Gibraltar isn't the world's weirdest border

In fact, it may not even be close. Here's the competition...

17 August 2013

9:00 AM

17 August 2013

9:00 AM

Borders are fascinating places. The subtle changes in scenery and atmosphere as you near the limits of one territory and enter the orbit of the other; the way fencing gets higher and fiercer. Then there’s the shuffling of papers and passports, the opening of suitcases, car boots and, sometimes, wallets. The nervous sweat in no-man’s-land as men who reek of tobacco and bad coffee judge your suitability to enter or, worse, leave. In nearly all ways the (more or less) borderless new Europe is a wonderful thing, but something has been lost along the way.

If ordinary borders are weird, then the very special lines that surround the world’s several hundred anomalous enclaves and exclaves are museum pieces of geography, living testaments (as much as any castle or monument) to forgotten chapters of history. The current spat over Gibraltar, a pene-exclave of British territory which began with an antique treaty signed in a Dutch town, highlights the truth that when small, detached bits of one country abut or are surrounded by another, trouble often ensues.

For map nerds like me, the weird world of the enclave and exclave is as exciting as it gets. Discovering, at the age of nine, that there is a bit of Germany forever marooned in Switzerland (the city of Konstanz) was like finding a four-leaved clover. What must it be like, surrounded by another nation? What happened in the war? Did Nazi officials and soldiers have to take off their uniforms when bicycling through one to the other? Could they buy cuckoo clocks on the way? Look closely and you will see bits of Germany marooned in Belgium, slices of Italy stuck in the Swiss Alps, chunks of Spain cut off by Andorra and slivers of Finland stuck in Sweden.

Some definitions: an exclave is a slice of one country’s territory not attached to the rest of it but entirely surrounded by another country. A ‘pene-exclave’, such as Gibraltar, Alaska or Northern Ireland, is partially surrounded by water. An enclave is totally surrounded by foreign territory. An enclave in one nation may also be an exclave of another. Or not. Thus Lesotho, which is entirely surrounded by South Africa, is an enclave, but not an exclave as there is no Lesothoan motherland. Whereas Kaliningrad on the shores of the Baltic is an exclave of Russia but, since it borders two countries (and the sea), is not, technically, an enclave.

These are simple cases, O-level examples of the surreal world of comedy border-drawing. Moving up a grade, we have Point Roberts, a tongue of US territory on the southern tip of the Tsawwassen Peninsula in British Columbia. There is nothing particularly exciting about the geography of Point Roberts — it is a bog-standard pene-exclave — but the peculiarities of American border controls and its location as effectively a suburb of Vancouver make Point Roberts a jewel in the crown of territorial weirdness.

Last year I drove to the border from the Canadian side to have a look. In Canada the houses are neat and the picket fences white, the lawns mowed and the parks well-tended. I walked to the border to be faced by a substantial, security-ridden checkpoint, on the other side of which, in the land of the not-really-any-freer, could be seen identical houses, picket fences, cars and parks. I thought about trying to pick an unofficial way across but had no wish to end up in another, less welcoming exclave, that of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Every day hundreds of Americans make their way across the border, including all children older than fourth grade, who must make a 40-minute detour through land still labouring under the royal yoke, in order to attend elementary school in Washington State. And the reason for this? A mistake.

In the 19th century the British, Americans, Russians and Mexicans spent decades squabbling over borders in the American west, and eventually it was decided to make the line between British and US territory follow the 49th Parallel. Sensibly, they remembered Vancouver Island, which juts south of this, and wiggled the border round its southern tip. But they forgot about Point Roberts altogether.

If Point Roberts is surreal, then Baarle-Nassau in the Netherlands (visit it in person or on Google Maps) is plain insane. This municipality contains no fewer than 22 exclaves of the Belgian municipality of Baarle-Hertog, which in turn contain eight Dutch double-exclaves (aka counter-enclaves or, possibly, double-Dutch exclaves). It began with various half-forgotten treaties in the 19th century. Thus there are Dutchmen who walk out of their house and are in Belgium, walk a few hundred yards further to find themselves back in their homeland and, down the end of the road, are back in Belgium again.

There is fun to be had. The smallest exclave of Baarle-Hertog is a square patch of field — not even an entire field — about the size of a tennis court. Borders run through people’s houses, factories, pubs and restaurants. One off-licence has tills in both countries, and the border is helpfully marked on the floor. Before the EU harmonised these things, alcohol taxes and even closing times differed markedly between the two countries, and drinkers had to move from one side of the bar to the other when last orders were called.

The prize for borderland insanity goes to the Chitmahals between India and Bangladesh. There are 102 bits of India marooned in its neighbour, and 71 gobbets of Bangladesh on the wrong side. These anomalies, in turn, contain a total of 24 counter-enclaves and, marvellously, one enclave of an enclave of an enclave, Dahala Khagrabari Number 51, a strip of Indian farmland marooned in a small puddle of Bangladesh which is itself submerged in India.

Locals insist this geographical craziness is a result of a card game played by the maharajas in the 18th century; more sober historians say the exclaves result from ill-conceived attempts to parcel out land between the Maharaja of Cooch Behar and Faujdar of Rangpur. Unlike in Baarle-Hertog, there is little fun to be had from the zany borders; this is a bitterly poor part of the world with few bars. But, as one Bangladeshi/Indian/Bangladeshi farmer told the Economist a few years ago, the endless border fences ‘at least mean my cows don’t run away’.

When things go well, exclaves and enclaves promote internationalism. Patriotic fervour is silly when your local pub sits in two countries and your children have to go abroad to enter their bedroom. But when things go badly, as with Gibraltar and Ulster, anomalous borders are invoked to raise tensions. And if you find yourself on the receiving end of a bit of border aggression, as Britain currently is with Spain, the best thing to do is to look at a map and find something to bat back with. In this case there are, helpfully, two superb counter-examples, called Ceuta and Melilla. The Spanish pene-exclaves on the Moroccan coast always provoke entertaining debate with any Spaniard keen to raise the Gibraltar issue.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Show comments
  • Vrai écossais

    Gibraltar is an anomaly in that all the other exclave/enclaves mentioned are with neighbouring countries – Canada/US, Belgium/NL, Germany/CH and etc. The UK is 1400 miles away and can hardly be called a neighbour.

    Perhaps we should reappraise the Treaty of Utrecht given it was 300 years ago and Minorca was won back in a fight several times by Spain. Spain has also continuously claimed sovereignty over Gibraltar, an important act in international law. The Spanish do need to change their attitude and work with the local and British authorities. Gibraltar could become an autonomous region of Spain with a change of mindset in all sides.

    • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

      Why in hell should ever the Spanish give up what’s theirs or accept conditions imposed on them by force? The pertinent treaty makes very clear that the town of Gibraltar is ceded as a property and without any jurisdiction whatsoever. Also the issue of the territorial waters is expressly mentioned as being just those of the port the ones ceded. Furthermore, the UK has encroached beyond the limits of the original cession. Who needs to alter their mindset? The fact the the UK hasn’t honor the terms of the treaty and persists in its relentless misrepresentation is more than enough to warrant any reprisals the Spanish may want to take. It hasn’t done yet because the UK and the USA flout international legality to their convenience and the UN resolutions (Gibraltar, Western Sahara, Israel, etc…). Should the issue be taken to an international court, both sides would have to agree beforehand on what constitutes a fair court and to accept their rulings as binding. Obviously the venue where they only find criminals of war among nations which lost a war is not a fair venue. The winners of WWII and justices of Nüremberg didn’t think of sitting justices from non beligerant nations since they rather had a show trial than real due process.

      • christophergamble

        Any land that has a sea is entitled to territorial waters. Fact ad infinitum.

        • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

          No. Read in detail the Convention on the Seas and International Waters. It provides for exceptions under specific circumstances. Besides. the Treaty of Utrecht explictly denies any jurisdiction to the British Crown. Please read.

          • christophergamble

            Gibraltar is not an exception in UN terms

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            For the UN, Gibraltar has no right to self determination, its status is that of a colony, and needs to be reverted. Precisely what the Brits hate.

          • Mike Haley

            You may call it a colony, but the people of Gibraltar prefer their current situation to that of ‘reclaimed Spanish territory’ Your own treatment of your ‘colonies’ was what lost Spain its claim as an Empire a long time ago. Many British and Spanish lives were lost to decide the issue of possession and to think we’d just hand it back you must be sadly disillusioned.
            Spain and Argentina should come to terms with the fact that having lost stuff several hundred years ago you can’t suddenly say ‘Hey, that’s mine!’ Next you’ll be asking for all the gold that Sir Francis liberated from Spain back. No way, Jose

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            The UN calls it a colony. To call yourself anything else is an euphemism for a cave of pirates. The fact that you killed and died makes it no different than a bank robbery colllateral damage: the money is still not yours. You are right in one respect: not because it was yours at some point it has to be reverted to you. However that’s not our position. You make up your opponent’s position for lack of proper argumentation regarding our actual position.

