The Government of Spain finds itself in the midst of a massive corruption Scandal. The treasurer of the governing party (the right wing Partido Popular) has been jailed for alleged charges of money laundering and fraud. Shortly after Mariano Rajoy the Spanish Prime Minister himself was accused of taking illegal payments from slush funds. There seems to be plenty of proof to suggest this could be true and the jailed treasurer has even supported these allegations.
This is the moment when British Gibraltar suddenly comes in handy
Spain has long used smokescreens to divert attention from more important issues and this is no exception. Spain’s foreign minister Jose Garcia-Margallo has repeatedly made the headlines this week by threatening to close Gibraltar’s airspace, charge extortionate fees to enter Gibraltar, hound Gibraltarians living in Spain and cut off all telephone lines.
In addition to this the people of Gibraltar and all those who work there have been subjected to inhumane border queues, up to 7 hours long. Pregnant women, children, the sickly and elderly have all been made to wait in the scorching summer heat for hours on end.
The irony of this all is that most of the people in these queues are actually Spanish nationals. Gibraltar employs over 10 000 Spanish workers from across the border not to mention a substantial about of Brits and other EU nationals.
The excuse being that Gibraltar had dropped 70 cement blocks in order to create an artificial reef in British Gibraltar waters were Spanish fishermen were illegally raking for shellfish and clams. Fortunately there are those who saw past this charade and have come to Gibraltar’s aid, such as the Mayor of La Linea Gemma Araujo, Verdemar (Spanish environmental group) and even the Partido Popular fraction in La Linea. Especially as the Junta of Andalusia also dropped cement blocks around their coastline only two years ago for the same reason and nothing much was heard of it.
They too are probably wondering why should 10 000 Spanish nationals suffer for the sake of 3 fishing boats?
In my opinion Madrid has never cared much for those in the Andalusia region (bar Seville) and the Partido Popular seems to care even less. The unemployment rate has reached a staggering 40% and these statistics are even higher for the youth. Every day dozens of Spanish nationals come to Gibraltar looking for work and fortunately for them they are embraced and given the opportunities which their Government ceases to do.
Spain should be grateful to Gibraltar for ensuring that most of Andalusia does not spiral into poverty and misery but instead it chooses to vilify it in order to distract their people from other more important matters. Such as corruption scandals, high unemployment rates, ever increasing taxes and an economic crisis that only seems to deepen.
Unfortunately nationalistic propaganda will always have a set target audience especially when people are hungry, desperate and looking for someone to blame. The PP Anti-Gibraltar sentiment seems to have instigated attacks on British citizens in Spain. Only last week a Gibraltarian national was beaten and arrested at the frontier by Guardia Civil Guards for no apparent reason. The whole sordid affair was captured on camera and uploaded onto Youtube. Furthermore Gibraltar registered cars have been vandalised and even set on fire as of late.
I cannot help but acknowledge the similarities between a modern day Spain and Hitler’s Germany Pre-Nazi era. A country in dire socio economic turmoil, governed by a Nationalist Socialist party masquerading as democrats, who see fit to implement laws to target a specific minority.
I sincerely believe that now is the time for Europe to stand up and take action before it is too late.