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Union Jack flies proudly over the Rock of Gibraltar!
by Stuart Millson
‘Rock of ages, proud and strong
Terrain of majesty and beauty…
In this land where we belong,
May the flag of Britain soar
O’er Gibraltar evermore.’
Brian Willey (b. 1928), Ronnie Bridges (b 1919)
On Tuesday 2nd March, the historic church of St. Clement Danes in The Strand, London, was filled to capacity - as Britons, Commonwealth patriots, members of HM Armed Forces and Gibraltarians gathered to pay homage to 300 years of British Gibraltar. Back in the days of Empire, the Rock which guards the exit and entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, became a symbol of British strength - a mighty embodiment of the greatness of the Royal Navy, the permanence of our national freedom.
It was Admiral Rooke who first took Gibraltar for the Crown in 1704, the small - yet vital - territory finally being ceded to us in perpetuity in 1713. Since then, Gibraltar has witnessed some of the greatest moments of our history: the return of the victorious fleet after Trafalgar; the bombardment of World War Two; the struggle to maintain the supply lines to Malta when freedom in Europe was truly hanging in the balance…
As Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, The Honourable Peter Caruana, QC, reminded the congregation in his address at St. Clement Danes, the people of the Rock have given their loyalty and their lives to the cause of Britain. And as the singing of Parry’s Jerusalem, the National Anthem, and the stirring “Rock of Ages, proud and strong” rose to a crescendo in that London church, Mr. Caruana’s words seemed to take on a greater meaning and strength.
Only recently, our Government attempted to do one of its infamous backroom deals with Spain; an attempt by Mr. Blair and his ministers - ever so quietly - to hand Gibraltar over to the Madrid. To the modern, Euro-mind of our Prime Minister, the thought that a fervently loyalist and royalist “colony” should continue to exist is almost horrifying. Far better, thought No. 10, to let the Foreign Office “dispose” of these embarrassing, old-fashioned people down there on the Rock!
However, the Whitehall mandarins had not counted on the strength of Peter Caruana and his fellow British patriots, and in a referendum result which hit London, Madrid and the EU like a thunderbolt, 99 per cent of the people of Gibraltar voted to stay British. Needless to say, the mandarins have quietly folded away their plans to sell-out the people of Gib - at least, for the time being. As we all remember in 1992 when the Danes said “no” to Maastricht, the powers-that-be were soon back on the scene, trying to twist it all, and - in the immortal words of the then Foreign Secretary (the Europhile Douglas Hurd) - “obtain the right result”!
After the great church service, Peter Caruana and his British-based second-in-command, Albert Poggio MBE, welcomed their many supporters at a vast reception at the Savoy. The High Commissioners of Commonwealth countries mingled with service chiefs, and patriotic parliamentarians - Andrew Rosindell MP, and the legendary Baroness Thatcher attracting a large crowd! Patriots congratulated the former Prime Minister on the Falklands victory back in the heady days of 1982; her defiance against the EU; and her staunch support for Gibraltar. When one looks at the dismal record of Government and Opposition today, Margaret Thatcher seems like a colossus from another age.
Fortunately, the British lion has found its roar again. Everywhere, there are signs that the “penny has dropped”, with our people waking up, not just to the betrayal of Gibraltar, but to the betrayal of Britain itself. People have had enough of hearing about the Euro and the EU constitution, and would vote against them tomorrow if they had the chance! They have seen through all the spin and claptrap of the career politicians, and they remember the sacrifices made for freedom at Dunkirk, D-Day, and at the Rock of Gibraltar.
May the British flag keep flying - in perpetuity! - from the famous Rock. And may our constant vigilance and our new-found strength keep us from the darkness of Euro-domination and enslavement. In the words of the Chief Minister of Gibraltar on Tuesday 2nd March 2004: “God Save the Queen”!
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