Friday, October 12, 2012


(Photo: Radio 15M Murcia)

Today is October 12, Día de la Hispanidad. It is Spain’s National Day and the day the people of that nation celebrate being Spanish. Well that’s the theory anyway. The Catalans won’t be celebrating being Spanish because they don’t believe they are. The Basques neither they have been battling for their own independent homeland. Some Galicians feel the same way as do others in Valencia and the Balearics. Well across the border they are Spanish, oh sorry I forgot, they are Andaluz.

Anyway today is October 12, Día de la Hispanidad. Let us put aside the chief minister’s speech to the UN which was the clearest statement probably yet that Gibraltar will never be Spanish. For the sake of this article let’s presume overnight the entire population of Gibraltar decided to accept Rajoy’s euro and become Spanish. Let’s imagine our chief minister throwing open the windows of No 6 and in the voice reminiscent of a game show host cries: “Come on down Rajoy and let’s smell this cafe con leche!”

There are three things you need to know about the Spain of today: the Spain Rajoy wants us to join. The first is that Spain is in economic crisis. It is bankrupt and needs sooner rather than later a massive EC bailout. The abusive and criminal banks that are largely responsible for this mess need many billions more in cash. The jobless total stands at 24.63 percent, the highest in Europe. If you are young the figure is above 52 per cent. Over 500 people lose their homes every day. There are huge government budget cuts, the health and education services are in disarray.

The second is Spain is a nation on fire. We are used to the Basques and Catalans protesting but now the people of every city and town are on the streets. Demonstrations of 60,000 plus are the norm. They are protesting about the economic cuts and corruption. The government in Madrid wants to stamp down on peaceful protest. One example of the crackdown is a possible modification to article 559 of the Código Penal. It would allow heavy jail terms to be handed down to anybody who announces a non-violent protest or gives out information of such by email, Facebook or Twitter or who gives a humoristic performance against corruption or fraud that the authorities deem can cause public disorder such as cutting traffic.

The third is the Spanish State as we know it may be short lived or turn in to a Francoist centralised country. The Catalans want out, the Basques want out. Others are arguing for a federated nation where each region runs its own affairs. The leader of PSOE Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba says he leads a federal party so why not a federal state. Of course Rajoy and the Partido Popular want to control everybody, they want to take back powers for Madrid, they are setting the country on the course for at best a violent civil breakdown.

Are you smelling that cafe con leche yet?

So if today the Spanish flag was flying over the Convent and José María Aznar was in residence what would life be like? Well the waters dispute would be over because the waters would be Spanish. The border queues would be gone because there is no border. And the price of cigarettes would have rocketed so there would be no more smuggling.

How’s the cafe con leche smelling now?

Those who live in Sotogrande, members of the GSD – Gibraltarian Sotogrande Dwellers - and seek such a solution for Gibraltar would tell you that other than that life would go on as normal. Logic tells us otherwise.

If Gibraltar was Spanish how could our neighbours be taxed to the hilt, suffer numerous hardships, budgets slashed here, there and everywhere yet in Gibraltar Español life goes on as normal?

With La Línea and the Campo de Gibraltar on its knees how could a Spanish Gibraltar, the economic motor of the zone, be allowed to escape sharing the hardship which would no longer be across the border but part of our region.

Would Landaluce, the PP’s Gibraltar hating mayor of Algeciras, allow the Rock to have governance and financial privileges that his own port town does not enjoy? Furthermore as Algeciras is by far the biggest town on the bay would he play second fiddle to our chief minister?

If Spain is to become a federation how would Gibraltar fit in to that landscape? And if Spain becomes centrist then you can wave goodbye to any independence.

Well by now you’ve no doubt woken up, smelt the cafe con leche and decided the milk has gone off. In short Spain has nothing to woo Gibraltar with: and the concept of Gibraltar Español may be a dream for some but for Gibraltarians it would be a living nightmare.

(The Gibraltar Government has been using the phrase – “wake up and smell the coffee” – in a number of recent statements).