Thursday, 22 April 2010

GSD Supporters Mutiny

On the 13th March 2010 the blog Headlined "Opinion Polls-Smoke and Mirrors" predicted and explained that the GSD would not win the next election and that the poll commissioned   by the GSD party rag 7 Days (and so suspected to have a bias) was not analysing its own poll properly.  Today the Chronic has published its poll. Its  headline is rightly "Election Shock as GSLP/Libs Romp Ahead".  It predicts 39% support for the GSLP and only 27% support for the GSD.  What is interesting is a brief analysis of the poll, as compared with the results of the last election, and one answer to the specific questions posed in the poll.

Immediately what is noticeable is that the support for the GSLP/Libs is unwavering in size.  It is as approximately the same support as it achieved in the last election, from memory a drop of only about 4%.  In marked contrast, the loss of support for the GSD since the last election is massive.  The GSD were elected with (again from memory) 51% support.  It has lost a massive 24% of its support. The conclusion must be that this massive drop has gone to the "don't knows", which is indicative of a mass exodus from the GSD in the direction of the GSLP/Libs.  In short it is more likely that a majority of the "don't knows" will shift to the GSLP/Libs than to the GSD.

The GSD would need 23 out of the 27% "don't know" to get them back to the level of support that they had at the last election. A very unlikely shift.  The GSLP/Libs would only need 11 of the 27%  to reach 50%, which would give them an assured win, although, taking into account the votes to the PDP, 50% is not needed to obtain a government majority in Parliament.  As the Chronic points out, if the "don't knows" are taken out of the equation, on the basis that only about 70% of the electorate actually votes, then the GSLP/Libs have 54% and the GSD only 37%.

Do the answers to the other questions in the poll support the conclusion explained?  An analysis of the "don't knows" does. 34.7%  of these believe that the GSD Government is "not in touch with the electorate".  34.7% of 27% is approximately 9.5%, which added to the GSLP/Libs' 39% gives them an overall 48.5%. This support is enough to form government if the PDP's support is taken into account. Even if the entire balance of 17.5% is added to the GSD's 27% (which is an unlikely eventuality) they only reach a total of 44.5%, which is not enough for them to form government.

The unknown factors are a change in leadership in the GSLP/Libs, the return to the GSD of Peter Montegriffo or the arrival of a very strong alternative party to contest the next election. Taking the last first, this is such a remote and difficult possibility that it can and should be discarded.  Peter Montegrifo could make a big difference to the GSD's chances of election, so if he does come back the results and polls could change.

The likelihood is that  Joe Bossano will retire as leader of the GSLP/Libs.  The likely successor is Fabian Picardo.  Two important factors come into play if the GSLP/Libs are to retain their lead in the polls.  First and most importantly, Mr Bossano's personal following has to stay with the GSLP/Libs if it is to win.  To achieve this Mr Bossano has to stay in the line up for the GSLP, despite not being the leader, so Fabian Picardo will be Chief Minister in place of Joe Bossano with  him remaining in Parliament for at least one more term.

The second factor is that Mr Picardo has to change the public's perception of him personally.  He must convince the electorate of his political honesty and trustworthiness and also that he has leadership qualities.  He can achieve this by carefully putting together a caring, clear and novel manifesto and having the ability to sell it to the electorate.  There is a lot that can be included in such a manifesto let us see if he does it.  The open door beckons the GSLP/Libs to form the next government of Gibraltar. Gibraltar should not fear it by looking back to the last GSLP administration.  The GSLP/Libs have moved on massively since then. The GSD are slowly reverting to what we do not want in a democracy: the autocracy of one man.


  1. Doesn't it strike you as odd that for the first time in 30 years -at least- all the political parties share the same policies regarding Spain?

  2. Dear llanitoworld

    This poll confirms my worst fears,the fact that we might have a gslp government in waiting. I am not a gsd supporter but lived my youth under a gslp fast launch episode and I fear a return to the 1995 regime of raising capital for the government coffers.


