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La Linea de El Corte Ingles (The English Style As A Marketable Product)

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Abstract

Trying to find common ground with Spain to resolve the Spanish irredentist stance over Gibraltar
Foreword
LaLineadeElCorteIngles.(TranslatesastheEnglishstyleasamarketableproduct)isa
personalplayofSpanishwordsdrawinguponthenamesofGibraltar'sneighbouringSpanish
townofLaLineaDeLaConcepciòn,commonlyknowninshortasLalinea,andtheverywell
knownSpanishdepartmentstoreofElCorteIngles. Iindulgeinthisplaywithwordsto
highlighthow anglicisedSpainingeneralis,especiallythetownofLaLinea(Translatesas
TheLine)becauseoftheGibraltarianconnection.LaLineaaroseasatownfromtheformation
ofamilitarylineafterthetakingofGibraltarbyBritishandDutchforcesin1704
1
.TheEnglish
styleasamarketableproductasawrittenpieceismyattemptasaBritishnationaltofind
commongroundwiththeSpanishandhowtoconstructivelyresolveanydifferenceswemight
haveinrelationtoGibraltar'ssovereignty.
LaLineaDelCorteIngles
WhatessentiallymakestheGibraltarïancommunitywhatitisasanidentitytorealistically
speakofandexistin? Canthenotionofanyrelativelyrecentselfidentifyingcultureresulting
from suchacommunitybeseenasaviableexpressionagainstthebackdropofthemuch
oldercommunitiestheydevelopedfrom,orcantheybeaccusedofbeingofanideological
constructlackingmaturityandsubstance?
From anevolutionaryperspectiveitwouldbedifficulttodraw aline,culturesmightstatically
perpertuatethemselvesforverylongperiodsoftimebutwouldalwaysbesubjecttosome
eventualchange as new developments proceed,especially affected by the realms of
technologicalnicheconstructionandglobalisation,comingtoarealisationasaspeciesthat
theworldisroundwithafinitesurfacearea.WillMarsfareanybetterandwillEarthlycritics
onedaygeocentricallypointoutthatclaimstoauniqueMartianculturebyfuturecolonistsbe
merevainattemptsofrebelliousculturalseccessionism?Theoldestofcommunitiesaround
theworldarecoalescedecleticmulticulturalcompositesselectivelycreatedaspeoplechose
whatgavethem abetterqualityoflifeoveralesserquality.Thesesamecommunitieshave
becomewhattheyarethankstothegreatervariationavailabletoassimilatefromotherentities,
largeorsmall,poilticalorpurelyethnic,thereforeincreasingtheresourcesattheirdisposition
enablingthebuildingofpoliticalandbuisnessempires.Takingthematterofselfidentifying
culturalconstructstothepointofridicule,anynotionofacohesivegregariousnessbeingless
culturallyacceptableastherealthingduetohavingformedrecently,wouldretrospectively
equallyapplytoanyhumanculturesthathaveeverexistedoutsideofAfrica,ifwetakeinto
accountwhatanthropologistssay,thatwehaveproofofanatomicallymodern humans
evolvingtherefrom about200000yearsago
2
.Soallittakestobeingaselfidentifyingculture
isforagroupofhumanstobeabletoform alonglastingstableinteractivegroup,nomatter
theexpanseoftimeittakes,wheretheadvantagesofbeingactivemembersmakesitworth
theirwhiletoform anassociation,ensuringthecontinuityofthepopulation.
IwasrecentlyrequestedtoincludemywrittenpointofviewonwhatIpersonallythoughtmy
identityinbeingGibraltarianis,inaninteractiveworkinprogressexhibitedattheGibraltarFine
ArtsAssociation,NationalweekinauguratedexhibitionontheTheme"OurIdentity." The
exhibit
3
,aspiralringnotebookwithapaintedpictureoftheRockofGibraltarasitscoveron
show ontopofastarkwhiteplinth,invitedattendeeswithasurportingexplanatorynoteto
writedowntheirownpersonalviewasGibraltariansofwhattheythoughttheiridentitywasto
them.
Iwrotethefollowing
"IthinkthatmyidentityisbeingprimarilyBritishandbeingpartofaneclecticcommunitythat
activelyencouragesatalllevelsitsmulticulturalnature."
