In the news today is a story about the visit of Princess Anne to Gibraltar, a British colony. The Spanish are not happy. The Telegraph reports thus:
Jose Carracao, a Socialist senator who sits on the foreign affairs commission in the Spanish parliament’s upper house, said: “This visit is annoying and is bound to prove controversial in a territory of doubtful sovereignty.”
I visited Gibraltar in May 2006. I felt proud to be British. Oh I know in saying this it will annoy some. Personally, I find being British something to be proud of but I know how much this upsets others. I have never understood this. If a Frenchman is proud of France and says so, does it upset me? No, it doesn’t.
Anyway, it felt good to be walking down a main high street flanked by British pubs, Union Jacks, Ice cream, English accents, Marks and Spencer, Red Telephone boxes and, British Policeman out in shirt sleeves. The weather, however, was probably the essential difference between colony and country.
New Labour politicians might have wrecked my own country but even they have not yet had much of a chance to ruin Gibraltar.
The Rock itself is huge. Although, Gibraltar in area is really quite small. A mile or two from tip to toe. Its history, however, is much longer. Three hundred years of British rule despite many attacks by French or Spanish armies.
More recently, Gibraltar has been of immense strategic importance as a naval base and gateway between the Atlantic Ocean and The Meditteranean Sea especially during WW2 when the Nazi U-boat fleet threatened Allied shipping.
The Gibraltan people wish to remain British. Apparently, 99% voted to remain British in a referendum only a few years ago. The people decided they did not want to become Spanish. They prefer being British.