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Europe’s singular greatest achievement since the Renaissance was the creation of the European Union. Regardless of what the Eurosceptics have to say about it, however much some of this may be true, the EU has put an end to war in our little corner of the world. Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, and their host of like-minded Little Englander Brexiteers have made something of a religion of lionising Britain’s war dead and what we are supposed to believe they gave their lives for – but in doing this they forget utterly the cost of the wars in which they fought and fell.
Between 1914 and 1918 more than 38 million people lost their lives in the so-called Great War, a number almost four and a half times the population of London. Only two decades later the Second World War took the lives of over 60 million – up to 55 million of which were civilians; men, women, and children. In each of these atrocious conflicts cities were razed to the ground, economies were brought to absolute ruin, and whole nations collapsed.
Since 1945, thanks in large part to the evolution of what has become the EU, Europe has been at peace. No matter our reservations about the corporatism and the globalist agenda of the European Union, we at least owe it credit for protecting us from the experience of another total war.
Yet not a week had passed since Theresa May triggered Article 50 – initiating the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU – than Britain’s establishment warmongers were calling the troops out for war. When Spain indicated it had the right to veto the Article 50 process over issues relating to Gibraltar Michael Howard – former leader of the Conservatives – and Michael Fallon – UK Defence Secretary – were out issuing fatwahs against Madrid.
On the 35th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War Lord Howard was on the television pronouncing how the Prime Minister would not hesitate to deal with Spain as a previous PM had dealt with Argentina – “another Spanish speaking country.” Of course a war is unlikely. This was just some aged and defunct old Briton out measuring his tackle, but – when we say that war is unlikely – Brexit has taught us that anything is possible. “Now is not the time,” indeed. Now is not the time for this insane triumphalist British nationalist bravado.
Gibraltar itself is a testimony to Britain’s triumphalistic bravado. The rock was England’s prize when the Dutch seized the town from Spain in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession – another serious European conflict. In 1713 the territory was ceded to Great Britain under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht and has been a bone of contention between London and Madrid ever since.
Michael Howard and the entire British ruling class couldn’t give a fig about Gibraltar, not really. The territory of not much more than 30,000 people is almost entirely self-governing and contributes little to the UK Treasury. What makes Gibraltar so important to Britain is that it is a prestige item, a colonial property on the Iberian Peninsula – which is a bonus because it bugs the Spanish – that guards the shipping lanes in and out of the Mediterranean. Much as oil makes Scotland to the UK, Gibraltar is a strategic asset – nothing more.
The colony’s return to Spain – as Hong Kong was returned to the PR China – is not even nearly a realistic prospect for the time being. The people of Gibraltar have elected in two recent referenda to remain part of the United Kingdom. So Howard and Fallon are at arms over paper tigers, but this doesn’t matter because it has ignited the imagination of the Brexiteer press and so the ball has been set rolling in a trajectory that is driving a wedge deeper between the UK and Spain, and therefore between the UK and the EU, over the rock.
To the Tory establishment this war propaganda is merely a tool to distract the nation’s attention from the whole series of cock-ups that Brexit has become. There is nothing quite like sabre-rattling patriotism to get the Little Britons rallying behind the flag.
All the same, this craziness has some pretty frightening consequences. It has brought unnecessary and unhelpful focus on to the routine incursions of the Spanish Navy – a game the British and Spanish have been playing with one another for centuries. Presenting the recent incursion of the patrullero Infanta Cristina as something threatening and new will do nothing to lessen tensions, which either side may now aggravate – even to the point of an actual confrontation. Nothing of this will lessen the tensions at la Línea de la Concepción – the border between Spain and Gibraltar – where Gibraltarians already find things difficult enough.
Armada Española (@Armada_esp) January 17, 2017
More is at stake in all of this for the future wellbeing of the UK. Theresa May has already attempted to blackmail President Tusk over security, a matter that will not make negotiations with the EU over the next two years any easier. Threatening Spain, an EU member and British ally, with war – no matter how rhetorical – will do nothing to make Britain’s situation any better.
The more we see of Brexit here in Scotland, the more we are shown that the UK – and for the moment Scotland with it – is being led, blindfolded, down the rabbit hole of Brexit uncertainty and chaos by a bunch of moronic, half-witted imbeciles. We haven’t even begun the formal negotiations. Things are set to get a great deal more ropey for Britain’s hopes of becoming what Mrs May has spelt out in her great vision for Brexit. If this is how bad it is now, we can only imagine the riot the next few months are going to be. Time to dig a bomb shelter!
The Butterfly Rebellion