Sunday, 19 September 2010

GSLP Leader could Win or Lose them the next Election ... Choose Wisely

There is still some time before the elections; anything up to approximately 17 months. A period long enough for much to change. Opinion polls indicate a shift from the GSD in favour of the GSLP/Liberal Alliance. Anecdotal evidence, in the form of general comment and sentiment, is also indicative that this trend continues to gain momentum. There is one major uncertainty that could derail this process. No one yet knows who will lead the GSLP/Liberal alliance into the next election.

The choices are known, either Joe Bossano decides to reverse his decision to retire as party leader or he is succeeded by one of Gilbert Licudi or Fabian Picardo. Alternatively, the alliance may decide that its leader will be Joseph Garcia, the leader of the Liberal party. That the right person becomes party leader is of the utmost importance. It will have a direct impact on the electoral popularity of the GSLP/Liberal alliance and give impetus to changing opinion favourable to the GSLP/Liberal alliance. If the polls are right it will determine also who will be the next Chief Minister.

The perception and widely held view is that Fabian Picardo will be Joe Bossano's successor. He is generally seen as having both the required intelligence and charisma. Sometimes, however, the obvious choice is neither the right choice nor the outcome that in fact occurs. Intervening events and circumstances can militate towards the obvious candidate becoming the quiet and understated alternative choice.

One has to look no further than to the GSD. Probably its most unlikely and least known person at the time, Peter Caruana, became its leader and subsequently Chief Minister. The obvious choice at the time was not him. It was Peter Montegriffo. It was extraneous circumstances that conspired and favoured Peter Caruana. Circumstances that were totally unrelated to politics. So far as is publicly known, these were connected to Mr Montegriffo's professional obligations.

It is possible that history may repeat itself. If it were to, then Joe Bossano will either have the opportunity to continue for a short while or the opportunity will be grasped by Gilbert Licudi. Gilbert is known for both his intellect and his calm analysis and handling of situations.

The temptation for Joe Bossano to continue must be enormous. The polls indicate that the GSLP/Liberal alliance would win with him as leader despite the historical baggage that he carries. Joe Bossano's legacy would be wiped clean if the alliance were to win under his leadership. He must yearn for this, anyone would. Additionally, people have come to the realisation that he will not repeat the mistakes he made in the past. On the issue of tobacco, the image of Gibraltar has certainly improved but only because the methodology by which tobacco is smuggled has changed. The fact that the trade continues is palpably obvious, just have a look at the revenue received by government from this source and check out the very unsightly gatherings at the frontier.

Whatever might be the outcome of the succession debate for the leadership of the GSLP and consequently the alliance, the uncertainty is not helpful to its electoral chances of success. It is an issue that needs careful thought and attention. Thought and attention that should not be rushed but that should not delay the resolution of who will be leader for too long. The choice must be the right one. The last thing that politics in Gibraltar needs is that external events, concerning or involving the chosen individual, should negatively influence available and realistic choices of government at an election.

A government should be elected for positive and not negative reasons. A government elected for negative reasons benefits no community. It can reinforce a belief in inviolability that militates in favour of bad governance and bad decision making. It can result in an unhealthy distortion of democracy. The GSLP needs to cautiously choose its next leader, he may well be the next Chief Minister of Gibraltar or he could lose them the election.


  1. In my opinion the mood of the electorate, rather than who leads the GSLP, will determine the outcome of the next election.

    Licudi is very able but I don't think he wants the leadership and therefore that leaves the current leader and Fabian Picardo. Joe Bossano is the embodiment of the GSLP and his hardcore block vote remains undiminished after all these years. It is the solid foundation upon which a victory can be built but I think it is now time for the party to move into a new era.

    JB will be there to provide wise counsel and a wealth of experience to the new leader who can surely only be Fabian Picardo? Why ? Simply because he has all the attributes and above all wants it.Change for the sake of it is pointless but at this time it will almost certainly give the GSLP the fresh impetus it needs to end Caruana's dictatorship.

    At the end of the day it will be the electorate who decide who will lead us, but all the signs are (thank goodness) that the GSD's days are numbered!


  2. If the opposition wants to convince the majority of the electorate that they are ready to govern Gibraltar properly, they must have one solid leader in place that can lead them to political victory by winning the trust and confidence of the people.

    If the opposition is thinking that they will win the next election because Caruana's popularity has abandoned him and the GSD, they are making a huge political miscalculation.

    The indications are very strong that the people are truly ready to vote for a change, but governing after the election will entail leading Gibraltar solidly and safely through many legal and political complications that require much more than 'eloquence' and 'charisma', which Caruana and Picardo enjoy in considerable abundance.

    Caruana has come across as a solid leader but after 14 years in Government huge cracks are now very evident to many in his big political projects and in the implementation of his policies. Caruana will be unable to plaster them over with more 'eloquence' and 'charisma'. Many now associate his 'eloquence' and 'charisma' with sheer arrogance and despotism in the face of a different and shifting reality.

    If the GSD is thinking that this is only natural degradation or wastage and that they will win the next election (hoping the GSLP will also mess it up), they are also making a huge political miscalculation.

