The reported statements of King Juan Carlos of Spain in the 1980s that his country did not really want Gibraltar back because it would add pressure on handing over Ceuta and Melilla to Morocco has the right in our neighbouring country on the run.
The last thing Rajoy and those of the Gibraltar Español clique want is any linkage between their claim over sovereignty of the Rock and Morocco’s demand for Ceuta, Melilla plus the numerous islands such as Perejil to be handed over to Rabat.
So it is not surprising that Europa Sur should carry an article on Saturday dismissing any similarity between Gibraltar and the North African enclaves. Penned by Quino López it may also have appeared in other newspapers belonging to the Joly stable.
The key part of López’s article is: “La recurrente comparación no tiene fundamentos jurídicos ni históricos El Peñón fue español hasta 1704, mientras que las ciudades autonómas jamas pertenecieron a Marruecos.”
It is true that Ceuta and Melilla were never part of the Moroccan State but neither are they an integral part of Spain, they are not even in the same continent. However to say “El Peñón fue español hasta 1704” is also very misleading to say the least.
Now I am no historian so if you are and I have any facts here wrong then feel free to shout. As far as I understand it until 711, when the Moors took over Gibraltar, it had passed through many hands, Greeks, Romans and Visigoths. Hence up to that point in time it was no more part of Spain than the enclaves were part of Morocco.
The Moors held Gibraltar till 1462. However Spain seemed rather unenthusiastic about making it part of its realm and it floated around various owners till 1501 when it reverted to the Spanish Crown.
So pre 711 Gibraltar was not Spanish. Between 711 and 1462 it was held by the Moors who came across the sea from what now is Morocco, so they held if for 751 years. It was only truly Spanish between 1501 and 1704 and in 1713 Spain signed it away “in perpetuity”. Hence Gibraltar was Spanish for either 203 or 212 years. Since 1704 it has been British so this year it has been non-Spanish again for 310 years.
So let us look at that again. Pre 711 various rulers, 751 years in the hands of the Moors, 203 or 212 ruled by Spain and 310 years British and now Gibraltarian too. Now I am no more a mathematician than I am a historian but if anybody has an historic claim to Gibraltar it is the Moors and if they don’t then the Brits and Gibraltarians certainly do. In last place comes Spain.
Now because I am mischievous and given our good relations with our neighbour across the Strait, many of whose citizens happily reside here, I would say yes let’s go for joint sovereignty – with Morocco. With Britain and Morocco on our side what chance then of Rajoy and Margallo trying to destroy Gibraltar the nation?
Can you imagine the anger and consternation in Madrid if the people of Gibraltar decided to embrace Morocco to partner Britain in guaranteeing the Rock’s future and its security?
It will never happen of course but it doesn’t stop me enjoying the thought of Spain’s response. Meanwhile the Gibraltar Español clique will continue to argue its flimsy case in the hope the world will be fooled and that it will gain Gibraltar and hold on to Ceuta and Melilla.
Dream on, dream on! The way things are going its not winning territory that should be occupying Rajoy’s mind but rather holding on to what he has got. The stampede to leave his State by the Catalans and indeed the Basques is getting underway in earnest. I shall come to that tomorrow.