Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Spin and the Budget!

Well now, the Chief Minister claims that the GSD is the party for socialists in Gibraltar. Well either socialism has now been redefined (a favourite method of spin used by Mr Caruana) or I have had it wrong all my life. I really do not see where the GSD budget measure deals with the criticism (now also levelled at him by the PDP) that his budget does little or nothing for those who are really in need.

There again those in real need have no power as the number of votes amongst them is minimal. The GSD should not forget that we in Gibraltar are empathetic and kind people with a generous heart and, whilst we like to be better off ourselves, we do think of the plight of others and like that they be looked after too.

Once again Mr Caruana falls back on the age old arguments of making comparisons with the past. Historical comparisons are odious for many reasons, but not least because circumstances, for example, economic circumstances change, so a government is limited or enabled by reigning circumstances at any given juncture. Look at what is happening in the UK now, cuts and more cuts in government expenditure. Is this because the Conservative Government wants to make them or because circumstances require these cuts to be made?

The pre-1996 GSLP Government were faced with massive reductions in employment due, for example, to reductions in military spending in Gibraltar. Despite these challenges, they were able to change the face of Gibraltar (leaving aside the age old argument about tobacco smuggling and moral decline, which are criticisms that, although well made, are getting very stale now) for the better and lay the foundations for the GSD's success. Also do not forget the Spanish Pensions issue that could have had disastrous effects on Gibraltar's economy. What would the GSD have done faced with the economic problems that the GSLP were faced with and were able to overcome overcame?

It is easy to spend money when it is available. It is not so easy to create wealth. I trust and hope that the GSD predictions that Gibraltar has avoided the worst of the recession faced by other countries is based on fact and not fantasy. Time will tell but I see a few dark clouds on the horizon. It is then that the mettle of any government can be seen and measured.

The measure for the GSD Budget is not the past. One measure by which the GSD Budget needs to be judged is whether it is fair and proportionate in the circumstances that reign today. A question that should be asked and answered by each individual is, has the GSD allocated money wisely? Another is, are the revenue raising measures fair?

I have dealt with some of these issues in my earlier blog, but, by way of examples, is allocating money to office development (also having short-sightedly used up office space for a hospital) and to the construction of an oversized air terminal wise spending? If it is not, then that expenditure could have been allocated, in part, to social services to enable them to deliver a more focused and individualised solution to people in need and in part to reduce increases in municipal charges. To raise municipal charges is also not a fair method of raising revenue. It is an expenditure that is forced on people and business irrespective of the level of earnings or profits. A fair (and so more socialist) distribution is achieved through proportionate taxation of direct income.

For someone who decries spin, Mr Caruana, has spun his budget to the utmost degree. His attacking spirit is not abated. No one can be right about anything if he has not done it. To boot he announces the appointment of Clive Golt as the Government's Media Director. To think back on what each has done or said to or about the other both in public and in private leaves one gob smacked. Is this the epitome of spin or what? Let's hope the pressure of working with each other is not too great for one or other of them.


  1. I have to admit that the thought of Clive as PC's 'Alistair Campbell'is even more bizarre than, lets say,Osama Bin Laden becoming a US Senator!!!

    There can be no doubting that CG is up to the task, but (as RV points out) can he work with PC (or can PC work with him?) given their less than harmonious past 'relationship'??

    So PC now believes that the GSD is the party for Socialists? He may well have recruited a few, but if he expects the rest of us to follow he may be disappointed!!

    Voting for your true beliefs is one thing, and taking a highly paid job is quite another!That is not intended as a criticism of Clive who has stuck admirably to his principles for the last 14 years, despite being at times public enemy number one!!

    I genuinely wish him luck and look forward to seeing him as the GSLP/Libs Media Director next year!!...Max

  2. RV-LW In Gibraltar Politics its very clear that "Verguenza ninguna".

  3. Kahiron: Disen que Clive Golt try el mal awero pero ave. Abra que ve como defiende las posisiones del gobierno y me imahino que a escrito al Internatinal press association disiendo que quando se quehaba que Carruana era un dicatdor era una ekivocasion y que en berda Caruana es un democrarta que respeta la liberta de la prensa. To esta gentusa se cre que loss dema semos tonto.

