21 Jul, 2010 @ 12:55
1 min read

Border Tax

It’s bound to cause further acrimony between two territories whose relationship has long been frosty.

The mayor of La Linea, the Spanish town closest to the Rock, has proposed a small toll for visitors hoping to enter Gibraltar through Spain.

Mayor Alejandro Sanchez believes that Gibraltar has been taking advantage of La Linea.

He says that the town has not reaped any benefits, though millions of heavy-spending visitors cross La Linea to enjoy Gibraltar’s apes, tax-free shopping, and vistas of Africa every year.

“Meanwhile, we have 10,000 unemployed in La Linea. This truly intolerable situation cannot continue,” he commented.

Sanchez had initiated a study on the legality of charging an entrance toll for pedestrians and vehicles crossing into Gibraltar.

Spanish citizens who work on the Rock would be exempt from the fee, which would aim to give financial aid to the near-bankrupt La Linea town hall.

The proposal comes on the eve of Tripartite Forum for Dialogue meetings that hope to set aside sovereignty debates and reach cooperation between the three lands.

Critics of the mayor’s plan say that La Linea already benefits enough from Gibraltar with 7,000 Spanish workers employed on the rock and over 28,000 Gibraltarians owning homes across the border in Spain.

This instance is not the first time Sanchez has been criticized for thorny treatment of border crossers.

Just last week the mayor was denounced for ordering police to stop and check documents of vehicles crossing into Spain, causing many delays.

A Gibraltar government spokesman commented, “The mayor must find means of conducting domestic politics with his central government that does not involve instructing his police to harass Gibraltarians.”

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

Do you have a story? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es


  1. It is uncharitable and unkind to refer to them as ‘Gibraltar’s apes’. Some of them are quite humanoid. Anyway I thought the La Linea stick-wavers and entry permit salesmen already taxed visitors like robber barons on the Rhine.

  2. Hang on here a second, why should la linea benefit from tourists visiting Gibraltar? If La Linea has nothing to offer tourists then that’s their problem. Anyway La Linea has already been reaping plenty of benefits from Gibraltar in the shape of 7,000 spanish residents currently working there. They have also seen a huge increase in the demand for rental properties from the overflow of workers in Gibraltar as well as a big rise in property prices and plenty of business for new bars and restaurants that are opening up all over the town.
    The mayor should stop making excuses for being incompetent and think of new ways to find jobs for his constituency.

  3. Very short sighted. The Gibraltans will simply tax the spanish working there to compensate. Perhaps he would be better off taxing anyone driving towards or working in Manilva. No wait, that’s a ridiculous idea too. He’s an idiot hoping to stoke nationalist fires. Buy him a history book.

  4. As always see something working got to get a bit of the action without doing anything .I went there last week, if you use the Auto pista tolls they are now nearly 13 euros each way. How many people using the last toll are not going to Gibraltar? very few i should imagine and many using the others are also heading that way. So they are already taking taxes from those traveling there and forgive me but what else is down that way ?
    The imposed delaying tactics in and out just get people mad so they just want to get in, and coming out after an hour + in the line you just have no intentions of stopping in La Linea or anywhere else,allthough that 24 hour chrome burger bar is a must to try.
    I would have thought a clever mayor would have cleared up all the crap thats lying around La Linea made decent secure park and ride car parks say 3 euros each way and shuttled poeple into the rock and back out,on an express lane which had little or no waiting.
    Or ask Morrisons do they want to open a store in La linea and cash in from the thousands of expats who now find that a lot of food is cheaper and better quality paying by £ which they do not have to change at the ridiculous rates offered

  5. Perhaps the mayors of La Línea might not have been Rockefellers or Rothchilds, but it’s undeniable that it’s hard to compete in equal terms with Gibraltar. It’s tax regime is an ugly competence hard to deal with that has turned La Línea into a dependant city, sofocating almost any entrepeneurial initiative. La Línea can’t be attractive for tourists, it’s a 140 year old city built by people with low incomes gathered around the region to serve as a cheap labour force for the colonial power. It would have been quite remarkable that with these slum-like historical record La Línea could have built something that worthed a 2 hours visit. La Línea is what is now because it lives under the shadow of Gibraltar, the 7,000 workers in the Rock give it air to live but just enough not to become a serious competitor.

    I can understand when Mr. Sánchez speaks about La Línea as a suburb of Monaco. More and more people are starting to be fed up with the growing gap between Gibraltar and Campo economies, with the Rock turning into a real black hole for the entire region. This toll thing is just one idea, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw more and more claiming for a bigger piece of cake.

    Doesn’t the Rock claims proudly to be a part of the EU now, then start by contributing to solidarity funds like anyone else. Cut the special tax regime and get a VAT so the surrounding cities can compete on equal terms.

  6. Actually Carlos, what is hard to compete with is the level of corruption and mismanagement in the Campo and that is what holds the Campo back more than anything else. You can make as many excuses as you like, but that’s the simple fact of the matter. Gibraltar is not to blame for the Campo’s problems.

    If people are getting fed up with the growing gap between Gibraltar and the Campo, then instead of blaming everyone else for their problems they should start electing less corrupt and more effective politicians – or even better, standing themselves to make a positive difference.

