Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Conspiracies and Opinions

The exercise of the right to free speech in Gibraltar is teaching me many an unexpected lesson. In the last week or so two rumours, or better described conspiracy theories, have reached my ears. Both place me in the worst possible light with each of the GSD and GSLP. It makes me wonder whether in fact one can hold and express an opinion in Gibraltar without being branded with the most outrageous ulterior motives.

Is it not possible for readers to believe, quite simply, that one has a mind, thinks, analyses and forms ones own personal opinions? I assure all readers that this is all that I am doing, nothing more, nothing less and without any secondary motives, like a desire to stand for election. I am NOT planning on standing for election for any of the parties at the next election. I hope that this promise is clear enough. I simply like expressing my views. I believe that by expressing one's views one can help change things for the better. Perhaps I am wrong but no one, for the present, will convince me otherwise.

If there are consequences, I am prepared to face them. I am not alone in that, either in Gibraltar, Europe or further afield, but in Gibraltar the consequences are more direct. I am now more persuaded than I was previously that there are consequences to me personally, which I am already affected by. I had previously written that I did not believe there were any adverse consequences because the defence of the right to express one's views and disagree with the views of others and have others disagree with one's own views was sacrosanct and would be protected by all democratically elected governments. I am beginning to see the naivety of that belief, especially, in the small jurisdiction and close society that Gibraltar is. The quest for power or to retain power is stronger than the protection of that basic and core principle of civil and human rights.

Getting back to where I started, what are these two rumours? In no particular order, the first is that some members or affiliates of the GSD believe that I will be a candidate for the GSLP at the next election. The second (and completely contradictory rumour)is that some members or affiliates of the GSLP think that I am writing this blog so that the GSD can find out the issues that voters oppose them on, so that the GSD can correct its policies before the next election.

Can I win no? And before anyone adds 2 and 2 up and comes up with 5, no, I will not be a candidate for the PDP at the next election either. I repeat I have no intention whatsoever of standing for election at the next general election ... please, please believe me. And no I have not been offered the position of Deputy Mayor as suggested by one commentator on an earlier blog!


  1. I`ve had to laugh with this one LW.. before you went on to explain about the rumours I had already gathered more or less what they would be. We are a predictable lot !

    You`re not having an `ulterior motive` is obviously as alien to the usual hero worshippers (on both sides of the divide) as little green men stepping off a flying saucer !!

    These people need some help finding out what the space between the ears is intended for ...

  2. RV.....I think this goes to the very root of freedom of speech (or lack of it!)in our town!

    Since speaking openly is rare, and indeed frowned upon, he who does so inevitably attracts mostly unwanted attention.

    The very fact that the 'norm' is to keep quiet (despite all) leads those who 'see, hear and speak no evil' to question the motives of those few that choose not to remain silent.

    Having experienced this myself, I can only put it down to the 'small town' mentality that many appear to be content to suffer from....Max

  3. This is the very reason that once the Rosia Tanks campaign was over, made me take the decision to become active in politics and join the PDP. During the campaign it became very clear to me what little 'real' freedom of speech and democracy we have here in Gibraltar.

  4. RV Welcome to the Club LOL ROFL

    "Is it not possible for readers to believe, quite simply, that one has a mind, thinks, analyses and forms ones own personal opinions?"

    I do. I suppose that by "readers" you refer to the likes of "Loyal Supporter" who ceases to believe that we as gibraltarians, have the capability of indepent thought! And if you have conversations with GSD hardcores, Im sure you must have had them tell you something along the lines that "there is no need for us to question what the Chif Minister does or does not do. We should only support or "serve" him (Loyal supporter stated in this very blog) and not question his decisions however out of the ordinary they might seem (the latter was said to me by a young seemingly intelligent "professional" when questioned about his opinion on the whole Clive Golt episode).

    The current Adminstration it seems has made the Gibraltarian brain redundant, having convinced them or forced them to believe that we should continue about our daily unimportant lives because we are all being looked after by the Great Gibraltarian caretaker Himself, Peter Caruana.