  3. Mr Gomez or John (if I may) that the policies regarding Spain shared by all political parties are the same does not strike me as odd. That they are mistaken worries me (see blog of "Sovereignty- the Perrenial Thorny issue" 25th March 2010. What it shows, though, is that when the Spanish distraction is taken out of the electoral equation, real politics is what counts at the polling booth and Mr Caruana's GSD is failing on this. Whetehr the GSLP/Libs will suceed remains to be seen but this factor does not work against the GSLP/Libs in the minds of the electorate. In contrast failings of the GSd whilst in goverment do work against them and this is perhaps what is reflected in the poll.

    As to Cloti, one cannot always live in the past! People learn from their mistakes. The liklihood of a retuen to the fast launch episode is ZERO. Government sources of income have grown from all sorts of sector. The hypocrisy (unintended) in your comment is that in truth today more money is going into government coffers from tobacco sales then ver during the GSLP government. How is this, didn't the GSD say they would stop tobacco smuggling? Wel that should be a concern to you, surely?

  4. The huge percentage of don't knows shows that voters are in a dilemma: they are fed up of Caruana's autocracy but fear a return to the Bossano days i.e. they really don't want either Caruana or Bossano in power (even if the latter is merely pulling the strings in the background after standing down as leader). But with the PDP so far behind there is only really a choice between the two big parties. I think that the electorate does not trust Danny Feetham or Fabian Picardo; it is hungry for a Peter Montegriffo. A new party formed by Peter Montegriffo might be what everyone is yearning for.

  5. i voted GSD art the last election on the basis that i thought they offered a far better and much more complete package than their rivals. Next election i will probably cast a blank vote, reason being that neither party inspires any confidence in me at all, nor do i see one single candidate whom i think capable and worthy of my vote.

    call me a cynic, im afraid im not the only one.

  6. Honney Bee says...

    The question for me now has to be - will the two leaders wake up and smell the coffee and do the right thing for their respective parties, ie; stand down and make way for a new leader, or will we see history repeating itself ?


    As Llanito world rightly points out the possibility of a return to the past is zilch. Our economy now has other sources of income to build up our coffers (which according to the govt are in a very healthy state anyway)and the Alliance have more sense than to throw away their success on something the economy no longer needs - quite apart from the fact that Bossano has acknowledged that the fast launch episode was a mistake.

    And just for the record - I`m no GSLP supporter. I vote for what I consider to be the best brains !

  7. Charles Gomez: It was said of the mythical King Arthur that he was the "once and future" king, ordained to rise from the dead when Britain was in its greatest peril. Peter Montegriffo seems to have become Gibraltar's Arthur in the minds of many despite showing little indication of any interest in returning to public life. "Cria carisma y echate a dormir" to coin a phrase.

  8. Carlito, Carlito blank votes are a waste of time ... the best brains argument is redundant because it is democracy that chooses a government not a psychiatrist of a psychologist. If people like you who complain are not prepared to stand for election, we are condemned to choose from thos who are! We must make a choice. It is by choosing alternatives and changing the staus quo that we narrow down the choice to the best brains ... a little like the process of evvolution.

    And Charles Gomez ... I agree with your sentiments but that is the reality ... what can we do?

  9. LlanitoWorld, my vices far outweigh my virtues, so i would never contemplate a "public eye" office, or at least for the time being. that said my frustration is borne out of my lack of options,and my idea is that in exercising my right to democracy by voting, but voting in blank to show my displeasure it will invariably cause the powers that be to think that something must be wrong.
    why would a person vote for no one, well the only logical answer could be that no one is good enough. pitcure this analagy, you are the captain of a school football team, it is your turn to pick and you choose no one. what do all the kids must be that they arent good enough!

  10. Carlito, Carlito ... twice in one day!

    A blank vote is a spoilt vote in an election and it is not counted so your analogy to a football club fails. It also fails because in an election a government is chosen from the valid votes cast and so even if it is 1 that 1 counts!

