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Deconstructing the Spin

An explanation of some of the misleading terms used in the so-called "Gibraltar Problem". See also the Infrequently Asked Questions. If you wish to add terms, please send them to me on: or discuss on alt.gibraltar Last updated: July 2012

"Gibraltar Problem"

Gibraltar does not cause any problems herself. The "Gibraltar Problem" is created by the Spanish government’s obsession with colonizing Gibraltar, in direct violation of the democratic rights of the Gibraltarians. More recently, the FCO’s lack of resolve in defending Gibraltar’s rights has exacerbated the problem.

"Spain is a modern democracy"

The Spanish government does not recognize Gibraltar's democratically elected government, has blocked the Eurovote for all EU citizens in Gibraltar, and refuses to recognize the Gibraltarian people’s inalienable and democratic right to self-determination . They also want to return a selected portion of Europe back how it was for a very limited period 300 years ago, using a treaty which, in several places, treats human beings as chattel. Their policy of economic sabotage and non-recognition has continued unchanged since the 1960's. Spain cannot therefore be called a modern democracy for Gibraltarian purposes.

"Spain is an EU and NATO ally"

Spain still interferes with the EU rights of Gibraltarians, in particular by vetoing EU treaties unless Gibraltar (a territory outside their jurisdiction) is excluded. She still maintains air and sea restrictions, including those of a military nature, so no flights can go between Spain and Gibraltar, or vice versa, and NATO aircraft travelling to/from Gibraltar cannot overfly Spanish airspace. Spain also excludes Gibraltar from military exercises in the Straits.

"drug-smuggling and money-laundering"

These happen in Spain with monotonous regularity. While the Spanish government and press make much noise about alleged offences taking place in Gibraltar, they have yet to submit evidence or file a single charge formally. A Spanish media headline about "Drug arrests in Gibraltar" always refers to an incident in the Campo de Gibraltar (Spanish hinterland around Gibraltar). Gibraltar complies with all UK/EU legislation on money-laundering, and the logistics of landing and distributing a drugs shipment are much easier in Spain.

"the only option is negotiation"

Used by the British government to rule out the perfectly viable means of prosecuting Spain for her violations of Gibraltar's EU rights, a method employed enthusiastically by Spain to ensure Gibraltar complies with the minutest details of EU law.

"the Treaty of Utrecht rules out full independence"

As long as Gibraltar acknowledged the British Crown as head of state, no violation would take place. Gibraltar could be an independent member of the Commonwealth without violating Utrecht. However, the UN principle of self-determination overrules Utrecht, so even full independence is possible.

"UDI" (Unilateral Declaration of Independence)

A process which would also get round Utrecht, because the Gibraltarians would be alienating themselves from the UK, not the other way round.


A democratic process by which a people can decide their own future. UN principle, applies to ALL colonial peoples.

"territorial integrity"

A non-democratic process that prevents a country from breaking up if part of its people want to split off. Inapplicable to Gibraltar, as not part of Spain, but prevents Spain taking over isthmus. No longer a major UN principle, see Eritrea, E. Timor, former Yugoslavia, former Soviet Union.

"freely and democratically expressed wishes"

Critical quote from the Preamble to the Gibraltar Constitution of 1969. Would prevent any referendum offering a Spanish solution while the restrictions remain, and now would prevent a UK solution while the threat of non-defence of Gibraltar's rights remained. Currently, only a Gibraltarian solution could be decided upon by referendum without threat of legal challenge as unconstitutional.

Gibraltar should be "handed back" to Spain When people say Gibraltar should be "handed back" to Spain, the implication is that something was taken away from Spain, and that whoever took it is not the rightful owner. The correct term should be "handed over", because Gibraltar is rightfully and legally British, and although it may have once been seized from Spain, it was of course ceded by treaty. And if we're going to go around the world counting territories that were once taken from someone, we will never end.
UK: "Gibraltar is financially dependent on the UK"
Spain: "Gibraltar is a financial parasite"
Neither of these (mutually exclusive) statements is true. Gibraltar is financially self-sufficient, and even operates a budgetary surplus. In addition, Gibraltar employs 8000+ Spaniards directly, possibly 15,000 more indirectly employed to cater for Gibraltarians, who are not averse to spending their money in Spain.
joint sovereignty

"A man cannot serve two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or salute the first flag and burn the other."
Luke 16:13, paraphrased

"300 year old conflict" Another lie- the conflict only commenced since 1954, when Queen Elizabeth II visited Gibraltar, causing Franco to take umbrage,to cover up Spain's poor economic position (no change there!). Previously, since the Napoleonic Wars, when Britain and Spain were allied, there was reasonably peaceful coexistence for about 170 years. See this article
"Gibraltar is an island" Map of Gibraltara Doh!
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