Sunday, 23 May 2010

A Counter-Democratic Argument Requiring a Defence of Freedom of Speech.

Recently it has come to my ears that some supporters of the GSD (read Peter Caruana) are expressing the view that this blog is anti-Gibraltar because it deals with subjects, amongst many others,  that are critical of the Chief Minister's policies and actions.  Therefore, they say, Gibraltar's dirty linen is being washed in public. Such comments are not only immature to the point of being puerile but are crassly ill-thought out, not to say totally devoid of accuracy, thought and intellect, and are a danger to democracy if heeded.

Such an argument equates a personality, namely and for the present Peter Caruana, to the the people and territory that he is the Chief Minister of, rather than making him their and its elected servant. Such propaganda precisely supports the view,  expressed in this blog in the past, that when any politician become bigger than the place they govern and its electorate, then it is time for a change, even if that change simply serves as a reminder of the democratic process, namely, the power of the electorate. A Government and a Chief Minister are not there as an end in themselves believing they or he alone has all the answers, it and he are there to serve the people to the best of their ability and with ears open to bring into account what are the needs of people.

One central ingredient of any totalitarian ruler is that the cult of personality takes over from and engulfs the commonwealth (as in common good) and so the State.  When a personality is over revered and/or feared the journey down the slippery road to the end of democracy is well advanced. Especially so if any reverence is founded on the selfish motives of sycophantic adherents rather than the interests of the State and its people as a whole.

The belief that democracy starts and ends with the right to elect a government every 4 years is mistaken.  Democracy is much, much more.  Democracy encompasses a complex interaction of checks and balances. One of the more important of these is the separation of the legislature from the executive, closely followed by the independence of the judiciary.

This separation is best achieved by the system of government of the US, where executive authority is vested in the President, who can only exercise it under laws passed by the two House of Congress.  Even this system is open to criticism but it is about as good as can be found. Closely behind the US is the English Parliamentary system in which, despite government ministers sitting in the legislature, a government has the fear of defeat by backbenchers with the Opposition.  In addition the House of Lords has certain powers of oversight.

Both systems, that in each of the US and in the UK, would not deliver democracy as efficiently without one other factor, a free press.  It is a free press, acting responsibly, that, for example:

  • gives widespread publicity and criticism to what either or both the executive and the legislature are up to;
  • helps to inform public opinion and enhances the ability of individuals to make informed decisions at the ballot box;
  • contributes to keeping politicians on their toes 
  • assist in keeping politicians from abuse and corruption;
  • reports openly publicising abuses of power and attempts by politicians to coerce or frighten persons into acts that are contrary to their wishes and/or interests. 
  • keeps a focus on the wider interests of a State or its people rather than the interests of a particular Government, which can become too focussed and narrow.

    Gibraltar has a press but how free is it?  GBC is funded by and so dependant entirely on Government,  the Chronic (which, notwithstanding, does sterling work in bland reporting of news and press releases) is heavily indebted to Government, the New People is the GSLP mouthpiece, 7 Days the GSD mouthpiece, VOX was closed down due to its heavy indebtedness (which did not seem to bother certain people whilst it was "on message"), that leaves Gibraltar with Panorama, which, despite its leanings to the left, publishes a wide range of views from different subscribers.

    In short, in my judgement, there is not much (if any) of a free press in Gibraltar. Neither the US nor the UK system of separation of the executive and the legislature exists in Gibraltar, because the entire executive makes up the government benches in the legislature. The conjoint result is that a democratic deficit exists in Gibraltar that is substantially larger than would be accepted in most western democracies. I make no apologies for anything that I have published in this blog, therefore. It is published in  exercise of the right to freedom of expression. I believe that this blog makes a valid (although, likely, small) contribution  to democracy in Gibraltar.

    More so when none of what is published is anti-Gibraltar, certainly it cannot be branded as such for the reason given, namely, that it criticises aspects of the GSD Government's and Peter Caruana's actions and policies and certainly not because it allows others to comment anonymously.  In addition I do not believe that there is a single blog published that  is critical of Gibraltar itself.  There is not a single one critical of anyone at a personal as opposed to a political level. It contains also criticism of the political actions and policies of others, aside from Peter Caruana and the GSD.  It praises Peter Caruana specifically for being a great believer in and defender of the right to free speech, indeed, had it not been for the forceful exercise of this right by him in his extreme criticism of the previous administration, the GSLP, would he have ever been elected? I note that those who label this blog anti-Gibraltar have never labelled Peter Caruana or the GSD with the same label, is this just subjective licence or partisan bias? Readers should bear in mind that the actions of an incumbent Government will always be more susceptible to criticism and so an imbalance can be and is usually perceived to exist.

    I, and all others, did not live through the closed frontier days, in defiance of Francisco Franco's (El Caudillo's) dictatorial  Spain, lacking freedom of speech, to be frightened into silence by hypocrites with commercial interests who consider themselves to be the guardians of Gibraltar but who are, by maintaining close relations and contacts with all incumbent Governments,  the guardians of their own wealth, interests and lifestyle. I will certainly not be silenced by their baseless accusations that this blog is anti-Gibraltar.  This blog is a responsible  exercise of a fundamental right of freedom of speech (sadly otherwise largely absent in Gibraltar),  without which freedom, democracy would be closer to death in Gibraltar. If exercising that freedom  leaves me open to the accusation that I am obsessed by politics, as I was accused yesterday of being by someone close to the Chief Minister, I will take that as a compliment and not an insult.


