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Tuesday, April 04, 2017

The war of Michael Howard's cloth ear

In 1739 Britain went to war with Spain on the pretext of a slight caused eight years earlier when a British Merchant ship Captain, Robert Jenkins lost his ear after Spanish coastguards boarded his ship. There is no evidence that the ear was exhibited before the British Parliament, but I suspect that if Michael Howard had been around at that time he would have brandished it (or one very like it) at the despatch box.

Those of is arguing to stay in the European Union often made the point that it has guaranteed over sixty years of peace in Europe. Within days of the UK serving notice to leave the EU, a former Home Secretary and past leader of the opposition is advocating gun boat diplomacy and a declaration of war on one of our NATO allies over tabloid scaremongering.

Nick Clegg tweeted earlier this week that he had vetoed David Cameron's suggestion that Michael Howard be made a European Commissioner. Strike one to Nick Clegg in the service to humanity stakes. I am astonished that such a senior politician should jump on this particular bandwagon in such a way. And I am not the only one.

The Independent reports that Peter Felstead, editor of Jane’s Defence Weekly, has told them that however tense Brexit negotiations got, Britain and Spain going to war over Gibraltar was something “that is just not going to happen”.

Brexiteers like Michael Howard have created the situation whereby the future of Gibralter is open to question once more. They only have themselves to blame. I don't believe for one moment though that it will become an issue in talks.

What is more interesting is Spain's response. They announced that they would not veto an independent Scotland joining the EU. Now that really has opened Pandora's box and yes it was the Brexiteers who handed over the key.
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