IT was once said that if the monkeys ever left the Rock Of Gibraltar, so would the British.
As far as I know both are still there, but for how long nobody can tell. Of course the monkeys are really apes whose official name is a bit of a mouthful – Barbary macaques.
Although the tourists love them they can be vicious little creatures and will give you a nasty bite if they take a dislike to you.
But I digress. Gibraltar is not just about monkeys and tourism. It’s about a political struggle for sovereignty between two of the most powerful nations in Europe, a struggle which has existed ever since the tiny territory was ceded to Great Britain ‘in perpetuity ’under the Treaty of Utrecht in the early part of the 18th Century. It’s been a bitter struggle, and still is, with Spain constantly adamant that the territory belongs to them, and the British government, backed frequently by referendums which show the Gibraltans themselves wanting to stay British, asserting that most of the territory remains under the property of them.
So what a mess! And all because of a large lump of limestone rock jutting out of the sea. Of course it is in a strategic position: the narrow Straits of Gibraltar command one of the most important shipping lanes in the world.
But are territorial disputes amongst politicians a good enough reason to punish ordinary people of all nations, but mainly British and Spanish citizens, by closing border posts and making them sit in their cars in the boiling heat for hours on end? Or to use small Spanish fishing boats to chug provocatively into British territorial waters in order to cause an international incident with the British navy? Its crazy and dangerous. I mean, do we really want to see another blood bath such as the great conflict with Argentina in the Falklands? Are we really prepared to sacrifice our loved ones all over again, and for what? Territorial claims?
But for me there is still something I don’t understand about all this. The people of both Spain and the United Kingdom know about the situation at Gibraltar and yet there is very little conversation about it on the streets or in the restaurants or bars. It’s almost as though it’s a taboo subject that ordinary folk don’t want to talk about. However one can only hope that one day they will let their politicians know how they feel about the prospect of going to war with a friendly country over a ridiculous lump of Rock in the middle of the great Meditteranean Sea, a Rock that will remain solid long after our politicians have finished arguing about who it belongs to.
I don’t think the monkeys will ever quit the Rock. Somehow I think they have more sense than their masters in Madrid and London.
Do you have any ideas of how the Gibraltar crisis could be resolved? If so why don’t you to get back to me and well share your ideas and views with our other readers : victorpemberton.com
I look forward to hearing from you