Friday, 4 February 2011

After GBC's Viewpoint, What?

Well we move on.  The day after the day before when, hopefully, following Viewpoint last night, the comfort felt by some will have been shaken at least a little bit.  What to write about?  Well I will develop a subject that I touched on last night.

Democratic politics is about real live issues.  It is about finite resources being applied evenly and for the benefit of our society as a whole.  It is about minorities having their rights protected.  It is about the more needy in every field being looked after, without the creation of a nanny state that looks after those who should look after themselves.  It is about a lot more than that but one thing that it is certainly about is the delivery of manifesto promises.  It is also about the future.  Let politicians stop dwelling on the past and fighting elections on what happened 16 years ago.  We all know it was bad, no, appalling.  The perpetrators have been punished, let us look forward now.

The past has a bearing but not to the exclusion of progress.  Those involved in politics cannot continuously dwell on the past; especially if the primary reason for doing so is to perpetuate their own selfish sojourn in politics and their own well paid positions.  I would be ashamed if I was being paid what our elected politicans are being paid doing what many do.  The majority do very little to earn it.   Their primary task seems to be not to get on the wrong side of their party leader  so as  not to be out of favour, which may result in them being excluded at the next election.  If she/he can stay on the slate by hanging onto the coat tails of his leader the "party" will continue. 

I sit and write pieces for free, about which I do not complain (in fact it keeps me happy!), and  achieve much much more than some of our politicians, shame on you.  You should be embarrassed.  You know who you are, give up, show some respect for yourselves and for those who elect you.  Alternatively wake up and do what you were elected to do: make a diffrerence provide people with the change that they yearn for:  make Gibraltar more democratic. 

The GSD Government promised this.  It has not delivered on this promise.  All GSD Ministers and MPs should be screaming to achieve this before the next election.  It is not a cross-party issue, as suggested by Louis Montegriffo, representing the GSD last night on Viewpoint.  It is a GSD manifesto promise that so far is broken.    Each MP owes it to the electorate to use their ability to achieve for the electorate what they promised.  What is it that always happens that, in the end, promised reforms to improve democracy is not what the electorate gets?  It cannot be the fault of anyone other than the elected members on the government benches.

I am not impressed by boastings of economic success by any government.  Gibraltar is successful because it is entrepreneurial by nature.  A government provides the stability and basis for the success of the private sector but, as I have argued in earler pieces, there is little else it can do on this side of the equation.  I have acknowledged, in the past and do so again, this has been well done by the GSD.  Gibraltar's economy is not rocket science, we have legislative leverage, fiscal leverage and regulatory leverage.  The money then comes in or does not.  Fortunately it has been coming in, people and businesses earn and taxes are paid.  The government then has its revenues. 

The next but prime responsibility of any government is to spend it well.  It is in this area that there is room for politics.  It is in this field that political parties can and will be judged.  Those who have been in government, by having what priorities they have had and how well they have met these and how much and well the money has been spent questioned.  Those who seek government, by how they promise in their manifesto to spend and use this money in the future.  Always remembering that it is not their money.  This money belongs to the peiople whom they represent.  It is received from payment of direct and indirect taxes.  Any government at any time is merely the custodian of that money.  They have to account for it to the electorate at all times, especially at elections.  Let us judge this isue at the next election as well.


  1. Excellent interventions last night, Robert. I thought Nick Cruz was good, Dominique Searle sensible and Louis Montegriffo unnecessarily abrasive.

    I was particularly intrigued by your mention of an "exciting project" designed to shake up the electoral process in the run-up to the next election.

    When can we expect news on this front?

  2. Funny this, a little pro GSD, a lot of holding to account (very democratic) but then a launch into what the GSD has not done. There's a great deal you conveniently choose to leave out on the many positives enjoyed by us all today and steered by a Govt able to function and make decisions. Is it a surprise that you do not have the political will or principle to question, or at the least highlight the pathetic response by the GSLP to turn up and excercize their duty as elected members of P. Some might wonder if you were in on this and given that some believe Fab will not present himself, you might be the next leader of the GSLP!

  3. Robert,

    Fantastic performance last night,you only tackled the matters that were important not LIke Louis Montegriffo that has to defend a Government that is out of touch with the many people that face tremendous hardship and believe me there are plenty.

  4. Ghost says:
    Robert I actually think you may be on the verge of breaking the camels back on the issue of Parliamentary reforms. Maybe not to the extent that you'd like, but most certainly to a level that will be of huge benifit to furthering our democratic credentials.
    Me duele mucho ponerme de acuerdo con tigo, I am having palpitations as I type.
    More to come if I'm inspired later.

  5. In his victory speech after the last election Peter Caruana warned against independents getting into Parliament. He said that the party system had served Gibraltar well. At the time he could only have been referring to Richard Martinez who campaigned for fathers rights and more likely to Charles Gomez who effectively told us sin pelos en la lengua that the three parties represented the same economic interests and was famously compared to a hand granade by Nicky Cruz. I have to say that I missed Gomez at last night's Viewpoint as I like his forthright style. Robert's theories are absolutely correct but people like Charles add substance. I have always thought that he and Daniel Feetham are the future of politics in Gibraltar. Anyway well done Robert you came across as a person of conviction and passion and have put the MPs in what Dominique Seale called the Boring Parliament to shame.

  6. Anonymous at 18:45

    Conspiracy theory par excellance. I congratulate you. If this is how the GSD think WOW! God bless you ...