          • Mike Haley

            What is your actual position? Should Kuwait be given back to Iraq? It was Iraqi territory less than 100 years ago. There are countless such disputes and how far back in history do you think they should go? I think you should ‘get a life’ and first get your own country back on track, economically and politically before ranting about rocks and islands that won’t change anything. I’m sure the reintegration process would happen naturally over time if Spain stopped acting as if they had the ‘right’ to it instead of accepting that they have never earned that right through behavior that might lead the inhabitants of Gibraltar to feel their destiny may well be better with Spain.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            I don’t have a postion on Iraq and I don’t see how could such affect this present issue of Gibraltar. Everybody knows, however, that Kuwait is an artificial state created by Britain to better extract petroleum. No, we cannot revert certain changes but we must revert certain violations of the principles we still live by. Spain never gave up (read the treaty) any jurisdiction on Gibraltar. Please, read and meditate tonight on it before speaking so to stop uttering any regurgitated propaganda.

          • ArchiePonsonby

            The UN? That bastion of common sense and probity? Please………………..!

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            The UN may be corrupt at some level but that’s the best we have in some respect. At least they are neutral (except when coerced by the superpowers, not us) and they are a reference for International Law; something the UK has never been.

          • EdinSpain


      • Driiss Zekmi

        western sahara was moroccan before being colonized and he only ones protesting against moroccan rule are not even natives but algerians and other communists like cuba or even countries like south africa

        • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

          Whether it was or not is not the issue here. You’ll need to substantiate that claim. However, the fact is that both Morocco and the US are doing what they can to stop compliance with the UN resolution regarding the self-determination of the Western Sahara. Morocco itself has been tampering with the original population census to that effect.

      • Vrai écossais

        Spain could play a completely different game. I could pretend that Gibraltar is just a part of its territory, remove all the borders it put up, allow free road access and invoice residents for taxes and ignore the British authorities. Instead it is making life difficult for the people in Gibraltor, annoying what it considers its residents and making them hide under the British flag. Wooing people is better than hitting them with a stick.

      • Airey Belvoir

        I think that the Treaty of Utrecht also gave us Minorca. The Spanish should be grateful that we have decently dropped that claim and stop whingeing.

      • McClane

        ‘Why in hell should ever the Spanish give up what’s theirs or accept conditions imposed on them by force?’

        The Germans did in 1945. If they can, the Spanish can.

        • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

          Good, give it a try. We are not in 1945. Times have changed and I am dying to see something that wakes us up and triggers our exit from NATO and a military alliance with the BRICKS. Yoy may still hold on to Gibraltar but you will pay a heavy price in Geostrategic terms.

      • Don Logan

        Why should the people of Gibraltar, who don’t want to be Spanish, have to suffer because your corrupt politicians want to distract the population from their woeful running of your country?

        • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

          They don’t have to be Spanish and nobody is asking them to be. Since they are invaders, they have no right to self determination within an invaded territory where -in addition- the pertinent treaty excludes that possibility. What about Chagos? Do Brits really care that much about self determination? What about the original populations of the Falkland and Gibraltar that were expelled and expropriated without compensation?

          Corrupt or not, distracting or not, it is immaterial since the rights of Spain aren’t any less because of that. In fact, our position has remained constant through history. Our country has its share of problems and yet people live a lot better than they do in the UK and our Human Development Index is higher. Who’s distracting who?

          • robbyd

            Well given that you Visigoths stole Spain from its inhabitants a mere 1600 years ago in a particularly unpleasant invasion, you have no right to continue to exist in your country.
            I am going to do a DNA analysis of Portuguese, Spanish and North African people and find the Bell-Beaker descendants, the true inhabitants and legal owners of the Iberian peninsula and unless people like you have particularly accurate pottery drinking vessels, you will be sent back to where you came from – Pomerania. How do you like them apples?

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Learn History of Spain and Europe before opening your mouth or reaching for a keyboard. The Visigoths were finally invited by the Romans as federatii (the same with the Franks in what today is Northern France) to maintain security in Hispania. After the fall of the Roman Empire, they naturally continue handling the Iberian affairs with various degrees of success depending of what. All the medieval reconstruction of Spain was done with the ideal of a peninsular Christian kingdom. If anything, you will have to start deporting invaders from Britain, which, by the way shares multiple streaks of ancient prehistorical genetic code with the populations of the Iberian Peninsula (see R1b).

            DNA is not and will never be a basis for determining nationality. Our nation is mixed and that’s good. The mix made Spain. The aboriginal pre Roman political entities are long gone and their inhabitants would look at us today, their descendents as very foreign people,

          • robbyd

            Er, actually, Sr Despistado, you Visigoths were invited to settle in Aquitaine, not Spain – I suggest you revise your obviously encyclopaedic knowledge of Spanish history. You dastardly fellows went and kicked out those charmers the Vandals and a chap called Alan over the course of several decades and by any definition, it was an invasion. I’ll cut you a deal – you can settle in France, currently occupied by French invaders, instead of going all the way to Poland, which might be a little more expensive and is currently occupied by some Polish invaders. Little by little we’ll surely work our way back to having all the people in the world in a small cave in Gauteng Province, just as we originally were and therefore should be.

            Unfortunately, despite your mammoth and intimate knowledge of the movement of peoples and the effect on DNA, you have entirely missed the point of my little joke. (Aside from the fact that Pomerania sounds a bit like the French for apple – which you probably missed too).

            The point is that your argument that the English are invaders is meritless – most modern states are run by people who were originally invaders. You cannot arbitrarily choose a date whereby all invasions after that are unacceptable. After all, when do you choose the cut-off to be?

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Sure but here we a treaty that reserves to us the jurisdiction and imposes a number of conditions. That’s why you cannot claim right of conquest. Second, I am not talking about the invasions of lands that belong to a defunct state but to a state recognized by the invaders with a legal continuity. By the way, not that it matters in the very least for the present purpose but the homeland of the Visigoths was in what today is Sweden.

          • robbyd

            (a) as I pointed out above, you have misunderstood the meaning of the phrase “without territorial jurisdiction”. It means that the jurisdiction of the territory to which the ceded area relates is without. I.e. Gibralta is without (i.e. the opposite of within…) the jurisdiction of the territory of Spain. Spain have ceded jurisdiction – jurisdiction falls under the English crown. If it helps, look at how the treaty deals with communication by land in the same sentence. The treaty is essentially severing Gibraltar from mainland Spain.

            (b) well if you are going to refer to a state recognized by invaders with a legal continuity, look no further than Ceuta and Melilla. I’m afraid you can’t pick and choose your rules, old boy.

            (c) the origin of the Visigoths is impossible to determine, but the idea that they came from Sweden is largely discredited (we can’t believe everything a 6th century Roman wrote now, can we). Modern historians have even argued that they only identified themselves collectively after being invited into the Roman Empire. Besides, as I have already pointed out, this part of my post was a joke to highlight the flaw in your argument.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            No. Please, refer to my previous post. You own an apartment in Spain. It’s yours but it is not in your country.

            You have severed the phrase “without territorial jurisdiction” from the sentence where it is a verbal complement of in order to hide the true meaning of the sentence. It is ceded without territorial jurisdiction. In other words, it is a given and restricted cession. In fact, if that wasn’t the case, other conditions accepted by the British wouldn’t have never applied to a sovereign territory; such as the ban on certain nationalities hostile to us.

            I don’t care about the Visigoths. Ceuta and Melilla were never taken from any state that is contemporary to us. Tell me which one. Morocco is a late outgrowth of the Alaui fiefdom that only and timidly began its formation in the XVII century.

          • robbyd

            Wrong. You have grossly misunderstood the meaning of the “without”. “Without” means “lacking” or “outside” in English. You have ceded Gibraltar “lacking” in territorial jurisdiction and “lacking” in communication with the continent to which it is attached.

            It is basically like saying that Gibraltar is free from incumbrances. I appreciate that you are not a lawyer, but this is the point – if Spain wanted to retain jurisdiction of Gibraltar under the treaty they would have said “… property be yielded to Great Britain within territorial jurisdiction [of Spain] the country round about”. I.e., the property is yielded (proprietarily) to GB, but it stays within the jurisdiction of the territory.

            They are just as much contemporary states with legal continuity as Spain is – the Spain that signed that treaty ceased to exist with Napoleon’s invasion.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Quo vero Abusus, Fraudesque in Mercimoniis quibuscunque importandis, evitentur, vult Rex Catholicus, atque intelligendum censet, ut Proprietas supranominata Magnae Britanniae cedatur, sine Jurisdictione quapiam Territoriali, & absque Communicatione aliqua aperta cum Regione circumvicina Terram versus.