  11. Charles Gomez: I think that the psychology of politics is fascinating." I was not complaining about Peter Montegriffo, whose Arthurian persona is one of the wonders of our Gibraltarian political class, less still his supporters who for 3 decades have seen him as "tomorrow's man". "Cometh the moment cometh the man..."

  12. dont get me wrong Llanito, i see your point, and perhaps it is a valid one, but my point is that if i follow your thinking i will end up voting for someone even though i dont want to!

    the whole point of democracy as i see it, is that i am free, free to exercise my right in whichever way i wish to do so, be it by voting, not voting, blank voting, block voting, voting "pal mas simpatico" or even dare i say it voting for the one who promises to "look after me"

    giving some thought to the matter, my own personal opinions on the current political candidates are outweighed by the frustration which this GSD government has instilled in us all, and the need for change.

    can the GSD govermnet continue and sustain another term? i think not. are the gslp as ther currently stand capable of taking over? probably not.
    do we need a change ? defintely.

    all these questions weigh on my seems to me this blog may hold the key in tipping my scales one way or another!!

    you may be confused, where do i stand, even i dont know, and in my opinion my confusion is testament to the lack of passion and ideas in politics, to the lack of ideas and even more importantly to the lack of worthy candidates!

    anyways, it is 17:20 on a friday afternoon, and as much as i enjoy engaging in debate the lure of liqour is far to appealing!

  13. Profound analysis from Charles Gomez, the thinking persons lawyer!I mean how may people do you know who talk about "Arthurian persona" but he makes a point with elegance and refinement.

  14. Carlito: There is never anyone in an election that one WANTS to vote for. It is a choice that has to be made from those who put themselves forward- that is what it is everywhere!

    Of course you are free to vote as you wish in a democracy but if you abstain and do not exercise your right you are copping out!

    Exactly it is the frustration created by the GSD and means we must vote for a change ... whatever it is ... even if it is wrong at the next election it will throw something better up.

    passion needs a catalyst _ change is that catalyst! Enjoy your evening/night I enjoyed my drinks...

  15. Gibraltar needs a board of directors, to run it for the next term, made up of people willling to take difficult decisions
    (e.g. summer hours, tender processes for the larger projects, etc. etc.) without being worried about getting re-elected
    for a second term, to get us back on track. We are far too small for so much politics. The honest brains and experience
    are out there (some have never been in politics) if only
    we could get them to agree to work together for four years (Peter Montegriffo, Robert Vasquez, James Levy, Tony Welsh, Henry Pina, to name but
    a few...

  16. Bishua says: I agree with Llanito World that Charles Gomez may be elegant and refined but apart from that I understand Gomez like the thousands of people who voted for him at the last election understood him too. The problem is that unlike Charles Gomez too many members of the political baristocracy think that the rest of us are stupid, and we aint!

  17. Dear Llanito World

    On the lead up to the last general election Charles Gomez came out publicly presenting his new party, the new gibraltar democracy. He promised a line up and indicated that he would reveal the membership in due course. Where is the membership? Is this a one man party?

    Then we have Keith Azzopardi and the PDP. The latest poll shows that PDP support is still low and the evidence suggest that he will not make any impact into the GSD / GSLP political mandate. Perhaps they will get the message and get lost into the political wilderness. Who knows they seem persistent.

    Then we have the GSLP who will soon see a night of long knives. Who will remain standing up? Picardo or Licudi? It will be interesting to see who leads the party into the 2011 election.

    Finally we have the GSD...I have heard that they will be lining up some young blood in an attempt to draw the mid aged professional voter. Peter Caruana will probably win the next election again and I hope he does because frankly there is no one out there with his experience and sense of judgment.

  18. Fred says:

    I am surprised by the last anonymmous' comment about Mr Caruana's sense of judgement. The comment implies that Mr Caruana has good judgement. This view cannot stand in light of LlanitoWorld's erudite exposition of the constitutinal issues at play in relation to the age of consent case.

