Three British warships are sailing for Gibraltar on “routine” exercises apparently unrelated to the current tension between the British and Spanish governments.
A dispute has blown up over Spanish complaints about Gibraltar’s authorities dropping concrete blocks in the sea to create an artificial reef.
The British have been quick to point out that the Spanish state’s complaints about the British colony are a distraction from its own economic difficulties.
They are less keen to admit that British sabre-rattling has a lot to do with distracting people here from our own government’s economic crisis.
The British navy captured Gibraltar in 1704 and it is one of the country’s few remaining imperial possessions.
It still has a major naval base, though it has been of more use to the rich as a tax haven in recent years.