Yesterday I wrote of the proposed Third Way in Cataluña which would see the region not stay as part of the Spanish State as at present, not becoming independent either, but under a new Constitution becoming a federal State.
Germany is a federal state, Spain could go the same way, but what about the UK and what implications could this have for Gibraltar?
It has to be said there is no debate in the UK at present for a federal state but things have to change. Currently the parliamentary system is a mess. The Westminster Parliament and the British Government speaks for the nation. However Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own parliaments whatever they might be called. England does not: it is ruled by Westminster and whilst Scottish, Welsh and Irish MPs can speak and vote on English matters, English MPs have no say in their respective regional parliaments. It is an unsustainable situation and will have to change.
That change may come in less than a year from now when Scotland holds its independence referendum in September. If Scotland votes for independence then we shall see a break up of the United Kingdom. However if Scotland stays expect to see additional powers for its government and parliament.
Now there are those who have campaigned for Gibraltar to be integrated with Britain. However if that came to pass Gibraltar would be little more than another UK county. However if the UK moves to a parliament for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with a separate Westminster Parliament and Government taking decisions on defence, foreign affairs etc then we have an interesting situation. In essence that is the status quo between the UK and Gibraltar now.
So if the UK became in reality a federation with English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parliaments deciding the bread and butter issues could or should Gibraltar ask to join that system? Could or should Gibraltar become a federal State in a federal Britain? The British Government would still boss foreign affairs, defence, the key finances of the nation but that is no different from now as far as Gibraltar is concerned.
Gibraltar would still run its own economy and affairs through its own government and parliament as now. Our parliament and government would be on an equal footing to those of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The way the UK is governed is going to have to change because sooner or later the people of England, which is the key component, are going to become increasing fed up with the other regions being given more powers at the same time as having a one-sided say in their affairs.
It could present an opportunity for Gibraltar, not to integrate with the UK, but to take on a federal status with Britain. What could work for Cataluña with Spain could be our future security in a federal UK in an increasingly federal Europe.