            Whether I am lawyer or not is besides the point. Actually, most lawyers do not have a training in language analysis and logic and think that they can trump the common sense or the reasoning skills of those who are not lawyers. I am glad that you recognize the importance of this passage because on its interpretation (intelligent not arbitrary rendition) hinges the whole issue. The distinction the treaty makes between property and jurisdiction and the very purpose of prevention of contraband points out to Spain keeping the jurisdiction. The fact that other limitations are included do too. Of course, it could have been phrased differently and probably better but that’s besides the point.

            Spain has a legal continuity that goes back through the Visigoth ancestry of the Reconquest kings to the Roman Empire. I don’t think you are a lawyer or, if you are, you just everybody else is an idiot and can be made believe anything your shifty gab wishes.

            The treaty can be summarized as follows in this respect: I give you this but on these conditions and without jurisdiction. It never makes any statement to the effect of transfer of jurisdiction or placing its jurisdiction under a different authority which would be the usual language for this matters.

          • robbyd

            Haha, old Sr Despitado highlights exactly his problem – this is a LEGAL document (a treaty) and therefore it is imperative that you understand LEGAL meaning. You cannot interpret it for your own reasons, you have to understand what the words mean and why. It’s also why, if it even gets disputed, this will go to a LEGAL court and will be decided by LAWYERS. Sorry, buddy, but if you don’t like that, your whole argument is pointless.

            “Intelligent rendition” places it into the context of the document as a whole. It is abundantly apparent that Spain wishes to cede Gibraltar in its entirety. “[The King of Spain] gives up the said propriety to be held and enjoyed absolutely with all manner
            of right forever without any exception or impediment whatsoever.” Absolutely is the key word – it means complete, without any limits, unqualified in extent. So even if you choose to misunderstand the “without territorial jurisdiction” as you do and use the purposive approach, it is quite clear what the document intends. Your final paragraph therefore cannot be possible – the territory was ceded unconditionally.

            By any rule of construction of the language this is immediately apparent also. For Gibraltar to be ceded without territorial jurisdiction, it has to have had territorial jurisdiction in the first place (to give me a bike without wheels you have to remove the wheels). What territorial jurisdiction would that be? Well, it can only have had one territorial jurisdiction beforehand – that of Spain. Thus, it is bestowed upon GB without Spain’s territorial jurisdiction. If it was given to GB with territorial jurisdiction, the document would have said that. But it doesn’t. Given that this is the only possible reading of the phrase AND it fits in with the ethos of the document, I think you’ll find this is what’s known in the business as a “SLAM DUNK”.
            Oh, and I have just explained why Spain’s legal continuity goes back no further than 1813, at best. So no idea how you think you could possibly justify any further, but if you do, buena suerte.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Usually, a transfer of territory between states is done inconditionally and with jurisdiction. That’s why, if it is transferred without jurisdiction -and it is necessarily to make a mention of it- we have a different situation. Had the territory been ceded inconditionally, all the lenguage relative to jurisdiction, “property”, condtions wouldn’t have been ever included. Many lawyers agree with my position and it should be diifficult for you to find their opinions with the aid of Google or, better yet, a legal database if you speak anything other than English.

            I understand that short of a coup of force, the Spanish will be to resort to a neutral international court that both sides agree beforehand to hold their ruling as binding. It should be decided by professional judges (never said anything contrary to that) and these judges cannot be either Spanish or English, neither Americans nor Argentinians. The venue shouldn’t be The Hague but perhaps some place in a less travelled road. The proceedings shouldn’t be conducted neither in English nor in Spanish or, at least, not primarily. In the meantime, we hold the frypan by the handle and Gibraltar is toasted.

            What we do here is to anticipate the kind of argumentations that would surface and that both sides will produce. That has already been partially done by representatives of the UK and Spain in various forums; not by Picardo and the like since, even though their are trained lawyers, they act as politicians and do not have the intellectual stature to represent the UK. They are propagandist and propaganda can be only won by either the opposite propaganda outspending it or by tenacious reasoning. I have chosen the second and I don’t care if you are a lawyer or not because either way you are not honoring the deontology of your profession (at least not for the standards of the civilized non-English speaking world).

            If I sell you my bike but the purchase price doens’t include the wheels, the wheels are mine but whether they are dettached or not is a whole different issue. May be they are welded. It is a static bike and you can exercise in it for your pleasure but not bo anywhere. Perhaps I should come up with a more pedagogical example: If you were the judge at the Merchant of Venice you would order an immediate blood transfusion.

            You should agree at least on admitting to the difference between property and jurisdiction. Such distinction appeared gradually in history but by the time this treaty is signed is well established as its own language shows. Besides the denotation of the Latin preposition “sine” that qualifies and limits the transfer, the language of the treaty points out from all angles to limitations and conditions being not, therefore, an inconditional cession. Furthermore, in order to be so, it would have to include a clause of severability under contingent conditions but it doesn’t.

            By the way, I am not a lawyer but I have humiliated more than once a lawyer in an American court while self representing me. I hope you understand that since the definition of “lawyer”, attorney”, etc… is not the same throughout the English speaking world, I default to the American terminology.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Let me also try this differently. A logician is not necessarily a sharper thinker. Good thinkers often ignore the rules of inference but they use them just like a bird doesn’t know ornitology and it is not less of a bird because of that. However, logic and syntactical analysis or general language analysis can decide certain questions by locating the structure of error and, perhaps, putting in evidence the bad faith of our interlocutor. This is a bit more abstract than the bike but I hope you take your time to figure it out.

            S = Spain
            E = England
            P = property of Gibraltar
            J = jurisdiction over Gibraltar
            X = P – J

            Let’s know insert the letters in a natural language statement than simply happens to say what the treay says.

            “S transfers X to E”

            Or “S transfer (P – J) to E. This is equivalent to

            (S Transfer P to E) AND (S doens’t transfer J to E)

            In other words, S keeps J.

            Or in other words, we still owns the wheels being them the jurisdiction on Gibraltar. Since any claim to jurisdiction enters into automatic conflict with a previous one, its has to be justified either by transfer or right of conquest and we have neither in the present case. Jurisdiction is not an attachment as you had wished.

          • robbyd

            How are we back to square one? I have already explained this part, but if you want it in these terms, let me explain.

            You are right – jurisdiction is not a transferable asset. It is not an attachment – it either exists or it doesn’t.

            S = Spain
            G = Ownership of Gibraltar
            P = Property of Gibraltar
            J = Spanish Jurisdiction of Gibraltar
            E = England

            G = P + J

            Why? You ask. Because Gibraltar as owned by Spain consists of both the property and the jurisdiction, they are separable.

            S transfers G – J to E.

            Therefore E owns G – J. This is the transfer of Gibraltar

          • robbyd

            I think I see where you are mistaken.

            Let me explain:
            Property is transferable. Territorial jurisdiction is not transferable. It is the territory of Spain – you could not transfer the Spanish jurisdiction to England. Therefore territorial jurisdiction is either retainable or extinguishable.

            Your reading of the treaty is thus:
            “[Gibraltar] be yielded to Great Britain without [transferring] any Territorial Jurisdiction.”

            My reading is thus:
            “[Gibraltar] be yielded to Great Britain [and extinguishing Spanish] Jurisdiction”

            Both are plausible readings, if it wasn’t for the subject matter. As explained above, territorial jurisdiction is not transferable. Ergo, your reading, while grammatically correct, is legally illogical – why say something that could not occur anyway? If you wanted to RETAIN jurisdiction, you would write that.

            I think this high list precisely the problem I highlighted above – and education in linguistics is not beneficial in law. Why? You asked earlier – understandably, given that lawyers’s very tool is language.

            Well, (and this is your lesson for the day which it is evident you have never appreciated) the reason is down to the fundamental point of law. What is the point? Justice? A little, certainly in respect of crime. Protection? Closer.

            No, the fundamental point of law is certainty. The ultimate aim is to be absolutely certain that no matter how many times tested, the contract will mean the same thing. This is difficult, nigh on impossible. The English legal system’s way of dealing with it (I appreciate this is something you are completely unaware of) is the common law. This creates precedents that narrow meaning. The English language is an incredibly flexible, ambiguous thing. Law restricts that, deliberately. If you were to read an English Will, you would find extensive parts of it incomprehensible – because it is not a question of whether you understand it, it’s a question of whether the law understands it. The words “fee”, “simple” and “absolute” are great examples of very narrow definitions. Any highly educated linguist will therefore find these words very difficult, because they can see so many different constructs. This is why English-based law has a monopoly on international contracts – because it is quite good at being certain and reliable. It also means that learning law, particularly the law of England and Wales, is like learning a new, very constricted and entirely foreign, language.

