Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Spain-UK Kerfuffle Over Nuclear Sub

Spain's socialist government is all up in arms because the UK declined to cancel the docking of HMS Tireless (*love* that name!) at Gibraltar. Wait a minute, isn't Gibraltar part of Great Britain? Anyhow, Between May 2000 and May 2001, the Tireless was at the bottom of Gibraltar's harbor, suffering from problems with its cooling systems. It got repaired back then, and is back in service. Back then, Spain insisted that the repair bays were dismanteled to ensure that Gibraltar wouldn't turn into a shipyard for the Royal Navy's nuclear subs.

The context is, that the socialists in power are making big efforts to show the Spanish people that they really care about public opinion, hence the "displeasure and profound ill feeling of the Spanish government given the lack of British sensitivity toward Spanish public opinion" in its offical statement. Meanwhile jibing at the Partido Popular, who did whatever it pleased and was undemocratic yada yada yada (with a majority in parliament, but that doesn't seem to count). Which is also why they are now introducing a law that would make the foreign deployment of troops subject to approval of parliament (now the government can send troops by decree), all the while pointing the finger at the previous government, who sent troops without consulting parliament (again, where the PP had an absolute majority). So, this is what diplomats call 'for domestic consumption'. France will love it though.

If you can be bothered at all, read all about it here at SFGate.com or in Spanish at El Mundo.