I CERTAINLY didn’t expect my gloomy forecast regarding the Gibraltar dispute to manifest quite so quickly.
In a recent edition I stated that the idiotic statements of Lord Howe, coupled with the British underestimation of the Spanish passion for Gibraltarian sovereignty, could bode very badly for British citizens.
My memories of the Falkland crisis, when Brits were spat on in Spanish streets, were, as usual, dismissed by some as yet another ‘Leapy rant.’
Well, although the situation hasn’t yet quite come to that, the recent hold up of British tourists at Palma airport, where passengers were made to queue for so long that some actually required medical attention; all under the excuse of a ‘question of security,’ is I feel only the beginning of what could become an extremely serious situation.
It’s not exactly rocket science to realise that this type of attitude helps no one, including the Spanish economy.
If British holidaymakers are made to feel unwelcome and begin to choose more hospitable destinations, the effect on many Spanish holiday areas could be disastrous.
Unfortunately, as emotions and tempers begin to rise, I feel, that if the dispute is not somehow kept in check and common sense takes a back seat, relations between our two countries could become very fraught indeed.
All this is of course not helped by the looming spectre of Brexit. The position of British expats must undoubtedly be at the top of Theresa May’s negotiation list.
It is entirely wrong, that those who embraced the spirit of the new ‘European dream’ and moved to foreign climes; most of them burning all their bridges en route, should be left in a limbo land of uncertainty and doubt as to the future in their adopted countries.
The British government must introduce clear legislation, protecting the many thousands of Spanish and EU citizens that work and reside in the UK, in a reciprocal agreement with remaining EU members, which subsequently ensures and protects the rights of all British EU residents abroad. And the sooner the better.
Keep the faith.