Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero has announced that the visit by HMS Tireless, a nuclear submarine to Gibraltar in early July was the incident that displeased him most in his first 100 days of office. He can but hope that nothing worse will happen to him in the next few years.
Meanwhile the newspaper El Mundo has reported that the Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, intends to visit Gibraltar on August 4, as it celebrates the 300th anniversary of the Rock’s capture by the British. Since the Gibraltarians consider themselves to be British and since they have demonstrated over and over again that they wish to remain so, for them it is a celebration.
The Spanish government is, however, intending to lodge a diplomatic protest on grounds that are hard to discern. Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega has said that relations between Britain and Spain "are those of allies and friendly nations", but she said Spain considered the visit "inopportune".
Actually, we were all under the impression that the relations between Spain and Britain were those of members of a union that everyone seems to be denying but let that pass. Why exactly is the visit inopportune? The celebrations are in the coming week. When would Hoon’s visit be opportune if not now?