It is just as well that Peter Caruana's view is that "Polls are not things we usually pay attention to ...". If he (or it, one assumes he means the GSD Government) paid attention to them we would get a dedicated edition instead of just two and a half FULL pages in the Chronic (Thursday 17th June 2010). Of course, he was not reacting, for one second, to the recent adverse opinion polls in the Chronic and the Panorama, the timing is entirely coincidental.
It may be that he just felt like boasting a little about his GSD Government's achievements. It is a pity that he did not check them off against the list of Commitments that they set out on page 4 of their 2007 Election Manifesto. If he had the story would sound somewhat different. It is too boring to undertake that exercise here. I leave it to readers to undertake it themselves. You can find the Manifesto on http://www.gsd.gi/. Remember it is governments that have to make good on Manifesto commitments. This is not the function or in the gift of the Opposition or any other political party.
One matter deserves mention, not least because it has always been close to my heart. In the Commitments List it is described as "Reform of Parliament's way of working". This promise is enlarged upon at page 51 of the Manifesto: "We will reform the way our new Parliament conducts its work to ensure that we have a modern Parliament that meets this community's modern needs".
A few paragraphs earlier the GSD remind us that it " ... will remain committed to open, transparent, fair and good Government. This is the cornerstone of the quality of life in Gibraltar. It is vital that the huge progress made not be lost by a return to how things were done in the past". Those who remember the ascent to power of the GSD in 1996 will remember it's promises of being a "team", "good governance", "transparency", "tenders" and that the GSD would rid Gibraltar of the climate of fear so people could express their views without fear of repercussion.
Hello Mr Caruana, hello GSD, you can boast as much as you want about what you perceive to be achievements but people look at how these have been undertaken and achieved. I would venture to suggest that many of the promises in the previous paragraph have been sacrificed on the altar of expediency. Much may have been done (much greatly delayed and much has not even started, for example where are the new mental health facilities promised?) but has much or any of it been done in accordance with, having in mind and acting in accordance with those principles that the GSD espoused in 1996 and reminded the electorate of in it's 2007 manifesto? Each elector can make up his own mind. To me the abandonment of the the reform of Parliament sufficiently palpably shows that it has not.
Change, as highlighted in an earlier blog, can come from within the GSD. It does not need to mean a change of governing party. The time has come for the GSD to stop relying on, to quote Mr Caruana, the electorate knowing "...what Gibraltar was the last time it was under a GSLP government. a lot of people will be asking themselves whether they they want to trust Gibraltar into the hands of people who brought Gibraltar into the hands of people who brought it to its knees once before."
Perhaps what the people are asking is, are we not in a similar place? There is no team, no transparency, few tenders, questionable fairness and no Parliamentary reforms to deliver good governance. In case you had not noticed, Mr Caruana, it will have been 16 years since the GSLP last formed government, times and have changed, so have the policies of the GSLP. Also, there has been a near total change in the identity of the candidature fielded by the GSLP. These are significant factors that an electorate takes into account, especially if they agree, as some will, with the argument on the GSD's failings made in this blog.
It is all very well to say "... sooner or later the electorate will tire of me personally and will want Gibraltar in somebody else's hands. I am determined to pre-empt that and co-operate with any change." Three issues with that, first, how will you know if you do not heed opinion polls, will you wait to lose an election ... that is not pre-emptive? Second, Gibraltar wants what you promised it, a team to govern well and transparently, not " ... somebody else ...", as in another personality. Lastly, is it not you, who criticises change as "... silly and rather cheap psychology ..." Perhaps if you simply deliver what you promised in your manifesto, then change may be unnecessary, either within or without the GSD. It is in your hands as the clock ticks down to the next election.