The GSD 2007 election manifesto proudly boasts "We will remain committed to open, transparent, fair and good government."
It is instructive to see how two members of the GSLP/Lib Opposition view the reality of how Gibraltar is presently governed. Irrespective that one must consider that they are both in Opposition, I would invite the reader to keep, at the forefront of his/her mind, his/her own knowledge and experiences, when judging the truth and accuracy of what each of these Members of Parliament say. I quote, without any commentary of my own, from their respective Budget 2010 Addresses in Parliament last week.
First Fabian Picardo:
""Mr Speaker, I do not believe we should be calling each other names in this House, although our debate should be robust and tough. If someone cannot stand the heat they should not get into politics. I confess that I was nonetheless surprised when I was first elected to this House with the amount of meaningless insults that the honourable gentleman hurled at members on this side of the house during the course of his reply on this annual debate. I did not see the value of the endless invective hurled at us whilst the substance of the arguments we raised on policy issues went unanswered. Perhaps that is a good place to quote just one more of the gems left to us by Joshua Gabay who, when referring to the Chief Minister's repeated rubbishing of the Opposition’s political contributions, said that "Regrettably the technique institutionalised in this House by the Chief Minister and pandered to by some but not all of his Ministers, is to substitute logic by denigration and clarity by vilification."
I have joined the political dots and I see what the Honourable gentleman is doing and the exact nature of his political style. The current Chief Minister clearly is a believer in the principle that attack is the best form of defence... He actually told the Hon Mr Bruzon that to survive in politics you need “mala leche”. Well, that may be what he needed to survive in public school and he is simply exporting the principle to our politics. So I owe the honourable member an apology. I now understand what I have not understood before about his politics. Every time he hurls an insult he is attacking only to defend. Therefore, as attack for him is the best form of defence, we must see such insults as he hurls, attacking us in reply to our contributions, as recognition that we have pushed him into having to defend himself. So, having been the butt of a massive attack in his reply in this debate in the past seven years, it dawns on me that I should not have been bored by the lack of substance, but mightily flattered at the Honourable gentleman's extreme compliment. Each insult, each side-swipe and each attempted denigration is a massive recognition of political punches soundly landed on the honourable gentleman's political torso. Each apparently disrespectful, sneering, jeering remark purportedly ridiculing our contributions is a massive badge of political honour.
And then, perhaps even more apparent, is the fact that when the honourable gentleman hurls an apparent compliment across the floor, what he is doing is actually tell us that we have failed to land a punch. So, let me apologise to the Parliament and to all those who diligently tune in to hear our debates on these estimates. I should never have decried the Honourable gentleman's replies for being full of insults, invective and failing to address the substance of the arguments we present. I should actually have recognised earlier that every insult is a back-handed compliment and every compliment is pithy ridicule and an indication of failure. So foul and fair a discourse I have not heard before. But that is the GSD way, always "say the opposite of what you mean". And therefore Mr Speaker, I want to formally thank the Honourable gentleman for what at first appeared to be a character assassination of us that he has undertaken in this debate of us at least in each of the years that I have been in the House. I am truly grateful for the recognition inherent in each insult, in each distortion and in each twisted reflection of my contribution to each years’ debate. I had not realised just how hard our rhetoric had hit. Thank you. The attempted "hatchet jobs" of years past were no more and no less than a political doffing of the hat for a job well done, and I was not astute enough to see through the bluster and recognise it. I am so sorry. I shall very much look forward to at least the same level of recognition and the same number of inverted, back-handed compliments again this year disguised as insults and accusations of ignorance. So please, Mr Speaker, I pray the honourable gentleman does not in his reply feel he can address the substance of our interventions, lest we are left to feel that we have not raised issues sufficiently serious that he might not need to avoid them. I really had not realised that the honourable gentleman's mind was quite this complex; but I have seen the light, and I sincerely am now looking forward to the insults, not out of some misplaced masochistic glee, but out of genuine political realisation: the harder he insults, the more damage he has suffered and the more he and his satellites needs to obscure through insult and distortion. What sophistry on the part of the honourable gentleman."
And next Neil Costa:
"A leader, by the way Mr Speaker, who views himself as infallible in his arguments – one only has to observe his outbursts on behalf of his own Ministers when he does not even let them reply to our supplementary questions or at times even questions of their own areas of responsibility. And this uninterrupted pathology is further evidenced in the seeming inability of the GSD to refrain from replying to any statement whatsoever the Opposition makes whether they accept the facts or otherwise. And the pathology Mr Speaker lies in an inexorable political reflex to wish at all costs and at whatever cost to control public opinion.
… This obsessive compulsive disorder to reply to every pronouncement of the Opposition Mr Speaker throws into sharp focus that the GSD is losing its grip not just on its erstwhile political stranglehold of Gibraltar’s public opinion but on reality itself. Surely Mr Speaker it is a cardinal political rule, not to keep a political issue alive that does not favour you and which you cannot but accept as true; but so clinically anxious have the GSD become Mr Speaker that their fear of losing government overcomes them and gets the better of them spouting out diatribe from all angles in the hope that their legendary and notorious mud-slinging will obscure and bury the truth.
… the GSD does our democratic traditions, our public debate and our Parliamentary dignity no good at all to continue their personal attacks on the Opposition. (It is small wonder Mr Speaker that there are not more people willing to throw their hat into the ring.) It is one thing to attack our policy statements and quite another to go for the jugular against an Opposition member personally. … The litany of insults, the disrespectful and poisonous tone and tenor of all of the press releases as it relates to Opposition members is a method of conducting politics that Gibraltar wants to be shot of and is not something that we will perpetuate once we sit where they sit Mr Speaker, which thankfully will be very soon."
Well, what do you think?