Aug 05 - Defenders Outline Margallo's ‘Intimidatory Tactics’
This weekend pressure group, the Defenders of Gibraltar responded to a number of threats imposed by Spanish Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo in Spanish media reports.
A statement released by the group notes, ‘This beautiful Sunday morning, I woke up to an influx in Spanish Media reports with information concerning Spanish Foreign Minister Margallo's future plans for Gibraltar. Given the seemingly ad-hoc and clumsy nature of undoubtedly Spain's worst Foreign Minister ever, I thought I'd have a deeper look at what it entailed and its feasibility.
'I found that the main tactics described were the following:
1) 50 Euro charge to enter and leave Gibraltar
2) Closing / Restriction of airspace for planes headed to and from Gibraltar
3) Changing rules to wring taxes from on-line betting companies
4) Cutting of telephone lines
5) Deployment of the Armada and land assets ivo Gibraltar
6) Stopping / interfering in maritime activity around Gibraltar
7) Tackling Gibraltarians with residences in Spain
'Having thought of the tactics listed above, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the ageing Margallo and how he clearly just wants to drag his own nation through misery in order to deploy the smoke and mirrors and create a 'perejil' style distraction to save his political party, and his master and protector Rajoy.
The problem you see, is that Perejil had no inhabitants (so Spain could pretend to be so brave at tackling a few goats), whilst attacking Gibraltar in any way shape or form using the methods above will result in extremely severe repercussions for Spain.
I will explain:
' 1) Running a 50 Euro charge to enter and leave Gibraltar is completely in breach of not only the act of the European Union but also the Charter of the United Nations. I don't think I have heard of a Nation which charges entry as if it were a theme park. This is quite possibly one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard of and smacks of desperation. You would have thought they would have learnt from Alejandro Sanchez' failure to implement a toll. Mind you last I heard Alejandrito was working for the PP in Madrid, so might have a hand in this.
2) The closing of airspace for planes headed to and from Gibraltar runs contrary to the EU Single European Skies initiative, which only in 2006 as part of the Cordoba Agreement Spain agreed to drop its objection for Gibraltars inclusion in said initiative. Implementing this tactic will only bring negative political and media attention from other European countries as they will see Spains continued objections to be an annoyance in passing a much needed initiative (I understand that the UK will continue to veto this initiative if it excludes GIbraltar). If it boils down to a breaking of the Cordoba Agreement on Spain's part (in all fairness I don't think they have fulfilled any of their obligations anyway) then the UK will be fully entitled to recoup all of the money they invested in Spanish Worker pensions. Not a very clever tactic by Spain...
3) Changing of rules to wring taxes from online betting companies - unfortunately when you have a multi-billion pound enterprise capable of deploying an army of legal advisors to correct Spain's anachronistic and antagonistic stance, the likelihood is that Spain will end up getting heavily fined by the EU and come to the realisation that Spain isn't exactly the stalwart place to do business with anyway. Spain will try and intimidate Online gambling companies where some will undoubtedly give in, whilst most will probably tell Spain that if it wants a long legal battle they are ready to fight to protect their companies interests. Spain has more to lose in this one too.
4) The cutting of telephone lines is as emblematic of the Spanish Governments anti-Gibraltar mentality as it is a telling sign of their desperation. For one, they cannot cut all of our telephone lines - it is the additional lines which were given as part of the Cordoba Agreements which are in question and like the restriction of our airspace tactic, Spain has far more to lose. Any lost lines could feasibly be rerouted through Morocco so any loss will be temporary. If Gibtelecom have prepared a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan, steps can easily be taken now to ensure minimal impact to Gibraltars businesses. With Spain threatening to cut lines as we speak, perhaps it is time to strengthen our communications infrastructure.
5) Deployment of the Armada in vicinity of Gibraltar would have to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard the Spanish Government state it was willing to try. 30,000 Gibraltarians are hardly a threat to the integrity of the Spanish state and the world will undoubtedly intervene if they were to try any military intervention in our homeland. The problem however is that now that Spain have stated their intention to escalate the situation the UK will have to do what is required of them (being responsible for our Defense) and deploy sizeable military assets to Gibraltar to act as a deterrent.
6) Interfering with Maritime activity around Gibraltar. Unfortunately we have heard this threat from Margallo before a couple of years ago which to this date has amounted to nothing, particularly after the Government of Gibraltar swiftly revealed a Spanish Government Ministers financial interests in the Bunkering sector in the Bay of Gibraltar. However the danger in this and the previously aforementioned tactics are not directly intended to lead to the specific fulfillment of the tactic but geared more towards the implications they would have on our reputation as a place to do business.
7) Tackling wealthier Gibraltarians with residences in Spain stinks to high heaven of discrimination and reminds me of what Hitler started doing to the Jewish people in Germany prior to the implementation of his 'final solution'. People around Europe are taking note of Spain's tactics and rightly expressing their concern at such a measure. This is likely to backfire spectacularly on the Spanish Government and end up with years of legal wrangling, sizeable EU fines and extremely negative media attention for the 'Marca Espana', which will become known for its propensity for being a nation of 47 million bullying a nation of 30,000 people simply for not wanting to be Spanish. Such a nation could no longer pretend to be a free, civilised and democratic nation and the implications would be dire to its interests worldwide .
'All in all, Margallo’s recent statements appear initially to be nothing more than an attempt to tarnish our reputation and scare Gibraltarians into submission. Given how much Spain has to lose by implementing these measures, I stand by my belief that good sense will prevail in Madrid and his statements will come to nothing more than a bit of sabre-rattling to distract from the corruption scandal and extremely dire state of the Spanish economy.
'To my surprise the most worrying thing that I heard today was not a tactic directly related to Gibraltar, but one which directly threatens the UK and the Falkland Islands - Margallo has decided to sell a sizeable number of Mirage F1 Fighter Jets to Argentina, resulting in an alert being issued to the UK Military. It would appear that the Spanish and Argentinian Governments are in cahoots with each other in attempting to undermine UK Overseas Territories (something we have always known).
'All in all, it appears that we Gibraltarians are in for a rough ride - but I am confident of our ability to ride out any storm on the horizon and rebuff the bully. The modern world has no place for bullies, and I look forward to the day they no longer stain the manner in which humanities politics are conducted.’