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Brexit – on the Rock.

Gibraltar has a population of 32000 and a physical area of barely 3 square miles. But for all its smallness it has a storied history and has packed a large strategic and maritime punch. It lies at the foot of Spain and controls the western entrance to the Mediterranean – just 8 miles wide at this point. The tiny spit of land is domintaed by the Rock, over 1000 feet high.
For the last 300 years Gibraltar has been a British Overseas Territory – self governing but sharing the British Monarch as its Head of State.
Spain occupied Gibraltar for a brief period from 1704 to 1713. Today its beleagured nationalistic politicians are grappling with seperatism in their own country. There are important regional elections in December. The floundering Brexit negotiations give them the possibillity of a crowd peasing new remonstrance and they are looking to have a noisy hand in the negotiations.
But the Gibraltarians, like the Falkland Islanders in the 1980’s, have resisted all efforts to woo, cajole or persuade them into becoming part of Spain. The Brits agree that in essence Gibraltar belongs to its people and is neither Spain’s to claim nor Britain’s to give away.
From such small beginnings great matters can emerge. General Franco closed the border to the spanish mainland. There is potentially limitless scope for squabbling over fishing rights and territorial waters. Brexit gives an opportunistic peg for grievances.
The longer and messier the Brexit process the more such opportunistic pegs will occurr. In the current vacuum of leadership they will thrive and further threaten a workable exit.
Brexit has emerged as a nonsense, packaged without care by nationalistic incompetents, with no understanding either of the optimal deployment of Britain’s strengths, nor awareness of her vulnerabilities.
Expect more Gibraltars – have a Happy Thanksgiving. James