I did hope that Spain would have a better attitude towards Gibraltar with a new socialist government which appears to be more liberal in its outlook than the previous conservative administration of Jose Maria Aznar. But I was wrong. In fact I would say that this government is even worse and is once again behaving like a bully with complete contempt for Gibraltar and its people. Spain objected to the visit to the Rock by Princess Anne with the British ambassador being summoned twice by the Spanish government. Princess Anne has every right to visit Gibraltar because its 30'000 inhabitants are loyal subjects of the crown in the same way as King Juan Carlos has every right to visit Ceuta and Melilla, the two Spanish African enclaves long claimed by Morroco. Last week the British ambassador was summoned again to complain about the visit of the nuclear submarine Tireless. Perhaps, it would have been appropriate for the submarine, which was moored for a year in Gibraltar after it broke down in the Mediterranean to stay away, but the Royal Navy is free to do what it likes in Gibraltar. Spain's reaction has been childish to say the least, indicating that Britain was behaving in an unfriendly manner and saying that it was taking note. Taking note of what? Britain has proved to be a good ally of Spain over recent years and I must say that the Zapatero administration appears to be desperate to have a row with either Prime Minister Tony Blair or President George Bush. Just grow-up. There is plenty to do in Spain without making such a fuss about Gibraltar which we know is a problem which will not go away. Also, until the Spanish government decides to act like an adult rather than a moody child there will never be a breakthrough.
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