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Morning Call: The best from Gibraltar

A selection of the best articles about politics, business and life on the Rock from the last seven days

1) Commons committee in Gibraltar evidence session (Gibraltar Chronicle)

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee will arrive in Gibraltar today ahead of a public evidence session with the Chief Minister tomorrow morning. Eleven MPs from the Committee flew into Málaga yesterday to visit the busy consular service establishment there before crossing the border later today to hear evidence from Fabian Picardo.


2) Hague raised incursions with De Benito (Gibraltar Chronicle)
The UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, personally raised Britain’s concerns about persistent “illegal” Spanish incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters, it was revealed yesterday.

3) Britain's gambling clampdown could cripple Gibraltar's economy (
For more than three centuries Gibraltar has been a British territory, yet government proposals - reaching report stage on March 4th in parliament - could deal the Gibraltar economy and British consumers a hammer blow by the end of this year.

4) Realistic Games awarded Gibraltar gaming licence (Gaming Intelligence)
UK-based slots and table games developer Realistic Games has become the latest company to be awarded an online gaming licence by the Gibraltar Gambling Commission.

5) Gibraltar Offers New Pension Schemes To UK Expats (
Gibraltar is to introduce Qualified Non-UK Pension Schemes (QNUPS), which will enable British expats to make additional contributions to pension schemes that will be administered by Gibraltar-regulated trustees.


6) No immediate plans for change at Natwest Gibraltar (Gibraltar Chronicle)

The head of NatWest in Gibraltar said the bank remained committed to the Rock despite news that its parent, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, is to slash its overseas operations following staggering losses.


7) International news: Gibraltar confirm new stadium plans (Sky)

Gibraltar have unveiled plans for their new national stadium, which they hope could open in 2016. The British Overseas Territory is currently served by the Victoria Stadium - which does not meet criteria to host full internationals, although some friendlies can and will be played there.


8) Gibraltar Business Capital Provides $3.5MM ABL to Bills Khakis (Abla Advisor)
Gibraltar Business Capital announced that it has closed on a $3.5 million asset-based loan to Bills Khakis, the leading designer and manufacturer of premium men’s sportswear and accessories, based in Reading, PA. The company intends to use this new credit facility to support working capital needs, as well as to fund strategic growth initiatives.


9) Gibraltar’s ILS ambitions should ‘keep us on our game’ (Royal Gazette)
A bid by Gibraltar to muscle in on the lucrative insurance-linked securities (ILS) market should “keep us on our game”. And Greg Wojciechowski, an ILS Bermuda committee member, said: “I don’t know that it’s competition — but it should keep us on our game to provide the best customer service and best value.


10) Trusselle not ‘fit and proper’ to operate in Gibraltar (Insurance Insider)

Gibraltar's Financial Services Commission (FSC) has banned James Trusselle, the former managing director of now-defunct Gibraltarian insurer Lemma Europe Insurance Company Ltd, from operating in a senior financial services role on the Rock.




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
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Anarchy in the UK(‘s) most famous fortress – part 2

Last week we left Gibraltarian workers fascinated by the beliefs of anarchists. Gareth Stockey, Chris Grocott and Jo Grady continue with the story.

The result was a noticeable increase in labour agitation on both sides of the frontier. The tactics adopted by local workers confounded local employers and the Gibraltar authorities, not least because anarchism proved remarkably successful at encouraging boycotts of businesses and ‘sympathy’ strikes in favour of fellow workers in disparate industries. When necessary, anarchists were also willing to adopt ‘direct action’ to combat what they perceived as the inherently violent practices of the bosses and local political authorities who protected them. The rhetoric of meetings gives us a flavour of this new-found militancy, with one worker threatening to ‘eat the liver’ of a local tobacco merchant during a strike in 1902. Following an earlier dispute in October 1901, a local anarchist newspaper urged its readers to remember the long-term goal of ‘total and definitive emancipation […] the abolition of private property with all its consequences, state, religion, militarism, magistrates […] a great work, larger than the massive Rock we have in our view’. Crucially, anarchists were willing to act as well as to talk. Several local bosses were assaulted during industrial disputes in the period – so much so that Gibraltar’s employers occasionally resorted to using firearms in self-defence – and ‘scab’ workers had stones thrown at them as they attempted to cross picket-lines.

Arguably what offended local businessmen more than the threat to their person was the very real challenge that anarchism offered to their economic interests. If we might dismiss as hyperbole, in the context of a heavily garrisoned British colony, the question posed by one local businessman to the Governor of Gibraltar in 1892, ‘are our goods and chattels safe?’, we can nonetheless point to several successes of anarchist militancy at the turn of the century. Across numerous industries, wage settlements favoured workers thanks to the effectiveness of strikes, boycotts and the occasional spot of physical intimidation. Most impressive of all, employers were forced to concede the dream of the ‘tres ochos’ (three eights) to many local workers – that is to say eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep and eight hours for leisure. Committed to improving living as much as working conditions, local anarchist groups also made up for the absence of state provision by offering schooling to hundreds of local children, as well as myriad cultural initiatives to bring learning to the local working classes.

Gibraltar’s employers were so shell-shocked by the growth and success of anarchism that they offered to pay the salary of a British union official who had been sent to the Rock in 1898. In his memoirs Lorenzo Quelch, who had been sent by the nascent Social Democratic Foundation, left a vivid account of his time in Gibraltar, but he decided not to take up the employers’ offer. The culmination of all of this activity was a ‘general strike’ of industries in Gibraltar in 1902. This time, having prepared meticulously and coordinated their response to the dispute, the employers emerged victorious. On the Spanish side of the frontier, the anarchist movement was to face worse, as the local political and military authorities staged a bloody massacre of local militants in October 1902, closing down workers’ centres and confiscating their funds.

Much work needs to be done, but this brief account of the infancy of labour organisation in Gibraltar highlights the intimacy of relations across the frontier. Many years later, in 1919, Gibraltarian workers would formally attach themselves to a British gradualist, rather than Spanish anarchist, form of organisation through the TGWU. But as we have noted, the Gibraltar TGWU retained strong links with its counterparts in the Campo for several decades and workers continued to fight side-by-side for better living and working conditions. The early successes of Gibraltarian and Spanish anarchists shows just how much workers on both sides of the frontier stood (and stand) to gain by recognising common grievances and acting collectively to address them.

Gareth Stockey is lecturer in Spanish studies at the University of Nottingham. He has published widely on the history of Gibraltar and Spain, including (with Chris Grocott) Gibraltar: a Modern History (University of Wales Press, 2010).

Chris Grocott is lecturer in Management and Economic History, and Jo Grady is lecturer in Industrial Relations and Human Resources Management, at the University of Leicester.