    We seem to live in a Stepford-like created illusion of a Society, where the average Gibraltarian is meant to just sub-exist and not give a second thought to anything but only to allow the parent figure to do and undo as he pleases, whilst we all thank him and serve him for allowing us to live on this Rock.

  5. My Dear Robert

    Allow me to express in local terms, even if I risk falling short of the stardard,...
    Con dos cojones! viseral as it is, I think it expresses the sentiment directly.

  6. Mark A, Independent Commentator28 July 2010 at 07:52


    After the Chief Minister's spectacular political stunt in appointing Clive Golt as Media Director (two months after ostensibly appointing Gareth Flower to the same post) nothing would surprise me. I predict that the CM will start to make overtures to you in the run-up to next year's general election. At the moment he's sees you as an enemy, just as he used to see Clive, but wants to give the impression to the electorate that he is a compassionate forgiver. Let's see what he offers you. Deputy Mayor and Mayor-in-waiting next year at the very least, surely.

    But generally I agree that the vast majority in Gibraltar are too afraid to express their sincere opinion in the media. Expats are the only ones willing to do battle with our autocratic ruler on important issues such as, for instance, the misery inflicted on local residents in certain areas by the Leisure Areas (Licensing) Act and Regulations 2001.

    It seems the Government is at last admitting that "it has not been possible to ensure that neighbours in the vicinity (of designated Leisure Areas) are protected from unreasonable noise disturbance" (last Thursday's Chronicle, 22.7.10) but this is a result of lobbying and suing by expats. Gibraltarians have been stoically enduring this "unreasonable noise disturbance" since 2001, with some being forced to move house, as they are, understandably, too afraid of reprisals to complain to the Government.

  7. Just look at what happened to whistleblower Joanna Hernandez. After seeing the leaked letter from Charlie Sisarello telling the union's legal team in London that "the Government have a very weak case and know it" and that "the Chief Minister will use all his power and authorities and will go to any length to stop that (the case from proceeding)" (Panorama, Monday 26 July 2010) the next step in his attempt at redemption, after embracing Clive, will be to reinstate Joanna. He may rehire her in a different capacity but hire her he will have to if he is to show a more human face to the electorate in the run-up to next year's general election in an attempt to avoid a rout by the Opposition.

  8. the rumour i heard was that you were in cahoots with Fabioil Picardo. I thought there might be some truth in that when you blogged large extracts from his speech (and that of Neil Coaster) which SURELY were copy and paste jobs - ie they sent you the speech and you published them verbatim.

    Then I posted a comment on the blog to the above effect and you didn't publish it, and I thought....hmmmmmmmm

    i don't think you should be surprised about rumours circulating around town regarding this blog. The commentary on this blog is a fair generater of rumour itself. Don't believe the hype would be my advice.

    Are you going to tell us what consequences you have suffered as a result of writing this blog?

  9. I suspect they didn't send LWRV their speeches as they were freely available on the GSLP website - at least Fabian's was. So LWRV could easily have copied and pasted from there, as indeed could anyone else.

  10. Hi Anonymous at 09:21 and M.A:

    The speeches are public and are public property. How I came to have them is irrelevant. I did not solicit them. If they were sent to me unsolicited, so what!

    You may realise that, as a lawyer that I am, both Fabian and Neil have my email address. Indeed it is public and obtainable from my firm's website. Anyone can email me ... and yes I also have a facebook page!

    Welcome to the 21st Century "anonymous at 19:21" where public information is easily shared. Perhaps some could learn this lesson. It is part of democracy.

  11. Robert, its so obvious, you've been promised a Gibraltar Medal and a place on the Mayors balcony on National Day!!!
    But yes my friend, you are right, joking apart, in this 21st century Gibraltar people must have an ulterior motive to exercise free and democratic speech. instead of free speech being a matter of norm, its more like 'what the hell are you up to and who put you up to it! but there's our society for you.

    Now more than ever, there is a need to qualify all that is wrong with society for the sake of Society!!!