  4. Ghost says:
    RV, are you truly suggesting that the GSLP where responsible for the green shoots of our now thriving economy from back in 1996, that in their wisdom they created the mechanism's of a finance centre that today yields us the returns that we so enjoy, such as the lowest unemployment in our history, the fact that we stand in the top 20 wealthiest nations, that Gibraltar is so respected as a first class finance centre, which quite literally we all benefit from. I assume that in order to finance this venture into transforming Gibraltar’s economy, it was deemed acceptable that we should allow our youth to become blooming entrepreneurs of the high seas tasked with the responsibility of showing us the way forward……..You cannot be serious!
    Look, let’s be real on the budget; first and foremost I cannot accept that we should not use as you say, “the old age arguments of making comparisons”, how on earth do you measure progress or not as the case may be. You may argue that it is unfair to go back as far as 1996, but I am afraid (as undemocratic as it may sound) that we have no choice given that PC has been in power for so long (it even tires me, believe it or not). But by far the most credible reason for turning back to 1996 is because the leader of the Govt then still happens to lead his party today. Is it not right and just to highlight the fact that the last time the GSLP was in power (with same leader) it very nearly drove Gibraltar to direct rule and that our state of affairs was a mess, but more importantly the our social framework was in bits and pieces.
    You say that the GSLP were instrumental in keeping Gibraltar together when substantial elements of the MOD were withdrawn; I will not argue this point as it is true, my point though is that the GSLP’s answer to saving us was creating an industry, which quite apart from being immoral was illegal and tantamount to destroying any aspirations that we had of any prosperous future.
    Is the budget fair? What on earth are we asking for here? The global crisis has rendered countries, multi-national organizations and hard working people all but defunct. Budgets all around the world have in effect been described as almighty blows between the legs. In Gibraltar, we see taxes consistently come down across the board, spending on public services increase, infrastructure works (which creates more jobs) at an all time high, unemployment at an all time low. Yes there are increases on utilities and other items, but their impact on our pocket given the lowering of taxes is minimal. This is not a pre-election budget wrapped in candy and teasers, neither is it a bumper budget leading up to a pre-election budget – it is a sensible budget befitting the current state of our economy. I will no doubt hear cries of, but the Airport, the Airport, the Airport…….well time will tell on that one.
    From my part, one thing did concern and that was the Mid-Town funding. More office space is indeed required and office buildings around the world have been financed by the public purse……… so this is nothing new. However, there have been eyebrows raised at the prospect of the developer almost being protected a little too much. Having said that, these projects are driven by bank funding….hardly likely at present. So should the Govt step in and provide assistance to fund??
    Let the onslaught begin.

  5. Hi Ghost:

    Most laws on which the finance centre are based were enacted by the GSLP administration.

    I have specifically said that the "fast launch episode" was and is wrong. You choose to misread my piece in the same inimitable style as the GSD always chooses to do. Of course, that behaviour was unacceptable but, surely, as unacceptable as the massive revenue received by the GSD administartion from the sale of tobacco today. It is the method of deliver and not the fact of delivery that has changed. The need for the GSLP administration to come to an end AT THAT TIME was obvious and palpable. This does NOT mean they did not lay a good economic foundation.

    On the issue of the leader, of course you are right, but a leader does not a party make, save, now, in the GSD. People change and moderate. We will see also what happens on this front.

    Fairness is in the eyes of the beholder. One of the beholders is the Chamber of Commeerce. Look at its reaction today!

    You confuse expenditure with revenue raisng measures. The two are different. There are many who think that the revenue raisng measures are unfair. I am not alone on that. You confuse the argument again. Lowering taxes for a business that makes no profits delivers no benefit. Increasing all other services delivers a cost to them. This is a regerssive form of taxation that disincentivises investment in enterprise and also employment.

  6. Dear LW / RV

    Your posts and most bloggers comments especially in the last one - Extreme Demagoguery - have made the blog very boring.

    Could you please write about something more interesting?

    This blogspot is beginning to have a pompous arrogant air that narcissus once had.

    In fact the only saving grace is the coverage of the Golt circus.

