The 2006 Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience, thought, expression and freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas without interference. Until I started to write on this blog, I had little idea of how difficult the exercise of those freedoms is in practice in Gibraltar.
The extent of the subtle and not so subtle comments, threats, digs and pressures that one comes under were unexpected by me. I have to admire those who work in the press for what they do, despite my belief that they could do more. I have to admire those politicians and thinkers who swim against received and generally accepted views. Undoubtedly, I have come to learn that the establishment in Gibraltar is well entrenched and has a lot of power and influence in many areas of ones life.
I started to write this blog to get things off my chest. At the time I started, I had written several letters to the Chronic. I felt that I could not continue to abuse of their hospitality. In essence it was self-therapy. I had hopes that some people would read what I wrote. The reality is that the number is beyond my expectations. Hundreds read every piece that I write, whether they agree or not. Tens of individuals comment. I receive more comments than I can publish, because some cannot be published for legal reasons. Over 1300 persons have joined the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Llanito-World-Freedom-Of-Speech/105526936155335. There are many who stop me in the street and encourage me to carry on writing.
I am grateful for the support without which I would not continue but instead would bow down to pressures, including being dubbed a "terrorist" by some GSD supporters, a party for whom I have voted and which I have supported, without ever having joined it. Also despite some pieces written by me in praise and support of things that the GSD Government have done.
Yesterday I received a comment that I was unable to publish for legal reasons but this part I can quote:
"It is sad to see that Gibraltar has still not acquired the capability to change its governments when it is obvious that they care little for the genuine interests of the population. Is it fear of being targeted or something to do with the size of the community?"
How true and how sad, "... fear of being targeted ..."! The size of Gibraltar renders difficult even commentary that is normal in such staid publications in England as the "Times", "Daily Telegraph" and the "Financial Times" and in BBC and ITV programs, like "Today" on BBC Radio 4 or "Newsnight" on BBC2.
My apologies for being a little self-indulgent but I had a need to get these thoughts off my chest. Two final points, first there are many comments to pieces that I write that make very valid points but because of a phrase or a sentence I cannot publish them for legal reasons, please be careful and stay within the bounds of propriety. Second readers should remember that comments made by others in this blog do not necessarily reflect my own view and opinion.