  12. That you feel you cannot win is now a normal feeling in Gibraltar because we are all losers.
    I mean that Gibraltar collectively as a society is surely the loser today.

    Our society loses out if we cannot have healthy debates and opposing views. Our society suffers if we cannot see the merits in
    each individual discussion, if we cannot measure the pros and cons of a decision ,if we don't know right from wrong .

    To be pigeon holed or labelled for a particular point of view ,as happens nowadays
    is not part of our Gibraltarian DNA.

    We are Gibraltarian and proud of it. Let us not divide ourselves .We are not GSD, we are not GSLP,we are not PDP, WE ARE GIBRALTARIAN.

    Our allegiance is not to Mr Caruana or Mr Bossano or whoever. Our allegiance is to our beloved Rock of Gibraltar, to the memory of our forefathers and to our future generations
    and to basic Human Rights.

    Chief Ministers and there parties will come and go. They will do good and they will do bad and then like all governments it will come to the end of the cycle.

    All governments eventually die out and here in Gibraltar we will see if a party can continue without its leader. It has not happened before.(Correct me if I am wrong)

    What does not die is the pursuit for the freedoms we are entitled to .For free speech.
    For equality. That flame will never be extinguished,

    Gibraltar was once the beacon of democracy in the Iberian peninsula. Nowadays it seems we are just a flicker . A very small flame indeed
    but an unextinguishable one.

    Discussion and debate is needed now more than ever . Don't despair because there are many people who appreciate your work and take it as it is.

    I can agree with you on a certain point and disagree on others. That is the beauty. We are each capable of making our own minds up. We don't need special permission to think .

    We need to respect each others thinking
    and think of ourselves as LLANITOS. Only that.

    Our future belongs to all of us. This is not a question of winners or losers. At present we are all losers.

    Lets all work togther for democracy.

  13. Dear Robert's World,

    I believe you set yourself up when you started posting as Llanito World - Robert Vasquez thus confirming who you really were. If you still had your anonymity these rumors would have no effect whatsoever, and no one would pay any attention to them. Also may I add, I am certain you would have more posts on your articles.

    Sadly however your hunt for laus and gloria has presented you with nasty and hurtful "conspiracy theories", remitted to us through this touching sob story, I think you should man up and take them as they come. Or just come out of the political closet. No one will be surprised, after all everyone knows that due to the nature of your articles you breathe politics.

    Take a page out of your sisters book, she's not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. You don't here her complaining about the publicity she gets.

  14. LW..........

    I think, that more than distrust of the motives that you may have in expressing openly your opinion, is the question of timing. Why now, so near election year?
    So many injustices have been commited and you have not spoken out?
    History is being rewritten in front of our eyes, and this has been going on for a very long time and yet you have said nothing.
    Why now?
    I think that is what makes people suspicious.

  15. RV

    I'm centre left in politics, yet there are times when I concur with certain centre right policies or decisions. Whenever I mentioned this to fellow socialists, they look at me as if I am to defect to the right.
    Thus in Gib most people connected with political parties believe that either you are GSD or GSLP and must support whatever these parties say whether you agree or not.

    So Robert I can understand how you feel when both sides think you are working for the other side.

  16. Dear Robert and Bloggers of Llanito World

    Was it not delightful to see our dear leader in Newswatch this evening presenting to the People of Gibraltar yet another sucessful project.

    A Loyal Supporter

  17. Hi Orwell:

    Are you giving credence to the need to be anonymous in Gibraltar to make valid comments? Surely, this cannot be right?

    I have not embarked on a hunt for either glory or lauds and certainly my piece is not inteded as a "sob story" but rather as informative. I seek no pity from anyone. I am a grown up and mature individual. I am willing to face the consequences of any of my acts.

    I repeat, I am in no political closet. I express my views. I am not a party man. I find it very difficult (if not impossible) to conform. To belong to a party includes a commitment to follow a party line. At present, this is not something that I am willing to do.

    I do stand up in public for what I believe by writng this blog.

