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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.

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


Gibraltar raised again in Commons questions (GBC News)
Gibraltar has been raised in Commons again with questions by Andrew Rosindell MP to Europe Minister, David Lidington. Andrew Rosindell asked what recent steps the UK had taken to demonstrate to the Spanish Government that it does not intend to negotiate on Gibraltar.

EU vote first step to Rock exclusion from aviation measure (Gibralter Chronicle)
MEPs in the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday voted to exclude Gibraltar from draft EU aviation legislation designed to harmonise air traffic control. The MEPs backed a Spanish amendment that removed post-Cordoba language that would have ensured the ‘Single European Sky’ legislation was extended to the Rock.


UK reiterates support for Gibraltar's people right to determine their own future (Merco Press)
A senior Foreign Office minister summed up Britain’s position on Gibraltar firmly and concisely this week in Parliament. “At the heart of this issue is the right of the people of Gibraltar to determine their own future,” said Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


Government explains Gibraltarian status (GBC News)
The Government has explained that to be on the register of Gibraltarians you must be British, and have been born in Gibraltar before the 1925 or be the descendent, or spouse of a descendent, born before then. In exceptional circumstances a British citizen who has lived in Gibraltar for 25 years may be registered.


GFA welcomes stadium debate (Gibraltar Chronicle)
The Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) welcomed the “considerable public discussion” that has ensued following an invitation to the public for comments on their application for an UEFA stadium at Europa Point. In a statement, the association said: “The GFA embraces the fact that the public has engaged in this way.”

GSD push for housing means testing as opposed to universal entitlement (Panorama)
The GSD have advocated means testing for housing as one of its new policies in the lead-up to the next election. The GSD would do away with the universal entitlement housing policy that has been implemented by the Government and put in a system which would assess the amount of money earned and the possibility of getting a mortgage.

Gibraltar’s Net Gambling Niche Under Threat (IDG Connect)
In its Budget statement today, the British Government looks set to confirm new licensing requirements and a place of consumption (POC) tax for remote gambling companies doing business with UK customers. From mid-2014, companies will need to acquire a licence before advertising to, and taking bets from, UK-based customers.


UK: Gibraltar can determine its own future (Euro Weekly News)
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.




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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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.