    Kind Regards,

  7. Any suggestions Orwell??....Max

  8. Jensan says: Kahiron should be ashamed of himself in attacking Clive Golt in the way that he has. Don't get me wrong, I agree that Clive is a bit washed out and his admiration for the Chief Minister is emabarassing but Kahiron's Llanito grammar and vocabulary are a disgrace.

  9. Dear Robert

    We need an article on the selection process for the rank of Queens Counsel in Gibraltar.

    A loyal supporter

  10. Hmm... Interesting point "loyal supporter" whilst I do not agree with your radical political affiliation and ideology - especially with calling PC "dear leader" - I do think that how QC's get appointed is an interesting topic.

    Perhaps LW / RV can help?

    Robert World how did you get your QC status?

  11. Pehaps we should examine the plight of the 14 year old girl who was sent to prison because Social Services thinks that "Gibraltar is too small to have the facilities to deal with all eventualities". Unbelieveable!!!

  12. Hi Anon at 21:33 and Orwell:

    I am not a QC so I am not an example at all of how to be appointed a QC.

    The JSC are reviewing the criteria for appointment to the rank of QC. I am not sure whether this process has been finalised as a final version of the criteria has not been received by me. I do not know if others have it.

  13. Well done PC (close friend of another PC) for bringing to light the short comings of the SSA in the 14 year old girl case.

  14. C O Jones....Good call!

    I don't know who this girl is or the reasons why she was turned out of her home, but isn't this an absolute disgrace??????

    The lady who 'rescued' her from prison said that " The system has failed this girl" and "Tomorrow this could be your child"....She is absolutely right!

    This sorry episode only serves to blow away the myth that we are some kind of European 'Super Power'....More, I would venture to suggest, a Banana Republic which has it's priorities all wrong!!!!!!!!!!!

    Presumably had the Chronic and GBC not highlighted this case a minor would still be encarcerated with the criminal fraternity ??

    Minister Netto apparently said that "Gibraltar was too small to have the necessary facilities to deal with all eventualities"...Is he joking??

    If we can afford to waste tens of millions of pounds on an Airport we don't need then I think it is reasonable for this electorate to expect a Social Services Agency that IS equipped to deal with ALL eventualities.

    If that leaves me open to the usual 'loyal' criticisms then I really don't give a damn!!!...Max

  15. Sorry to go off topic, but the case merits it.

    How scandalous the whole prison thing involving the 14 year old girl. Social Services say they DO NOT have to provide accomodation for the "problem child". Who are they meant to help??? Surely this is the sort of case that merits the whole point of a Social care Agency!!!! Glad Gibraltar is shocked at this.....this is only the FIRST case that has made it out for public consumption, but it is not the only one! There are many other "extreme", unusual cases that happen in our li'l Gibraltar with its up and coming £50M Airport, and these never make it out and are never heard of by the Public. And I say this because I know this to be a FACT.

    And with Social Services refusing to fulfil their role, where is the Minister???? Whose the Minister for Social now - lost track?>??? Why has the Minister not stepped forward - why has the Minister not kick started the Social Care Agency into Action??? Thank God there are still good people in this world - God Bless that lady who has taken on the responsibility!

    Another MASSIVE Failing on the part of Government - they just want to do the "easy" things - the more difficult / problematic can be done by the Public!

    Mr caruana before you start spending our monies on unnecesarry projects, spend it on making sure the BASIC things are covered! Remember you are the to provide for us, the population of Gibraltar - I know you see in us in a different class and perhaps not worthy of existence - but unfortunately you are there to provide these things for us!

    Also, the local media thankfully alerted the wider population of this inicdent. nonetheless, where is the debate??? Surely this merits their pressuring Government, Opinion Columns by our "journalists", the works!!!! last night GBC aired a really bad Made for TV Movie! Where was the Viewpoint Special???? Surely it merits it! Oh, I forgot, Viewpoint is now Off air until September post national Day!!!! And I thought Mr King was here to change things!!!

    Gibraltar, I really can't understand how we have managed to get this far????

  16. What a hilarious but at the same time, Scary, moment in town this morning!

    I bumped into a friend of mine, who happens to be Chairman of the "I Love Peter Caruana Club", President of the "We should all carry both sexes so that we could all carry PCs children" Society, and also Acting Church Boy at Sunday Masses attended by His Twice Blessed and Higher Being on Earth, PC.

