The lessons from Gibraltar

GibraltarWhen a community responds to a referendum to the tune of 96% in the opposite direction to the majority of voters it seems very unjust for its voters to have their concerns overlooked throughout the subsequent debate. The residents of Gibraltar may have been overlooked in the public discourse since 23rd June but at least the name of their community is mentioned 6 times in the Brexit white paper. Despite this when Mrs May and her team of Brexiteers stand up and argue that the will of the British people is to leave the EU, it would have been reasonable to expect them to articulate a more nuanced approach. After all it is not only the Gibraltarians who voted to remain, although they are unique in terms of the proportion who voted to stay. Whilst the proportion of voters in Ireland and Scotland who voted to remain in the EU was much less than those voting to do so in Gibraltar, they are nations that make up the United Kingdom and so have significantly more impact on the UK as a whole than Gibraltar does. The Scots and Irish along with the Gibraltarians are not alone in having voted to remain in the EU. Many other communities did so too. I happen to live in one of those. The fact is that our nation does not have one mind on the issue of the EU and so when when Politicians like Theresa May stand up and refer to the will of the nation many of us who voted for a different outcome feel immediately ignored and we don’t even have the compensation of knowing that our community is mentioned by name in the white paper. Whilst it is inconceivable that the UK will remain in the EU beyond March 2019 we cannot be sure what the future looks like from places like Gibraltar, Scotland and Northern Ireland and even in places such as Brighton the impact is far from certain. It would be reassuring if the understanding and concern currently being expressed over the strategic importance of Gibraltar by the Government was also applied to the concerns of Scottish and Irish people and indeed all people who voted to remain. That said few places, possibly including Gibraltar are wanting a war with Spain or anywhere else in the EU to resolve matters. The fact that Tories like Lord Howard are even suggesting that at this stage points to a much more pessimistic approach than many want to see. A failure to take into account the wishes of those of us voted to remain will almost certainly lead to a greater level of frustration and anger across the UK than is currently the case. The risk of breaking up the UK is not as simple as the loss of Gibraltar, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are many people in England and Wales who will stand up and reject the problems that are bound to emerge from the negotiations and the consequences of the departure from the EU. Any gains will not be immediate and it may take decades to see any positive return from our departure. In the meantime creating dissent amongst nearly half of the population makes no sense at all as we are all forced to cope with the cost of the departure!

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Brighton & Hove, EU Referendum, Parliament and Democracy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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