    Much more will be required from the next Head of State, his ministers and government.

    Much more will be required from his civil servants, his agencies and the executive arm of government.

    Much more will be required of Parliament.

    If the GSD and GSLP think that pulling up their worn-out political socks is enough, neither party will be fit to govern Gibraltar or to unite the Gibraltarians.

  3. And as to the PDP, many say that on its own it is like a boat adrift in the middle of the Ocean. Its isolated participation in politics at the moment is wasted.

    The PDP should either join the GSD or GSLP/Liberal Alliance now. Azopardi should really stop acting like the "Clegg-in-waiting" for either party. It's adding annoying political nonsense to a nonsensical political scene.

  4. Ghost Says:

    Cautious is putting it mildly. After 14 odd years the alliance in my opinion remains much the same and always signaling to the prospect of that new leader, whilst still hanging on to JB and the illustrious 30% or is it 40% or 25% who knows: who knows still whether the new pretender will indeed be FP (there may be tantrums if not) although I agree with RV (from the tone of your piece) that GL may well be a better man, well liked and respected - a clean record so to speak.
    The reality though is that as yet no one has shown the political integrity, muscle and will to openly come out and say I am the right man for this party and it is time for a new leader, but not at the request of the current leader after four election losses. If the alliance is to win the next election, should it not be driven by the qualities of leadership and not based on a when and if Joe seems somewhat farcical that our desperate need to oust a four term Govt lies with the same group of people who delivered four election losses.
    So regardless of who might be the next leader, should we not at the very least demand that political courage be shown and be witness to some sort of debate on the matter....I ask, can you imagine what four election losses might have stirred up in any other democratic country?

  5. I for one believe that the outcome of the next election will be mainly determined by the key failure(s) which the electorate deem the incumbent government is wholly resposible for.
    Gibraltar's political history shows us this i.e. AACR out on the Airport Agreement, GSLP out on fast launches, the GSD out on.....Air Terminal, Cordoba Agreement.....????????

  6. If Fabian Picardo secures the GSLP leadership the party will lose the election. He is too much of a loose canon with too many problems. The pulling of one of those problematical threads will unravel everything.

  7. I agree with Anon 19.48 GP Noble...

  8. Will llanito world write an article on Independent Trustee Service Ltd v GP Noble Trustees Ltd and others - [2010] All ER 54?

  9. I don't know who GP Noble is but all the other names mentioned are now getting a little bit tired. At the last election I thought that Charles Gomez brought a new dimension to local politics and I hope that he stands again. I know that Charles likes the idea of being a lone wolf but to get into Parliament he needs to stand with others.

  10. So does Azopardi and the PDP!

    I agree with ANON 19 September 2010 14:42 and ANON 19 September 2010 23:53.

  11. Bossano stands a better chance than Picardo. I hope he stays. The opinion polls don't say Picardo will win. They say Bossano will win. It would be madness to change now.

  12. what is definitely essential is that the GSLP should present their candidates soon. It is ridiculous nowadays to expect the electorate to vote for any party thrown together three weeks before the General election (like normally happens) . We get to hear about the party calling around looking for people to stand just to prop up the main 5 or 6 names...

    This is too important now.

    Gibraltar is in another place than it was 12 years ago.

    We need to know who is going for it and then we can question and debate, and have time to make our minds up.

    This is mature politics - this is what the GSLP have to do to make good on their obvious current boost in the polls.

    Do it right or don't do it at all.

  13. this morning's chronicle...eastern beach road proposals.

    why is it that the only time the general public get to know the future shape of gibraltar is after the decisions have already been taken, plans drawn up and agreed, contracts signed, works starting.

    do we not have a right to be consulted on the shape of things to come. has caruana bothered to consult with regular eastern beach goers about new roads, facilities etc etc? why don't the government apply for planning permission?

    if they want to beautify eastern beach they could start by getting rid of the sh1t mountain which pollutes the views and has turned once sandy beaches in to little more than sand and building rubble


  14. Licudi is a better bet than FP. Licudi has a family and therefore understands responsibility. His judgment is not suspect as FP's is. You need stability and judgment to lead a country. Also Licudi is GSLP through and through. FP is a Liberal converted to GSLP to give himself a crack at the GSLP leadership. I think Licudi would be better than FP and JB.

  15. Anon 2323

    Surely someone in management since POlice Officers follow orders.

    Its very sad that the RGP has been embroiled in scandals the last few years - from a Police Officer stealing cash, to the disappearance of drugs from Evidence to this latest episode of Officers acting outside Jurisdiction, with a number of other incidents in between!

    It is clear that something needs to be done with the RGP! The RGP is a pillar of the Community and have a difficult job as it is policing a micro territory where we all know each other. They definitely could do without these scandals as all it does is contribute to the Anti RGP feeling that already exists in gib. It is a real shame that the good hard work of many Good Officers in the RGP is being tainted by a few loose cannons repeatedly and in such a short period of time!!

  16. Anon 1255 Agree with you. And I think that Senior management across the board (not just the RGP) should accept the responsibilities they get paid heftily for - and this includes any repurcussions and the taking the difficult decision to resign when the decision should be taken!Unfortunately in Gib this doesn't happen. Senior management across the Civil Service is all about getting the Pay Cheque at the end of the month and little more!