            And that is, in brief, why you do not understand.

            I can tell you are interested, though. I would thoroughly recommend reading into English law. It is probably our greatest export.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Jurisdiction can indeed be transferred but it can only be done so by the competent authority. For example, in Guantánamo Bay, the lease treaty states the Cuban sovereignty and the American jurisdiction for as long as the lease is in force. Do not get mixed up and understand the differences between treaties between states and private law as related to purchase and sale agreements of real property. The good thing of this discussion is that we got to the point where you struggle with the choice of words to convey what you think and, in doing so, understand how this is a battle about having a better common language.

            The scheme you propose me in the above post bears no relation to the actual text of the treaty and it is just a quaint elaboration of your wishful thinking. It also incurs in something called Petitio Principii, where by the choice of premises hide the conclusion. It is also missing the brackets that would reflect the phrase structured aggregation.

            In short, if a mention is made of the reserve of jurisdiction, that’s because it is an exceptional agreement. Perhaps we should translate the Latin original text into 10 major languages of the world and ask lay educated people all over the world by Facebook to tell us what they think with respect to who keeps what. If a number of restrictions are imposed and agreed upon by the cessioneer, it doesn’t look like a transfer of sovereingty. It the stated purpose is to prevent abuses and smuggling, it looks like a restriction.

            If certainty is the key to legal language, legal language has failed to prevent conflict of interpretations way too often. English language is the dominant language of the world today as it is being used by a large number of commonwealth states. Nobody though uses English except as a shaky tool to bridge misunderstanding between non English speaking states that do not share other language. In fact, Romance languages are much more apt if only because of their inheritance of Roman law. As I said before, it is quite sterile to squabble over who has the best language because we need a truly scientific language for the composition first, then for the practice of law.

            Of course, as you mentioned before, it could have been better written so as to make this dialogue unnecessary to a large extent. The problem is that lawyers -legislators in particular- often compose documents to make the the parties believe they have a well defined agreement (only to discover later on that they didn’t) and buy time.

            With respect to English Common Law, I have been for as long as I remember fully aware of being a system used by English speaking countries where jurisdiction takes -loosely- a precedence over code and where judges have a lot more freedom of interpretation and decision. I am sure it has good points. It stems from a pragmatic, common sense based English philosophical tradition opposed to the continental one I am more sympathetic to, where a teutonic and scholastic axiomatism or deductivism prevails.

          • robbyd

            You really don’t read do you?

            For one who is so boastful of their own ability, your comprehension is utterly lacking.

            Of course jurisdiction can be transferred. Territorial jurisdiction, however, cannot be. It is the territory of Spain – it is untransferable. Gibraltar is part of the territory of Spain. It cannot be transferred to another territory. Is that clear? Your interpretation is not only wrong, it is legally impossible.

            As for e rest of your waffle, yet again your argument consists of nothing but negation and denial. Until you propose a genuinely constructive argument, you will resoundingly have been defeated.

            So let me repeat. Your reading of the treaty is thus:
            “[Gibraltar] be yielded to Great Britain without [transferring] any Territorial Jurisdiction.”

            My reading is thus:
            “[Gibraltar] be yielded to Great Britain [and extinguishing Spanish] Jurisdiction”

            Territorial jurisdiction cannot be transferred. As explained immediately above. Ergo your reading is implausible, and legally impossible.

            Your understanding of law is significantly enhanced now that I have explained how it works, which is great. I have explained that certainty is impossible, but there is no better way. You are far too thick to understand law and too rigid i your opinions to appreciate how it works. I’m afraid your ignorance will continue on this matter, because you have no ability to learn, or reflect, or change your mind. You are, essentially, a dinosaur.

          • EdinSpain

            Dani is the strangest troll I have ever come up against, the more comments of his I read the more convinced I am that he’s seriously mentally ill.

          • robbyd

            I am terribly sorry, but you have fundamentally misunderstood the concept of transfer of real property.

            When transferring real property, it will almost always be with territorial jurisdiction – if you buy a house in England it will be governed by English law (if you are wealthy enough to buy an entire town in England, it will still be governed by English law). Ergo, you transfer a property WITH territorial jurisdiction. Usually these words are not used because they are archaic, instead we have a “governing law clause” in non-real property contracts or, given that property rarely “leaves” a jurisdiction, there is no mention at all.

            Here, the property is leaving the Spanish jurisdiction. Therefore it is imperative that the legal document states that Gibraltar was transferred free from Spanish jurisdiction- i.e. “without territorial jurisdiction”.

            I have already repeated this many times and yet you are constantly diverging from the point, repeating now thoroughly ridiculous analogies:
            – I’ve already pointed out where the documetn states it is unconditional;
            – I’ve thoroughly and repeatedly explained to you how, both contextually and literally as the words read it is immediately apparent what the intention is; and
            – you have been emphatically demonstrated to be completely wrong.

            The odd thing is you seem to understand some things and not others – I have already told you that there is a difference between property and jurisdiction – see my other posts. That is precisely the point. The document is clearly stating this is not a pure property transfer, this is a transfer of property “without territorial jurisdiction” – i.e., FREE from Spanish jurisdiction. “Sine” does not qualify and limit the transfer – it quite clearly refers to the property itself, it is in the same sentence and has the same context as the communication. In any event, it would not make sense the way you are interpreting it.
            I am not sure how many times I am going to have to repeat the same thing with you not reading nor comprehending.

            And I apologise for demonstrating to you that you are wrong, but merely doing so does not mean I am “not honoring the deontology of your profession”. That is simply ridiculous.

            I appreciate that you are finding this difficult to argue with (because you are wrong), but from a purely legal standpoint, your argument does not hold any water, as I have demonstrated. I suggest that you stick to the arguments that the Spanish govenment predominantly use (i.e. territorial integrity, colonialism, etc.) which are significantly stronger than your flagrant attempt to distort the meaning of the treaty, which only someone barking mad would not be able to comprehend given my thorough analysis and explanation above.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            The point of this discussion, at this point, is not to have admit something you are not willing to, since such an undertaking would be hopelessly disappointing for me no matter what I say, how right I am, etc… It may, however, put you in evidence before anybody patient enough to read your iterative strings of old statements. I noticed though that your compostion is a lot better in this last post so, from a forensic point of view, you either sought help from someone or sensibly copied and pasted. If you feel you have to insist is because it is you who haven’t understood what I have been saying and haven’t understood the very text of the treaty. You are ignoring much of what I said and, therefore, not engaging. I did my best though to convey my point to you or to other who may happen to read it. Perhaps I should revise my style, perhaps not.

            My accusations of lack of ethics stem from whimsical statements contrary to the opinion of anyone who knows anything in these matters such as the laughable claim that Spain legal continuity goes back to the 18 hundreds. Good, keep putting yourself in evidence. If I struggle with jokes, you struggle with seriousness.

            It seems that the whole misunderstanding in your part rests upon a very simple flaw; that of not knowing or not recognizing how the English verbal phrase is built and what aggregates first before acting as a direct complement to the verb. In this regard, it makes no difference with Spanish or the Latin accusative. Fast and twisted talking will not baffle me no matter how hard a lawyer will try. It is a matter of analysis and the disection of the key statement will do away with any attempts at distortion. Logicians and grammarians are practicing lawyers intellectual nemesis. “Give”, “transfer”, etc… and other transitive verbs act upon the whole of the direct complement; in this case “property without jurisdiction”. In other words, contrary to what it is usually the case in territory transfers between States and diverging thus from the usual language used to that effect, the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of England agreed on the transfer of the property and just the property. They never agreed on the transfer of the jurisdiction.

            The example of transfer of real property you offer is totally inadecuate since we are talking about transfer of property between States and that’s how the exception not to the rule (there is not rule) but to the usual practice came to be. Nevertheless, you are wrong too in a very alarming way: If I buy a house in England, the property is transferred but the jurisdiction doesn’t and stays the same. You don’t tranfer property with jurisdiction because the proprietor has no jurisdiction over his house and cannot transfer it. Even if you understood this, you haven’t been able to properly phrase it and that’s why you derive all kind of moronic pseudoinferences.

            I understand the Spanish government has welded various other successful arguments for the devolution of Gibratar but that doesn’t imply we have to renounce to the one relative to the jurisdiction of. Probably you would like us to and that’s why you rather direct us toward those other arguments.

            Additionally, your personal hubris couldn’t help but to try to teach me a distinction I had brought up in the first place: the difference between jurisdiction and property. As you said “almost always”.

          • robbyd

            Gosh, you are actually just autistic aren’t you.
            I wrote that all myself – if you don’t believe me, google it. Try and find where it came from.