ImeantthatinthesamewayasanyotherBritishpersonfrom asimilarsizedcommunityfeels
British,iflivinglongterm aspartofapopulation,identifieswiththatpopulation.Suchismy
enculturation,havingbeenborninGibraltar,schooledthroughtheBritisheducationalsystem
andactivelylisteningintotheBBCWorldServiceRadioallmylife,thelatterformingthe
backboneofmycognitivelymoldedpersonality,havinginfluencedmetremendously.English,
theofficiallanguageoftheBritishhasbecome,ontopofallthevariationinform ithas
developedinto,theworld'sdominantlinguafrancainmanydomains
4
.TheEnglishlanguage,
alongwiththemanydialectsithascometobeexpressedin,isessentiallythelanguageofthe
British
5
,so being British has necessarily everything to do with being linguistically and
culturallyAnglicisedtosomeextent.
OneofthefirstavertisementsyouseeondisplayasyoucrossGibraltar'sfrontierintoLaLinea
isabilateralsign,facingtowardsandaway,ofthedepartmentstoreElCorteIngles(Translated
intoEnglishasTheEnglishStyle).ElCorteInglesisthebiggestdepartmentstoregroupin
Europeandisratedfourthworldwide.ElCorteInglésisSpain'sonlyremainingdepartment
storechain
6
.Thispermanentadvertisement,advertisingthebeststandardssocherishedof
EnglishCulture,givestestamentastohowSpaniardsgenerallymeasuretheworld,reflecting
howmuchEnglandhasinfluencedtheworldasawhole.Atagloballevel,havingbecomethe
world'sfirstlanguage,Englishisthemostcommonlyusedlanguageintheprintedmedia,
electronic communications,scientific circles,internationalcommercialexchange,mass
entertainment,anddiplomacy
7
.Includingnonnativespeakers,Englishisoneofthemost,if
notthemost,spokenlanguagesintheworld
8
.Oneofthebestadvancedsetofideastoaffect
theworldcausingaparadigm shiftofthegreatestneverbeforeseenmagnitudewasoriginally
madeinEnglish,thatbeingDarwinianEvolution.Itseemsstrangeandparadoxicalwiththe
SpanishhavingsuchapenchantfortheEnglishlifethattheypersistwiththeirirredentistclaim
overGibraltar,itbeingahuboftheimportedstyleoflivingtheygenerallyaspireto.Havea
soundknowledgeofEnglishandyouhavehalfyourcareermadeisacommonsayingaround
Spain. Istheirclaim toGibraltarasignofhow muchtheyvaluetheterritoryasithas
developedsinceitwascededtoGreatBritainaspartofthedealofThe1713Treatyof
Utrecht?
9Ifso dotheyultimatelyfearthatGibraltariansmightvoteforasecessionist
independancefrom theUKanddashtheirplansstipulatedintheTreatyforSpaintobegiven
firstchoiceinhavingtheterritorybackiftheBritishnolongerwantedGibraltar?
10 Apparently,
thefirstproposalthatSpainmadeinhowtohaveGibraltarreturnedincludedthecancellingof
theTreatyofUtrecht.
WiththeTreatyofUtrecht,Gibraltar'ssovereigntywascededtoBritaincompletely"tobeheld
andenjoyedabsolutelywithallmannerofrightforever."Sincethecivilianpopulationof
GibraltarwasgivenfullBritishNationalitystatusthenequallytheterritorywasalsocededto
theindividualsmakingupthepresentpopulationofGibraltarasasubsetofBritishnationals
asawhole.Spain,byhavingcededGibraltar,gavelegalsustenancetothefutureidentityof
BritishGibraltarians.Whenin1964attheUnitedNationsSpanishpetitionersclaimedthat"the
presentdivisionbetweenGibraltaranditsSpanishhinterlandwasartificialandundesirable
andurgedthatGibraltarshouldbere-intergratedwiththeCampoarea"
11 theychosetoomit
thatthesituationinquestionhadoriginallycometobewiththeirownnations'officialexpress
consentintheformofTheTreatyOfUtrecht.SeñordePiniesatthesameeventthenstatedto
the UN committee that,"the policy which GreatBritain had been following since 1950
amountedtoanattempttoreplacetherightswhichtheTreatyofUtechthadconcededtothe
BritishbysocalledrightstotheterritoryofGibraltaronthepartoftheBritishsubjects
establishedthereinplaceoftheoriginalpopulation." Mostoftheoriginalpopulationof
GibraltarhadleftwhentheBritishcapturedGibraltarin1704buttheTreatyofUtrechtthathad
cededGibraltartotheBritishbySpain,"withoutanyexceptionorimpedimentwhatsover,"was
signedin1713almostadecadeafterwards. SoanyargumentionoftheBritishtryingto
replacetherightsconcededtobySpainintheTreatyofUtrechtareillfoundedespeciallywith
somanyGibraltarianfamilieshavingadjacentlylocalisedSpanishancestryandcontemporary
familiesin.WhatGibraltarandtheGibraltarianshavebecometodayisalsoduetoSpain's
doingbyhavingbeenconsensualsignatoriesoftheTreatyofUtrecht.
