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Thinking about Gibraltar

September 7, 2018

I lived in Gibraltar for a short time when I was six years old. The smell of cedar-wood takes me straight back to the trinket shops of 1950s Gibraltar.

Last night I went to hear Graham Watson, our former MEP, give a talk about the B-word. Among other things he touched on identity, and overlapping identities. He told us that he was born on an island off the West coast of Scotland. “When I went to Glasgow I was an islander. When I went to Edinburgh I was a west-coaster. When I went to England I was  Scottish. When I went to France I was British, When I went to America I was European. When I went to Lagos I was a white man”.

He has a particular interest in Gibraltar, where 96 percent of the 82 percent turn-out voted to remain in the European Union. Thousands of workers cross the narrow border from Spain every morning and back every evening; most are Spanish, some are British and others originate from all the other EU countries. Tourism is a major industry. I don’t like to imagine what will happen to Gibraltar’s economy or to the daily migrants who cannot afford to live there. But at least it takes my mind off what may happen here in Britain!

I wonder how many of us are aware that the referendum result was (according to the Act of Parliament that enabled it) advisory, not legally binding? I certainly wasn’t until last night. We were woefully under-informed at the time of the referendum, and we are still pretty much in the dark. I don’t know what the next few months will bring, but I do know that I don’t want to be “just British”. I want those overlapping identities. The big problems we face now are international problems and they urgently need international action. We can’t just pull up the drawbridge and hope they will go away. They won’t.

If you care about this at all, one way or the other, please do whatever you can to inform yourself. If you live in central Somerset, you could start here, tonight and the next three Fridays. Come and ask awkward questions!

EMMB poster

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2018 4:38 pm

    An ardent Brexiteers recently realised that dna profiling does not provides categories such as English or Scottish or Welsh or indeed any other specific nationality. Moreover he realised we all contain dna from many nations and many parts of the world. This has started to make him realise what a poor idea Brexit actually is. Roll on a second referendum as think a huge number of people have changed their minds and no longer want to leave Europe.

  2. September 11, 2018 8:59 am

    Thanks Ama for bringing these meetings to my notice, didn’t know about them. Will be interesting to hear ‘other’ voices about the implications of leaving the EU.

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