    1. I could not agree with you more! The culture of almost 'slavish adulation' that exists here (not just for PC, but also his predecessors)is in my opinion unique if you put aside dictatorships past and present.

      It has more to do with being seen to be on the 'right side' (with all the possible benefits that could bring)and nothing to do with a measured and sensible assessment of the pros/cons of the incumbent.

      Consequently the 'dissenter' is either gagged or vilified for daring to express an alternative view and that is where we are,and always have been! Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right and the sooner that gets into certain individuals heads the better!!!

      The right to express ones views openly and freely cannot be suppressed and (as you quite rightly say) those who differ are only inadvertently paying you a backhanded compliment!!!! Maximus...

    2. Ole, ole y ole!

      That final paragraph es una verdad como un templo and those are the same people who will bring down Peter Caruana y despues dejarlo tirado...they will be the first ones to criticise him and Gibraltar...pero then it won't matter, will it!

    3. Fred says:

      valiente cashondeo que alguien que 'ta meti'o 'ta la' narice' en politica te 'iga ke you are obsessed with politics, manda huevo!

      Perhaps they would rather you just shut up and let them get on with their little shennanigans?

      There would not be any dirty linen to air in public if they adopted a progressive agenda.

      By the way, quien pago pa' que PC y su religious compadres fueran a visita al Papa?

    4. LW,

      I still disagree with the following statement

      "that when any politician become bigger than the place they govern and its electorate, then it is time for a change"

      Not because of what it says but more because of what it subtly implies. That we should get rid of PC simply because he is "bigger than the electorate" whilst being an idealistic view it is not appropriate when there are only 2 other parties. One which has far to many skeletons in their cabinet, and the other which according to you is "not making any headway".

      I agree that if/when the incumbent becomes lackadaisical there should be a change. However not when the other options have either no experience in power or are not as good as the current CM.

      So I suggest that you ought to just confront those naysayers who dismiss your political capabilities and start a party of your own to give the people of Gibraltar another option as you did in the No campaign(..?) An "EQUIPASO" type scenario.

      Or perhaps you could just alter the above phrase to make it sound less far fetched??

    5. Hi Orwell:

      Point taken but as I have said in an earlier blog, change can also come from within the GSD!

      Regrettably I have no ambition, at this stage in my life, to become a Minister! I would happily stand if I could be a backbencher and say in Parliament what I say here. In fact I could and would say more as i would have the protection of Parliamentary Privilege.

    6. Animo Robert, why not give it a go!


    7. Filomeno says: Gibraltar is living through a "Ground Hog Day" experience. For 2010 read 1995 and for GSLP read GSD. "Good bye Pete, you've got to go, me o my -o...."

    8. LW- Good on you for articulating the need for an alternative perspective on current affairs, free of any potential conflicts of interests that our press and media may have.

      One of the benefits of your blog is that it is stimulating debate and ideas outside of the traditional public forums like our newspapers, broadcaster or over coffees in town. People not otherwise comfortable publically expressing their views can use the anonymity afforded by the internet to make a genuine contribution to the shaping of ideas in their home town.

      In my view, aside from the issue of whether our local press is truly "free", further local Parliamentary reform is essential to avoid the stagnation that seems to be enveloping the current political scene. Orwell makes a valid point in that there is a perception that the current alternatives to the present CM may be no improvement so why bother changing (I take your point that evolution within the GSD itself may change this).

      Our electorate needs to be served better by our representatives; back benchers with the influence to sway votes in Parliaments would therefore be a good thing. People unafraid to speak their mind, such as yourself or Charles Gomez, would improve the standard of our democracy no end by acting as back benchers in our Parliament.

    9. Well said!!! As long as we do not get personal, Long live Freedom of Speach .

      La verdad duele .

    10. Was unable to make it on Saturday morning but apparently the PDP launched their pre-election campaign at ICC / Casemates. One thing that really struck me when I heard the announcement on the news is that they intend to visit people at home in their estates THROUGHOUT the year and not just once every four years. I think that's a very important step forward as I've always resented being visited only at election time and then being ignored for four years. And woe betide if I try to criticise the Govt in the pages of our local papers using my own name. End of career and of any sort of advancement in Gib. I don't think the PDP will be able to keep it up but if they do, it will be a step forward for democracy in Gibraltar.