    I find it hard to understand how the Rock could be a “black hole”? Please explain. If anything the Campo would be a lot worse off than it is now if it were not for all the employment available on the Rock and as for your ridiculous idea about equalising VAT in Gibraltar with that in a completely different country, then how about starting in your own back garden first and get Ceuta to equalise it’s VAT regime. I don’t see Spain asking Andorra, Portugal or France to change their tax regimes because they happen to have Spanish “surrounding areas” on their frontiers?

  7. Carlos… you state “it’s a 140 year old city built by people with low incomes gathered around …etc….” what about Marbella ??? Torremolinos etc..?? Carlos my friend….the same applied there…but they MOVED FORWARDS…. La Linea was a rubbish ground up until a few years back…. it has improved…. but little… why??? The beaches are great… it could have a fabulous promenade…..but no it does not…. It lives in the shadow because it wants to….!!! Marbella was a sad mess…. then came along a mayor with insight, vision and guts… marbella changed… Yes I know then things went wrong…but it changed and improved 100%…. La Linea…will always remain a border town unless someone with vision… gets to grip with reality…. ! Tax Free zone?? yes good idea… casino..? yes… clean the beaches and remove that 3 klm strech of run down housing…that borders on being a slum area…build hotels…etc… in Short… make it an attractive alternative….!

  8. Carlos I am sorry to say this but the problems which Andalucía and La Linea have at the moment and for the foreseeable future can be laid firmly at the doorsteps of the Junta de Andalucía and the Mayors who have the power over the municipalities they control.
    Now as always they try to turn the clocks backwards with retrospective and draconian laws which stifle any initiative, this is not the fault of Gibraltar. What happened to the millions of tourists who came annually to Andalucía? They have been driven away by greed and massive price increases, poor service and quality .What happened to the holiday home owners and people who came to live here? They have been driven away by corruption at every level, often losing their life savings or their health as they try to battle with the laws and the state making ridiculous decisions to punish them for trusting lawyers, estate agents, notaries, town halls and the Junta.
    Those in charge of La Linea should ask themselves why the area is not attractive to tourists, industry and business, I will tell you what I think of La Linea, it is a sprawling, dirty, congested, unfriendly place. It has little or nothing to offer and over the years has ridden on the back of Gibraltar for jobs and wealth creation.
    If Gibraltar raised VAT and taxes do you seriously think that the hundreds of thousands who go there weekly would suddenly decide to shop in La Linea. Look for opportunities and solutions not envious vindictive short term cash grabs.
    The 7000 people who rely on Gibraltar for their income should be up in arms at these stupid ideas which have more in line with Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin during the cold war than a supposed EU country.
    Andalucía has some soul searching to do; it has destroyed what people originally came to Spain for. The European Union money has now all but been spent on roads to nowhere and failed ill thought out ideas. Sticking plasters over the cuts to stop the blood from flowing will do no good .This country has to become efficient ,value for money ,investing in long term projects which will bring work and prosperity . Remove paperwork and pointless civil servants stamping endless documents; instill a culture of customer service. People being paid to sweep litter or paint walls every day is not a solution.
    I said in an earlier post, that a secure car Park and Ride in La Linea would be the first step; this would reduce congestion in Gibraltar, and create jobs in La Linea .Whilst parking there people may have a coffee and a sandwich when they arrive or before starting their journey back . Other businesses could be added which people need and would use. There could be cheap secure parking for the new airport extension, with shuttle buses. A car body repair facility such as chips away in Malaga where you can have your car repaired whilst on holiday. Cheaper car hire than in Gibraltar.
    One thing which La Linea has in abundance which Gibraltar lacks is space. Car storage, Boat storage, Secure Transport yards with sleeping facilities for trucks waiting to enter with facilities for drivers, The list of ideas are endless .
    A toll on that already horrendous road through La Linea to Gibraltar would only reduce the flow of tourists and expats visiting, it would be a short term solution which would lead to less people visiting, less income, fewer jobs .

  9. As someone said here if Gibraltar doesn’t compete in equal terms we will have to compete in Gibraltar terms. And then turn La Línea into a low VAT zone, turn it into an off-shore finantial center and whatever fiscal privileges Gibraltar may offer across the fence. Maybe that would raise even more eyebrows on the other side than an entry toll for tourists.

    Corruption in the Campo? Oh well, how can someone not feel tempted if you can have a perfectly opaque bank account in a 5 min drive (in those queuless days).

  10. You draw a very limited pic of Andalousia. I may agree with you in some points but this is not the issue now.

    So I must understand that your solution for La Línea is giving more space for Gibraltar to expand. Turning it even more into Gibraltar’s backyard.

    I’m glad you mentioned about Check Point Charlie, I think the analogy is correct, so “Mr. Cameron, tear down this wall” and proceed to the reunification of Spain.

