Friday, July 26, 2002

But what are colonies for?

Gibraltar does not like this deal (as yet unspecified) between Britain and Spain. A referendum is to be called to show that the consent of the Rock will not be given.

But surely this is all beside the point. After all being part of the British realm in the end means that you can call on Her Majesty's forces to enforce your claims (in this case not to be subjected to compulsory paella eating competitions or to take part in whatever they do to donkeys). Which means that it is the taxpayers who pick up the tab.

So in the end the issue of whether we should keep Gibraltar or send them to flamenco classes is not in the gift of the rockizens, but in the gift of the British government. If it is is in the interests of the metropolitan power (that is England) to keep this swarthy and Papist population under Her Majesty's beneficient protection, then so be it. In the short term the talks are doing nothing but harm with regard to the Falklands (just why are we still there?) and Ulster. In the long term there may be a case that Gibraltar will help us keep clear the North Atlantic sealanes - although its position astride the Med is not important to us now that we've given up India.

However what should not be allowed to happen is to let the population of the Rock dictate whether or not they should be a part of Britain. Other people's democracies are simply none of our business.


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