Richard North, 19/12/2004  

Even the British government has accepted, though almost certainly only temporarily, that the people of Gibraltar do not want to be ruled by Spain, do not want to be co-ruled by Spain and do want some say in their own future.

The present Spanish government seems to have come close to grasping this. At least there is news that Gibraltar will be represented in future intergovernmental negotiations about the Rock’s future. But, hey, there is always one. The Spanish opposition Popular Party has expressed its shock and horror at this “unilateral” decision. One wonders if “unilateral” is quite the word they wanted but there we are.

It is, according to Mariano Rajoy, leader of the Popular Party, “simply humiliating” to have Gibraltarians discussing their own future.

The people of Gibraltar have several times voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining British, most recently two years ago. Neither the British nor the Spanish government recognized the validity of the referendum. Presumably, had it been for that joint sovereignty plan, the vote would have been accepted and praised as a symbol of modern politics. But the word no is not something people should utter to politicians.

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