  11. Carlos. I am sure that Spain will one day return the colonies they control to whoever the people living in those colonies wish to live with. Until you have returned the Spanish colonies you have no right to judge or ask others to do the same.
    So it seems from your last posts that what you really want is not a toll road into Gibraltar, but Gibraltar itself, a readymade cash earner which you can take back against the will of the people now living there. You can then remove their identity, their customs and way of life. Tax them till they squeak, until investors leave in droves, kill off all the shopping, finance and other successful businesses.
    You have a problem and the problem is that you feel inferior to the Gibraltarians, you are jealous of their success, their ability to flourish even in this crisis. Instead of trying to find a way of joining in this wealth creation, you allow the town and area nearby to become a dirty wasteland; you interfere with free travel to make it as difficult as possible for workers and visitors. On my visit last week it took 40 minutes to enter and leave, why? Don’t say passport control no one looked at our passports.
    So like Monaco those outside look in and cannot understand how it works and why people pay vast amounts of money to live there .yet it provides massive employment from outside the area and lots of service industry to service it .
    The sooner the Spanish realize that the reason Gibraltar is doing well is because it is unique and as long as it remains in its present state it will always survive. To pass it back to Spain and it will quickly become like the rest of Spain.

  12. Turn La Linea into a low VAT zone? Why not? There’s absolutely nothing stopping this Carlos. Low VAT zones already exist in Ceuta, Melilla and Canarias. But La Linea seemingly prefers to remain stuck in it’s rut of incompetence corruption and gross mismanagement, blaming Gibraltar all the while for its problems. Funny, how one never reads about any of the Spanish towns surrounding Andorra complaining about the low tax regime there, or blaming Andorra for their problems. It must be the collective schizophrenia Spain seems to suffer when it comes to Gibraltar.

    Corrupt mayors etc might (and there’s no proof they did, it could just as easily have been Liechtenstein) stashed their cash in “opaque” bank accounts in Gibraltar in the past. If they did then that was nothing more than a symptom of the corruption Carlos, not a cause, and anyway the days of “opaque” bank accounts in Gibraltar have been over for some time.

  13. @cinico (I start to understand the meaning of yoru nickname)

    Name a single colony Spain posses under international law, not just by your impressions. Ok let me guess, you are resorting to the classical distraction tactics of Ceuta and Melilla. The superdistant cities Spanish posses in another continent (!) that happens to be 14 km away. They are so close you can get there in 7 min, that’s less the time it takes to go from two sucessive stations in the London tube.

    Anyway, funny how the natives of the nation with most colonies in modern history are so nitpicking with this two Spanish towns.

    You are resorting to the other classical argument, which is probably te biggest lie of them all, this is “don’t hand it back they will ruin everything we have”. This argument probably derives from an angle-saxon racial superiority prejudice -colonial mindset is hard to get rip off- that believes that southerners are some sort of King Midas all the way around, turning everything into shit instead.

    I know it might be hard for some to see the bright side of the 10th largest world economy and the 5th largest european economy, but it’s easy if you try, trust me. Spanish achievements show that we can handle the place even better than the Chinese, we are more familiar with capitalism.

    The way you speak shows it’s actually you who believes superior. Average Spaniards has nothing to envy in talent or skills to the average llanito. But of course if you engeneer a society giving it all the finantial advantages they can dream of in the middle of a traditionally underdeveloped region you would obviously have a gap. A gap that increases when this population has not the right tools to react. Same thing would happen if we put one or two buildings of the Madrid Azca complex somewhere in Northern Ireland.

