The Gibraltar branch of Morrisons is the "little-known jewel in the crown for Britain’s fourth biggest supermarket chain", reports the Telegraph. (Getty)
Show Hide image


Weekly round-up: politics, business and news from Gibraltar

A selection of the key headlines about politics, economics and life on the Rock this week.

  1. Morrisons in Gibraltar - the unlikely success story

The Daily Telegraph reports: “Wm Morrison is celebrating the 20th anniversary of what is often regarded as its busiest supermarket – and it's in Gibraltar. The supermarket in Gibraltar is the only Morrisons shop outside of Britain and is the furthest away from the company’s headquarters. However, it has consistently been one of the retailer’s top 10 supermarkets in terms of sales and is a little-known jewel in the crown for Britain’s fourth biggest supermarket chain.”


  1. Middle East developer sets sights on Eastside project

Gibraltar Chronicle reports: “A developer based in the United Arab Emirates has put forward a mixed-use proposal for the Eastside reclamation project. The Armada Group’s proposal includes a luxury hotel, a number of residential and commercial complexes and a FIFA-approved football pitch.”


  1. Protest on Friday at La Linea over frontier queues

GBC News reports: “La Linea will be the focus of a mass protest on Friday evening over a number of issues, including a demand for a solution to the frontier queues. The City’s bull ring will play host to a number of lobby groups calling for an end to injustice – one of them will be the cross-border Group for a Humanitarian Frontier.”


  1. Spain claims €1bn Gibraltar tax fraud losses

Euro Weekly News reports: “The Spanish Secretary of State for the European Union, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, has claimed that the Spanish government misses out on close to €1 billion of tax revenues each year due to ‘tax fraud’ in Gibraltar.”


  1. Excitement mounts as Gibraltar prepare for their big night

Portugal Press reports: “On Sunday September 7 (kick-off 7.45pm) little Gibraltar will take on the might of Poland at the Algarve Stadium. This historic occasion is Gibraltar's first ever European Cup qualifier after finally being admitted to UEFA in May 2013. Excitement is mounting on The Rock as the territory gears up for its biggest ever night of football. Gibraltar has recently played two games at their 'home stadium' in Faro, drawing 0-0 with Slovakia and beating Malta 1-0 in June.”





A year on from the Spending Review, the coalition's soothsayer has emerged to offer another gloomy economic prognosis. Asked by ITV News whether he could promise that there wouldn't be a double-dip recession, Vince Cable replied: "I can't do that.

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image


Studying in the UK

The University of Gibraltar opened its doors for the first time last month but not all students from the Rock will want to go there. Mark Montegriffo started his studies in the UK last week and offers his impressions.

Every year a new batch of Gibraltarian first year undergraduates move to the UK to start their degree. Like every other student having to live abroad to study and obtain their qualifications, the experience of having to fend for oneself in a different environment away from family will potentially be a daunting one. Typically, the experience will be no less daunting for the student born and raised in Gibraltar. But being a Gibraltarian student in the UK fosters very unique and idiosyncratic concerns.

Something that isn’t usually a concern is finance. This is not only thanks to the relative wealth that Gibraltarian middle classes earn but also thanks to the Government student grant scheme for students which gives a great amount of economic freedom to students. This makes one feel an irrational sense of guilt and embarrassment when discussing tuition fees with fellow students at the university who have had to pay their way more and face strong financial pressure. In fact, one is advised in Gibraltar to refrain from mentioning the grant scheme that has served students well for years.

If you do mention it, you can face alienation from the peer group as you don't form part of the same struggle, even if you sympathise with it. In Manchester I recently attended a march against grant cuts with over 80,000 people - nearly three times the Gibraltarian population. Or, and arguably worse, you'll get pestered for your money to buy drinks for students and strangers.

Something that can gravely concern a Gibraltarian student is being alone. It is a badly kept secret that we are a very close knit, family-orientated society. Our family is the community and usually until the age of 18, it's all we know when it comes to everyday life. Moving from the Rock to a city like Manchester where you're the only Gibraltarian on your course and there are only two of you in the entire university could certainly be daunting for some.

Undoubtedly, it makes one appreciate the homeland climate and way of life even more, even though the weather has been relatively decent so far this semester. [This piece is dated already – ed] It's not just the climate; university life and budget takeaway mealss create an insatiable appetite for Mediterranean cuisine and homemade gourmet grub.

It is not completely rare that Gibraltarian friends try to ensure that they stick together somewhat for university for that extra comfort. Hubs such as Leeds, Kingston, Cardiff and Twickenham are known to consistently feature Gibraltarian students. In order to fight this fear of loneliness, the Gibraltarian student is left to socialise with new groups of people (while refraining from small-town boasting. Leave the talk on your grandfather's political career or your experiences in the UN and EU for later) who are also likely to want to make a good impression so as to make friends.

This process can be interesting when you tell people where you're from. A barrage of fairly obvious and often repeated questions (at least to the Gibraltarian) will be spewed forth ad infinitum. The topics will range from monkeys to national identity and sovereignty; but it's rare that many will understand the unique complexity of the latter when it comes to Gibraltar. Some don't seem to understand why a mostly autonomous nation would want to remain British. Others don't seem to understand why Gibraltarians don't want to be Spanish. Hence, the small talk elevates to a speech on international relations, the Franco dictatorship and self-determination.

And just like that you've lost potential friends...or gained them if you've managed to be convincing enough to lobby them. Political ignorance among students is largely a media myth but the Gibraltarian has to keep a composed front and explain Gibraltar's political and historical landscape simply because it merits clarity; and also because you don't want to be mistaken as 'the Spanish guy', or perhaps not nearly as worse, 'the Gibraltan'.

Please, it's Gibraltarian or British.

Mark is a student of politics and philosophy from Gibraltar.