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In with the new – same as the old!

PUBLISHED: January 17, 2013 at 10:00 am  •  LAST EDITED: March 8, 2014 at 1:12 pm
Columnists, Giles Brown: Loud and Clear  •  0 Comments


In with the new – same as the old!

• Margaret Thatcher feared a Spanish invasion of Gibraltar


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MOST of you probably felt quietly optimistic as you spent the first hours of 2013 swigging cheap cava and cramming in 12 grapes in an effort to appease the Economic Gods.

Prime Minister Rajoy however was quick to deflate any slight bubble of hope the country generally might have had for the year ahead.

It came after he asked for ‘comprehension and solidarity’ from the populus while his government continued to implement painful reforms.

During his review-of-the-year address (or Spain’s end-of-term report, if you like) he insisted he wouldn’t ask for more patience ‘because Spaniards have given too much already’.

Nor would he ask for ‘blind’ confidence… ‘because politicians owe the people a daily dosage of scrutiny’.

“But I am going to ask them for comprehension and solidarity,” he added.

He insisted that without the PP reforms, the situation would be ‘intolerable’ with a public deficit over 11% of GDP. “And who would lend us money under that situation?” he asked. “It is better that we don’t think about that.”

He also said there were no plans to revise the cost-cutting measures for the regions, despite pleas from cash-strapped administrations.

So it looks like even more belt-tightening for most of us in 2013. And as Headmaster Rajoy says “we must all try harder” and then hands out E’s all round.

Storm the Rock

Recently released Cabinet papers reveal that the Spanish media’s support for Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982 raised Margaret Thatcher’s fears that rogue elements within the Spanish military might try to seize Gibraltar, prompting her to increase security on the Rock.

Five days after Argentina’s military junta invaded the Falklands, Thatcher called for an ‘urgent assessment’ of Britain’s ability to defend Gibraltar, prompted in part by the ‘jubilant reaction’ to the invasion in the Spanish press.

Then during the conflict there was further suggestion that the Spanish military might launch an attack.

At the beginning of June, as the war was reaching a decisive stage, the Foreign Office received a message from Spanish Foreign Minister José Pedro Pérez-Llorca y Rodrigo, warning of the “possible danger of action against Gibraltar by pro-Argentine elements.”

This prompted The Iron Lady to write: “Are we READY should such an invasion occur?” An answer we have not yet seen.

In secret evidence to the Franks inquiry into the Falklands crisis later that year, Thatcher admitted that the threat to Gibraltar had left her living “on a knife edge.”

It is all so very different now, with the joke often doing the rounds that Spain will give up all claims to the Rock if it can have Marbella back from the British.

Lights, Camera, Impossible

I’m a big film fan and really enjoyed Skyfall though I did think that Judy Dench and Albert Finney stumbling around the Highlands while bullets exploded around them was more like a Saga day trip gone horribly wrong.

I like my Bonds to have Brazilian Babes.

That aside I was delighted to see Spanish films achieve their biggest share of the Spanish box office in 27 years in 2012 with 17.9% percent.

The truth however, is that most of this total comes from Juan Antonio Bayona’s English-language tsunami film The Impossible, starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, which racked up €40.5 million at the box office and attracted 5.8 million people to the cinemas.

The next film I’m going to see, by the way, is The Hobbit. But I’m going to see it in French, where it’s called “L’obbit”!

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