territorial waters issue in to the mix, waters which Madrid maintains are Spanish. Hence Spain also maintains it is a bi-lateral issue between London and Madrid, certainly nothing to do with the chief minister.
It is probably true to say that William Hague would happily put the forum out to grass for a while given the numerous international issues that trouble him such as Libya. However Trini would like to be seen to be taking action before Spain goes to the polls and any such talks would have to take place before a Gibraltar election campaign got underway.
However Trini might have some trouble in wooing Willie to come over to her place. The British Government is fully aware that if opinion polls are to be believed both Spain and Gibraltar could be heading for new governments. Hence there seems little point in having talks with the present incumbents in Madrid and on the Rock when in a month or so the policy of both governments could have changed dramatically.