Jack Straw and to a lesser exent Tony Blair are brave men trying to tackle the issue of sovereignty over Gibraltar. Selling any deal with Spain to the Gibraltarians is going to be a nightmare. Also, the Gibraltarians cannot be steam-rolled into accepting a deal with Spain because already Labour and Conservative MPs are concerned about a possible sell-out. The government's efforts over Gibraltar should be applauded but I can't really see a deal ever taking place because it will have to be supported by a majority of Gibraltarians. The only way forward is to give The Rock greater autonomy or even independence. It would become part of the Commonwealth and could even ask for special status within the European Union. Spain naturally has historic claims to Gibraltar but I think the government of Jose Maria Aznar should realise that no deal can be made without Gibraltar's support. The Spanish government has done nothing to try and win friends on the Rock and their deliberate go-slow policy at the border crossing point has only made things worse. Spain has made life difficult for Gibraltarians.
The Spanish government needs to launch a charm offensive and should start taking the elected government of Gibraltar seriously. Gibraltarians need to be involved in discussions over the Rock and they should be given delegation status. I do hope that the issue of Gibraltar is resolved one day because it is obviously a thorn in the side of Anglo-Spanish relations but Spain is going to have to work very hard to try and win the hearts and minds of the Gibraltarians.