    . For years I have heard him criticise Mr golt and say how the "bullying" he was being subjected to by PC was not "bullying" but was merited.

    When asked about the Recent Media Director Appointment, he says "There's not a better man for the job". "but i thought you always criticised his professional..." "no No, I never." "Well, dunno bout you" I said, "But I was truly shocked"..."Well, I have to admit I was surprised, but I Don't question what the Chief does. He is not to be questioned - he is the Chief of Gibraltar and deserves us not questioning him or doubting him. He knows why he does things, and that should eb enough for us. We shouldn;t ask him to explain anything!"

    He then cuts conversation short and with a look of discomfort walks down Main Street...

    How fu**ing scary is that?? especially the last!!!!! And this person is a "young professional"!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Spartacus....Social Services Agency are now on 'Summer Hours' so might not have noticed this girls case as they lounged on the beach whilst most of us were still working !

    This travesty speaks volumes about the pathetic Public Sector we are expected to fund until this Government can't squeeze another penny out of us.

    Instead of making lame excuses Minister Netto should issue an unequivocal apology for this totally unacceptable sham.

    This young girl may be troubled, but all the more reason that she should have been treated with sensitivity and not locked up in jail until a concerned citizen took it upon herself to right this disgraceful injustice.

    Anywhere else there would be an outcry for the resignations of those responsible....I suspect that here it may all be brushed under the (Persian?)carpet!!!....Max

  18. Max, for sure if this happened in the UK or even in the Congo, the Minister would be forced to resign. There would be public outcry and the Press would crucify and shame him.

    Unfortunately in Gibraltar, Ministers are like cosmocrats and untouchable! And the Media, well, they just cut and paste so i really doubt they will be going on a much deserved crusade for answers from Government!

    Maybe, Mr Caruana sees it fit to make some sort of statement regarding this issue before setting off oh his Summer hols down Soto.

  19. Anon 16.09....The case of your 'young professional' friend is an interesting one.

    I have often wondered if 'Caruanawatch' somehow sends out subliminal messages capable of turning otherwise balanced individuals into gibbering idiots!!

    I have however never been able to test this theory as I inevitably doze off after the first couple of minutes!!!!!!!....Max

  20. By the way...Is this interesting enough for you Orwy??...Max


    How fu**ing insulting can He be???

    CaruanaWatch Headlines "the Chief Minister denies ever having been at loggerheads with his new Media Director".

    This guy deserves to be outsted from Gibraltar just for treating us like idiots! I cannot believe he trteats us like this and so blatantly without the need to even "disimular"!

    Amazing how much with the passing of each day, my dislike for the Man increases. And to believe that i actually supported him for a while!

    I wonder what Clive Golt has to say about this latest PR from PC. itll probably be a case of "la lengua se la comio el gato".

  22. Spartacus...The withdrawal of all Government advertising from the New People does come to mind!!....Max

  23. A friend of mine used to tell me 'todo
    es mentira' I used to say he was wrong, after the PC / C Golt saga, I'm not so sure anymore

  24. The banning of CG from all Government Press Conferences also comes to mind.
    The fact that CG was or is taking the government to court on a Human Rights Issue, this place is going bannanas.


  25. Mark A, Independent Commentator11 July 2010 at 10:49

    Public opinion has been flabbergasted by the appointment of Clive Golt as the Government's new media spokesman. Actually the element of surprise really lay in the fact that it came only two months after the appointment of Captain Gareth Flower RG (retd) as, well... the Government's media spokesman. From the moment the media post became vacant local commentators were almost unanimous in their views that there were only two serious candidates for the post: Dominique Searle and Clive Golt. Hence my view that the appointment of Gareth as press spokesman was a surprise; that of Clive was not.

    In addition to his role as Private Secretary or PA to the Chief Minister, the Government also published the following job profile for Captain Gareth:

    "Gareth Flower works directly to the Chief Minister as his Press Secretary, procuring and organising his media appointments and PR engagements both at home and abroad. He is the Government spokesman in reply to questions from the media and is responsible for the issue of press releases and Government notices. Overall, his responsibilities encompass the positive projection of Gibraltar’s image internationally. He functions as Co-ordinator on behalf of the Chief Minister with entities in Spain. In addition, Mr Flower is the Information Manager for the Government Website."