    11. Ghost Says:
      WOW - Robert I have to say that I do not disagree with your blog and would add that it tackles almost every aspect of what we hold so dear, that being democracy and right to free speech. I do however think that your reasoning with regard to Caruana being bigger than the institution is driven by inaccuracies and the effective ability of opposition parties to suggest that he is.
      Arrogance is one thing (something that most successful leaders have by natural default I might add), but to suggest that Caruana (arrogant as he no doubt is),can rule on levels that would place him with likes of Idi Amin, Benito Mussolini, or Frankito himself is ridiculous - surely Robert you are better than that?
      Although I do not know Caruana personally, I would imagine that being in power for this long is now wearing thin even for him. I think even he would argue that being in power for so long is wholly undemocratic.
      You will know by now that I am supporter of Gibraltar and on a personal level…actually on most levels, Gibraltar is in a different league and has been since Caruana transformed what was a community under threat of direct rule with a dying economy to what it is today. What in my view is really quite scary and I ask you and your readers to think about this, is who on earth is truly showing signs of leadership within our political arena. Leadership with strength, with political integrity, without agenda and for the betterment of Gibraltar....oh and not forgetting the arrogance required to hold a job of this nature. You are so spot on with regards to your mention of checks and balances and the U.S system but we will leave that for another debate. My point here is that we deserve a system of party politics that should work in the way that it was intended, that being of constructive checks and balances, one in which opposition parties have the sense of admitting right and success when it has been achieved and of being constructive in their criticism and checks for the good of all of us.
      If we are to be critical of our Govt, which we have a right to be, should we not at the very least look at all sides and truly consider whether all these deficiencies are weighted purely on one side as you suggest, or whether there is an argument that might just suggest that we are being taken for a ride by those who may have far more dangerous agendas than Caruana and with no real thought or responsibility to you and me?
      I cannot wait for the onslaught that no doubt will no doubt come my way..:)

    12. Quite right, Robert. There is a pro-GSD blog on the internet where that same suggestion (i.e. that criticism of the GSD is tantamount to criticism of Gibraltar) is often repeated. By some happy coincidence, I have already made a comment on their first blog article expressing the same concerns as you do above.

    13. Calpetano Hi,
      Please post the pro-GSD blog 'address'.

    14. Hi Ghost

      I do NOT mention any of Idi Amin or Benito Mussolini, where do you get these names from in my blog? My blog is a criticism of acts of GSD supporters and the atmosphere and perceptions created. Followed by the dangers that lurk if these are not counteracted.

      My mention of Frankito himself is not in the context of any comparison with the Chief Minister. It is in the context of those who, thinking they are doing the Chief Minister a favour, try and stifle free speech. I clearly say and have said before that Peter Caruana is a fine supporter of free speech.

      So your campaign is, make no change because no one is showing leadership? This argument is back to front. Leadership is shown once elected. No more clearly proven by the UK today, where we have a coalition that could never have shown leadership because it did not exist at the time of the General Election. In any event you ignore my suggestion that change can come from within the GSD.

      The electorate will no doubt look at all sides. I am and I do not like what I see on the issues that I write about. Please elucidate us but not on what has bee done but on what was promised and has not been done, open, transparent and accountable government, as that not the main criticism by the GSD of the GSLP in the 1996 General Election? Are we not in the same place on these issues today? Yet even you say that this is a different debate. It is not.

      The point is being well made by the two recent Opinion Polls, one in the Chronic and the other in Panorama today. Support is ebbing from the GSD. They can either take note and change tack or carry on down a slippery slope.

      I hope that you do not consider this to be an onslaught but rather fair and measured argument. :)

    15. LW

      "So your campaign is, make no change because no one is showing leadership? This argument is back to front. Leadership is shown once elected."

      Was this not your very own criticism of the PDP? Surely then the PDP should be given a chance!

    16. Ghost says:
      Robert apologies you are right with regards to my inaccurate interpretation. Nevertheless, I do not think that you compare the state of affairs in 1996 to that of today in any respect including free speech - I disagree that supporters of the GSD can in anyway stifle your free thought or even create any type of malice. I have to say that your blog does bring very interesting views to light and I enjoy this banter - healthy for the mind and escapism from screaming kids. I always try to be open with regards to opinions and views, so I will not on this occasion argue that narrow mindedness exists and that there are some that would prefer to hear only praise for Caruana as are there those who will only accept praise for Bossano / Picardo . I am pleased that you raise the question of change within the GSD, I agree it is long overdue and I am sure that most within the party would probably agree. I touched on political responsibility before with regard to what one might expect from both sides of the bench - this in my view is what should be tackled, that of our expectation of both Govt and the opposition and although we may hear continuous ramblings from the opposition I am yet to hear anything with real substance that suggests the makings of great leadership....I hear only counter arguments mostly on policies that are actually either working or have the makings of working - never have I heard sensible solutions and a vision for Gibraltar, with the people of Gibraltar at the forefront. On the opinion polls - the point is most certainly being made and I for one will take another step back and re-appraise what 54% can see that I have missed, or whether this poll reflects the opinion that the GSD has just been in too long. Then again, we really might be witnessing change driven by this new ambitious, innovative, young and energetic party that is the GSLP, eager to be pro-active??? Only time will tell and so I guess for now we can continue to throw ideas and beliefs across the net and maybe by the time we get to the next election, we will both see the change that I think we both would like to see...who knows.
      Thanks for the fair and measured argument....:)


    18. Hi Orwell:

      My criticism of the PDP was that they were making no inroads into the electorate. Of course they should have a chance but they have to open up the opportunity for themselves, which they are not doing.