    Anonymous at 18:25

    Is nearly 2 years before an election so close to an election? Surely it is mid-term? Also, what about all my earlier letters in the Chronic? I have explained in earlier pieces that I cam across the concept of blogs late last year and that I felt i should not abuse further the hospitallity of the Chronic.

  18. I tend to agree with Orwell. I feel that LW should have remained anonymous. Would have continued to attract more posts and the debate would have continued to rage. My feeling is that the debate became more subdued when LW revealed his identity, which is a shame.

    The problem was that the word got round too quickly so he shouldn't have revealed his identity to anyone at all, not even privately. I'm afraid it's the only way to be able to exercise freedom of speech in this small town.

  19. LW..........

    You have given in my opinion a valid answer, so fine. I think debating is about this, sometimes I am convinced and agree and sometimes I am not and disagree.

  20. Gibraltar's new mayor Tony Lombard "a man of ceremonials" (Chronicle 29.7.10) wants to suggest "the institution of an official or formal - and hopefully statutory - Council of Mayors. He has also thought of establishing an exhibition in honour of Genoa, a monument to the Italian immigration and the twinning of Gibraltar with San Marino. Lombard also believes it would be a welcome courtesy to pay a courtesy call on the Mayor of the Vatican City, the Cardinal Governor of the Vatican. In November 2010 he wants to celebrate the 850th anniversary of the actual first founding of a city in Gibraltar in 1160 by Abd-al Mumin, Emperor of Morocco (which then included Algiers and Tunisia) known as Medinath-al Fatah, 'City of Victory'. On 27th April 2011 he wants to celebrate the 1300th anniversary of the landing at Gibraltar by Tarik, the reason for Gibraltar's modern name. Tough act for RV to follow.

  21. Well done to Mr Lombard. That is why he was picked for this job and he will be very good no doubt.

    Llanito World is a free thinker, democrat, debator, a very good lawyer who should have been a QC years ago, has c.o. jones with honours, friend of his friends and their friends, loves the Rock of Gibraltar, opponent of what should be objectively opposed and supports what objectively should be supported, fun and funny, loyal to his principles and not individuals or party politics and, as a human being is obviously not infallible and humbly recognises that when objective reflection calls for it.

    M.A. 30 July 2010 18:21, is that not a really, really, really tough thing to do (and so consistently) and for others to follow in this not-so-wonderful-for-the-moment Gibraltar?


  22. Isobel Ellul-Hammond31 July 2010 at 11:58

    I believe that the idea of following someone’s Blog is because we are interested in what s/he has to say on a particular issue, usually because they hold a certain status within the community (be they famous or infamous!). This requires the name of the Blogger and I notice that about 90% of Blogs are by people who declare themselves (as are about 90% of commentators) but not in Gibraltar it seems, if this Blog is anything to go by (but that issue of anonymity has already been discussed previously on many occasions).

    Generally, Blogs are about the Blogger and not about the commentators. Perhaps those who disapprove of Robert’s opinions, question his motives or disapprove that he should have declared himself (here it seems that Robert’s damned that he did, but I’m sure he would have been damned if he hadn’t!) should bear this in mind and recognise that Robert has a right to do this, irrespective of how many comments he gets. However, if his Blog is only seen/used as a vehicle for the ‘anonimati’ to have their say, timidly or outrageously, perhaps they should set up their own Blogs (anonymously of course) and really go to town, especially the 'regulars' who always have so much to say. Why not?

    I may disagree with some of your views Robert, however they are stimulating and I applaud you for giving them and for defending them publicly (e.g. when you had to defend your comments on the police handling of the drugs theft in the media). Keep it up Robert you’re doing the right thing, which is what Blogging is all about.

  23. Fred says:

    I'm still reading this blog.

    Robert you are a good chap. The fact that you criticise politics and politicians of all shades is your strength, and in turn strengthens our democracy.

    The blind loyalty to politicians and parties within our small community, usually because of some social or personal prejudice, is something that needs to be challenged; this blog goes someway towards doing this.

    I know the political reptiles won't get you down.