    Despite the many jokes doing the rounds about the Chief really hiring Captain Flower as an ADC (if the Governor had an ADC so why shouldn't the Chief Minister have one too?) it seemed that Gareth would also be fulfilling the role that the late Francis Cantos used to undertake - in fact, basically, everything that Clive is supposed to be doing now. So are Gareth and Clive doubling up? If Gareth had in fact only replaced Stephen Ramagge as PA to the CM why was he also so very publicly assigned the role of Press Secretary? Was it a ruse to throw us all off the scent while he continued to negotiate with Clive - and possibly also with Dominique?

    Certainly Clive's appointment, given the juncture at which it was announced, was the most spectacular political stunt since Danny Feetham, one of Caruana's erstwhile harshest critics, defected from the GSLP via the Labour Group to join the ranks of the GSD, publicly portrayed as a supposed 'merger'.

    But what prompted Caruana's sudden move to appoint Clive, since he already had a Press Secretary in place (Gareth) who had only been in post for two months? Was he stung by Fabian Picardo's criticism in his budget speech on Friday 2 July 2010? Was the appointment of Clive a spectacular way of trying to defuse Fabian's lambasting of Caruana?

    Fabian had said: "...what greater question mark over the state of the media in Gibraltar than the disgraceful way in which Clive Golt has suffered at the honourable gentleman’s hands since 1996 for having had the temerity to stand for election against him 15 years ago. Mr Speaker, I am left to wonder how the Leader of this House looks himself in the mirror every morning knowing what he has done with Clive Golt and what he is doing with the financing of 7 Days."

    Did Fabian's criticism spark sudden added momentum to Caruana's negotiations with Clive (Dominique presumably not having shown any interest in taking the post) prompting the Chief to rush to clinch the deal that very weekend and announce it the day after his three-hour speech in response to the Opposition's budget interventions in a stunning coup?

    Whatever the reason it shows, in my view, that the embattled Peter Caruana is now as desperate as Gordon Brown was when he brought arch-enemy Peter Mandelson back from Brussels as Business Secretary in an attempt to bolster the flagging New Labour Government. Clive's appointment is indeed a bold and cunning stunt by Caruana but will it, like Brown's Mandy coup, be too late to save the GSD from electoral disaster?

  26. Fred says:

    Although I understand people's reaction to Mr Golt's appointment I would also say to folk that: THIS IS POLITICS. If one wants honour, principles, belief, etc. it should be sought elsewhere.(By the way this is why the opposition rhetoric does not wash with people like me - I want to see a blueprint for progress, not stories about social want).

    Keep your friends close, but your enemies even closer, and all that. It's all quite fun actually.

    Finally, Mr Golt cannot be expected to "vivir del aire". Are all those expressing revulsion at his appointment paying his bills? Did they all come out publicly in his defence when he was on his knees? To date I have been unable to make a donation to the "CLIVE GOLT WELFARE FUND". Talk is cheap guys.

  27. El interview de PC en Carruanwatch about Clive Golt was hilarious. Does this superior being believe that we, Gibraltarians, have no memory and that we are all ignorant!! No le dio vuelta a la tortilla el colega....y encima nos dice that the weekly 7 Days newspaper is not the GSD party organ!!! Count me another one Pete!! With those full page photos of himself and his ministers on page 3.

    This guy believes his own lies and believes que somos todos unos burros.


  28. So PC and Co are now presumably the Page 3 'Boys' (plus one girl) ?

    A week before the next elections the title of the GSD party organ will sound quite ominous for the great one!!....Max

  29. Mark A, Independent Commentator11 July 2010 at 17:33

    Fred I don't understand why you say that "Mr Golt cannot be expected to "vivir del aire". Are all those expressing revulsion at his appointment paying his bills? Did they all come out publicly in his defence when he was on his knees? To date I have been unable to make a donation to the "CLIVE GOLT WELFARE FUND". Talk is cheap guys."

    I was not expressing revulsion - just trying to think through the motives behind the appointment. Clive will be 65 years old in September so will start to receive a state pension. I do think he or Dominique Searle would be the best man for the job. Am happy for Clive as I think he deserves a break and will be good at the job.

