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GIBRALTAR

The Sun’s Gibraltar campaign is wrong in so many ways

The Sun published a polemical front page on Tuesday launching a “Gibraltar Campaign” with the headline “Up yours Senors: Our message to meddling leaders of Spain and the EU." But it wasn't just the spelling that was wrong.

The Sun’s Gibraltar campaign is wrong in so many ways

Each copy included a “pull out poster” for “patriots” to display in their window with the message “Hands off our Rock” written in both English and Spanish.

People were quick to point out the irony that The Sun launched its campaign with a front page message against Spain beneath an advertisement for cheap summer holidays to…Spain!

Others noted that the headline writers had failed in the spelling department.  “Up Your Senors” had neither the ‘ñ’ nor the ‘e’ that is required to correctly pluralize the word for “sirs”.

READ MORE: Seven reasons why Spain won't go to war over Gibraltar

Some Spaniards just laughed at the tabloid.

The front page of The Sun. They don’t know how to  spell señor with an ñ. And at the same time advertise cheap holidays to Spain. Hahahaha

Many Brits took to Twitter to express their outrage and embarrassment at the tabloid antics and to call for a boycott of The Sun. One called it a “national disgrace”.

It was pointed out that on the basis of its editorial stance on Brexit, The Sun shouldered some of the blame for the predicament Gibraltar now finds itself in. Britain’s best read newspaper had campaigned for Brexit, while residents on the Rock had overwhelmingly voted for the UK to remain in the European Union.

On Monday, Kelvin Mackenzie, the former editor of The Sun, had labelled Spaniards as “donkey rogerers” in a warmongering opinion piece in which he said European friends were quickly becoming foes

“Take the creeps running Spain. Thanks to Brexit they are flexing their muscles over Gibraltar.

“Could I remind them the locals have made clear in vote after vote that they don’t want the donkey rogerers running their efficient little outpost.”

READ ALSO: Spain 'surprised' by Britain's belligerent tone on Gibraltar

He suggested that the British government send a message to Spain to back off from Gibraltar by advising Brits not to holiday in Spain, kick out Spaniards living in the UK and even impose a special tax on Rioja.

The opinion piece made headlines in Spain with commentators astounded at being branded “follaburros” (Donkey buggerers).

 

READ MORE: All the latest news from Gibraltar


Photo: AFP

BREXIT

Anger grows as no solution found yet for in limbo UK drivers in Spain 

British drivers living in Spain are becoming increasingly disgruntled at the lack of solutions two weeks after they were told their UK licences were no longer valid, with the latest update from the UK Embassy suggesting it could still take "weeks" to reach a deal. 

Anger grows as no solution found yet for in limbo UK drivers in Spain 

There is growing discontent among UK licence holders residing in Spain who are currently in limbo, unable to drive in Spain until they either get a Spanish driving licence or a deal is finally reached between Spanish and UK authorities for the mutual exchange of licences post-Brexit.

Since May 1st 2022, drivers who’ve been residents in Spain for more than six months and who weren’t able to exchange their UK licences for Spanish ones cannot drive in Spain.

There are no official stats on how many Britons of the 407,000 UK nationals who are residents in Spain in 2022 are affected; according to the UK Embassy the “majority exchanged” as advised.

But judging by the amount of negative comments the last two updates from the British Embassy in Madrid have received, hundreds if not thousands are stuck without being able to drive in Spain.  

May 12th’s video message by Ambassador Hugh Elliott left many unhappy with the fact that the forecast for a possible licence exchange agreement will be in the “coming weeks”, when two weeks earlier Elliott had spoken of “rapidly accelerating talks”. 

Dozens of angry responses spoke of the “shocking” and “absolutely ridiculous” holdup in negotiations that have been ongoing for more than at least a year and a half, and which the UK Embassy has put down to the fact that Spain is asking the British government to give them access to DVLA driver data such as road offences, something “not requested by other EU Member States”.

Numerous Britons have explained the setbacks not being able to drive in Spain are causing them, from losing their independence to struggling to go to work, the hospital or the supermarket, especially those in rural areas with little public transport.  

“I know personally from all the messages you’ve sent in, just how incredibly disruptive all of this is for many of you,” Elliott said in response. 

“If you are struggling to get around you may find additional advice or support from your local town hall, or charities or community groups in your area and the Support in Spain website is another very useful source of organisations that can provide general support to residents.

“And if your inability to drive is putting you in a very vulnerable situation, you can always contact your nearest consulate for advice.”

There continue to be disparaging opinions in the British community in Spain over whether any pity should be felt for UK licence holders stuck without driving, as many argue they had enough time to register intent to exchange their licences, whilst others clarify that their particular set of circumstances, such as arriving after the December 2020 ‘intent to exchange’ deadline, made this impossible. 

OPINION: Not all Brits in Spain who didn’t exchange UK driving licences are at fault

So is there any light at the end of the tunnel for drivers whose UK licences aren’t valid anymore in Spain or soon won’t be?

“The agreement we’re working towards now will enable UK licence holders, whenever they arrived in Spain or arrive in the future, to exchange their UK licence for a Spanish one without needing to take a practical or a theory test,” Elliott said on Thursday May 12th of the deal they are “fully committed” to achieve.

READ ALSO: How much does it cost to get a Spanish driving licence?

And yet it’s hard for anyone to rest their hopes on this necessarily happening – sooner or later or ever – in part because the embassy advice for those with UK licences for whom it’s imperative to continue driving in Spain is that they should take steps to get their Spanish licence now, while acknowledging that in some places there are “long delays for lessons” and getting your Spanish licence “doesn’t happen overnight”.

READ ALSO: What now for UK licence holders in Spain?

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