Thursday, 28th June 2012
It don’t mean a thing…
The Queen shakes hands with Martin McGuiness, Britain starts swooping down on the tax ‘efficiency’ measures it created and pushes Jersey towards independence (at least someone as serious as Sir Philip Bailhache, the island’s Assistant Chief Minister thinks so), and Sr Landaluce regrets hotheads have vandalised Gibraltar cars at an Algeciras shopping centre.
Sometimes actions and statements are symbolic, but they will mean very little if they are not accompanied by genuine processes of change as seen in Ulster.
The UK certainly needs to take a more realistic approach to dealing with finance centres which it encouraged to develop, more recently and rightly, on the basis of good regulation.
Independence would be a dramatic move for Jersey, but the sentiment signals the level of discontent with the way in which UK can overnight turn what it promoted as virtue into sin and apply different standards.
Making places like Gibraltar and Jersey scapegoats is not the way ahead.
That is as true for Britain on financial responsibilities as it is for Spain in its political strategy. As this column has said before, the Spanish Foreign minister’s cry of the Francoist ‘Gibraltar espanol’ has set off a lot of unnecessary and nasty exchanges, especially on social media – and some hotheads believe this empowers them to stir tension.
The current Spanish government would have a problem convincing the UN that it respects our interests, let alone our wishes. We should all be moving forwards not backwards.
Whilst the investment in the Gibraltar court buildings have clearly brought better working conditions and produced the infrastructure for a more efficient judicial service, what perhaps needs to be reviewed, from the perspective of court users, is whether the manpower is there to meet what would appear to be exponential growth in major casework. This is something likely to be raised when we come to the next opening of the legal year.
Not just for fans, but for all Gibraltar and business generally, the arrival of the first ever Gibraltar International Jazz Festival is an important new feature to the calendar. The Chess festival at the Caleta has grown from strength to strength and with some investment in venue and infrastructure, such as hotel beds, the Rock is ideal for many more festival and conference opportunities. Just the ease with which one can get around on foot is a major plus added to the lively bar and restaurant scene and unique historic backdrop.
A welcome to music fans from abroad. Enjoy!