A big thank you first of all to the 10,000 people that signed the petition urging the Governor (and the UK) to act in maintaining the integrity of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. Let us also not forget the many volunteers who helped in the canvassing and collection of signatures from people in Gibraltar; volunteers who went out of their way and gave much of their time and energy towards this cause. Thanks to you all, we were able to hand in our petition to His Excellency yesterday - Great Success!
So whats next?
Well the Governor has stated he will personally hand in the petition to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office during a visit to the UK next week. He has also stated that he will push for a fast response to the covering letter to the petition (for covering letter please see end of this post).
What do we expect?
We expect the UK to have a far more robust response to Spains illegal activities not only in our Territorial waters, but in every problem Spain throws our way - the covering letter to the petition specifically asks for the UK Govt to seriously deliberate on the feasibility of stationing whatever deterrent capability is deemed necessary to cease Spains bullying. We do not want conflict or armed struggle, however having an effective deterrent should be enough to keep the Spanish bully at bay - why do we think that? How many GC vessels do you see in our waters when there is a British Destroyer in the harbour.......none. Like all bullies, they puff up and pick on weaker individuals when no one is looking - however when eyes are on them, the turn tail and act like well behaved children, with glistening eyes to match...
We promise to keep you all updated on any correspondence we have - any response will be made public the moment it is received. We are not naive enough to expect a miracle - we believe the work of the DoG has only just begun. In the space of only a few months we have gone from being whispers in the wind to providing a popular apolitical platform for Gibraltarians to voice their frustrations to Spains oppressive tactics and the UKs appeasing policies.....and Gibraltarians are finally uniting and dropping the attitude of simply accepting Spains 18th Century behaviour. If Spain wants to be taken seriously as a civilised democratic nation, we believe it should start acting like one, and start showing it!
LETTER TO GOVERNOR:
Attached to this letter is a petition bearing the original signatures of 9,475 residents and friends of Gibraltar. By adding their signatures to the petition, the signatories have expressed their support for the stance, vision and resolve of the Defenders of Gibraltar. These signatures bear evocative testament to our collective concern that HMG should do more to uphold the rights and wishes of the people of Gibraltar.
Spain’s incessant campaign against Gibraltar has spanned over four decades. She has obsessively flexed her muscles against Gibraltar at every opportunity and campaigned relentlessly against the legitimate and immutable rights of the people of Gibraltar, which are enshrined, inter alia, in the Charter of the United Nations and our own Gibraltar Constitution. We call on HMG to place the sovereignty of Gibraltar and the rights of British citizens before its relationship with Spain, a foreign nation.
The message underpinning every signature attached to this petition is elementary and simple: enough is enough! Gibraltar continues to suffer inhumane frontier queues promoted by Spain. We put up with unfounded accusations and finger-pointing exercises lashed at Gibralar by our neighbour and we face the temper tantrums of successive Spanish governments at every opportunity, whether in political, cultural or sporting events. These actions in themselves expose Spain as being democratically deficient.
In the face of this unremitting Spanish campaign the patience and the goodwill of the people of Gibraltar have been tested by the apparent passivity of those who have a moral and constitutional duty to defend us. We are, after all, British citizens and subjects of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.
We have lost faith in the soothing words issued by the FCO in response to Spanish aggression. In our view, actions speak louder than words. Since the beginning of our campaign to collect signatures for this petition, there have been notable events, or shifts in the current sovereignty dispute. We salute the heroic action of the Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) in rescuing British Gibraltarian citizens who were in the process of being abducted by a Spanish Customs Vessel. But the Royal Navy could only stand by and watch as we are told that the RN is not allowed to act in such circumstances. We want to see our navy empowered to take the appropriate action to uphold and protect our sovereignty. Simply reading warnings over the radio is not enough and has no affect whatever on Spain. We urge HMG to consider seriously the feasibility of stationing whatever naval or military assets are necessary to act as an effective deterrent to Spain’s actions.
The recent tit for tat in the summoning of Ambassadors in both London and Madrid was a welcome change and a breath of fresh air to hear the British lion grumble its annoyance, although we would rather have heard it roar! Spain is a bully – it picks on the weakest only when it feels it can get away with it. As the days slip by, Spain grows more emboldened by its actions which they appear to take without penalty of any kind. Britain’s inaction is encouraging Spanish action. As Edmund Burke said: “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” History teaches us that appeasement is never a viable option.
The cohesion of the people of Gibraltar is solid and we are steadfast in our resolve to defend our rights and further our wishes. We turn to you, Sir, as Her Majesty’s representative in Gibraltar to call on HMG not to turn a blind eye to Spanish aggression towards us. Quiet diplomacy will never bring about a major behavioural change in Spain. The people of Gibraltar expect, nay demand, a vigorous response by HMG against Spain’s policies, attitudes and actions against our people.
Sir, enough is enough! The British government is morally and constitutionally charged with protecting its citizens in Gibraltar and the defence of our homeland. We ask you to forward this petition to the Foreign Secretary to make him aware of our deep concern and we call on the UK to take action to protect its citizens in British Gibraltar.