Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why don't Gibraltarians want to be Spanish?

Why don't Gibraltarians want to be Spanish? Now... there's a question! rolleyes

This question was just asked by a Google user, who arrived on my blog after putting that question in as his/her search term on Google. The Google user was directed to a post I made a little while back asking "Can Gibraltarians ever envisage a Spanish Gibraltar?".

I'm afraid I don't think the google user will have been able to find the answer to his/her question on that post... which is a shame... as it is a good question.

That blog post largely deals with an interview given by Peter Montegriffo, in which he talked about aspects of Gibraltar's sovereignty, saying the time was "not right for us to address the sovereignty issue". I then raised the question on whether Gibraltarians could ever "envisage a Spanish Gibraltar" and went on to explore the future and the possibility of "a Gibraltarian Gibraltar"... possibly in the form of a micro-State within the European Union.

So, whilst an interesting subject for further exploration, I doubt whether this google user today, found an answer to his question on "why don't Gibraltarians want to be Spanish?".

Actually... as a quick aside... I am often much amused by the queries people use, on Google and other search engines... and how they arrive on my blog! One user recently, was directed to one of my monthly blog archive pages, (where posts from the whole month are listed) following a google query for "pollution in my twat"!!! eek This one really made me roll around laughing! lol Clever google... saw that I had a couple of blog posts on that archive page... one a rant about pollution in the Bay of Gibraltar... and another post ranting on about my "Twat of the Week" (who happened to be the infamous twat and wanker banker Fred Goodwin that week)... so google thought it appropriate to direct this unfortunate user to my page!! rolleyes ha ha I'm pretty sure this user did not find an answer to what sounds to me a rather strange and worrying condition... and I do hope she (I can only assume that was a female user) has now found suitable and appropriate medical advice!

Another Google search just this morning... this time from Saudi Arabia arrived on a post on 'Nuclear submarine collision in Gibraltar... what if?' by searching for "gibraltar nuclear weapons store"!! eek Now that's a bit worrying! rolleyes

I could go on... but anyhow... apologies for my digressing... I shall get back to trying to answer this question today!

So... why don't Gibraltarians want to be Spanish? Well, the answer, as an uninformed reader might imagine... is... for many reasons... and I'm not sure where to start??

The first thing that comes to my head is to ask... well, why should a Gibraltarian want to be Spanish?

In the same way... why would a Frenchman not want to be English? After all... these two countries are geographically next to each other and have shared many parallels through history. Or... why would a Scotsman not want to be English... they've been neighbours and have shared a nationality (British... through the Act of Union) for hundreds of years haven't they? Why might an Australian not want to be a Kiwi New Zealander? Again... they're just across the pacific from each other. The obvious answer to all these questions is... because they ARE French... or because he IS a Scot.... or an Aussie! Quite simple really!

A Gibraltarian would not want to be Spanish... because he IS a British Gibraltarian... and because that is what we have been for even longer than the USA has existed... Gibraltar has been British for over 300 years.... since 1704... so the real question should be... why should a Gibraltarin want to be Spanish? The question should just not arise. Quite simply, the answer being why should he?

I cannot answer for each and every Gibraltarians naturally... and this is just my humble view... but I have a feeling I am in a very large majority... and the vast majority of Gibraltarians would agree with me.

But... let's explore what to my mind is more to the point... why do Gibraltarians choose to remain British? You see, unlike most other British people around the world and through history, most have never been given the choice... but Gibraltarians have... two times in fact... since 1967, Gibraltarians have had the option put to us... to democractially choose whether we wish to remain under British sovereignty... or come under Spanish sovereignty! We are getting a bit fed up with having to answer the question actually!

Historic Referenda

In successive Referenda (Referendums if you like) on the sovereignty of Gibraltar, Gibraltarians have voted democraticlly and emphatically to remain British:

  • 1967 - Gibraltar's first sovereignty referendum was held on 10 September 1967, in which Gibraltarian voters were asked whether they wished to either pass under Spanish sovereignty, or remain under British sovereignty, with institutions of self-government. Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly by 12,138 (99.19% of the electorate) to 44 to remain under British sovereignty.

  • 2002 - The Government of Gibraltar called a referendum on 7 November 2002 to establish the popular support for a proposal to share sovereignty of the territory with Spain. The result was a massive rejection of the concept. The actual voting was as follows: 18176 voted representing 87.9% of the electorate. There were 89 papers spoilt of which 72 were blank. Of the 18,087 valid ballots 187 voted YES, and 17,900 voted NO.
  • 2006 - Futhermore, a referendum on the proposed new constitution of Gibraltar was held on 30 November 2006. After being accepted by 60.24% of voters, the new constitution came into effect on the 2nd of January 2007. Turnout was low at 60.4%. It has been speculated that the relatively low margin with which the constitution passed was a response to the unpopularity of the Cordoba Accords (a tripartite agreement on co-operation between the Governments of the UK, Spain and Gibraltar) among some segments of the electorate (who were unhappy about any agreement with Spain), and a confusion between these two issues .
So, as you can see... it's pretty emphatic. Gibraltarians do NOT want to come under Spanish sovereignty.

