This year is the 300 th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht. Instead of holding events to commemorate not celebrate the signing of the same our efforts would have been better expended in dumping it in the international courts of law.
The Treaty of Utrecht is now a dusty historical document. The only bits that is clung to by Spain are the paragraphs relating to Gibraltar. However it is clear also that the Foreign Office in London also honours this discredited piece of parchment as has been demonstrated at the UN.
I also sure there is a cupboard in the archives of the Foreign Office in which a copy of the Treaty of Utrecht is kept, next to the packet of Hobnobs. On the anniversary of its signing each year the Spanish Ambassador will be summoned to Whitehall and will be accompanied to the cupboard by a high ranking Mandarin, an Old Etonian and High Anglican, and together they will sing hosannas, genuflect then wave incense before the text. They’ll then have a Hobnob each and sip a cup of English Breakfast tea.
This old battered document has a negative impact on the relations between London and Gibraltar. For all the political rhetoric by the British Government and our own over Gibraltarians right to self-determine their own future, there will be those who wave the Treaty and speak in respectful tones of its wording. It is the hooded cobra weaving before Gibraltarians eyes holding us in its glare and undermining Gibraltar’s future security.
We are constantly told by members of our Government and Gibraltarian legal eagles who know about such things that the Treaty of Utrecht would not stand up in an international court of law. We were told this week that Spain will not take its claim over British Gibraltar Territorial Waters to law because it knows it would lose. This is nothing new. We have known for years that Spanish lawyers who deal in international law have said that the Treaty would be laughed out of court. If this is so then why has not the Gibraltar Government of the day grasped this nettle and had it consigned to the history books by going to court so Gibraltarians can get on with their lives without Madrid quoting its claims left, right and centre.
Taking the Treaty to court is a win – win situation. If the court indeed backed the Treaty and ruled it should stand then all we would have to do is ensure that the links between Gibraltar and Britain are so Rock solid it would never be “returned” to Spain. Integration on the style of Ceuta and Melilla comes to mind. If on the other hand the court comes down on the side of the opinion of the majority of international lawyers and the Treaty is indeed dead, then so too are Spain’s claims over Gibraltar.
Until the day such a court ruling is sought, and Madrid’s Fascist ambitions over Gibraltar and its people are shown to be just that, then Gibraltarians will live in uncertainty. It will be the fault of Gibraltar because we have done nothing to end this farce.