Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A bit like Gibraltar then...

I knew that Spain occupied a couple of small islands off the Moroccan coast, which the Moroccans say should be given (back?) to them.

I didn't realise that Spain actually occupies small enclaves on the Moroccan coast, as explained in this BBC article:
So that's all sorted then.

The next time the Spanish government wants to distract attention from larger issues and demands the return of Gibraltar, we can tell them to hand back Melilla, Perejil, Ceuta and all the other bits and pieces shown on this map and then we'll think about it.


Kj said...

Spanish politicians has never been particulary interested in coherence. But hey, if Spain wants a source of 7000 jobs for spanish citizens to go away, they should go for it.

Bayard said...

I think we should offer them Portland in exchange, it's quite similar to Gibraltar and the Portlanders could all get rich selling lightly taxed booze and fags and the rest of us Brits wouldn't have to go abroad to buy them.

Bayard said...

Sorry, by "abroad", I meant "across the sea". Portland would, of course, then actually be a foreign country, not just seem like one.

Paul Lockett said...

The Spanish government sometimes falls back on the fact that the UN views Gibraltar as a colony, but doesn't hold the same position with regard to Melilla, Perejil and Ceuta.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Kj, I refer you to B's comment.

B, exactly. Gibraltar has nice weather but apart from that doesn't have much going for it in terms of location.

What it does have is independence, low taxes on income, high taxes on land values and very "light touch" regulation on banking and gambling. That is what makes it so profitable - all of which can be easily replicated on Portland or the Isle of Wight or just about anywhere on the western European coast.

PL, long time no hear!

How does the UN work that out? Gibraltar is to all intents and purposes its own country with its own rules. It's possibly a "protectorate" but very much a willing one.

Paul Lockett said...

Bizarrely, the UN reasoning appears to be that the of the Spanish controlled territories are fully integrated parts of Spain and the residents can vote in Spanish parliament elections and therefore, they have full self-determination. I'd love to see the Spanish reaction if the same approach was taken with Gibraltar.

Denis McShane, in 2003, did make a point about Gibraltar's similarities to Ceuta and Mellila, to which the Spanish political response was, predictably, along the lines of "they are obviously completely different and you are an idiot for not recognising that."

Mark Wadsworth said...

PL, well spotted! He had a few lucid moments, did McShane. Well two, actually.

That's still crackpot reasoning though - according to the Spaniards, if

a) the Gibraltarians can vote in the UK general election, they are not a colony and their status is safe

b) Gibraltarians can only vote in their own elections (which is the case) in which case it is in fact a separate country which happens to have vague allegiance to the UK (like ANZ) in which case it is also inviolate, or else Spain and/or France can demand the "return" of Andorra.

So heads we win, tails they lose.