As to more specific reasons why... well, these are quite complex. Other than what I have already explained and I suppose each Gibraltarian has his or her own view and very passionate ones they are too... for myself, it's about values!

I strongly value the long established British values of freedom, democracy, justice, freedom of speech, human rights and the embracing of mixed cultures, creeds and religions within our society.

Spain... has a long way to go on all those values... before one could even begin to compare the two cultures and traditions. Granted, Spain has come a long way since Franco's day... and especially since its integration with the European Union... but their democracy is still in its infancy... and they still have a long way to go... before they fully catch up!

Having said that, I have no problem with Spain and the Spanish people... though I do resent the constant bullying by Spanish politicians and Spain's belligerent politics, at times, towards Gibraltar.

But... as far as Spain and its people are concerned... I have always been a lover of it's wealth of culture, gastronomy, the way of and quality of life and the warmth of the people. Throughout my life, I have loved all these aspects of Spain and what it can provide and I am very well aware of these hugely positive things about Spain... NONE of which make me want to BE Spanish! I am very happy and content being what I am... a very proud Briish Gibraltarian!

If you are interested in exploring these further, the best thing I would suggest you do is to have a look at this Gibraltar Documentary Film. This film was a project produced by Garrett Wesley Gibbons, an American student at Brigham Young University. It is a very good documentary, primarily describing what a Gibraltarin (also known as a 'Llanito') is all about... and why we value our Britishness.

I hope this blog post has gone some way towards answering the question of why Gibraltarians don't want to be Spanish. I suspect there are many questions unanswered though... and if you have any... by all means ask away using the 'Comments' system below.

If you are Gibraltarian... and want to say why YOU don't want to be Spanish... then please feel free to comment below.

All comments, as always, will be very welcome. (Please note... abusive or racist anti-Gibraltarian nonsense will be deleted!)

Saludos! mrgreen


William said...

To me it's not a valid question for Gibraltarians as a group.

Firstly because nationality is an individual and not a communal attribute.

Secondly because Spain's campaign does not include the demand that Gibraltarians change their nationality, they are quite clear in their demand for the sovereignty of the territory, with no demands made on the population.

The people would, in Spain's claims, be free to remain as foreigners in Gibraltar (albeit with enhanced rights as EU citizens that we are), or to apply for Spanish citizenship, which Spain at one point said it would concede.

Gibraltarian said...

William is another example of not thinking his comments spain is apparently being generous by wishing to make me a foreigner in MY OWN HOMELAND? I am a British Gibraltarian, and wish to live in British Gibraltar. Spain's demands are for the annexation of a foreign territory irrespective of the wishes of the inhabitants. As a democrat I find that repugnant. Which goes to show that the above point is true.....spain has a LONG way to go before being a true democratic country.

Sun May 03, 08:41:42 PM

William said...

You have read my comments and gone on the defensive, Gibraltarian, I happen to agree with everything you say, for I am a Gibraltarian too. Spain's offer is repugnant to me as much as it is to you.

I never said Spain's offer is generous. I simply repeated the content of their offer exactly as it was made, being objective, and allowing each reader to decide its qualities.

You have raised the matter of democracy. Since you are a democrat I am sure you will have voted against our colonial Constitution. I hate to admit it, but Spain is a democracy, and we still live in a colony. A non-elected individual (our Governor) has the right (bestowed on him by our own Constitution) to rescind or annul the self-same colonial Constitution. That is hardly the stuff of democracy.

I strive, and am sure you do too, democrat that you are, to make Gibraltar a democracy too, and a separate one from Spain at that.

I say none of this as sarcasm, I hope it doesn't come across as such.

Poole said...

Nice and quite partial article.

"Why would a Scotsman not want to be English?"

They are both British, althought there is reluctancy in some sectors of the Scottish society.

"A Gibraltarian would not want to be Spanish... because he IS a British Gibraltarian"

What and argument. The same Gibraltarian would still be so while being Spanish also. They are not contradictory terms.

"I strongly value the long established British values of freedom, democracy, justice, freedom of speech, human rights and the embracing of mixed cultures, creeds and religions within our society.

Spain... has a long way to go on all those values... before one could even begin to compare the two cultures and traditions."

That's the paragraph I like the most of all you've written. It's bad shit, really.

Britain is not revered for it's respect to other cultures, neither is Spain, as they've been both Imperialist countries. Being so close to Spain I can't see how you don't realise that it is a Democracy where freedom, justice, freedom of speech and -of course- human rights are respected and enforced. In fact, Spain has a better record on the latter, according to Human Rights Watch.

I fail to understand how a person living in a colony pretends to lecture people on democracy and freedom. It's beyond my grasp.

The only valid reason to object a reunion of Gibraltar and it's natural surroundings nowadays is the will of the Gibraltarians. No more and no less. Why you don't want this outcome is complex. Perhaps for cultural reasons, indoctrination since infancy, economic interests, and so on.