WHY shouldn't people of Gibraltar be able to vote in the European elections? Once again the Spanish government is showing total disregard to the feelings and democratic rights of the people of the Rock. Gibraltar is part of the United Kingdom and naturally its people should be able to have their say at the ballot box. What does Spain want? Gibraltar to be considered some last outpost of the British Empire which should be excluded from everything? I believe that the people of the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which are in Africa, will be voting for their European MPs, and so will the people of the Canary Islands. So why not the Gibraltarians? You can see why 99 percent of Gibraltarians want to remain British citizens because Madrid is continuing with its bully-boy tactics which will only lead to an even greater backlash. I believe that the solution to the Gibraltar crisis lies with the European Union. The Rock could become a ward of the EU which would effectively end the years of dispute. The Blair government has taken a great number of risks over Gibraltar and the planned joint sovereignty agreement was a clear example. Naturally, it was rejected by the Gibraltarians who properly quite rightly are not too impressed with the soundbites coming out of Madrid. Spain and Britain have an excellent relationship marred by the Gibraltar issue. Surely, the Spanish government must realise that there is little Britain can do as long as the majority of Gibraltarians wish to remain British. Instead of fighting and ignoring them, Spain needs to launch a charm offensive and try and warm Gibraltarians to the Spanish cause. Until that happens and until Spain changes its attitude the dispute will continue for many years to come.