  24. Was sorry to read in the Chronicle this week that Juan Carlos Perez, editor of the New People, collapsed at the Casino Calpe and was taken to hospital. JCP is one of the more colourful of our political personalities with a long history of political activity in Gibraltar. He has helped to keep us informed in recent years by keeping the New People going through thick and thin. I am sure fellow posters to the Llanito World blog will join me in wishing him a speedy recovery.

  25. Our Government and opposition style of Government simply does not work in such a small community as ours.

    As far as possible ALL Gib Parliamentarians should be working for the good of Gibraltar.

    This present system of constant aggro between the two main parties is simply doing us no good at all.

  26. Very sorry to hear about Juancarlos Perez.

    Hope he has a quick recovery.

    All the best.

  27. I agree with all the sentiments expressed in this page. But can we get back to real politics: MidTown is a scandal. A public inquiry should be called before any tax payers money is used. Our economy does not just depend on everyone paying their taxes. It also needs the government to be careful with the money entrusted to it by the people. Quite frankly everything associated with MidTown sickens me but I appreciate that the law of libel does not allow me to say everything that I think about it because I might be mistaken in some of my assumptions. If nobody can bring this up for proper debate warts and all I am thinking of writing to the Foreign Office for them to investigate.

  28. Fred says:

    Anon 11:31, in August of last year the British Government suspended the Government of the Turks and Caicos, but they had been investigating corruption and bad governance for some time. (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE57D3TE20090814)

    I would like to know what Mr Bossano thinks about the MidTown development before I really make a decision, but you are right that we should be concerned.

  29. Foreign office? What a JOKE.

    Better off trying directly with Ministerio del Interior and Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba in Madrid.

  30. I agree with Fred. What do Bossano and Picardoil think of Mid Town? It is truly interesting how that pair of cheeky chappies seem to have blind spots when it comes to some scandals but are all vitriol and mock anger when it comes to others. I say get the British government to investigate.

  31. Roberts World,

    I asked you in a previous article if you would be so kind as to write about something interesting.

    The nature of the vast majority of the posts here lead me to believe that I was right. Hardly any mention anything you wrote about.

    Would you be so kind as to write about something interesting? I implore you Mr World, for the sake and good of your blog, please!

    Before someone else starts up a blog and begins to write about controversial interesting issues under pseudonym.

    P.S. I would, but I don't have you undeniable political panache.

  32. Returning to the content of RV's blog, I would like to congratulate Mr V for having the courage of his convictions and speaking openly without fear of praise or censure. Thank you for setting such an example.

    It is bad for the mind to be part of the unanimity.

    We must all stop bending to the demands of social pressure at the expense of our own uniqueness . When you study the lives of the world's most enlightened and effective people, you will see that they did not care about what other people thought of them. Surely we should learn from them.

    As Rousseau wrote, "Take the course opposite to custom, you will almost always do well."

  33. Loads of people read and/or contribute to this blog and find it informative, useful, entertaining, a necessary valve etc. etc. The fact that you put your real name to it makes it all the more credible, at least we all know who's behind it and who vets it. Some contributors remain anonymous and that is fine, nothing wrong with that at all.

    Keep up the blog Robert and harden yourself to the vultures.

  34. Can anyone help me? After reading today's Chronicle I'm totally lost.

    When did Unite (the Union) become the propaganda wing for the GSD?

    They're doing a cracking job. So far, it's weekly press releases "reminding" us how bad things were pre-96, and how blooming great they are now under the Dear Leader.

    As for prospective GSD candidates in the 2011 election, add Albert Hewitt (who he?) to the list which already contains Charles Sisarello and Sukh Khaira (who he?).

  35. Who is he?
    He is like all those expats, who when they arrive in Gib and survey the scene, see how gullible we are. In their homeland they would not even be looked at twice, here they taste the limelight and their hunger for power begins. He is after a place in the PDP, who are hungry for candidates and lately are not being very careful of whom they take.

  36. Interesting that The Chronicle does not allow you to comment on the net.

    Wonder why?

  37. Da democratique revolution must come...