    What do we have in terms of potential political leadership:

    Mr Caruana is seen as arrogant, absolutist and moralistic;

    Mr Picardo shares an undiluted arrogance with Mr Caruana, and some of his behaviour in and out of politics has raised eyebrows;

    Mr Azopardi is seen as bland and aloof, and tainted by GSD baggage;

    Mr Bossano is seen as ethically discredited (although Llanitoworld's point about living in the past is noted), and unnecessarily confrontational;

    Mr Feetham is seems a rampant opportunist;

    Mr Garcia is not really rated;

    Mr Montegriffo - overrated;

    I could carry on, but in this context it is hardly surprising that folk are yearning for a team of technocrats (good to see Mr Welsh in someone's list) that really care for Gibraltar and not their egos.

    However, this will not happen and so we must vote, and it must be for change, but as a community we must decide very early on how we are going to start curbing the excesses of our politicians: their vanity, arrogance and poor judgement. One for discussion.

  19. Changing the subject a bit have you noticed the distasteful attacks made by the GSLP against minister and union leader Luis Montiel for having bought a house in Gardiner's Road. In the so called socialist party it is OK for the lawyers and businessmen to have big cars and houses but all hell breaks loose when a working man like Montiel moves out of a government subsidised estate.

    I agree with the last anonymous that Gomez and Azopardi are wasted, they should be asked to join either of the larger parties.

  20. Anon

    Can you imagine what Peter Caruana will be like if he gets elected for a fifth term? At the end of that he will have been in power for close on two decades! Or is it just that you are in the 'keep Bossano out' camp.

    I like Gibcrier's idea of Gib run by a Board consisting of Peter Montegriffo, Robert Vasquez, James Levy, Tony Welsh, Henry Pinna and one or two others. That would be ideal (although not necessarily including all the names mentioned).

    But it would never work because there has to be a leader in every pack and there can only be one alpha male. It's animal and human nature. That's why Peter Montegriffo and Keith Azopardi had to leave the GSD - only room for one alpa male in a pack.

    So we're back to a choice between Peter Caruana and Fabian Picardo as Chief Minister after the next election. Sorry, Honey Bee, am ruling out Keith - unless he forges a GSLP Libs / PDP grand alliance, but even then I don't think Keith would settle for anything less than being the alpha male i.e. the Chief Minister.

  21. There will be more on this blog about Peter Caruana's judgement starting with a blog tonight.

    It is not that the alpha male hormones play havoc and all want to be Chief Minister. It is that the system allows only for that both constitutionally and in the manner that it has evolved. It is also this that does not serve to curb the excesses of our politicians: their vanity, arrogance and poor judgement. One for discussion, as so clearly explained by Fred. Another blog about this is probably called for but this one will come a little later.

  22. Am not sure whether it's a question of good or poor judgement. I think it's the result of the 'Chief Minister syndrome' (CMS). Once in power they soon realise that they are (more so now with the new constitution) almost all-powerful in a small town of only 28,000 inhabitants like Gibraltar. They become intoxicated with power and lose touch with reality. They reason that "aqui mando yo y aqui se hace lo que a mi me da la gana".

    This means that they plough ahead with whatever project they decide to embark on - even if they are not convinced that it is really the best path - simply because they have decided to do so and all-powerful leaders cannot be seen to back down on any issue as this will signal weakness to challengers.

    How else can we explain the Theatre Royal folly, the demolition of the Rosia Tanks, and the introduction of the Leisure Areas (Licensing) Act 2001 which resulted in hapless Casemates House residents being forced to move, residents in nearby estates such as Portland and Montagu being disturbed in the early hours by music from a nearby discotheque (just outside Casemates but still designated as a leisure area) and in Casemates becoming a drunken violent trouble spot on Friday (and Saturday?) night?

    So maybe limiting the Chief Minister's term to eight years - pledged by Danny's Labour Party in its election manifesto and, more recently, by the PDP - makes sense.