GIBRALTAR is once again preparing to dress up and adorn our buildings with the traditional red and white colours. But, quite apart from the wonderful fun day for all the family, our celebrations have a far deeper meaning for all of us.
National Day is about commemorating our first referendum – the first massive expression of our free will on the September 10 1967 when we voted overwhelmingly to remain British and to cement our political ties with the United Kingdom.
Gibraltar remained firm in those dark days that led to the total blockade by the Spanish government, a dictatorial government which cut off communications between the Rock and Spain for thirteen long years.
Our history shows the Gibraltarians resisted and have continued to develop our political institutions and our economy. We are proud of our British heritage within our separate identity but let no one believe that we are ‘colonials by consent’ as the Spanish representatives tell the United Nations every year.
We are a proud people. Steadfast and strong as the Rock of Gibraltar, determined to decide our political future for ourselves, determined that our long and proud British history will endure and let no-one forget that the spine of our determination is as solid and unbreakable as the Rock itself – fused in stone. In the past year, the Gibraltarians have demonstrated with dignity that no rhetoric will provoke us. We keep calm and carry on – because Gibraltar will always be British!
And we demand respect for our rights but we also want to enjoy friendly relations with our neighbours north and south: strong relations based on mutual respect and based on accepting where each of our nations starts and ends because one thing we will never do is surrender any part of our land, our sea or our air. We will never bow to bullying. This is our family, our home and our land. The Rock of the Gibraltarians! A little bit of Britain in the Sun! Gibraltar, Britain in the Sun!
I restate today the message of our city council in 1964 on behalf of my government, that the soil, sea and air of Gibraltar belongs to no-one but the people of Gibraltar!
Red, White and Solid
Red, White and Proud
Red, White and Free
Enjoy your day and join us on September 10 on the Rock!