The Spanish Government is making life difficult for Gibraltar this week. They’re causing big queues at the border and their foreign  minister is threatening to charge everyone a 50 Euro crossing tariff.

Gibraltar’s super-articulate, multi-lingual, chief minister Fabian Picardo is accusing the Spanish of behaving like Franco.  Is that fair? Well, yes actually.

Here’s Spain’s post-Franco parliament in the 1980s. Since then, though, Spain’s democracy has come along nicely.  Until now, it seems.

Spain’s prime minister, mainly ruling by decree and rarely attending parliament, has a serious corruption scandal on his hands.  What to do? Hey, here’s an idea, why not do a Fernandez/Falklands? Might distract the ‘plebes’ from the internal trickinesses for a while?

But, hang on, what about Spain’s redoubts in Morocco – Cueta and Melilla, each twice the size of Gibraltar?  And what about Spain’s continued occupation of the Western Sahara?

Spain’s a largely benign landlord in each of these north african cases, but doesn’t it make a government look less than a serious prospect when it ignores its own policy elsewhere and rabble-rouses in this Franco-esque way in order to keep the public eye away from the serious domestic stuff?

It’s a shame to have to say it, but in the same way that Fernandez-Kirchner is following-on from Galtieri in deploying good old-fashioned Peronist instincts, so Rajoy is raising the spectre of Franco with his current stupidity over Gibraltar.