      Hi Ghost:

      You forget an old adage in politics ... no Opposition wins an election, an incumbent Government loses it!

    19. Not quite Anonymous, but almost ;)

      Read it and cringe.

    20. Hi Calpetano;

      Being copied is the height of flattery and if after a mention by "LA RUGE" on GBC all they can get is 1 comment well ... need I say more?

      I trust that "LA RUGE" will plug this blog also. After all GBC is independent of Government and a "public service broadcaster" so it should plug this blog also. I know these things because I used to be the Deputy Chairman of GBC during the GSLP administration.

      Perhaps that blog is a reaction to criticism in this blog to GBC. Now that they have a new CEO and an "independent" ( oh! Sorry maybe not because it is chaired by Joe Holiday, a GSD Minister!) review board they might correct such bias.

      I wonder if someone will tell them about this comment or whether they will read it themselves?

    21. That Barbary Tail blog is dreadful. If whoever writes it is reading this can you please cut out all the "I am pretending I'm an ape eating bananas and looking down from O'Hara's" drivel and get down to the nitty-gritty of writing a decent blog.

    22. Excellent point Robert. I did question whether "La Rouge" was aware that the Barbarytail blog was party political.

      At best, she didn't and is being used by the blogger for his own ends.

      At worst, she did and is a willing party to plugging GSD propaganda on a publicly-funded radio station.

    23. LW I take on board your criticism of the PDP not making any in-roads with the electorate. This is no easy task as we all know, but it is possible, Gibraltar has seen parties spring up from nowhere in its fairly recent history; build, grown and be elected into Government. We are not a 2-party system dating back years and years like the UK and even that has now brought a coalition Government which may or may not work but it is still too early to comment on that.

      The PDP, as you yourself saw on Saturday morning, are out there trying to make that all-important breakthough with the public. It will not happen overnight but you have to start somewhere and finding out what people's grievances are is the first step in trying to find solutions. That is what politicians strive to do; find solutions.

    24. In a small community it is incumbent upon Government to act carefully, and with restraint when reacting to criticism from individuals. More so when one takes into account that Gibraltar is a small place and we are not much inclined to criticise publicly (political opposition parties aside). That is true from reviews of amateur dance shows, support of less than beautiful pageant participants and to criticism of more weighty matters.
      Where as this blog lauds the CM’s love of freedom of speech I am not so convinced. Nobody is suggesting that the thought police are going to come crashing through the door if you write a complaining letter to the Chronicle. But there have been several incidents where the Government has acted in a heavy handed and disproportionate manner. In a manner that makes people think twice about offering criticism publicly. By way of example;
      • The Government’s very personal reaction to the IPPL’s spokewoman’s criticism of the GoG’s ape culling policy – which include a threat of libel proceedings (a threat the Government must have known was entirely without legal basis);
      • A certain DTTI Minister’s cack-handed response to a letter of criticism in the Chronicle which included a press release detailing the contents of an individual’s ETB file (can you imagine a Government Minister surviving that sort of abuse of power in the UK?)
      • The attempt to cast aspersions on the motivation of a local home buyer by casting her as a GSLP stooge when she attempted to organise a protest about the delays at Waterport Terraces.
      • The speedy demise of VOX and its coincidence with a sharp change in its editorial line
      • The Government’s refusal to place advertising in the New People because it’s a party rag but the sudden emergence of a free paper which relies on Government advertising and has a very pro GSD editorial line
      In my view it is all very well for the CM to welcome “valid criticism” as he did in one of his New Year’s addresses (a statement which in my view raises more questions than it answers) – but it is when the Government is faced with what it perceives as invalid criticism that its views on freedom of speech are properly tested. In my view they have shown themselves to be wanting
      Freedom of speech is important but equally important is freedom of information. It is difficult to assess the quality of Government when critical information is not readily in the public domain. How would we judge the Government if we knew for example how or why Midtown or the OEM Houses were awarded without a proper tender process. As recently raised by the GSLP – what happened to the re-juventation of Rosa Bay – how did the Government come to decide to allow a developer to build more, and pay the public less? Perhaps we would slap the Government on the back for clinching such great deals if we knew, or perhaps we would not.

      In my view this Government have mistaken the electorates patience for electoral apathy. But patience is turning to impatience and dissatisfaction – which is now boiling to the surface as manifested by this blog and opinion polls.

    25. Anonymous at 14.39 what an excellent post. Freedom of information is so important, one constantly sees the opposition fraught with frustration in Parliament because they are never given the full facts; info and statics are drip-fed to them in a painfully slow process that Government seem to enjoy. As for the rest of us who look to Parliament to lead it is equally torturous. If the opposition cannot get a straight answer out of the Government in public in our Parliament then woe-betide the rest of us.

    26. Yes, the PDP is a breath of fresh air for the future. I didn't think it would survive the departure of two key executive members just a few months after the party was founded (Marilou Guerrero and Leo Olivero) but somehow it did, thanks to the determination of leader Keith Azopardi.

