Yesterday, I was accused, on the Llanito World Facebook page, of being disingenuous and dishonest because I posed a question about the Andorran model floated by the Chief Minister in a forum in Spain. The question suggested that it was a model based on joint sovereignty and that the GSD were advocating the possibility of this joint sovereignty model for Gibraltar. I stand by those assertion, which I will show are sustainable. Significantly, I am not alone in having come to this conclusion. Other news media and individuals have also done so. I accept that this alone does not prove that I am not being dishonest but it does go some way to show that I came to a reasonable conclusion.
The accusation of dishonesty on my part is false and so malicious. To accuse someone of being dishonest is a serious accusation. Perhaps that individual should reconsider carefully what he has said. He bases his accusation on two grounds, first that the post-1993 Andorran constitution does not amount to joint sovereignty (although he soon starts to resile from this position) and secondly that it is not the GSD that supports it because it was only the Chief Minister who said that "he" would support the Andorran model.
My question, that posits opposite conclusions, is not only highly supported by the facts but is so reasonable as to render the accusation made of me unjustifiable. Normally I would let something like this go by without reaction but it is such a blatant attempt at political dissembling that I consider that it is essential to set the political record straight. At the same time readers will gain an understanding of what the Andorran model is and thus come to their own conclusion.
The relevant constitution can be read at www.andorramania.com/constit_gb.htm. It is title III (I have also published it in full in the Facebook page) that deals with the fact that the Head of State (Cap de Etat, translated as "Head of State" at the foot of the Constitution) are jointly the Bishop of Urgell (Spanish) and the President of France. In Britain and in Gibraltar the Head of State, the sovereign, is the Queen. If there is a joint Head of State, namely joint sovereigns, that equates to joint sovereignty. For those who are interested the powers of the joint sovereigns are listed in article 45 and include matters that relate to general elections, referenda, sanctioning of laws etc.
One counter-argument that I will immediately pre-empt is that under article 3 sovereignty is vested in the people. Absolutely right in a parliamentary democracy. What this is, is the use of the word sovereignty in its different meanings. It is this vesting of governmental authority in the people that allows Andorra to claim sufficient democratic "independence" to permit them a place in the UN General Assembly. It does not detract from the description "joint sovereignty" in relation to who are its Head of State. Article 3 simply reflects the reality of any democracy.
What the Chief Minister has suggested is not independence under the British Crown, which is what all the Commonwealth has. He has suggested independence under joint sovereignty with Spain. Spain's involvement must have some significance, otherwise it is a pointless suggestion. What one significance is, is preciseley that sovereign power does not emanate from one sovereign source, the British Crown, but jointly from two, namely the Spanish Crown and the British Crown. This is not an insignificant concession to joint sovereignty because it is on this joint source that democratic governmental authority is founded and which will have certain constitutional functions, including safeguarding democracy. It is this source that in a crisis is decisive of the future. Do not forget the intervention of the King of Spain when the military challenged democracy in Spain just 30 odd years ago.
Then we have the attempt at divorcing the suggestion of its leader, the Chief Minister, from the party, the GSD. There is one huge, I would suggest nearly insurmountable, difficulty in doing this. The Chief Minister is responsible for foreign affairs and relations and he has made the suggestion in a Spanish forum. How can his party deny him? Additionally, leaving aside but not ignoring, the all pervading and persuasive personality of the Chief Minister that infects all the policies of the GSD, this contention can only be supported if the party denies its leader. To date it has not done so. If the party denies its leader on such a fundamental issue can he continue to be its credible leader? That is not for me to decide. It is for members of the GSD to do so and then for the electorate to judge the result of that debate. If they do not deny, they will be seen to have adopted his, the party leader's, suggestion.
Placed in these contexts my question about joint sovereignty and the GSD is a reasonable and proper one for me, and others, to pose. Certainly an accusation of my being disingenuous and dishonest is completely unwarranted, false and malicious. I trust the person who made it will put it right. If not, I am prepared to be judged by the court of public opinion. I trust that equally he is also so willing.