UK is OK on Gibraltar!
|By Leo Olivero
Gibraltar’s presence in the United Kingdom during the historical Queen's Jubilee celebrations this week came by way of the Chief Minister and his charming Wife.
The Chief Minister’s presence in the UK could not have been timed or planned any better, even if the Government had attempted to strategically get Mr. Picardo to meet the likes of David Cameron, Nick Clegg or even have lunch with William Hague at his residence and then go on to meet the UK Chancellor. I do not think that these various and important whirl-wind political encounters for Gibraltar would have been pulled-off in just one trip to London!
Mr Picardo’s visit to the UK for Queens’s celebrations and his conversations with these esteemed UK political heavyweights also nicely came a week after Mr Margallo’s visit to London to see Mr Hague. You will remember that after this meeting we saw a gloomy looking spanish foreign secretary who gave a rather trodden downbeat few words regarding his talk with his UK counterpart, although nothing at all has been heard since regarding this meeting from Mr Margallo, no victory speeches or denture exposing smiles.
All this in contrast before Margallo arrived in the United Kingdom, when he had a cocky tone to his voice and acting as if he was quite sure of himself, or as if knowing which favourable direction (to him) the talks with Hague would go!
Everyone in Gibraltar should take note of the comments made by the Chief Minister on his return to Gibraltar. Mr. Picardo reiterated that he was ‘confident that Mr. Cameron and Mr. Hague will defend Gibraltar’s interests not only when it came to the current issues of Sovereignty or the Waters and the Frontier Queues but on a full breadth of issues affecting Gibraltar’
What more can one ask for at the moment from a Gibraltar perspective, especially if our own Chief Minister confirms he is fully confident that the issues with Spain already mentioned are being taken up at some higher dipolomatic level ‘this latter point also confirmed by Mr Picardo’ .
Today’s Politics or Modern Diplomacy that was at one time was a one-dimensional issue between two nations, is now a multi-dimensional venture, with a rise in influence of non-state actors like multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations, and super-empowered individuals, this has transformed international world relations. This is only paralleled by some other equally important developments like globalisation, the integration of peoples, societies, and economies as we are seeing daily on the news… All this is the transformed international environment in which public and political diplomacy now operates, it is today’s reality.
If one follows these issues closely, not even that close in fact, it is obvious that today’s international diplomacy between nations even as I have said, between two nations, is closely interlinked with the bigger global picture. Whether it be regarding a trade negotiation, the reconstruction of Iraq for instance or the threat of AIDS… and yes also the Sovereignty of British Gibraltar Waters! Any negotiations today reference our waters would never result in any type of military intervention particularly when EU members are involved. So don’t expect a 21 century version of a Lord Nelson to appear on the sunny horizon any time soon.
Some experts in this field have said that ‘the agenda of world leaders is packed with summits and conferences. World leaders and their advisers believe that summits, talk and dialogue are the best way to accelerate decision-making; also fixing deadlines and insisting on “photo opportunities” seem to be the only way to foster quicker decision-making. This is a perverse development in foreign relations’.
It was only last week before the Queen Jubilee celebrations got underway and just after the meeting in London with Mr. Hague and Margallo, that quite a few people on the rock got rather irate that the ‘Spanish Foreign Minister was not literally frogmarched to the Tower of London to await execution and the UK declaring war on Spain’. Some people here were even contemplating taking down union jacks and ripping down jubilee bunting that had been put up.
I said last week that I could really understand the frustration of some, as emotions had been running high for the last couple of months with discussions that had been amplified and thrashed out 14 hours a day, particularly on local social networking groups, who have debated all these issues nearly to death. Many people (prior to the meeting in London last week) had worked themselves up to a near frenzy, they were unable to appreciate the concept of modern diplomacy, which is what world politics is all about in today’s global world of diplomatic discourse.
As I also said last week “even though some people expected more from the meeting in London last week, one has to analyse not what was said in public, but what was said in Mr Hague’s Office and not made public.
There are some who think that the issue of Gibraltar waters, fishing and frontier queues should be catapulted to the top of the world diplomatic agenda, these people are so wrong and do not live in the real world, we are but small fish (sorry for the pun) in a massive and very turbulent ocean at the moment!
Admittedly, what is happening now and our current problems with spain is important to us, but taking the whole matter in perspective with what is happening globally to nations around the world (just switch on the news) is no where near a priority that justifies all out war or military action, certainly not gun boats blazing out ammunition shells every time the guardia civil turns up at the western end of the bay.
I think we also have to realise that the UK and Spain in a global and EU sense, both share pokers in the same fire and in many areas around the world, none more so than in Britain and Spain itself.
As it stands today we have been informed by the CM that the current issues relating to Gibraltar are being dealt with at the highest political level, the CM is happy with that and at this stage, so should everyone else in Gibraltar.
However, if the current problem out in the bay were to escalate even further, where the guardia civil were to become aggressive and there was imminent danger to the enforcement agencies, MOD and even the civilian population, than one would reasonable be justified to point out and complain in the strongest possible terms ‘that whatever political level this matter is being discussed at present be it in London, Madrid or Brussels is not working, and that this mode in modern diplomacy would have to be taken to the next level, whatever that level is?
Although at the moment you have to say – that level is not a current scenario!