The EU negotiating team has declared that, unless we agree to cede Gibraltar, against the wishes of about 99.99% of her people, to Spain, we should be permitted no trade deal with Europe when we leave.
There is an obvious point to be made: if the EU is determined that the people of Gibraltar should not be allowed to decide their own future, we are plainly quite right to leave. It is extraordinary that an organisation that thinks itself “right-on” and frightfully keen on “human rights” should have decided, because it wants to do down the UK, that Gibraltar should be given, despite her people’s extreme opposition, to Spain.
I should make it plain that I don’t love Gibraltar. I went there one day, about twenty-five years ago (so it may well have changed). I thought it a rather disagreeable place. It seemed to be committed to a sort of 1950s sergeants’ mess culture. There was lots of warm beer, fish and chips with far too much batter and horribly overcooked roast beef (the climate is not the best for that kind of cuisine).
But the love of bad food and gassy beer is no reason for Gibraltar’s people’s wish to remain British to be overridden by the EU. Brussels may think self-determination is a bad thing, that the people of Gibraltar should bow down to Spain in order to humiliate the United Kingdom. But some of us think the wishes of the people of Gibraltar are more important than the EU’s desire to annoy the UK.
It won’t, of course, come to a war (if only because we would be bound to win it). But, if the EU really is determined that a free trade agreement with the UK is conditional on the UK surrendering the right of the people of Gibraltar to self-determination, I trust we will be brave enough to opt for no deal.