      Now Deputy Leader Nick Cruz is nowhere to be seen. Is Nick still Deputy Leader? Is he still on the executive? Indeed, is he still a member of the PDP or is he migrating back towards his natural political home?

      I think the success or otherwise of the PDP in, at least, continuing in existence will depend on whether Keith can stem the exit of key executive committee members.

    27. Plato says:

      Anonymous at 14.39, 'chapeau' to you.

    28. Anon 14.39

      Ole, ole y ole!

    29. Is Mark - Rosie Peach? If so, are you still in the PDP? I heard the PDP's stance against Dolphinarium idea was yours. Congrats.

    30. Peter said:


      I am afraid that the PDP did not survive the departure of the two exec members you mention. They could not put together a full slate at the last election and their result was the worst for a third party ever. The loss of Cruz if does not stand would also be a blow as they have no strengh in depth. I doubt very much whether he will stand as you, quite rightly, intimated some weeks ago. I saw KA on GBC he looked very flustered. He looks like a man who knows he is getting nowhere fast. You have got to realise that you are not talking about a party of youngsters. KA is no spring chicken! The PDP will not get a single seat at the next election and if they dont then there is no future. KA would have to call it a day. How many times can he face rejection?

    31. The problem with KA is that he thought that he had a poltical life without Peter Caruana and he clearly does not. He does not have any where near the genius of Caruana or Bossano, the charisma of a Peter Montegriffo or the originality of a Charles Gomez or the panache of a Daniel Feetham or even the oiliness of a Fabian Picardo. Keith's best bet is to join one of the big parties.

    32. Peter said

      anon 21.10
      "oiliness of a fabian picardo". One of the best blog one liners this month.

      I agree. I think he over estimated himself. He must now be kicking himself. I also agree with Mark: don't be surprised if Cruz goes back to the GSD.

    33. Rebecca: what party have you seen in Gibraltar's recent history spring from nowhere,"build,grown and be elected into government"? freedom of speach is paramount but knowing your history is also paramount. The two party system has been around for a very , very long time.

    34. Panache! Daniel Feetham panache? The only panache i have seen around was on the head of two of our governors, when they send us civil servants instead of members of her Majesties forces.

    35. The two-party system may have been around for a very long time, but that does not necessarily mean it is a healthy system. Moreover, both current major parties were once "third parties" themselves, until they garnered enough support on their own merits or were able to take advantage of the demise of other more established parties.

      In answer to the Anonymous (above) replying to Rebecca..."what party have you seen in Gibraltar's recent history spring from nowhere, build, grow and be elected into government?"

      Answer: the GSD.

    36. IWBP Calpetano and that's recent history!

    37. T Calpetano: I have not said it is healthy system I have said it has been around for a very long time.

      The two major parties you say were once third parties had each of them something which the PDP has not. the GSLP had Joe Bossano who although on his own in the The House of Assembly used to get nearly the same amount of votes as the then Chief Minister Sir Joshua Hassan, and the GSD had all the anti- socialist voters. The PDP has disgruntled members or supporters of other parties who want a bite at power.

    38. In answer to Calpetano's answer : The GSD.
      The GSD did not spring up from nowhere, it was masterminded a very long time before it sprung up from nowhere. It was just waiting for the appropriate time to come forth. Those old enough and with some political "sabe" know what i am talking about. Know your history.

    39. Thanks Calpetano for taking the words out of my mouth. Anon, when I said recent history I meant in the last 30 years. The GSD started at more or less the same time as the GNP, many of the GSD exec.were 'disgruntled members from other parties' and what's wrong about that? Joe Boss, the hallowed Peter M, Danny and our CM were all in other parties before the ones they are in now, it is most certainly not only the PDP who have some exec. members who were formerly in other parties.

      Our 2-party system as we know it today started in 1992, kicked-in in 1996 when the GSD won the elections and has been perpetuated ever since.But even that has its permeatations i.e. one of the parties had to form an alliance with a 'third party'. So if I'm being picky, we don't really have a 2-party system at all!!

      I don't wish to 'out' anyone here, but how many of you are in political parties, and I mean in the executive and going to regular meetings etc. It's a very different world on the inside guys...

    40. I thank the Anonymous poster for the impromptu history lesson but fear that he must re-read his.

      The GSD were officially launched on the 14th December 1989 by Peter Montegriffo and came to power under Peter Caruana 7 years later in 1996. Anonymous may be privy to some information that I do not have, but for however long the party was allegedly "masterminded" behind the scenes, I doubt it could have been much earlier than the 25th March 1988 (when the GSLP came to power).

      I'm sure that Anonymous will agree with me that even 8 years (from 1988 to 1996) is an impressively short period of time from which to go from political obscurity to government.

      Of course, we could argue about whether that was owing to the GSD's own merits, the "support" it may or may not have received from local and/or external sources or the failings of the GSLP administration which saw it slump from landslide victory in 1992 to defeat 4 short years later.

      See - my history isn't half bad.

