This is officially stupid. Starting on August 5th;
In a dramatic escalation of the clash over the British territory, Spain has warned that it is ready to impose a new border tax and investigate the affairs of Gibraltans with Spanish economic interests.Yes. Gibraltar has been British for longer than the USA has been a nation. It has been British for 300 years. The Spanish only took it from the Moors in 1502. So ... the British have had it for longer than Spain ever had.
Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar’s chief minister, said that Jose Garcia-Margallo, Spanish foreign minister, was acting like General Franco, the former dictator.
Mr Picardo said "hell will freeze over" before the authorities in Gibraltar remove an artificial reef which Madrid claims is harming Spanish fishermen, adding that any border costs would violate European Union freedom of movement rules.
Spain claims sovereignty over the strategic outpost, which stands on the southernmost tip of the Iberian peninsula but has been a British Overseas Territory since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.
Early Monday - this came in the mix;
London mayor Boris Johnson on Monday issued a "hands off" warning to Spain over Gibraltar after Madrid vowed to take "all necessary measures" to defend its interests in the British outpost.... and later on in the day;
The gaffe-prone Conservative mayor urged the government to "prise Spanish hands off the throat of our colony" after it increased border checks in retaliation for the building of an artificial reef in disputed waters.
"Hands off our Rock, that's what I say," Johnson wrote in Monday's Daily Telegraph.
"I hope that one way or another we will shortly prise Spanish hands off the throat of our colony, because what is now taking place is infamous," he added.
Britain has threatened Spain with legal action over the "politically motivated" imposition of extra checks on the frontier with Gibraltar.Really? It is like watching two old men talking smack.
Diplomatic tensions between the two countries continued to grow after Downing Street disclosed it was considering taking the "unprecedented step" on the grounds that the Spanish action breached European Union law.
Sources in London believe the Madrid government is stoking up the issue as a distraction from its political travails, which include accusations of corruption and the continuing pain of austerity measures.
Reports in the Spanish media have suggested the row could escalate to the United Nations, with Madrid floating the idea of Spain and Argentina presenting a "united front" over Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands.
Argentina is currently a non-permanent member of the UN's Security Council and could use its position to add Gibraltar to its agenda. Its president, Cristina Kirchner, has already renewed demands for talks over the sovereignty of the Falklands.
Meanwhile, thousands of Royal Navy personnel set sail yesterday for a long-scheduled training exercise in the Mediterranean. The Ministry of Defence stressed the timing was coincidental, but Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, said the deployment should send a clear signal to the Spanish.
"Maybe it's just a fluke that HMS Illustrious is about to bristle into view on the southern coast of Spain, complete with thousands of Royal Marines and other elite commando units," Mr Johnson said.
No one do anything stupid.