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Mixed news from The Rock

Showing the kind of intelligent approach to not letting politics interfere with making money that one would expect from the private sector, the mobile arm of the former Spanish monopoly telco Telefónica Móviles has just signed a roaming agreement with GibTel.

So far so good. However, the Spanish foreign ministry is not so good at seeing the maderas for the árboles, and "Spain’s refusal to recognise Gibraltar as a ‘competent authority’ is a hurdle to the EU imposing sanctions on Iran". Nothing quite like putting aside minor local differences in order to serve the common good, is there?

(With thanks to the Gibraltar Chronicle for both tales.)

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Anonymous David Allen said... 8:07 pm

I share that rather peculiar obsession with Gibraltar common to so many Conservatives. But it does tickle me how so many Almodovar-watching, La Movida-loving Spanish lefties suddenly come over all nationalist (dare I say Frabquist!?) when it come to the subject of Gib _ try it on a Spaniard near you!  

Blogger Croydonian said... 8:10 pm

And for added fun, mention Ceuta and Melilla....  

Anonymous David Allen said... 8:33 pm

Ah _ Ceuta and Melilla! That is always a quite different story for reasons which are never convincingly explained. I suspect however, that it seems different to the Spanish because they think it's all right to occupy a piece of land lived in by brown-skinned Muslims, whereas Gib is a shaming reversal of (part of) the Requonquista by dodgy Protestants...  

Blogger Croydonian said... 11:43 pm

I rather like the Spanish (especially when they give me VERY profitable betting tips), but the Ceuta busines is priceless.  

Anonymous Geoff said... 11:54 pm

Speaking in a probably unique capacity as your daily Conservative and Gibraltar reader may I say that this is a rather one sided story.

Anyone who wants a decent pub quiz question should ask which is the world's oldest continually published newspaper - it is the Gibraltar Chronicle as quoted here. However it is rather pro-government and pro the Cordoba Agreement. Read www.panorama.gi 's online newspaper for a very different view of politics across here.

Panorama is horribly lefty (to me) but you have to have a good understanding of Gib politics to realise that the distinction is much more blurred than in the UK. Here, political parties and newspapers rally behind individuals and policies rather than labels.

The telephone deal was a reversal of a policy enforced by Franco - so this is a step forward but hardly in good time. For all of the years of the Frontier being closed, for the massive refinery which he started because he thought the prevailing winds would carry the pollution over Gib, for fact that planes leaving here were not allowed to fly over Spanish territory until this Christmas - we have a lot to resent Spain for.

And in return, successive UK governments of both colours have tried to sell us out to them.

Cordoba had many pluses and many minuses for Gib. The promised New Dawn of cooperation hasn't quite broken through the clouds yet though with Spain, for example, ruining our recent application to join UEFA.

The border queue, where the Spanish officials deliberately obstruct us when we try to cross has become slightly faster now (they used to play a game of slowing the traffic so that the queue reached the palm tree by the old sentry post, which meant you had a good hour and a bits wait to get across) but they are arguing again about accepting Gibraltarian ID cards as a valid passport. (You can get into any EU country with either a Spanish or a Gib one - except when crossing out of Gib when it gets all political)

My apologies for such a long post and you can imagine I could have gone on for much longer. However as David Cameron would no doubt like, I will limit my Electron-Footprint.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 9:00 am

Geoff - thank you for your insights. If, in wandering into your areas of expertise, I have managed to avoid making a complete fool of myself I would regard that as as fairly positive.  

Anonymous David Allen said... 12:41 pm

I met Felix Alvares of GGR whilst in Gib a couple of years ago, who gave me a briefing on the local political scene _ the complexity of parties and personalities certainly seemed bewildering and Byzantine! Peter Caruana is always feted enthusiastically when he attends Tory Party conference, but seems to be a more divisive figure on his home turf _ a touch of Mr Tony, perhaps?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 12:55 pm

I must say the Gib parties all have rather unappealing names - the Social Democrats, Socialist Labour, Liberal and Labour parties. Perhaps Geoff can confirm that the GSD are the nearest thing to the good guys....  

Anonymous Geoff said... 7:00 pm

A very interesting question about the names.

The main thing is that Parties are personality-driven, and often just fold when their leader retires. Realignments occur very regularly.

Peter Caruana is the closest you would call a Tory of the main players and the GSD the closest you might consider a centerist-right party.

However Daniel Feetham - until recently leader of the Labour Party dissolved that organisation and took some of his members across the floor to the GSD. He is now favourite to succeed PC, with only Joe Holliday as his real internal opposition. I don't think GibLabour ever won any seats here.

The Socialists are led by Joe Bossano and are nudging ahead in the polls right now. We have a General Election due this year and they may well win. JB was Chief Minister for many years and carried out the biggest series of privatisations Gib has known. In his 80's now, the GSLP almost won't survive his retirement.

Most parties are primarily divided on their attitudes to integration with the UK against independence etc.

The UK Conservatives and UK Liberals maintain an organisation over here for European Parliament elections, hosting of delegations, fundraising and educational purposes only.

Far from a "complete fool", Croydonian, I'd say it was a very good effort for someone looking in. If you are ever in this part of the world then I'll give you the tour...

Once again I have rambled and seek my gracious host's forgiveness.  

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