    41. I agree that Keith Azopardi is going nowhere fast. Shame because he has a few good people such as Gigi with good ideas and the courage of their convictions - but I don't think they can survive the loss of the high-profile Marilou and Leo so soon after the founding of the party - and now the loss of Deputy Leader Nick, who is inexorably drifting back into the arms of erstwhile adversary Peter Caruana for reasons best known to Nick (but reasons that I think some of us can try and guess).

      But at least Keith has had the tenacity to keep going with what he believes in - unlike Danny, who capitulated very quickly and ran to join the opposing force. His Labour Party crumbled after the so-called 'merger', as a result, but that's OK because the opportunistic Danny no longer had any use for it.

      No, I'm not Rosie Peach - and I don't think "Peter" is Peter Caruana either. Latter is too busy rallying the troops to try and make a last stand following successive dismal opinion polls in Chronic and Pano.

    42. Mark
      Eres un calentita!

      What is the difference between Azo going from the GNP (predecessor) to the GSD when his way was blocked by the good Dr and then from the GSD to PDP when he felt threatened by Danny; or oily Picardo persuading Danny to leave the GSLP because he said Bossano could not be trusted and then jumping from the Liberals into the GSLP to fill the void (go and talk to John Gomez about this at La Piazza who speaks with first hand knowledge) or Montegriffo who leaves the AACR in 1989 to set up the GSD only to leave it on the lurch in 1991 with Caruana picking up the pieces and only returning three months before the 1996 when he thought he could be CM. Even Bossano went from the IWBP in 1973 to the GDM in 1976 and then formed the GSLP in 1979. Lets have a beauty contest to the most opportunistic and see who wins. The only heavy weight politicians who have stayed loyal to one party have been Peter Caruana and Sir Joshua Hassan. That is perhaps why they have been the most successful.

    43. Wasn't Peter Caruana in the PAG all those years ago? Therefore he was not loyal to one party. See, even He's a party-hopper.

    44. Cor blimey! Para que se le escape algo a alguien. There's no hopping here unnoticed! You are all probably the same front line politicians speaking about yourselves and to one another!

    45. Who says John Gomez speaks with first hand knowledge? John Gomez speaks with second, third or fourth hand knowledge. He always thinks he has more knowledge than he does and he certainly has not got the inside information he pretends he has.

    46. Peter Caruana was NEVER in the PAG. He may have been their election agent but was never in the PAG.

    47. You certainly can not out anybody, it is so easy to belong to the executive of some political parties, where you do not have to stand for elections and compete for a seat in the executive.Some political parties choose you "ha dedo" like we say llanito style or else you leave one party and join the other and just for the publi they welcome you with opoen arms.

    48. Anonymous to Anonymous:
      Azo did not leave the GNP because his way was blocked by the good DR. and he certainly did not leave the GSD because he was threatend by Danny, and Danny was certainly not persuaded by Fabian to leave the GSLP because he said Bossano could not be trusted! Where on earth do you get this all this erroneous information? And i still have not finished.

    49. Calpetano: there are some lacunas in your recollection of history but unfortunately I have seen history being rewritten on many occasions infront of my very own eyes, but i like the part about "support"from local and/or exterrnal sources.

    50. Rebecca; the GSD executive were not 'disgruntled members from other parties'THEN, except PM.


    52. Rebecca: one of the parties did not have to form an alliance. An alliance was formed because after having a joint front on external affairs it would have been ludicrous to fight them on a by election after the demise of Robert Mor.Did you not notice when you formed part of the Liberal Party that they got into the House of Assembly so callled then with the votes of the GSLP?

    53. Il Divo says: Rebecca said:"It's a very different world on the inside guys..." and how right she is. "Insiders," and I regret to say the PDP are the worst culprits, come across as smarmy know it alls who, lacking experience of life, intellectual acumen and even sometimes basic common sense pontificate to the rest of us. It really is not good enough to say that the administration of this city is a punch and judy show and say that you are a breath of fresh air when in fact "wind" might be a better description and you have nothing substantial to say. Look Rebecca, we who look at politics from the outside don't like what we see. Granted the PDP does not have the oleaginous quality of the likes of Fabian Picardo but it does not say much to the average well educated reasonably intelligent Gibraltarian either. You "insiders" really need to get your acts together. Gibraltar deserves better, surely.

    54. Who says we don't, John? We do eat your food and enjoy it. that is why we know you do not know as much as you think you do.

    55. Anon to Anon: PM could have been Chief Minister
      he had a few more votes than PC

    56. To all:

      John Gomez is above all a great, good and one of my best and most honest friends. You get what you see and what I see is always good, irrespective of whether we agree or not.

      He does know and he does hold first class opinions and one thing that he does not do, which most of us in Gibraltar do, is BOAST! He could do that a lot more. More than most, as he has achieved in and for Gibraltar more than many by having principles and holding to them. I admire him for that and following his example would improve many Gibraltarians and certainly Gibraltar, which he holds very close and dear to his heart.

      Yo soy del yort club y del pish. He is one of the first Gibraltarians that I met in Gibraltar who did not hold that against me. I assure you that, if you are born with a certain surname and have been SENT to school in England, it is not easy to re-integrate into the community in Gibraltar because everyone has known each other throughout their school years. John was one of the few that helped me to do that and we have remained friends for the best part of 30 years.

