THIS week a Royal Navy nuclear powered submarine docked in Gibraltar. Immediately, environmentalists on the Spanish side of the border claimed that it was a “floating bomb” and it had come to Gibraltar to be repaired. Many years ago a Royal Navy submarine did come to Gibraltar to be repaired and quite rightly environmental concerns were expressed. But this was not the case with this submarine which sailed two days later. An Italian aircraft carrier had been scheduled to visit Gibraltar this week as well, but the visit was canceled as a result of pressure from the Spanish authorities. The Italian vessel will now go to a Spanish port. The authorities in Gibraltar have logged and registered scores of Spanish vessels which have entered Gibraltarian waters illegally.
I think you can safely say that it was not a case of faulty navigation! While Spain is one of Britain’s principal allies and we are made exceptionally welcome here, I think it should reconsider its attitude towards Gibraltar. It is not really the way to behave, especially as thousands of Spaniards, work on the “Rock.” Britain, I don’t think, will ever surrender sovereignty of Gibraltar until a majority of Gibraltarians ask to become part of Spain.
I don’t think it could be said that Spain is winning the battle for hearts and minds on Gibraltar with what could be described as its “bully boy attitude....” The illegal incursions into Gibraltar waters are usually by Spanish warships, these same vessels serve alongside the Royal Navy in NATO. I think a change of attitude is needed. Spain needs to accept that things will not change as long as it continues with its present tactics. The only thing they are doing is making the pro-British element on the “Rock” even stronger.