  14. Carlos What i was offering was my honest appraisal of the situation really saying stop bitching about something you currently cannot do anything about and get on with doing something about which you can, improve La Linea.
    But let us look at the hypothetical situation of waking up to the news that the British after extensive talks with Spain had decided that the situation with Gibraltar was no longer tenable and it will be handed back to Spain in 2011.
    The flags would be flying even more than when Spain deservingly won the world cup. The safeguards for the people of Gibraltar of course would be in place to ensure their customs, traditions and way of life were retained and their jobs protected. After all Spain with only 1.19% of the resident population (2001 Census) even the Moroccans at 3.5 % would want more say on what should happen . Or dare I say it the resident other British at 9.56% or finally the Gibraltarians at 83.22%. After all you cannot have a minority forcing their views on a majority that would be extremely undemocratic as I am sure you would agree and against EU law.
    The financial institutions will have already made plans to ensure that the wealth and capital of their customers were protected against any form of tax grab. As they have branches in most countries any attempt or hint to take or tax money in an unfair or partisan way by Spain would be dealt with at the stroke of a computer key.”Now you see it now you don’t”. Your obsession for transparent and opaque banking currently being addressed aggressively by Britain I am sure would be mirrored by the Andalucía and Spanish authorities, and so this will continue to drive out those who have benefitted from the lax and favorable banking and tax system to another haven ,something which I am not in favor of.
    The Military Dockyard and RAF base and all facilities dependant on them would close with the loss of jobs in the short term, the Airport and Port could be adapted even more to suit leisure and tourism but this would take time and money, and more importantly vision. Something I see little of as you drive from Gibraltar to Almeria along the costal motorways passing the sprawl of Failed apartments and urbanizations ,timeshare complexes, Residential homes , empty and unfinished high rise hotels which have engulfed the very thing which tourists came for originally . This all part of the last Gold rush and is now largely forgotten as the Politicians and Government officials responsible try to distance themselves from their failed ideas in their new positions higher up the gravy train.
    The Gibraltarian Britishness would slowly be eroded with subtle changes hardly visible at first ,such as the change of telephone boxes ( not possible to adapt to new equipment ) post boxes (uniformity with Spain yellow) Guardia civil rather than police .I could go on as the list will be endless . But eventually you have the rock at the end of La Linea in fact you would not notice the difference as the border would be gone. So Carlos as you sit as a tourist in your hotel on the coast would you decide to go and visit Gibraltar or whatever by then it would have been renamed. Gibraltar is successful because it is unusual and has history, because by a quirk of fate the tourists who come to Spain want to experience that history and uniqueness. Standardization with Spain would reduce it to the same bland view as of the rest of costal Andalucía .And please do not tell me this would not happen the Spanish government would not be able contain themselves , to leave anything in place they could remove, it is part of their ideals and aspirations otherwise they would leave it as it is and improve access and facilities in La Linea benefitting the people of La Linea by building on what is a successful but now due to history a different part of the land mass of Spain
    So as we continue our Hypothetical journey La Linea now attached to a declining Gibraltar now fully in the EU, Spain cannot discriminate against other EU citizens and therefore cannot gain any advantage in the labor market or other areas of benefit to the Spanish population of La Linea ,so what have you gained ?
    You asked me another question. Name another colony Spain possesses under international law.
    The Canary Islands (Spanish Islas Canarias (28° 06’N, 15° 24’W) are an archipelago of the Kingdom of Spain consisting of seven islands of volcanic origin in the Atlantic Ocean. They are located off the north-western coast of Africa (Morocco and the Western Sahara). They form an autonomous community of Spain. They are outside the European Union Value Added Tax Area[2] (because of their low VAT, 5%) but otherwise EU law applies in its totality
    Try a 14 Km 7 minutes journey to this one. And whilst you are handing it back in the meanwhile get the VAT sorted, so as not to impoverish the countries nearby

  15. Canary Islands are a colony? And who shall we hand it back to? According to international law they are not a colony under any point of view. But anyway, if Spain hadn’t the Canary Islands then the argument would be Ceuta and Melilla, and if we hadn’t them the problem would be Catalonia and the Basque Country, and if we hadn’t them we would be accused of oppresing Galician, Valencian or Balearian, and if Spain was to be a strip of land joining Madrid with Cadiz then we would be asked to hand it back to the Moors before daring to ask for Gibraltar. There will always be an excuse to avoid facing a deal on sovereignty.

    Again I have to explain how tolerant Spaniards are with diversity. We are champions in Europe on that. All the things you mention telephone booths, police, statues, names, local parades… would be respected as a sign of Gibraltar’s unique history. In case there was a handover britishness is to be respected, Spaniards have enough brains to know that is attractive. And of course must be respected under a sovereignty or co-sovereignty deal. The simple idea of Spaniards rushing erasing every sign of britishness is one of the mos prefered arguments for fearmongers, or hispanophobic of any kind, unfortunately there are too many.

    I have long thought of the huge benefits that a sovereignty deal could bring to the place. But I don’t think this is the right forum to express them.

  16. We live in Gib, we spend the majority of our disposable income in Spain. We have a finca there, we are doing up and my horse etc. We will eventually live there but Gibraltar supplies our income.
    When we go out (the odd occasion we do) it’s in Spain, quite often in La Linea, as then we don’t have to drive.

    There are some very good Tapas bars (which is why we go)and I love sitting out on the street (Calle Royale) and watching the world go by, day or night :)

    I love Spain, I like the Spanish, I quite like La Linea BUT, it could be better but then most places could be! Please work on that, you CAN compete with Gib, you have a lot there that we don’t have in Gib. Space being the major thing! ;o) Make the streets safe, stop the rubbish with the fighting kids and people being attacked near the border (though this has calmed down)

    Gibraltar is not the be all and end all for most that live here, we are not privy to the wonderful tax breaks the wealthy get, and most the wealthy don’t spend money here. We have spent and are still spending a lot of money on the beautification of Gib.
    La Linea has improved massively from what it once was and still is, the work is on going, the beach front has been improved and Calle Royale is quite pretty, especially at the moment with it being feria week.
    It has a lot to offer, it just needs a bit of work, the market is there and is already spending it’s money in La Linea. You might not be able to compete in the same areas but there are plenty of places you can.

    eg. we specifically go to the beach in La Linea, rather than Gib, more room, better food and not full of people you know!

    People come to Gib BECAUSE it is a little slice of England, take that way by it being Spanish the tourists will deminish. So capitalise on the fact that they do come here.. so they want to go to La Linea for a day as well as come in to Gib for cheap booze and fags and a rock tour.. that’s all they come for.. everything else is more expensive than Spain, that’s why the mere motals that live and work here shop in Spain. ;o)

  17. If you are so fussed about international law Carlos, then why do you not respect the fact that under international law Gibraltar has a right to exist in whichever form her people choose?