    However, he himself will admit that he took a calculated risk by leaving GBC to stand for election. Real shame that he didn't get into the House instead of some of his colleagues at the time who could well afford to forego an Opposition members' salary.

    And yes, I did support him "when he was on his knees" - as I am sure many other posters on this forum did too - by purchasing the New People week in week out for years when he effectively owned and edited it. Caruana insists that Clive was banned from No. 6 only because he ran the Opposition's in-house paper but for some years the New People also supported the Labour Party, which is why Clive was effectively independent during the years in the run-up to the 2003 general election.

    In fact, I would go further and say that Clive possibly ended up supporting Labour to a greater extent than the GSLP and was publicly calling for Bossano to step down as far back as the early noughties. So although persona non grata at No. 6 for many years, Clive has effectively been an independent, and not in the GSLP camp, for nearly a decade.

  30. I always find those Page 3 photos in the 7Days hilarious! And they are always accompanied by some statement elevating PC and friends to the staus of gods.

    The Chief did what he always does when he was asked about the the 7 Days - he avoided answering WHY they received more money through Govt advertising than any other paper!

    I think Gibraltar is yet to be told by Government WHY the 7Days receives more money through advertising?? Surely the Govt CANNOT argue that they advertise more in 7Days cos the paper has the widest readership in Gibraltar! I could understand that money being paid to the Chronicle, and to a lesser extent the Panorama, witht he former being the most widely read in Gibraltar, hence being the best vehicle for nay kind of advertising. But the 7Days??? That paper has a very limited appeal, and mostly serves to wrap up our fish n chips or to put in our bird cages!

    Will we get an answer?? Why did the 7Days feature the most ads by Government than any other publication. If Govt feel that it is the best vehicle for advertising because it has a higher readership than any other paper, I want figures!

  31. Well done to the Spanish football team and Spain. 10 out of 10.

    Sad that some of our youths decided it was otherwise and decided to embarass us all with some hooliganism against a well-deserved world cup victory. "U"

    Well done to the RGP who had an effective public order plan and diffused a few pockets of unruly behaviour. 10 out of 10.

    Sad that some Spaniards also decided to celebrate the victory against Gibraltarians crossing the border after the match. "U"

  32. Sick to the Teeth12 July 2010 at 19:08

    To Anon today at 00:52 -

    Sad that we have seen so many Spanisg flags flying in Gibraltar.

    Is this the thin end of the wedge?

    Our fathers must be turning in their graves!

  33. Apologies for going of topic here but I`d like to reply to anon @00.52.

    I don`t in any way begrudge Spains win, they won fair and square y punto. Good for them. Unfortunately the whole ensuing situation came about as a result of something none of us had ever before seen in Gibraltar - Spanish flags flying from windows and balconies. Given that the traditional threat from Spain is as strong today as it was 40 years ago it`s not surprising that some (myself included) would feel offended at the sight.

    It`s also rather sad that some people appear not to be able to tell the difference between club football and national teams, preferring to idolise footballing celebreties (Barca, Real Madrid, etc) over supporting a national team. This to me, quite frankly is shallow and pathetic.

  34. Just watching Netto's delayed response on CaruanaWatch to the whole 14 year old who spent 2 nights in prison last week.

    Does the man realise that he is embarassing himself! He has given no credible / reasonable explanation! He merely rambled on for the whole "interview".

  35. Sports and politics should never be mixed.

    If the Spaniards do it it is to their international disgrace and shame.

    Gibraltar should be above that and to show it is to its credit.

    We won Miss World and they have won the World Cup. We should all be happy and celebrating!

    For so long as we never give up or compromise our right to self-determination, Gibraltar has nothing to fear from Spanish flags and sports.

    Let's grow up and enjoy these feats that only happen once in a lifetime.

    Let's be more concerned and passionate against today's ills, which we have in common with our neighbours and threaten us daily: drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorism, extremism and xenophobia, violence, crime, corruption, cocaine, abuse of power and whatever threatens the Rule of Law (al estado de derecho) of a democratic country.

  36. the rule of law is always under threat and also from within the can one tell?

    by the sheer arrogance with which lawful powers entrusted to inviduals are exercised quite illegally and no consequences follow