Deputy chief minister Dr Joseph Garcia and justice minister Neil Costa attended the Scottish National Party Conference in Glasgow this week, and had the chance to chat with Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who visited the Gibraltar stand in the exhibition hall.
During his speech to the conference, Dr Garcia said that one positive outcome of the Brexit referendum is that it has brought Gibraltar and the devolved administrations like Scotland closer together, in a way which has never happened before.
As an example, he referred to the work on Brexit which is being undertaken by the Gibraltar government with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which has included top level meetings, including with the first ministers. He also referred to the educational link which was embodied in the many students from Gibraltar who had chosen to study at Scottish universities over the years.
The deputy chief minister said that the links between Gibraltar and Scotland are historic and deep. He talked about the way Scottish regiments had contributed to the defence of Gibraltar over the centuries, including during the Great Siege, which was the longest in British history. He also pointed out that those who successfully defended the Rock against the superior forces of Spain and France had been led by a Scotsman: General George Augustus Elliott.
Dr Garcia then described the background to the 1967 and 2002 referenda in Gibraltar, saying that on both occasions the people had voted in full knowledge of the consequences which would follow.
He explained that the 2002 vote had been described as “illegal” and “eccentric” and that it was held in the face of opposition from both the United Kingdom and Spain.
“Despite the fact that the UK did not agree with it and did not want it to happen, there was no attempt to prevent our people from casting their vote,” he said.
he deputy chief minister then went on to talk about the 2014 referendum in Scotland, which was agreed between London and Edinburgh, and described is as “a further shining example of democracy in action.”
“History has shown that swinging truncheons and brute force will never bury an ideal,” he said.