by John Bromfield
Through the offices of your good newspaper, I would like to start a debate about the issues and the referendum that has been called for June 23rd and I trust the good people of Gibraltar will all take this opportunity to cast their votes in the same way that previous referenda have been turned-out, that is, with most of the population voting in the only manner that is appropriate.
This subject has been the basis for some heated discussions with friends, both here in Gibraltar, in other European countries and particularly in The U.K.; so, I thought that I would write to start my own debate about this enormous and fundamental issue close to every man, woman and child of us. Yes, it will affect you, your children and their children.
Firstly, let me make myself very clear. Every single eligible person in Gibraltar, and our overseas Citizens, should make every effort to consider, make up their minds and take this one vote above all others. It is going to be fundamental to yours and your children’s future.
The leaders of The Government of The United Kingdom and Gibraltar have made their positions very clear. They support staying in the European Union to take advantage of the “safety”, “security”, “prosperity” and “development” of their respective nation states and their perceived benefits of the staus quo.
However, this is, I must state, the pre-occupation of politicians and not of the people. It is you, the people, who must decide on the perceived future of your country, livelihood, safety and prosperity. Do not necessarily listen to the pontifications of politicians who have their own, quite narrow, political agendas which may differ, fundamentally, from what the people want. It is your vote, not theirs. They will not be here in the future but you will.
I will try to highlight the real issues as I see them for Europe, The U.K. and Gibraltar. However, regardless of the considerations everyone makes and regardless of the arguments for and against “Brexit”, please, everyone, consider to your best abilities and go out to vote on the day with a full heart, but no emotion.
The position of The Government of Gibraltar on “Brexit” is clear and supports The Government of The U.K. This is to be expected and politicians make their stand and position clear. It is my opinion that this stand is wrong, mis-directed, mis-guided and dangerous for yours and your children’s future. They are making issues out of and pontificating on non-specified, non guaranteed, future deals and have totally ignored the absolute failures of the EU as an organisation, Immigration management, Parliament, the justice system, corruption and financial mis-management that are still not over and will not be over as the various organisations, nation states and un-elected representatives continue to show absolute denial to the matters that affect the whole of Europe, yours and your familys’ futures.
I intend to lay-down the issues of note and why I think that the “Brexit” referendum vote has been badly founded, is structurally innadequate and lacks in any formal plan. I believe, in my heart, that this is a politician’s (28 countries plus the EU Parliament) ploy to obfuscate, defy proper analysis and to mis-direct voters into fear of their perceived security, safety, prosperity and good society. I sorely hope that I am proved wrong. I am a socialist and absolutely believe in all of the people, not just a temporarily elected few. I hope the people will consider carefully and decide in favour of “Brexit” and I hope to show everyone just why this should be.
Gibraltar, of course, has a further, deeper, consideration due to its proximity to an aggressive neighbour whose flouting of the rules of The Law, rules of the sea and downright lack of humanity and fascist tendencies, show precisely what one of our EU neighbours thinks. Their recent statement that Spain should have a “Gentleman’s Agreement” with Britian over “Brexit” defies belief. Do your readers seriously believe that a country like Spain would ever enter any sort of “Gentleman’s Agreement” that could ever be relied upon by anyone over the age of six? They cannot even abide by their International Treaties. Dream-on Spain. Just look next door and see, in your hearts, who you would be sharing your future with. Get out now.
I have lived my whole life in business based on ethics, openness, reliability and honesty. I could never trust a Spanish politician for anything other than holding his or her hand out and this applies to most of their industry also. Corruption is not even a dirty word in Spain.
I have tried to engender the necessity and importance of your vote in the up-coming “Brexit” referendum. Please consider carefully and be bold with your vote.
There are many issues and one that is close to everyone’s heart is that of “will Gibraltar be left out to dry whilst The U.K. ploughs on in its usual inimitable way to future prosperity outside The E.U.?” Would you trust Spain and The EU or Britain?
Easy answer. The last 310 years says more than any words I can put onto paper. Gibraltar is for Gibraltarians as long as they wish to remain a British Dependent Territory. Spain cannot and will not do any more than she already does to harass and annoy. Do not think that Britain will ever let you down, so long as you want Britain. The frontier cannot be closed.
In the current debate, security will be banded about as if we are all going to be more secure in The EU. Not the case, inside or outside Europe. Rather be part of the strongest European military force in Europe and part of NATO than a whimsy, pontificating and action-less, group of 28 states (soon to be 27, I hope) who all take seven weeks to decide what the best plan of action is whilst enemies revel in the confusion . Just look at the immigration and Euro crises.
Please don’t forget that it is Europe putting everyone’s security at risk currently with the total mis-management and lack of recording asylum seekers and refugees.
Financial maters show the farce of The Euro and the allocation, mis-management and gross negligence in the spending of all our hard-earned taxes. Stick with £Sterling, let us detach ourselves from Euro states who are all in denial about the coming fall of the currency. Stand by Britain being out of this corrupt and mis-managed community who only stand for themselves and never the people.
Prosperity is the word and a bigger load of tosh I have ever heard regarding the proponents of staying in The EU. Britain is the 5th largest economy in The World. Britains are resourceful, lateral-thinking, entrepreneurial, sound, solid, humane and their products are still bought the world over by discerning countries, peoples and companies. Does anyone seriously think that Britain cannot do well outside the EU? Believe me, Europe does not want to see us go. Who is going to pay our £135 million a day or £7.0 billion ++ p.a. if we leave? That will be spent in Britain in future, if the people vote to leave.
Justice, organisation, law, policing and intelligence. Yes, just consider all of those for a moment. We are told that we will be outside all influence in running these supra national organisations when it is plainly obvious and common-sensical for Europe to follow and be lead by a Nation that did all this 1,000 years ago. We do not have to re-invent the wheel, it is already turning; Britain leads it with organisations and Government that is revered world-wide. Britain is the modern Parliament that everyone, bar dictators and fascists, wish to emulate.
Are we still European by being separate? Of course we are; what a lot of tosh. Europe sells more to Britain than Britain sells to Europe.
Our products, financial services, organisational skills, insurance industry, engineering, patent designs and clever inventions, medicine , social and Union freedoms, education, Government and local societies are all something most countries want, including Europe. Europe loses if Britain leaves and this is the one fact that everyone should consider when you hear all the scare stories about “consequences” “security” and “prosperity”, but Britain prospers and assists more peoples round the world other than The USA. Let’s just think about all that for a moment.
Gibraltarians, cast your vote, enter the booth with a full heart but please do not be swayed by politicians, all of whom have a completely different view on life to you and your families. Think about your future, vote with your heart and let us all see what the people say on June 23rd. My vote is to leave but I could be convinced otherwise. On the current evidence there not a chance of that. However, please challenge me and enter this most important debate.
Thank you for reading this. Now let us have a real debate about our needs not the politicians.
John Bromfield, is a 70-year old businessman who has spent his whole life in the commercial side of construction working for multi-national construction and engineering companies round the world. For the last 28 years John has been involved in the whole gamut of Gibraltar projects and its development, dealing with every contractor, developer, utility company, the Gibraltar Government and the Ministry of Defence both here and elsewhere. His various companies supply governments and contractors world-wide.