by Dominique Searle @DomChronicle
Their rivalry and ascent in politics is known to us all. Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Opposition Leader Daniel Feetham have dedicated their energy and ambition to occupy the two most important seats in Gibraltar politics – those of incumbent and hopeful Chief Minister.
It should not need European Commission intervention to make the frontier flow. But if that is the only recourse, so be it.
Nor do the dark bereted Guardia Civil really need to be standing with chains of spikes in the hands to control the mass of very normal people who cross the border in each direction every day.
The strict measures introduced by the Government yesterday on tobacco sales will send a series of signals not just locally but across the border too.
The impact of smuggling through the border and from our shoreline is not just something that worried Spain and the European Commission. Gibraltar’s strong sense of trade and the importance of trade generally to the economy is one thing, but every politician since the early 1990s knows that the people of Gibraltar will not support the anti-social behaviour generated by those trying to make a killing on the illegal sale of tobacco regardless of the impact on the community.
That a small Campo newspaper falls for it is bad enough, but that a prestigious newspaper like El Mundo (Radicales de Gibraltar invitan a hundir barcos españoles ) should pick up idiotic rantings of an individual on a blog and run this as representing some kind of guerrilla movement emerging in Gibraltar is worse than bad journalism.
Well done GBC for getting the DPC meeting on air (and a point for the Government in having the session open in the first place). Whatever one’s view this was undoubtedly a very good example of community affairs getting a proper airing. There has been a sense that the GFA’s Europa decision has been a little rushed on everyone and there has been an unfair trend to make the pro and against camps be distinguished as a political rather than personal divide.
The GFA’s UEFA goal was huge for Gibraltar and the opportunity to have our own UEFA stadium is an important recognition of that. Many young Gibraltarians and passionate sportsmen see the chance to do something special with this opportunity.
On the face of it the reasons given for eliminating other options seem insufficient. The obvious example is the argument that Devil’s Tower Camp is MOD and not available.
Until not so long ago, much of Gibraltar was MOD’s and unavailable. With imagination many of the challenges could be overcome. And what a spectacular backdrop that would be.
Certainly Government, rather than be pushed into the role of Solomon (is the baby called Heritage or Football?) , could pool the resources from all sides of this argument and see if better alternatives might not be made to fit in with broader development plans.
The DPC adjourment has given the issue space to breathe. Let’s use that to see if we can find a solution that most of Gibraltar can agree on. The balance must be between moving forward, developing and preserving the best of the Rock’s character.
With hostility at our door, almost a small, one-sided, cold war, it was reassuring to hear from the Foreign Affairs Committee chairman himself that the FAC stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Gibraltar and the position as stated by William Hague.
Despite the demonisation of the political figures that takes in politics on both sides of the Gibraltar - Spain row, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo yesterday signalled to Spain something it already knows but ignores - Gibraltar does not pretend to be a nation state or independent country.