  17. ANIMAL FARM.......

    "The human beings did not hate Animal Farm any less now that it was prospering; indeed, they hated it more than ever"?

  18. Licudi has no charisma and has not done anything to deserve the leadership. At least Picardo puts himself out there and listens to the people and is always trying to help. I think he is excellent and will be a great CM!

  19. All you need to read is the GP Noble judgment or do a google search in his name and "banco popular, Casanova" and then tell me whether he is a safe pair of hands. I am not saying he has done anything nefarious himself. I question his judgment and whether as CM he will steer a safe course. None of the top politicians would have exhibited such lack of judgment. It's the future of our people and children. Licudi has children, he is more measured, considered, thoughtful. Whereas the other guy for all his niceness is not.

  20. I think Picardo is a charismatic all-rounder. I would prefer FP as CM with the usual consistent assistance from GL.

  21. GL has shown very little interest in his current role as an opposition member with a portfolio, let alone taking on the role of leader of the opposition/ future CM.

    His contributions to local politics are few and far between, and when they come they are poor. This is a guy who has traffic and parking, one of the biggest issues in Gib at the moment, in his portfolio. After a summer of near constant gridlock can you remember how he seized the opportunity to call the Government to account?...well neither can I. Santos Productions did a better job of challenging the Government on gridlock (see Los Super, the Eastern Beach Traffic Scene).

    It’s a great shame – not just because GL is paid more than an average annual wage to do a job that he is not doing (like quite a few opposition members and Government Ministers), but because like many commentators here, I think GL would be a great candidate for leader of the GSLP / CM. But the truth is he doesn’t want it. He has a busy, demanding, satisfying, well paid job.

    Some people say the same of FP. It is true. Nobody in the GSLP gives you the impression that they are hungry to take their party and ideas forward. The GSLP give you the impression of a party sitting back, keeping their thoughts, ideas and criticisms mainly to themselves, waiting for the incumbent to flounder in the polls, so they can scoop up a win. And for the first time in 16 years it looks like that time might finally be coming.

    Will JB give up his role as leader just at the time when he thinks he might win? I for one hope not. But I also hope that if he stands again as leader that he is defeated. That somebody in the GSLP emerges, shows some balls, and in their own right wins enough party support to finally take the leadership of the party. But I can’t see that happening. So the next best thing we can hope for is a contested leadership battle with JB not standing or indicating a preference. Thereafter the new leader makes the party his own – thanks Joe, but I’m leader now.

    Lastly – its clear from all those “just google GP Noble” type comments that if FP were to lead the GSLP into the next election the GSD would be running a character assassination campaign – obviously not officially (unless they intend to make very specific allegations rather than a general humdrum “safe-pair-of-hands” rubbish).

    In my view that will be counter-productive – such a campaign fits so well with the bully type character that so many people describe the CM to be that the wavering voter is just as likely to side with the underdog as be scared off FP. Anyway FP better have some robust / full and frank responses ready…with perhaps just a smattering of “people in glass houses” for good measure.

  22. Sorry but you obviously haven't read the GP Noble judgment or done google search"picardo banco popular Casanova". Then tell me whether this is PC's character assasination. It's the future of my children you are talking about. Bossano over FP any day and Licudi over both.

  23. I agree. It's not Caruana who does done a hatchet job. The comments are made by the judge P Smith QC - a highly respected High Court Judge in the UK. For goodness sake Picardo is financial services spokesman. Gibraltar cannot afford the bad publicity.

  24. Why don'tyou post the relevant passages from GP Nobel so we can read it for ourselves?

  25. "I feel that the Labour Party's vision and ideas now have little in common with the political direction the GSD has now taken, particularly in its dealings with Spain" - Joe Bishop in today's Panorama. Off-topic, I know, but am wondering what Joe means by this (and there as yet no comments in the new blog on the police).

  26. I would rather see Dr. Joseph Garcia leading the GSLP/Liberal Alliance than Picardo or Licudi.

    Dr. Garcia is a man of substance, a good politician and a constitutional expert.

    The sheer stupidity of people and short-sighted prejudice against Dr. Joseph Garcia seems to be that he has a squeeky voice and is not an imposing figure.

    Do these people then think, in their twisted logic, that Joe Holiday is the best and most impressive politician in town?

    If this is the way we judge or assassinate characters in Gibraltar, God help us!

    A man is not measured by his height or the sound of his voice (that's done by the female characters in love/romantic novels) but by his commitment, dedication, political solidity and love for his homeland and its people.

    He qualifies on all and with A*s.

  27. Esto parece el cuento de los siete sordos. Is someone suggesting that the Nobel Prize be awarded to a local politician? What has Casanova got with all this?

  28. Thanks ANON 26/9/10 16.49 for proving the point...not sure whether you did it intentionally but that matters little now!

  29. Dr Garcia as Chief Minister and Joe Holliday as Leader of the Opposition after the general election next year (assuming Caruana doesn't stand again to avoid being defeated). Now there's a thought...