  18. Carlos
    “Canary Islands are a colony? And who shall we hand it back to?”
    Well if you start by giving it back to whoever you forcibly took it from in 1402 when the Castilian conquest of the islands began, with the expedition of Jean de Béthencourt and Gadifer de la Salle, nobles and vassals of Henry III of Castile, to the island of Lanzarote . Carlos I am only using Wiki but I am sure you like us in England are taught about the past some of it not very pretty, but we try not to airbrush it from our history .But certainly before you decided to clear the place which took 100 years there were other people who had settled or lived there and Spain forcibly removed subdued or killed them .
    Also Carlos just think if Nelson had been a bit more aggressive in his attack on the Canaries of 1797 we may be having the same discussion about the Canaries islands as we are now about Gibraltar. But heck when you have just lost your arm maybe he had other things more pressing to think aboutat the time.

  19. People shouldn’t bother replying to Carlos. He comments frequently, and is a total hypocrite, driven by ignorance and jealousy. I live and work in Gibraltar and I used to frequently shop in Spain (it’s cheaper and you have more choice). I also go out a lot in Spain. Since the idiotic, myopic, mayor of La Linea has started creating the ridiculous border queues, I no longer spend any money in Spain. Why is the mayor so against the idea of La Linea “being a district of Monaco?” Better that, than the total sh!thole that it currently resembles. I can only conclude that Alejandro Sanchez is an incompetent, hypocritcal fool. Does that remind you of anyone Carlos?

  20. People shouldn’t bother replying to Carlos. He comments frequently, and is a total hypocrite, driven by ignorance and jealousy. I live and work in Gibraltar and I used to frequently shop in Spain (it’s cheaper and you have more choice). I also go out a lot in Spain. Since the idiotic, myopic, mayor of La Linea has started creating the ridiculous border queues, I no longer spend any money in Spain. Why is the mayor so against the idea of La Linea “being a district of Monaco?” Better that, than the total sh!thole that it currently resembles. I can only conclude that Alejandro Sanchez is an incompetent, hypocritical fool. Does that remind you of anyone Carlos?

  21. Classical, when arguments dry up, let’s resort to ad hominem. I remind you too, you were the guy who greeted me with a “fascist” right in the face with my first message. Don’t worry, I promised not to argue with someone with so scarce debate resources. I mindset of the kind, I don’t like your opinion, then you are a fascist and a hypocrite, end of the story. Anyway, as you are so interested in hypocresy then ask yourself where’s the right of self-determination of the Chagossians or the inhabitants within the British Sovereign Areas in Cyprus. And I’m done with you, once you learn to talk without the swearing come back to me.

    Spain has a base under international law for it’s claim over Gibraltar. There’s plenty of info on that topic.

    So now we should be thankful to keep the Canary Islands because her Gracious Majesty armies had mercy on us. Well it’s no secret that the British always coveted the Canary Islands, even until very recent times.

  22. Carlos, I completely agree with you about resorting to ad hominem arguments.

    I really don’t think Spain has much of a case under international law Carlos, if it did then we would not be having this conversation and Gibraltar would just be another bit of Andalucia

  23. Carlos Dry up? I haven’t even started.
    My comments regarding Andalucía are factual, the Junta and individual mayors have all but destroyed its potential as a tourist and business destination with the constant drip drip of corruption, ill thought out ideas, and the uncertainty for investment, but still they plough on raping the land for anything which gives them a quick buck, these people would have shot the last pair of Dodo for their supper.
    I am aware the people of Andalucía suffered tremendously in their recent history and as a result have been playing catch up with Northern Europe since the end of the dictatorship, but Spain should not forget or cast aside the people who helped them achieve this remarkable recovery. Through trade, tourism and the vast amount of foreigners who came here to spend their life savings who in many cases will leave much poorer. The European Union have poured billions of Euros into Spain to assist in its development through grants, aid and loans, as you say you are the 10th largest economy in the world and the 5th largest in Europe. I think it’s time you started pulling your weight maybe others may take you more seriosly then, the poorer assession countries also want to prosper from the same benefits you have enjoyed since joining the EU. This can only be achieved by putting more money back in the pot than you take out, a novel idea that has not yet crossed many peoples minds I am sure, you cannot expect other EU countries to continually shoulder the burden. The words of one of your ministers when interviewed last year said it all “we cannot afford it we are a poor country” not true but they see the EU as a way of prospering without using their own money.
    The Spanish government is in general very opportunistic, they seek advantage and offer little, and they have few ideas for change preferring to muddle through with half baked ideas which affect the people who in general are still in reality too frightened to speak out. The newspapers do not challenge them the opposition parties are moribund and have few new ideas only that which the government is doing is always wrong.
    The Idea of a toll in La Linea is a microcosm of the general trend in Spain, take money from sources that will not affect our popularity. What I was trying to point out to you in my first posts was that that the ideas toyed with by the mayor of La Linea are not going to assist the case in improving the town It will further alienate those who will or still have to make a journey to Gibraltar. If it reduces the flow of visitors then the employment for La Linea workers will decline. Do you also not see that the more you play and meddle in Gibraltar’s future the less chance there is for anyone to trust Spain in doing the right thing for Gibraltar should negotiations ever reach that stage .
    Covet the Canaries I think not ,spend billions of Euros there over the last 30 years yes, ask the people in hotels, restaurants, car hire, airports and gift shops do you want the British to stop coming here ? I bet there is one in a thousand would say yes. Again Tenerife and the other islands invented themselves from next to nothing into a profitable and sustainable area .Why not put an exclusion zone around them and charges 5 Euros to come out of the airport?
    In Cyprus where I served I saw little animosity to the British Forces and their families, they again see the benefits of having salaries being spent throughout the year, and employment for the local people. The added security of the British there also calms the situation between north and south
    I cannot rewrite history and neither can you and whilst some of both our countries worst periods in history are best forgotten the reality and influence on the present cannot be overlooked. I say give the people of Gibraltar the means to set their own destiny by their own choice, unfortunately the conclusion will not be the one you want and that is why you keep chipping away at the situation ,but i do not see the people of Gibraltar ever changing their minds