12
WithGibraltarnotofficiallybeingpartoftheUK
13 buthavingattaineddefactoUKcitizenry
parityaswiththeBrexitsuffrageentitlement,andlocalsactivelyparticipatinginotherUK
nationwideevents,woulditbepossibletoupgradeitsBritishOverseasStatustobeingin
somewaypartoftheUKterritory? AlthoughGibraltarianshadvotedbeforethroughUKin
EuropeanElections,
14 withtheBrexitvoteitwasthefirsttimeGibraltarianshadexclusively
voted as members ofthe United Kingdom despite in terms ofthe physicalterritory
encompassingGibraltarnotbeingpartoftheUK. Seeminglyincontradictiontothelatter,
from aninternationalperspective,theUNESCOWorldHeritageCommitteein2016inscribed
theGorham’sCaveComplexinGibraltarastheUKs30thWorldHeritageSite,echoedbya
BritishGovernmentministerwithwordageusedasifthesitewereaUKterritory,
15thoughthis
seemstobeanarticulationofhowhighrankingUKofficialssubconsciouslyviewGibraltar's
deeprootedrelationshipwiththeUK.UK'sMinisterforHeritage,TraceyCrouch,speakingof
thegrantingoftheGorham'scavecomplexWorldheritagestatusasifitwereaUKterritorial
issuesaid....
"ItsfantasticnewsthattheGorhamsCaveComplexhasbecometheUKs30thWorldHeritage
Site.ItgivesauniqueinsightintothecultureandtraditionsofNeanderthalsthousandsof
yearsagoanddemonstratestheexcitingrangeoftheUKsculturalheritage."
15
ThereisparityofUKcitizenryinotherrealmsoflifewhichhaveattractedlotsofBritishpublic
appealontheTVscreen.FamedartistssuchasChristianHookwaspresentedtotheworldas
theSkyArtsPortraitArtistOfTheYearwinner
16 andJonathanLutwychecausedagreat
sensationwhenheappearedonBritain'sGotTalent
17dancingapiecethathe'dchoreographed
himself.
TheGibraltarianpositionrelativetoEuropeisunavoidablyoneofcloseattachmentbecause
weareconnectedbyalandbridgetoSpainwhichhadmanybenefitstoofferGibraltarians,
especiallybecauseofhowtinyGibraltarisandtherestrictionsthatlivinginasmallexpanseof
landbringssofarawayfrom UK.ItisunderstanderblethataftertheresultsoftheBrexitvote
Gibraltarseekstogainfrom anyrelationshipwithEuropethatmightbeprofitableforthe
localitytowhichGibraltaralreadycontributes25%GDPtotheSpanishneighbourhood.Twelve
thousandforeignworkers,mostlySpaniards,composehalfofthelabourforceinGibraltar
makingitthesecondlargestemployerintheregionofAndalucia.
18Soitiswithgreatcertitude
thatEuropetogetherwithSpainalreadygainsfrom sucharelationshipontheneighbouring
sideoftheGibraltarianborderandweshouldprospectforcontinuityandsomefeedback
investmentalongthoselineswiththeEuropeanUnion.
Aswithanyagenciesembroiledinapointofconflictlookingforawayinwhichtoresolve
differences,whynotform strongbondson whatelements theystronglyshare? Being
angliscisedasinElCorteIngles/TheEnglishStyleissomuchpartandparcelofbeing
GibraltarianorSpanishthatnomemberofthegeneralrespectivepopulationscouldconceive
livingoutsideofthatframeofreference.Byandlarge,askanySpaniardofElCorteInglesand
they'llknow wellofitsexistenceandwhatitmeans,justasonthewholethemajorityof
GibraltarianshavethecapacitytospeakinEnglish.
References
IhavegivenreferencewhereIhavebeenabletosourceit.InpiecesofwritingwhereIhave
notusedanyIhaveresortedtobecreativefrom thegeneralknowledgeIhavememorisedbut
cannotatallrecallwhereIlearntthatfrom.I'drathernotgivereferenceswhenIwouldbe
forcedtoresorttoinventareferencerelativetowhatI'vewrittenwhenthesematchclosely.
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i
ThephotobelowisthebilingualsignofElCorteInglesjustousideofGibraltar'sborderwith
Spain

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