The issue of Gibraltar has come up, and the media and publicity shy politicians have been all over it, with a former leader of the Tory party and a former responsible newspaper vying for the title war monger.
The Beatles once sung about Gibraltar. It was the ballad for John and Yoko. Lennon sung:
You can get married in Gibraltar near SpainChrist you know it ain't easyYou know how hard it can beThe way things are goingThey're going to crucify meWell, if anyone said Brexit was going to be easy, they were wrong. But there was never a plan among the rest of the EU to crucify the UK.
But the rest of the EU do want the UK to be the loser – a mild loser. This is vital for its survival. If Brexit talks end with the UK smiling and the economy booming, there will be a queue, starting in Rome, of other countries wishing to leave, and Gert Wilders the leader of the Dutch Far Right and Marine le Pen, the possible next French president, but equally possible president after next, will be singing all the way to the ballot box.
So, the UK, in an effort to negotiate itself a good deal, plays hard ball. First there was security, then the threat of war, or worse than that, the possibility of Michael Howard appearing in the media more often.
Michael Howard, a former leader of the Toy party, a man who would so easily have been Prime Minister, recalled the spirit of Maggie and the Falklands Islands crisis, warning Spain to keep its hands off our rock.
If you are old enough to remember that period in history when the Falklands Crisis erupted, you may recall a time when the UK danced the jingo – it was the fashion of that time – jingoism ruled, the Sun celebrated the sinking of the Argentine ship the Belgrano with the headline “Gotcha” and in the process, the UK media sunk way below the gutter to the bottom of the ocean too.
And now the Telegraph compares the strength of the Royal Navy with the Spanish Navy – it turns out that the Royal Navy is not the force it was during the Falkland Crisis, but it would still thrash Spain in a battle – we could send our Armada over there, turn Gibraltar into a fortress, and hope that the Spanish sailor, Sir Francisco Drake, is not playing bowls on the Spanish coast preparing a response.
It’s nonsense of course, the very idea is sheer madness.
But then isn’t madness the key ingredient of war?
Those who said that the key benefit of the EU was the way it supported peace in Europe were launghed at, but just a day or so after Article 50 is kicked-off, the jingoists return. As John Lennon said:
Standing in the dock at SouthamptonTrying to get to Holland or FranceThe man in the mac saidYou've got to go backYou know they didn't even give us a chance