  24. “The European Union have poured billions of Euros into Spain to assist in its development through grants, aid and loans, as you say you are the 10th largest economy in the world and the 5th largest in Europe. I think it’s time you started pulling your weight”

    I’ll second that. Spain does not start contributing to the EU on a net basis until 2013… a bit cheeky to charge British citizens from Gibraltar to use the motorways etc part-funded by them.

  25. Yes i remember Jeremy Clarkson doing a show turning up at one of the spanish tolls saying i have already paid through EU contributions. They have put the prices up recently probably for the summer season nearly 13 euros each way last week to Gibraltar think if i had been asked to pay another in La Lines on principle Morrisons would have one less customer.

  26. cinico,
    I was adressing Sacha (maybe the owner of Sacha’s in Main Street) in my past comment.

    I don’t know when you served in Cyprus, was it before or after Christofias? I remember him calling the BSA a “colonial bloodstain”. No word about the Chagossians either. What about the Rodhesians or the people in Hong Kong, maybe after all Lord Carrington was right when he said “Spain problem’s is that Gibraltar lies in Europe, if they were black or chinese there could be a solution like in Rodhesia or Hong Kong”. This quote in my opinion touches a nerve in the British sentiment that sees in Spain it’s historical enemy. In the mind of many in the ruling elite the names of Gibraltar, Trafalgar and Great Armada resound strongly together.

    But anyway, assuming you are really commited with the Gibraltarians right of self-det and the British have no hidden agenda under a democratic facade. Why then there’s an article in the devolved Constitution that allows London to reject any determination from Gibraltar if they want to. Let me guess, they are keeping a safety card in case a Spanish fever erupts in the colony.

    I assume you have some military background, then you should perhaps know that enough troops were trained to invade the Canary Islands during WW2 in case Spain was pushed into the war. So the covetous eye on the Canary Islands didn’t stop with Nelson.

    Can’t wait to 2013 to stop hearing all the whiners. But we don’t need to wait that much, since 2007 Spain is on the lowest part of the benefited countries list, with a 50 euros per capita benefits.

    In any case, Spain does not owe anything to the UK in the historical balance. Leaving Gibraltar aside, During British imperial height Southern Spain was almost a de facto colony with British companies exploiting its most valuable resources. Any idea of where the Rio Tinto Group got’s it mighty name? And no, anything the British mining group left as a legacy doesn’t worth the millions of pounds in precious metals. Maybe we should charge the brits an extra toll in high ways to refill the Rio Tinto crater. Just brainstorming.

  27. Carlos
    I though the solution to Hong Kong was to return the colony to the Chinese when the lease ran out? I have clearly missed something. We returned Hong Kong as one of the power houses of industry, free trade and finance; the people were more prosperous, and in a better state of health. Even though the residents of Hong Kong did not want to be ruled by China, a familiar theme, we and they had to accept this and completed the handover at the time specified within the terms of the lease
    The Chinese used it throughout the years as a way of dealing with the west before they decided to swallow their communist ideals and trade with the west direct as a good solution to their massive poverty. But I am sure you will have another take on the situation and come up with another one of your posts suggesting we fought some of rear guard action similar to the fall of Saigon.
    With regards to the others you mention and the many you have not mentioned where we were finally forced to hand them back through civil unrest, I accept as I did in my earlier posts that some of our history is not pretty ,but unlike you I have not airbrushed our past out of my mind.
    The colonies we still administer as far as I am aware are in the situation because they want to be, they benefit from the arrangement as do we I presume. Some of the ones which were handed back have not proved to give the people the prosperity, security and lives the agitators’ told them they would have when the British left .In one recent case we fought against an invasion by a country who had taken the islands and islanders against their will, we stand by our responsibilities and the people who trust us to give them stability and security and a host of other mutual benefits
    I am sure if you asked any British person who should decide on Gibraltar future you would get a nearly unanimous response saying the Gibraltarians, a few very strong right wing elements of which there are in every country may say Britain .Some who have little interest may say give it back to the Spanish but again these would be a small element.
    The problem I have with the issue is that if Spain was to become responsible for the Gibraltar what would happen? Perhaps you could enlighten me on these few points. I am sure your answers will be interesting .
    Who would be responsible for Gibraltar on a daily basis, Junta Andalusia for example?
    The Tax Status of Gibraltar afterwards?
    The Right of People if they wished to be repatriated to their original country and would you pay for them to move and set up again in their country of choice.
    What Compensation would you pay for UK businesses that would lose the reason for being there within months?
    The right to retain their own existing political system?
    Would all Spanish Law affect Gibraltar?
    Where would the very good income earned in Gibraltar go?
    What safeguards would you put in place?
    If I were Spanish I would like to think that I would want a solution which benefits the people of Gibraltar now and in the future, rather than something they do not want which will not give them the security and the safeguards they deserve.
    My final question and if you answer one please answer this one.
    If the majority of the people of Gibraltar said they do not want to return to Spanish rule would you recognise and accept that, or impose yourself upon them ?

