We all, both Spanish and British, realize that the current problems on the border between Gibraltar and Spain are nothing more than a smokescreen to divert attention away from the alleged corruption and slashing of public services by the Rajoy government.
However, even smokescreens and diversions have consequences for the man or woman in the street on both sides of the border, with daily reports bemoaning the long queues of vehicles, the difficulties faced for those who work on one side and live on the other and of course the financial cost to both sides.
Meanwhile, in Almuñécar, the Hotel California had a group of guests who had arrived for a weekend of paragliding, and it just so happens that they are all residents of the Rock. So, we at the Seaside Gazette were interested in what they had to say about the situation ‘on the ground,’ so to speak.
The Gib residents painted a very sorry picture of motorcycle and moped riders waiting for three hours to cross the border, but not only that, they allege that Guardia Civil officers were patrolling the lengthy queues and making riders keep their helmets on and their engines running. The discomfort of being motionless in motorcycle gear, astride a hot engine in plus 35-degree heat, whilst wearing a helmet, can only be imagined.
They also said that many residents of the Rock who work in Spain, rather than face the daily wait, parked their cars in La Linea in the hope that the crisis would soon pass, whilst they made the crossing daily on foot, then using their cars on the Spanish side. However, many people arrived at their vehicles to find them damaged and in some cases completely burnt out.
All this, supposedly over the putting down of an artificial reef to encourage marine life and prevent dragnet fishing… which is quite ironic when you can read in the September hard copy of this very magazine, in the La Herradura Section, that the Almuñécar Town Hall is trying to obtain permission to sink boats to create… yes, you’ve got it, an artificial marine reef in La Herradura bay, much as there are in other parts of Spain.
Rajoy will continue to mask his misdeeds with his Gibraltar anti-smuggling rhetoric (although, who would actually want to smuggle anything into Gibraltar is a mystery), whilst the British and Gibraltar governments continue their indignant post-colonial stance, with no hint of empathy to even slightly placate the situation. In other words, an ideal political situation when pushing forward difficult legislation or trying to bury any alleged corruption news.
And of course, as in any war, be it with bombs and guns (and sometimes gas), or with just words, it’s the innocent that suffer.