      Enough ... save that I do not think personal comments or criticisms do anything to enhance this blog, and to do that hiding behind anonymity is just cowardly, so please lets keep away from them ... and certainly no more comments like that of the anonymous person whose comment I have rejected because it is BITCHY and UNTRUE (he knows who he is).

      And as to advertising in this blog ... I endorse John's comment that the food, drink and service at the Piazza is second to none in Gibraltar.

    57. As far as I can recall, notwithstanding his earlier membership of the GNP, the "Oily" Picardo has only ever stood for election under the GSLP banner.

      Unlike some of the other names being mentioned here.

      Keith Azopardi has contested elections for 2 different parties (and belonged to a third). Daniel Feetham ditto (and also belonged to a third). Peter Montegriffo too.

    58. Albert said:

      To Annon 19:46 Did'nt Garcia tear up the GSLP manifesto in 1996 on GBC and then stood for election on the basis of virtually those same policies in the 1999 byelection?

      To Annon 23:12 Azo stood for election with the GNP, the GSD and PDP - a proud record!

      Montegritto stood for election with the AACR and GSD - but has only been a member of two parties.

      Our friend OMEGA 3 may have only stood for election with the GSLP in 2003 but campaigned for the Liberals against the GSLP on at least 2 elections.

      They are all as bad as each other.

    59. Grammarian - 26 May 2010 17:55

      You have a good sense of humour.

    60. Isn't this debate becoming rather entangled into who is who n what is what and who did what n when?? Ancient history!! Primary objective should be to remove Caruana at the first possible opportunity and restore normality!!!

    61. Much as I enjoy Mr. Vasquez' splendid Blog it might be interesting for people writing in to concentrate less on the "personalities" in and around the political scene and devote more time to the issues facing Gibraltar and the various parties' policies on issues such as the economy (which really should be paramount in our minds at this time), town planning, the tendering system, drugs, and a long etc. I wonder whether e.g. rather than rehashing well known details about how many political parties Dr. Garcia or Daniel Feetham have been in, there might be some discussion on, say, the work of the former in bringing the British Liberal Party (now in government) on to our side or the latter's good work in the Ministry of Justice. I do not suggest that this hitherto sometimes highly amusing Blog turn more serious but perhaps by highlighting the successes of some politicians to spur others to try to achieve similar results. I think that my suggestion is non controversial but if it offends anyone I apologise in advance!

    62. To Llanito World-Robert Vasquez
      I enjoy the blog tremendously but do i detect a dictatorial Caruana (your cousin as you yourself say} streak in the ENOUGH... only you and the Anon who wrote the blog you are answering to have been privy to what was said. You are in your right to reject comments which are personal and to reject insults, but the picture you paint of your friend is certainly not the one most of us Gibraltarians have.

    63. I am sorry that you feel that my saying enough in the sense that I had myself written enough renders me dictatorial! So controlling myself is dictatorial? Funny world!

      The comment that I rejected was simply defamatory.

      I agree with Charles Gomez let us try and keep to issues, although talking sensibly about people who are openly politicians must be a permitted exercise of free speech.

    64. I am getting confused with all these 'anonymous' people, can you please give yourselves pseudonyms so we can tell which 'anonymous' you are.

      You are right, the Alliance started with a joint front on foreign affairs (remember the Protocol X and Y thing)and then it took AGES and a lot of tap-dancing to finally come to an agreement on the Alliance. In the meantime Robert Mor passed away, Joseph stood for the bi-election in 1999, but then so did Peter Cabezutto; not everyone was happy with the alliance idea and that manifested itself on both sides. I joined the GNP in 1994 so can allow myself the luxury of speaking with experience.

      The Liberal Party may have got 2 members in the house 'on the back of GSLP votes' and dropped one of their own in the process, but look what happened in the last election. All 3 Liberals got in and it was the GSLP candidates who lost out. Now it's a 4:3 ratio in the Parliament as opposed to a 5:2 ratio. People laughed at the GNP-Liberals, took the mickey out of Joseph and Steven Linares, but if the polls are anything to go by, those two will be Ministers next year and they will have the last laugh.

      Politics is for everyman, but only for those who dare to join the fray...

    65. To Rebecca

      Ain't you supposed to be in the PDP or have I lost track of a party hop somewhere along the line? Are you back with the liberals?

      I agree and I go further - the Liberals could well undertake a reverse takeover of the GSLP. Particularly when el amigo "oily" was once a liberal and is now poised to take over the leadership of the GSLP. Not a bad thing if you ask me.

    66. I agree with Nick, sorry Rebecca, too many Anons and therefore too confusing. For instance, Anon 26 May 12.01 accuses me of being a "calentita" and Anon 27 May 10.11 detects a "dictatorial Caruana (your cousin as you yourself say) streak" in Llanito World. It would be much easier to defend ourselves against these and other accusations - unfounded or otherwise - if you could at the very least USE PSEUDONYMS PLEASE. Very confusing to try and keep track of all these anonymous postings.