  28. Interesting examples there Carlos.

    Honk Kong doesn’t work because apart from a small bit it was all on long lease.

    The Chagos Islands. The people booted off in contravention of their rights. Yet, that’s exactly what you suggest for Gibraltar, that Gibraltar is handed over to Spain against in contravention of the Gibraltarian’s rights.

    Rhodesia (not Rodhesia btw). What about Rhodesia? The UK gave it independence under its international obligations. Why can’t Gibraltar have the same choices?

    As for Andalucia being a British colony in effect, what a load of tosh! Rio Tinto might have been developed by the British and the railway to Ronda built by them but it would have been done on Spanish terms, paying Spanish taxes and providing work for Spaniards.

  29. Too many questions there, I will reply them all and this will be my last message, it’s useless to keep debating on issues that scape of my, and probably yours, scope of decission.

    “Who would be responsible for Gibraltar on a daily basis, Junta Andalusia for example?”
    “Gibraltar would have its own self rule. It has been stated in that way many times by the Spanish Government.
    The Tax Status of Gibraltar afterwards?”
    Gibraltar would keep its tax regime. But formulas should be looked for to share benefits with the surrounding area.
    “The Right of People if they wished to be repatriated to their original country and would you pay for them to move and set up again in their country of choice.”
    I think that would only happen marginaly. But if so, I don’t see any problem in facilitating a return to Britain.
    “What Compensation would you pay for UK businesses that would lose the reason for being there within months?”
    First of all I don’t see what sort of business will have to go for reason of a flag change. Only military personel, although probably the base would remain British for some time or shared with other NATO allies, including Spain.
    “The right to retain their own existing political system?”
    Of course.
    “Would all Spanish Law affect Gibraltar?”
    Not necesarily. It should be studies what part come into contradictions or restrict rights. Due to its special circonstances Gibraltar can keep its legal system.
    “Where would the very good income earned in Gibraltar go?”
    Same as it is now, Spanish fiscal system based on solidarity wouldn’t affect Gibraltar. Just as happens with Navare of the Basque Country.
    “What safeguards would you put in place?”
    I don’t know the questions.
    “If I were Spanish I would like to think that I would want a solution which benefits the people of Gibraltar now and in the future, rather than something they do not want which will not give them the security and the safeguards they deserve.”
    To be Spanish first you have to be one. There are Spaniards of all kinds, unlike small cities Spanish mindset is not monolithic. One of the greatest fears intentionally spread by the pro-colonialists is that Spain wants to rush in and loot the city. And is just the opposite, the Spanish want and need a prosperous Gibraltar integrated within its borders with a diminished British colonial pressence. As it really is a breach in our sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, for facts that are well known.
    “If the majority of the people of Gibraltar said they do not want to return to Spanish rule would you recognise and accept that, or impose yourself upon them ?”
    The problem is that outcome is the most predictable of all, as it is absolutely obvious that the population in Gibraltar is tailored to satisfy British interests in the place. Their will is respectable but can’t be binding because this conflict has a triple dimension, not a single Gibraltarian one. And this is not my opinion, it will be so as long as Utrecht is in place and the UN resolutions on the decolonization of Gibraltar are valid. In this general context the will of the Gibraltarians is a factor that now benefits the British interests in the deadlock situation created by them. Applying to Spain a ceal they have not applied to many other british subjects around the world. If Gibraltar could remain British, so it could the Hong Kong that wasn’t under lease, the cession was a matter of balance of power. The 7,000 cypriots that live within the bases area have no right to choose if they want the base or not. And the list could go on and on. For a Spaniard it’s very hard to understand how the nation that has given away the greatest land mass the world has known still clinches on to a Rock won under undignified circunstances.

    Moreover, the conflict is wider than some brits want to put it. There are large parts of what is now know as Gibraltar that were never ceded, I’m talking about the isthmus. The right of self-det can not be an excuse to legitimate for such a notorious landgrave. The will of the gibraltarians is a tool cleverly used by Spanish counterparts on the negotiation table, but it can’t be put on top of everything as a cover to many other things that have no justification at all or countervene UN resolutions and international treaties. The scope of the issue is wider than what the Gibraltarians want to make of it. The bottom line of the self-det argument is that Spain is totally irrelevant and has no opinion in this case. Neglecting facts that the descendants of 1704 still live in exile, that Spanish have legal and historical rights over the land and sea around it, and many other factors that implicate Spain and some insist to obviate.