            You know full well I refer to the occupation of Spain by Napoleon. There is nothing unethical about this – insincere perhaps, but you are verging on hyperbole. You are now being ridiculous.

            Look – you are ignoring the point. This is a legal document. I have analysed it from a legal standpoint and you don’t like it. Sorry. That’s the way it is and the way it will be found in court. I have thoroughly explained all of this. Your above post is not only ridiculous, it is entirely repetitious. I have already clearly refuted all your above arguments.

            I am afraid, legally, you are entirely wrong. Drop the legal argument – read what I have written properly. Your analysis of the words is fundamentally incorrect, not only in the true meaning of the clause in isolation, but also in the true meaning of the sentence and paragraph as a whole. Given that from a purposive approach, this would also be their meaning, you are merely being contrarian for the sake of it.
            You are simply wrong.

            As I said, your arguments relating to the nature of Gibraltar as a colony and the expectation of territorial integrity are MUCH stronger. Stick to those – your legal argument just comes across as (a) ignorant and (b) frothy-mouthed contrarianism. The arguments that I am saying are stronger are also the ones the Spanish governent are relying on. Because they are stronger. The legal argument is pointless.

            I am not going to engage with you any more until you accept that your legal analysis is entirely incorrect (to be fair to you, you have admitted you are not a lawyer and so this is not a fair contest). I don’t argue with economists about their analysis of export statistics. So I strongly advise you as an intelligent man to recognise where your argument is weak and stick to the points where it is strong.

            Spain does have strong arguments here – you are being lead down the garden path by focusing on the wrong bit.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Yes, I’ll rest my legal case for now but not without including the following link that shows how lawyers -judges- have interpreted in the Tribunal Supremo of Spain the present issue: http://www.gibnet.com/library/gs1_tou.htm

            True, It is impossible to argue with those who resort to the fallacy of authority. Or are you more of a lawyer than the Spanish Tribunal Supremo? You see how it is not important who says what but, instead, what it is actually being said. Anything less is intellectually inadmissible. I hope one day you and others recognize that legal language doesn’t supersede general and more fundamental language rules because it is a subsystem of a broader system. I’ll argue with anybody anything for two reasons: a) the ideal of the unity of knowledge as embodied by the great philosophers of the pàst that have contributed so much to the basics of sciences, 2) the ideal of the social function of knowlege against that authoritarianism and pseudoprofessional knowledge that becomes a shelter or a trade barrier (the most outrageous one being that of the psychiatrists as swindlers at the service of corporate and criminal pharma).

            I don’t doubt you are a practicing lawyer but still you lack the fundamental intellectual elements regarding theory of law, philosophy of law or anything that demands a higher level of abstraction and, because of that, unable to frame on a consistent axiomatic discourse any hermeutical proposal useful to the resolution of unique problems. You do heuristics which is what doggy run of the mill lawyers for to pay for mortgage and beers.

          • robbyd

            Err… You complete gimp. You do realise the link you posted is an expert on law and eloquently refutes the entirety of the Supremo Tribunal’s findings? Read the whole article you posted!

            The Tribunal Supremo is a kangaroo court anyway – of course they were going to find that.

            You have fundamentally misunderstood my point. Stating a lawyer is better placed to understand a legal document is not the fallacy of authority – it’s simple logic. Fallacy of authority only exists where the authority is unrelated. Being a LEGAL document it clearly is related to being a LAWYER.

            Given that you are clearly utterly ignorant of the law, or how it works, that you have the arrogance and audacity to suggest anyone’s understanding is somehow lesser than your own speaks volumes for your inability to comprehend a simply written treaty clause. At no point have you demonstrated any knowledge whatsoever of the theory, philosophy or even practicality of law. You simply can’t read a legal document.

            You are contradicting yourself consistently. Your arguments are circular, incoherent and, to a point downright mad. Give up. You have, I’m afraid, lost. If you are as intelligent as you think you are, you would have recognised this. Stick to the strong arguments. Fighting with your weak hand loses you the battle.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            If they are a kangaroo court, you are a kangaroo lawyer. Obviously serious lawyers from both sides (I read the full article) entertain -to say the least- the notion I discussed and how it pertains to the treaty you have pretended to discuss. The fact a Gibraltarian site enters into the matter is significant. The strength or weakness of this argumentation doesn’t affect the strength or weakness of other arguments. They are logically unrelated and that’s why it makes no sense that you tell me to stick to what’s a more feasible argument because we can resort to all of them and the ruling on them in a hypothetical international court will be done on a single proposal basis. If you care to notice, in logics the English connector “or” is equivalent to the Latin “vel”, not to “aut”. It is not one or the other but, instead, at least one of them being proposed as valid.

            I honestly recommend you to seek an education in dialectics, linguistic, and logics. I have one and gives you bird’s eye perspective on many disciplines and issues. I guess I could have used that as an authority argument over you but I know better than that. I will be a great complement to your petty trade and will -hopefully- enable you to grasp the theoretical foundations of it. I don’t want to say that lawyers are idiots because, in order to be fair, I would have to qualify that statement with a very particular discourse. I failed at conveying to you notions beyond your intellectual stature. It is my fault perhaps for not anticipating it or “throwing pearls to the pigs” (it is just a gospel quote, please do not use your legal skills and prowess to accuse me of misrepresenting your character) but at least I tried.

            I understand you may not have the patience or the inclination to enter into the various arguments of mine that ignore and think you can spook them away by histrionically decrying them.

          • robbyd

            What on earth is a kangaroo lawyer? The court on this matter was preordained to find in favour of Spain, being the court of Spain.

            I am afraid your arrogance is entirely unjustified. You have proven yourself inflexible, unable to have even an iota of objectivity and incapable of reading or comprehending another’s arguments. I’m afraid you have let yourself down. If you were even a quarter as intelligent as you think you are, you would realise the errors in your arguments and appreciate that this is a simple case of you utterly misunderstanding. It’s ok, it even happens to me sometimes.

            You have also attempted to argue at every step by suggesting that you have some sort of superior academic pedigree, which gives you the right to shout people down. This is not a valid argument. Whether you have an CV as long as my arm in academic achievements, does not make your argument any truer.

            I am afraid that even the most embryonic of lawyers would be able to perceive that your “education in dialectics, linguistic, and logics” has given you absolutely no insight into the law, legal concepts or legal interpretation (which was explained above), nor have you demonstrated any ability to deconstruct the true meaning of a clause.

            In short, it is quite clear that you had made up your mind even before you had read the treaty and in an attempt to rationalise your self-evidently wrong conclusion, you resort to pathetic willy-waving. You are the very worst sort of academic – the one who distorts evidence to meet pre-supposed conclusions. Even once it was demonstrated conclusively that your logical process was flawed and your argument was nothing more than groundless negation, you were incapable of doing anything constructive other than tell me I didn’t understand something you don’t understand (which is illogical in and of itself).

            No, I don’t have the patience for your arguments, because they are circular, ignorant, backward, inflexible and, unsurprisingly, wrong. Your main tactics have been deflection, diversion and crude negation. Your argument is riddled with contradiction and misunderstanding.
            Your principal problem is that you are obviously too proud to admit defeat. Your intellectual arrogance leaves you floundering when you make an error. And yet because of your obvious sensitivity towards your limited intellect, you feel obliged to keep going, keep digging and keep losing. The most intelligent people I have ever met, and I have no doubt they are several percentiles more intelligent than you, have always been the readiest to admit error. Why? Because they are utterly confident in their ability to intepret once additional evidence is placed before them.

            Oh, and you can’t spell.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Should I really respond to things you can find the answer by yourself? Are you a neutral lawyer? Perhaps you are Hungarian or Mongolian and I never suspected it.

            Spelling? Perhaps some typos. At least I have a much better text cohesion that yours which doesn’t depend on fast finger coordination and reflexes but on general cognitive order. I have no time proofread these posts. After all and contrary to what languages of culture in the world have done -with the exception of Chinese which is something different altogether- English doesn’t have a suitable alphabet. It should have developed its own long time ago like Bernard Shaw proposed instead of making a aberrant use of a foreign alphabet desgined -to begin with- for a completely different vocalic system.

            I would like you to clarify to me what your position is in regard to the crossdisciplinary relations between law and language analysis and on how the theory of law finds its place within the general scheme of knowledge. Take your time and check with your former professors or whatever. I am flying to China in a few hours and it will take me sometime before I descend full of radiant grace upon this site to comment back.

            In the meantime, my advice to you is that you close your eyes tonight before falling asleep and meditate on it. Next time we cross paths or you happen to meet someone like me, get in your knees and kiss the hand of your Spanish overlord. It will do you good. Reconcile your softer inner being with the sincerity of a child and find relief doing so.