    67. Rebecca: you may have joined the GNP in 1994 but gibraltar and its political parties existed before you appeared on the scene,"otra que se cree el ombligo del universo, se parece ala mariluz". If you had analized the results of the last elections or listend to some of the members of your NOW party outside the polling stations where I was handing out pamphlets, you would know that the third liberal got in at the expense of the 5th GSLP because he not only got in on the back of the GSLP votes but also on the leftover votes of the PDP. But to use your own words the PDP will carry a full slate at the next elections so their will be no left over votes.

    68. Anon said: Rebecca you should know from the 'luxury of your experience' that the GSLP backed Joseph Garcia. They even manned most of the Polling Stations because the Liberals did note enough supporters.

    69. To Llanito World
      Anon said. Please accept my sincere apologies as I misinterpreted the ENOUGH. I thought it meant 'end of conversation' directed towards the anons and not to your goodself.

    70. Rather than accept that the GSD, like Labour last year, is in its last throes, it seem GSD activists will not go quietly and have embarked on a smear campaign on Fabian P on this forum, calling him "oleaginous" and "Omega 3". It's too late, lads, can't you see that the game is over and high time for a change?

      Peter Caruana was seen walking along Main St one evening earlier this week cutting a very forlorn figure basically ignored by everyone as was the case with Joe Bossano once he lost power.

      It seems that on learning the result of the GSD's disastrous performance in the historically very reliable Panorama poll on Monday he promptly got Julio Pons to guide him around Laguna Estate (unless of course the visit had already been scheduled, which is possible).

      But it's too late Pete. Can't you see that you're heading for Opposition? It's time for a change, even if we have to kick the other lot out again after four years, as Llanito World rightly says, for the sake of democracy. Sorry Pete: the Panorama poll says it's all over for the GSD. It will be next year.

    71. Anon said: by having a discussion as is suggested on Dr.Garcia's good work in bringing the British Liberal Party to GIb is it not once again concentrating on 'personalities'? It is the Liberal Party Policy To obtain as much support for Gibraltar as possible. As to the good work of Danny as Minister for Jusdtice the merit is Caruanas' for Danny is just the messenger he is not independant.

    72. Fred says:

      Can we change the subject now?

      You are all getting a bit boring and there's an awful stink of political types around here at the moment who just seem intent on being catty towards each other.

      How about we discuss the following: problems in the RGP: a question of a few rotten apples, simple incompetence or a deeper systemic problem?

      Just trying to get matters back to policy and social issues.

    73. I agree let's get rid of pompous old Caruana. Some might think that Fabian Picardo is a bit gooey or oily or whatever but I don't and a change is as good as a rest. But Fabian needs to start putting himself about a bit more, he has been awfully quiet for a very long time.

    74. Too many anons!!!!

      I did say that the GSLP backed Joseph, but I also said that not everyone was happy about that. Why I am telling you this, you all know it anyway, the entire WORLD OF POLITICS existed long before I came on the scene.(Said from the 'luxury' of my experience-filled domain!)LW, I love this blogspot...

      Just because I am in the PDP doesn't mean I cannot admire people from other parties and their achievements, like Charles Gomez rightly pointed out, it's high-time we saw some of the merits in each other instead of this constant, dreary criticism.

      You mention the last election and talk about the GSLP as if it is a seperate party working on its own, as far as Parliament and elections go, the GSLP forms part of an Alliance i.e GSLP/LIBS, that is how they are referred to in every press release and how they refer to themselves.

      Of course they manned more (not most) of the polling stations, they are indeed the bigger part of the Alliance, hence the fact they put forward more candidates, a ratio of 7:3. Anyway, you seem like a GSLP (singular) supporter, so why all this animosity towards the Liberals; you're Brothers-In-Arms are you not?

    75. Anon said to Mark:
      You are right in that the days of the GSD are over, but you are wrong when you say Bossano was alone once he was out of power. His 35% of the electorate has been there for him through thick and thin.The GSLP office has been manned by volunteers all these years,the signs of affection of the working class towards him have never stopped. It was only in those circles where people thought of theselves better than they really are that they isolated him specially if Caruana was present, but Caruana is a different kettle of fish he will leave no friends, and the "pelotas" will soon disappear

    76. Avatar said:
      To Mark

      Come on grow a thicker skin. Someone has a bit of fun and is not even overly critical of Picardo and you cry foul and despicable conspiracy theories. If you want him to lead the country he has to take it on the chin and learn to take criticism as well as dishing it out. You appear to be just as obsessed about Danny Feetham yourself and far more personal in your criticism. So chill out man. NOW LETS GET BACK TO ISSUES.

    77. Anon said:
      Rebecca of course the Libs and GSLP are Brothers-In-Arms specially since egomaniacs and charlatans left the Liberal Party, but facts are facts even if we are brothers. What good is freedom of speech if we distort reality.

    78. You seem very, very passionate about politics anon, that emotion should be harnessed and used to its full potential. I hope you will be standing for election next year.

    79. Anon to Rebecca:
      Flattery is like cologne water, to be smelt not swallowed.
      Josh Billing American Humorist.