    From my point of view the only solution will come when a balance is achieved between the respect for Spanish territorial integrity principle and the right of self-determination. If it remains a matter of all or nothing there won’t be a foreseeable solution in the meantime. This requires a flexible attitude, much more flexible that what we have seen until now on the Gibraltarians leaders.

    One word about Rio Tinto. I wouldn’t call a job to be exposed to toxic smokes that ruined lifes and agriculture in the entire province. The Rio Tinto Co. acted solely in their own interest, as an useful instrument of the colonial power. It’s performance in the region had serious dark chapters not only in the enviromental aspects, I’m thinking in their more than likely involvement in the killing of tens of protesters, and the later cover up, in what is still remembered today as the “año de los tiros”. The British legacy in the region is only remarkable in the houses they built for themselves, if you go to the village of Rio Tinto (the old one was destroyed under the company’s indication for the sake of mining exploitation) and see the old houses you’ll realize the vast wealth touched them only colaterally. So please, I don’t buy the story of the good samaritan helping the region.

  30. Thankfully the questions are hypothetical and so are your answers Carlos.

    You should know by now, since you seem to be quite exercised by international law, that the principle of territorial integrity is completely irrelevant to Gibraltar.

    Finally, wrt Rio Tinto you make out they were “exploiting” Spain’s resources on some kind of “colonial” basis, which is plainly nonsense. Do you really believe that if the Rio Tinto Company did not mine the copper then nobody else would? You must be naive or thick if you do. I never said RT were a “good samaritan”. I simply said they mined in Spain with Spain’s permission, paid taxes to Spain and gave employment to Spaniards. And if you think the British should be paying some toll to “fill in” the Rio Tinto “crater”, then perhaps Spain could return all the taxes paid by Rio Tinto first, with interest, then we might talk about your ridiculous “toll” idea…

  31. This is my last comment. The rights of the people living there now must be the number one factor in any discussion, or solution .The way you openly skip over this important aspect in favor of the rights of the descendants of people who for whatever reason left 306 years ago shown your biased slant on things. In this perfect world of yours the Indians of North America would be given back New York and Beverly hills. The descendants of the Aztecs might decide they want some compensation from someone?
    This is history and you cannot change it I keep telling you this but you ignore it as you go on your next rant about some oblique point totally unconnected. Do you not see that to get anywhere you have to give up something; the British have been obliged to do this in all these type of negotiations.
    Self determination of the people in paramount.

  32. I was up in Fuengirola this weekend (as I now refuse to spend money in La Linea). It is a great town and an example of how industry and tourism can coexist. La Linea should look to Fuengirola / Marbella / Estepona as role models and develop the town. The sea front in LL is disgusting. Full of junkies & their dealers. Clean the mierda up (druggies, gitanos & PP politicians) and LL will prosper. Sadly I can’t see this happening in my lifetime as most people in power (in La Linea) have a jealousy complex (and a need to line their own pockets with public money), and will continue to cut their noses off to spite their faces. Carlos, maybe you could give us an insight into this immature, short sighted, detrimental behaviour?

  33. >Self determination of the people in paramount.

    Thanks Carlos, we in Gib determine we want things to stay as they are. Imagine Spain taking over Gib. It would be a corrupt, idiot-run, bankrupted place, just like the rest of Spain. No thanks. Bye Carlos.

  34. Just a thought, I am a frequent visitor to Spain and usually fly into gib and visit a few times during my stay. Morrisons car park has been full of mostly Spanish reg cars and if you watch a while spanish residents filling them with tax free goods and petrol from the supermarket and duty free from down the town. so aren’t the spanish people getting the benefits of Gib already? Spanish political leaders should remember it is the people they are representing and I seem to remember the mayor used to spend a lot of time in Gib did he not used to take advantage of Gibraltar’s advantages!!

  35. I’m with Carlos here. I think that the Gibraltarians should be forcibly removed from the rock. I am sick of them making more money than us. They also employ us to do demeaning jobs that they will not do themselves. Their ill gotten wealth will be shared amongst the workers who have been oppressed for so long. Equality for all.

  36. I think the point here is, if the Spanish took control of the Rock they would in a very short time turn it into the mess the rest of Spain is in.

    Rather than emulate the success of the Rock and try an lift Spain out of the mess its in the only action plan they have is to try and hinder access and bring hardship in an attempt to bring the Rock down.

  37. Well Carlos I for one am very interested in your views and opinions. Could you perhaps post a list of the history books (title and author) you’ve read so that I can also study them to get a better appreciation of history? Thanks.

  38. Spanish greed again. Except think about it before you do it as I think you’ll find it is against EU freedom of movement laws to charge a toll.

    Juan K – Should all the Americans be forcibly removed from the United States because they all make more money than you too!

    In fact, most developed countries make more money than Spain. That, however, is Spain’s own fault! Work more, sleep less (siesta – 2 hours during a working day when the whole country shuts). You’ll soon catch up!

    As said above you Spanish are happy enough to go to Morrisons to top up on cheap food aren’t you!

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