          • robbyd


            Google translate of your response:

            “You’ve got me. I readily admit I have no answer. I’m going to deflect from the argument I’m losing by throwing in another loose stream of consciousness in the hope that this will somehow cover my pitiable attempt at arguing, but don’t let this typical avoidance tactic deceive you into thinking I am well aware how wrong I am. In fact, despite all evidence to the contrary, I’m going to accuse you of being incoherent, despite finding your posts well structured and impossible to break down, such that I have been unable to respond directly to anything other than your jokes about Visigoths.

            “I admit defeat, but you must understand that I am too proud to do so out loud. I cannot be seen to withdraw on this matter, so instead I shall resort to cheap patronisation – the last resort of the man being counted out. Thus, I must salute you – don’t let the literal meaning of my words deceive you. I hope only that the insincerity my closing snipes simply betrays the true meaning of my humble acceptance of your view and my willing admittance of fault.”

            Well Daniel old boy. I must say I am blushing at your verily gracious white flag. I am glad that you have finally come round to me. After all, people wouldn’t pay lawyers large sums of money if being a lawyer was so easy! I think we can safely say we have both learnt something here.

            It has been a real pleasure and I hope we part as, if not friends, at least people who appreciate the boundaries of each other’s talents.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Boundaries? I have no boundaries and I know everything. If sometimes it seems that I don’t, that’s because it is difficult to remember everything one knows when one knows everything. As the Upanishads say “Your sould is the entire world”. Having drunk from Lethe -the river of forgetfulness- but keeping my promise of remembering the great notions of Justice from the platonic world of ideas, neither I nor many others need to seek the tortuous training in aberrant law practice in order to know what’s right to say and what’s right to do.

            Perhaps that’s why in ancient Athens citizens must represent themselves in court. What do we need for a cast and a racket of lawyers have created their own convoluted legal system so they can charge tons of money or deny justice to the poor? Is that what you are proud of, how much you can extort? Be an honest extorsionist and admit to yourself -to begin with- that people do not pay you what they do because they see the intellectual value of it. A lawyer today is someone that can take a private contract signed by people who know what they are doing and coerce them into believing they didn’t understand their own words. How many times I caught a lawyer trying to sneak wordings to an effect contrary to my actual previous agreements with the other party! How many times a lawyer manufactures a consent to something that is not understood by the parties involved by baffling them? As part of the liberation from lawyers movement, we must start educating young students to represent themselves and do away almost completely with the parasites.

            In order to further that, a careful study and reform of the legal language must also be undertaken, not by lawyers but by grammarians, logicians, and mathematicians. There is no need for those archaic or entrenched chunks of ill composed texts called “legal language” today produced by mindless anti-intellectual lawyers, legislators, and other suckling members of the pack. The cornerstonemost term “right” doesn’t even meet the standards of a clean scientific definition. Does the same concept lay behind the “right to choose A vs. B”, “the right to a pension” or “the right to life”? No it doesn’t because one of them expresses the option, the second one imposes an obligation on a third person or entity, and the third one limits other people’s “rights” (whatever this means). The discipline of law is behind all other disciplines in that, even though has its own professional terms, it is still entangled in the pitfalls of natural spontaneous language; the same used by bartenders and fashion models.

            We cannot be friends because you are a llanito and I cannot debase myself with such an unspeakable scenario.

            Of course, you anti-intellecutal streaks betrays you by shrugging your shoulders when asked about the cross disciplinary integration of the Theory of Law within the overall paradigm of knowledge; specifically, how logics and other related disciplines determine the theory of law as well as the actual legal language.

          • robbyd

            I’m English.

            Yep, you really don’t understand law or language. Language is too flexible – your proposition is therefore impossible.

            All I know is that I know nothing. Extraordinarily, you know even less – you don’t even know that you know nothing.

          • robbyd

            Don’t bother answering my last post – I know what you’re going to say. So you’ve really no need.

            I think there is only one question that is really in need of debate here – do you believe that you are ever wrong?

            Answer that question, and that alone. Without referring to your education. We can then leave it there.

          • robbyd

            Read your own link you moron. It quite eloquently destroys your case.

            In order for your argument to be plausible, the treaty would have to be read as follows:
            “But that abuses and frauds may be avoided by importing any kinds of goods, the Catholic King vills and takes it to be understood that the above named propriety be yielded to Great Britain without any Territorial Jurisdiction [being passed over to the Crown of Great Britain] and without any open communication by land with the country round about”
            Inserting wording into a document in order to substantially change the meaning, as here and as the Tribunal Supremo did, is a highly contentious and sparingly used procedure. The Tribunal Supremo is, in any event a kangaroo court and this was little more than a Franco-esque show-trial.
            You are immensely arrogant and do not understand the fallacy of authority (there is no fallacy when the authority is linked to the subject matter, that is the point).
            You also have not strung a consistent argument, whereas I have been entirely consistent.
            I will repeat again, stick to your strong arguments. You know nothing of the theory or philosophy of law, as you have so adeptly displayed. You know nothing of reading a contractual document and you show a distinct inability to view wording dispassionately and objectively. Don’t fight with your weak arm. Currently you are charging into battle, bare testicles first.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            But that abuses
            and frauds may be avoided by importing any kinds of goods, the
            Catholic King vills and takes it to be understood that the above
            named propriety be yielded to Great Britain without any
            Territorial Jurisdiction and without any open communication by
            land with the country round about.

      • EdinSpain

        More than anything else Dani you come over as someone who has escaped from Broadmoor. You’re a professional shit stirrer dedicated solely to sowing discord.

    • Ted

      The Canary Islands seem to be an awful long way away from Madrid, and are much closer to its neighbour Morocco.

      Not even all autonomous region’s of Spain want to be “autonomous region’s of Spain”

      Britain “has also continuously claimed sovereignty over Gibraltar, an important fact in international law.”

      The people of Gibraltar have continuously stated, that they wish to remain British, another important fact.

      Spain needs to change its attitude towards Gibraltar and become a good neighbour.

      We all need good neighbours, I myself need good neighbours, but in my house, my neighbours do not rule.

      Autonomous “acting or able to act in accordance with rules and principles of one’s own choosing” …..Rock on Gibraltar!

      • Vrai écossais

        What is your point caller? The Canary Islands are, erm islands and not en/exclaves….

      • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

        Go back to school and organize your thought process. You can’t really abuse your readers good will by frittering their attention on a random list of unrelated issues, groundless claims, and exotic guesses.

        • Ted

          All but you it seems, knew that the talk in comments was going to be about the Gibraltar/Spain issue.
          You don’t come across as very bright, but perhaps I overestimate you.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            What’s your educational achievement? Are you bright? Can you prove it through your discourse and interlocutionary engagement?

          • Ted

            I can see that you are struggling and a little flustered here Daniel, so I wont tease you anymore, it is not my way.
            You did however rather bring it upon yourself, you must admit ja ja ja!

      • Kfitzat HaDerech

        Difficult to be a good neighbour to a tax evader who protects drug smugglers. I realise reading the news that the Gibraltar-based fast boat drug-runners are back. What does Gib do? Complain when the Spanish coast guard try to apprehend them…

    • christophergamble

      Gibraltar will never be part of Spain. What part of 99% do you not understand unless that is the mindset you are going on about. Why not visit and see for yourself? Good neighbours makes for peace. PP want a fight to detract attention from their corruption

      • Ted

        Well said Chris!

      • Vrai écossais

        I do not remember the UK asking Hong Kongers if they wished to rejoin China, so using ‘the peoples voice’ is meaningless given past handovers of territory.

      • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

        The vote of the invaders is worthless. Why don’t you have the descendants of the original populations that were forcibly expelled and expropriated without compensation vote either in Gibraltar, Falklands, or Chagos? The interests of the Gibraltarians may count but not their wishes. That’s the International Law doctrine.

        • Ted

          There was no original/indigenous population on the Falkland Islands, but perhaps you refer to “El Gaucho (the murderer) Rivero? I suspect that he may be a particular hero of yours.
          As for the rest of your rant, I refer you to my earlier put down.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Totally false. Don’t believe your own historians. Can you cite a reputable academic historian from a non English speaking country that backs your outrageous claims? Please, try.

        • EdinSpain

          Actually Dani it’s you that’s worthless.

  • christophergamble

    Why do you suggest Gibraltar is a ‘pene-exclave’? What point are you trying to support with misinformation?

  • FurtherBeyond

    The article does not mention the critical fact that the UN continues to list Gibraltar as a territory that needs to be decolonised by the UK.

    Unlike Gibraltar, Ceuta and Melilla are not considered to be colonies by the UN. They pre-exist the creation of the Moroccan State – they were Spanish hundreds of years before Morocco existed. In contrast Gibraltar was colonised by the UK while it was part of the Kingdom of Spain.

    The colony of Gibraltar is ‘a special and particular case’ as far as the UN is concerned for four reasons. First, although Britain seized Gibraltar in 1704 during the Spanish Wars of Succession and it was awarded in perpetuity to Britain under Article X of the Treaty of Utrecht signed in 1713, Spain has always maintained its claim to the restoration of its sovereignty over the territory; it is therefore a contested territory and the UN has been constrained to take this into account when considering the decolonization process.

    Second, the Treaty contains a reversionary clause providing that if Britain should ever decide to relinquish the sovereignty of Gibraltar, Spain would be entitled to reclaim it before any other option were considered; both Britain and Spain accept that this means ruling out independence for Gibraltar for as long as Spain retains its claim.

    Third even if Spain were to remove its claim, the constitutional status of Gibraltar does not meet the standard UN criteria for delisting (either through independence or free association or integration with the former administering power, with the latter having no reserve powers to legislate). The issue of reserve powers is the key sticking point here. This is because the British Governor of Gibraltar continues to exercise power as an administering authority. Gibraltar’s argument that the UN misunderstands the role of the Governor, who acts on behalf of the Queen as Queen of Gibraltar, not on her behalf as Queen of the United Kingdom or on behalf of the UK Government, is not surprisingly, not seen as persuasive by the UN.

    Fourth, the isthmus that joins the town and the Rock of Gibraltar to the Iberian Peninsula, and on which the airport has been constructed, is not covered by the Treaty of Utrecht and its sovereignty is therefore the subject of a separate dispute between Britain and Spain.

    • Real_Cnut

      I hope we get into a shooting war with you guys over this.

      • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

        No war. It is impossible today given certain arrangements. However, we can undertake a civilian commando guerrilla….

    • David

      Very eloquent; you forget though that Spain is a fascist papist country where no one has a job, and the people of Gibraltar don’t care much for any of these things. Not that you’d care much for that of course it’s all about wee men with bits of paper planning other people’s life’s to advance their own miserable political careers

      • Max Tammbeck

        Actually Gibraltar is about 80% Catholic – nearly as ‘papist’ as Spain!

      • FurtherBeyond

        Spain is not a fascist papist country. Do yourself a favour and have a read of the Spanish constitution if you’re still confused.

        You either believe in the rule of law or you don’t. However, remember ‘that those that live by the sword will die by the sword’ (Matthew 26:52).

        • EdinSpain

          “You either believe in the rule of law or you don’t”

          Most in Spain don’t, in the case of politicians none do.

  • christophergamble

    Just to close the Hong Kong assimilation….there isn’t any. Hong King was rented and given back as agreed. Full Stop.

    • Ted

      Some don’t seem to grasp that a 99 year lease, doesn’t mean the same as “perpetuity” they always have a problem with the meaning of this word.

      • Real_Cnut

        Lets hope we get into a shooting war and get to sink a few Spanish ships and their sailors.

        • Richard_Spain

          You are a real one aren’t you?

          • Real_Cnut

            Good to see the enemy out today

    • Spanish

      Where is the 99 years lease?


      It being obviously necessary and desirable that British subjects should have some port whereat they may [maintain] and refit their ships when required, and keep stores for that purpose, His Majesty the Emperor of China cedes to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, &c., the Island of Hong-Kong, to be possessed in perpetuity by Her Britannic Majesty, her heirs and successors, and to be governed by such laws and regulations as Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, &c., shall see fit to direct.

      UK abandoned 6-7 million British people into a Communist Dictatorship because the RN, the RAF and the powerful Bristish army didn’t defended them.

      No right to self determination, no human rights, no rights to decide their future, no RN, no RAF, no Bristish army, … No Victory, No honour.

      How Thatcher lost Hong Kong.

      Keep believing in fairies.

    • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

      False. Only the new territories were part of the 99 year lease. The Gibraltarian cession was under condions grossly violated by the UK and rendered thus under general principles of law null and void. The cession explictly excludes jurisdiction; something you can read in the treaty itself to your dismay or not.

      • EdinSpain

        Hello my Mexican friend, still demonstrating how bad your English is I see. Spain has now paid the price for it’s foolhardy confrontation with the UK which is affecting citizens of many other countries. Adiós Olympic Games. You, like Spain are living in the past, that is, if you call what you do “living”. I call it trolling.

  • Max Tammbeck

    It’s great news that Spain wants to take the waters dispute to the international courts. Only one problem. They will chicken out when they realize they can’t win. Then Daniel will claim the international courts are biased, and international law should be interpreted only by him and his buddies.

    • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

      Actually courts are often biased. A neutral court would be made of justices from China, Russia, South America, Africa, etc… not your pawns in The Hague where they only find criminals of war among the nations which lost a war. That’s why the Nuremberg trials went the way they went, because due process was denied by justices who didn’t recuse themselves on the basis of having a nationalit from beligerant countries.

      Both the UK and Spain should agree before hand on the kind of venue and to abide by its rulings. Otherwise, why do it at all? In the meantime, we hold the frypan by the handle and Gbiraltar is toasted.

      • Max Tammbeck

        I agree that the waters dispute should be resolved by the binding decision of a mutually-agreed court. The reason this will not happen, is that the Spanish government fears a humiliating defeat.

        Daniel, what do you mean by “we can undertake a civilian commando guerrilla….”? Are you supporting a terrorist campaign against Gibraltar/Britain?

        • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

          Under specific concditions only, under asymmetric warfare, under treasonus governments, in various times in history people have resorted to self defense. The problem with the word “terrorism” is that is terribly undefined and is has no value other that for Government propaganda. To attack unarmed civilians like the Anglo Americans are known for is indeed a form of State terrorism. You do support that whether you are willing to admit to it now publicly or you reserve such an expression of support for those in the pack.

          The Government of Spain didn’t fear a humuliating defeat whenit took the issue to the UN. It is the British who are impervious to that that would put anybody else to shame.

          • Max Tammbeck

            I assume when you mention the UN you are referring to decolonisation. As you know, decolonisation can be achieved by integration, free-association, independence or a ‘tailor-made solution’. Personally, I would like to see an independent Gibraltar emerge from negotiations between the British, Spanish and Gibraltarian governments.

            You qualified support for terrorism speaks for its self.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Not in the terms of the pertinent treaty that reserves to Spain the hand over of Gibraltar should the British crown ever wishes to relinquish its possession. Please, read it. Not either in the terms expressed by the UN.

            Sure, you love branding your enemies terrorists…. No definition of terrorism needed. Your covert support for Anglo American State terrorism is very eloquent. Did I ever say anyting about attacking innocent civilians?

          • Max Tammbeck

            Treaties can be replaced. I believe the Labour Party, PSOE and GSD could agree on a new Treaty of Gibraltar, to replace Utrecht. The UN would love it!

            No doubt this ‘treason’ by the PSOE would lead to a ‘civilian commando guerrilla’ response by a handful of car-burning nutters in Spain.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Until they are replaced, they are in force. Or you pretend that since you are not ready to comply, it must be replaced? The PSOE will not win a general election ever again in Spain since they are experiencing a most dramatic wane. Commandos can do a lot more than burning cars.

          • robbyd

            Can we just be clear on what you actually do or do not believe Navarret?

            Do you believe the treaty of Utrecht to be in force or not?

            I only say that because above you say the UK has violated the conditions and you misunderstand the words “without territorial jursidiction” (not your fault – rumour has it you’re Spanish). Yet here you are still wishing to invoke other clauses in the “pertinent treaty”. Which is it?

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            First of all, me being Spanish doesn’t imply that your English is better than mine and you can hover over the conversation. I don’t know what is your educational achievement but I can tell you that aside from minor voice features, people often acquire a full competence in a language other than the one they grew up with. I challenge you to make a syntactical analysis of my posts and an account of my vocabulary relative to yours. After all, most Brits and Americans are functionally illiterate. The treaty was written in Latin, then translated into English and Spanish for convenience. What do think “without territorial jurisdiction” means? It is pretty straightforward: it means no jurisdiction and, therefore, no sovereingty either. You own a great apartment in a great Spanish beach but you failed to recognize its true status and have aggressively militarized it.

            There are several treaties of Utrecht with different dates. That’s why I use the expression “pertinent” treaty.

            The treaty is in force because there is no precedent in law that abolishes a treaty because of just old age. However, becaue of the consistent and gross violations by the UK, the only legal remedy is its voidance and, therefore, the devolution of Gibraltar to Spain. Until that, you have no right to occupy the isthmus -as it wasn’t part of the original cession- nor to claim any waters other than those explicitly mentioned in the treaty.

          • robbyd

            Clearly jokes are a struggle. I’ll cut them out.

            As I stated below: “without territorial jurisdiction” means that the ceded area is without the jurisdiction of the territory – outside. I.e. Gibralta is made without (i.e. the opposite of within…) the jurisdiction of the territory of Spain. Another way of looking at it is to consider the different levels – Spain ceded proprietorship of Gibraltar, then they also severed jurisdiction and communication.

            If it helps, consider that the wording is “free from”, that is a synonym. Gibraltar was granted “free from” territorial jurisdiction. It is of course possible to cede proprietorship, but not jurisdiction as would normally be the case, but here, as expressly stated (why would they mention it if they were not intending to sever) the kindgom of Spain was severing Gibraltar jurisdicitionally from the territory of Spain.

            You have not answered the question – if the treaty is void because of the “consistent and gross violations by the UK” (I don’t remember us letting the Moors in, but hey ho), then the other provisions of the treaty are void I’m afraid. Nothing to do with abolishing the treaty – either you accept that the treaty is valid (not void) and that Spain has first dibs when the UK chooses to relinquish Gibraltar, or you consider the treaty void and accept Spain does not get first dibs when the UK chooses to relinquish Gibraltar. You cannot pick and choose provisions to stay valid.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Quo vero Abusus, Fraudesque in Mercimoniis quibuscunque importandis, evitentur, vult Rex Catholicus, atque intelligendum censet, ut Proprietas supranominata Magnae Britanniae cedatur, sine Jurisdictione quapiam Territoriali, & absque Communicatione aliqua aperta cum Regione circumvicina Terram versus.

            If I propose and you agree to me giving you for a price, for example my bicycle WITHOUT THE WHEELS, you don’t get the wheels.

            If a treaty is void, we are reverted to the previous legal status quo.

          • robbyd

            Precisely. You have hit the nail on the head. You propose to give me your bike without YOUR wheels. That allows me to put MY wheels on it.

            Spain gave us Gibraltar without Spain’s territorial jurisdiction (it has to be Spain’s territorial jurisdiction because there is no other territorial jurisdiction it could be without) so that the UK has both a proprietary interest AND jurisdiction. Without this wording Gibraltar would not have been free of Spanish jurisdiction – it would have been a British-owned port in Spain. The wording quite clearly states that. The context further emphasises it – Gibraltar is also assigned without communication to the mainland. The whole idea being to completely sever Gibraltar.

          • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

            Please, refer to my post below. No need to have the same discussion in two threads.

          • EdinSpain

            There is no future whatsoever in trying to have a sensible discussion with Dani. BTW He’s not Spanish, he’s Mexican but says he’s holding down a good job in China from where he works all day and trolls the internet all night. No time for sleeping at all.

          • llanita84

            In the olden times there was no concept of waters, so when the town & fortress of Gib was ceded, the waters automatically went with it. When Ceuta was ceded to Spain, its waters went with it too. Franco recognised that we had waters. The isthmus was settled ages ago, when both parties went halfway.

        • llanita84

          My government has tried to convince Spain to go to the international courts to settle our waters dispute. They refuse.

    • EdinSpain

      …and Dani isn’t even Spanish, he’s Mexican. Look him up in Google search.

  • Spanish

    Where is the 99 years lease?


    It being obviously necessary and desirable
    that British subjects should have some port whereat they may [maintain] and
    refit their ships when required, and keep stores for that purpose, His Majesty
    the Emperor of China cedes to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, &c.,
    the Island of Hong-Kong, to be possessed in perpetuity by Her Britannic
    Majesty, her heirs and successors, and to be governed by such laws and
    regulations as Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, &c., shall see fit
    to direct.

    UK abandoned 6-7 million British people
    into a Communist Dictatorship because the RN, the RAF and the powerful Bristish
    army didn’t defended them.

    No right to self determination, no human
    rights, no rights to decide their future, no RN, no RAF, no Bristish army, … No
    Victory, No honour.

  • Spanish
  • apiascik

    ” I walked to the border to be faced by a substantial, security-ridden checkpoint”

    Funny, I jumped into Google Earth to check it out, and found your “no man’s land” checkpoint to be nothing other than a run of the mill border-crossing where you drive up, present your passport to one of the border guards, and drive through. I didn’t see any razor-wire, spotlights or watchtowers manned by guards with automatic weapons.

    “I thought about trying to pick an unofficial way across but had no wish to end up in another, less welcoming exclave, that of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.”

    There were also other spots where the border was identified by nothing other than a couple of innocuous signs at the end of dead-end streets that you could literally walk past to cross the border. No sign of any jack-booted Homeland Security agents ready to wisk away the unwary to the nearest interrogation center, then off to the Guantanamo gulag.

    Mr Hanlon, if you have a substantive argument to make about the state of civil rights in the United States, or about the rights of those detained in Guantanamo, please feel free to write an article or book about it. Those of us in the land of the “not-really-any-freer” will be free to **gasp** read and discuss it. But don’t use an innocuous article about silly national borders as a platform to use hyperbole to reinforce a shallow, uninformed stereotype about the U.S. From where I’m standing, I’m guessing that the Irish in Belfast and Derry have plenty to say about how the Brits handle borders and security.

    • christophergamble

      Try walking into Gibraltar without going through the border then and see what beating you get as per the innocent cyclist recently experienced

    • Michael Hanlon

      Dear Apiascik
      Well, it looked pretty security-ridden when I went. No razor wire along the border, no minefields, but certainly not something you could just saunter across. Have you actually been there?

    • David
  • Eddie

    The Spanish are such hypocrites. Don’t they own – as their last vestige of colonialism – 2 or 3 cities/enclaves on the African coast?
    And what about the Canaries – and for Portugal the Azores. Shouldn’t they all belong to the nearest people – the Africans?
    Spain’s economy is a basket case; its unemployment is 50%; without British holydaymakers and expat money it’d be on par with Albania. So this whole Gibraltar thing is just a typical distraction exercise.
    If the Spanish people are too thick to see that. I’d advise a mass drowning of dunces in sangrilla. A weeded-out population = lower unemployment. It may be their only hope…
    And if you want to know what a world run by Spain would look like, take a peek at South America. Oh dear…

    • Daniel Antonio Jaimen Navarret

      I’ll donate some of my time today to educate underprivileged Britons.

      1) Our African provinces are not colonies. Not according to international law, not according to any decolonization list. We were there long before the formation of any of our contemporary states in North Africa. Same international law + different history = different legal status.

      The Açores are closer to Europe than to Africa. Several nations are in two continents: Turkey, Russia, France. It so happens because physical proximity is irrelevant. In anything Ceuta and Melilla are very close to the Spanish mainland while Gibraltar is clearly not close to the UK main island.

      2) Spanish economy is not great at the moment due to a number of abuses during the high phase of the business cycle but it is solid. We eat way better than the Brits and have a higher Human Development Index. We caught up a lot since the end of the empire a hundred years ago while Britain continues its steady downward decline for the forseeable future. Only the long run counts and we have so much better agriculture while anything you have can be transferred anywhere else. Even our corruption is being sorted out by a judiciary not to many countries can show.

      3) Tourism may account for 5% of our GDP and Brits make a good fraction of it but a fraction anyway. The GDP spread between Albania and Spain is a lot more than that. Nevertheless, the best thing that can happen to Spanish tourism industry is that the drunks, the hooligans, the druggy ravers, stop coming so we can attract a better tourism; be that special cultural interest, sophisticated food lovers, well mannered people in short. Remember that the British consul in Mallorca had to resign in shame of the kind of people he had to represent.

      If the British lumpenproletariat stops coming to Spain, they have several choices but most likely will wreak havoc will roaming free in their home pen.

      4) The Spanish speaking Americas were the most sophisticated and wealthy societies for 300 hundred years up until the so called independence. Only after that their terrible declime began and the new leaders sunk the standard of living for most of the population and did so in cahoots with English and American masonic lodges.

      • EdinSpain

        Why do you say “We” Dani, when you’re Mexican?

      • llanita84

        Of course they’re not colonies, just call them autonomous cities because that suits you better. Gibraltar is an overseas territory and not a colony. And by the way, the Kingdom of Fez DID exist when Ceuta/Melilla were established, & Ceuta was ceded to Spain, just like Gibraltar was ceded to Britain.

    • EdinSpain

      I think you need to take a reality check, I don’t think you actually got anything right in that little rant.

  • Hugo Rifkind

    I love this piece, but Konstanz (where I have family, which I why I know) isn’t marooned in Switzerland. It has Germany on one side and Switzerland on the other. Admittedly it’s all water on the German side, but there is a bridge. So you’d never have to cycle through Switzerland to get there. I mean, you could, if you wanted, but it would be quite a long way around.