  7. Breaking the mould ! Valiente cachondeo! Changing the system from within with 10 independents whom if elected will then decide who may or may nit be the leader and whether or not they might actually want to form Govt, to boot they may just decide to gracefully give way to the minority party to form Govt whilst the independent super heroes of democracy impose their egotistic principles as a check and balance.
    Maybe we can get Harry Porter and Donald Duck to act as election agents.
    Can't wait for the next feeder on this one.

  8. Ghost

    All or nothing mate! Slowly slowly catchy monkey ... I am stubborn and patient.

  9. Anonymous at 20:58

    This is clearly a GSLP tactic ... ridicule any suggestions that undermine its rather optimistic but mistaken idea that it stands a chance of electoral success at the next election. Keep it up GSLP. It seems unbelievable that after all the GSLP has gone through it still has learnt nothing.

  10. Ghost says:

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!! Very good Robert.

    But you need not get that radical; slowly, slowly works as does patience and as an outsider (thinking out of the box) I think your tack has margin to stir democratic ripples which sensible characters in politics would be silly to ignore.

    My advice if you are prepared to accept it, is by all means be patient but keep in touch and keep your ear to the ground; who knows you might be closer to a consensus on this than you think.
    Key to all of this is that you act in the best interests of the people and with a responsibility that requires judgment calls of a less radical nature...........its not all about catching the monkey, you also want to be sure that you don't get ahead of it and have it bite you in the arse....:) if you get my meaning.


  11. Robert,

    I enjoy your innovative style,Gibraltar has for too long been controlled by self scented freaks that all they care is about themselves.Personally i am of the view that those in opposition don't really want to be in government as being in that state pours in a nice pocket money for doing nothing.If FP is practicing law and gets paid xxxx being in opposition surely pumps that figure up whilst if he was in government his time to practice would be limited hence lower income.

    It takes someone very special to give up revenue for others and i don't honestly see anyone in the picture today.Maybe i am too naive and and being in government has its perks too.

    On another note,Government new very well that there were going to be power cuts this year as they installed some new generators in certain critical departments.What a coincidence no???

    You definitely have my vote!!!!!!

  12. Good post. Its about time someone spoke out about who we have been electing.

    The majority (both govt & opp) would be unemployable, or employed in low paid jobs in places like London etc. Are these the people we want as Ministers? The electorate know this is the case, what we need is people to vote the people they think are the best qualified to do the job as ministers.

    We need quality candidates, people with managerial experience, people with financial know how.

    If you had a company how many of the current crop of MP´s would you employ?

    Rocka Fella

  13. L.E.F.

    I totally agree with F.'s recommendation that we have to campaign amongst our close friends and relatives to try and force the change we all need and many of us want.

    We have the power in our hands to make an impact at the forthcoming elections. We however do not know or cannot imagine to what level or degree we can influence the results.

    We must start believing in ourselves that change is possible if we are all on the same wavelength.

    For this we must be realistic of what is achievable and what is not. We need to be clear of the strategy we are to take to succeed.

    There are many questions in our minds at present and each one of us has his/her own reasons. What I mean is that we have to concentrate on what unites us and for that we need to formulate a strategy.

    We have this blog to maximise our potential.
    To mobilize the population. If each one of us can influence through reasoning and logic 2 or 3 people and those can influence others we can do it. We can achieve representation of an independent candidate.

    The questions that we need clearing and soon are :
    How many independents are going to stand?
    What acceptability will they have to the electorate?
    Which other candidates can we recommend to be voted along with the independents?
    What probability will we have in achieving results?
    Do we chase dreams at the risk of 4 more years of the same, or do we aim lower with a higher chance of success ?

    We need guidance. We need ideas. We need thoughts. We need to decide what course of action , we are united on so that we can spread the message.

    We cannot delay as the more time we have the larger and greater our impact can be.

    I personally think that we can easily get one candidate in with a high result. 2 candidates would be a much tougher challenge but still possible. More I am not to sure.

    I base my reasoning on figures and probability.

    You have definitely won my vote but I need to also know how best to maximise my other 9 votes.

    The possibilities are there. But what are they?
    What is it that we can achieve?

    I urge any independents who might not yet be ready to reveal thier identity, to at least suggest realistic proposals to see what is possible.

    The time for change is here. Lets not waste this opportunity .

    Twisting one of Gandhi's saying.

    Question . What do you think of democracy in Gibraltar?
    Answer. I think it would be a good idea.

  14. I was disappointed RV you came across a tad naive and too flustered. Still you can work on this before the next election and I for one will give you the benefit of the doubt.I agree with anon at 19.42 you have said that the is a democratic deficit and now you start making practical suggestions. If you do not you could lose credibility like the PDP or when you chaired the No ca,paign but left public pronucnements to Sir Robert Peliza, Joe Caruana, Willie Serfaty and C. Gomez. Go for it Robert.

  15. Anonymous at 15:17

    Criticism noted and accepted. I have not been in frontline politics before. Naive, I am not sure, idealistic absolutely yes and also unapologetically so. Flustered, no, I was excited absolutely yes because I am excited about this project.

    I do not NOW start making suggestions. I made them in public as long ago as 1976, when I first came back to Gibraltar from university. I have not stopped since. I asked the GSD the question before the 1996 election and was promised reform. GSD put it into its manifesto I am still waiting. Now I have decided to do something about it. I have been writing suggestions since I started writing this blog.

    Give time its due. A Declaration of Core Principles will be published in due time. All the issues on democratic deficit will be dealt with, believe me.

    I did not leave public pronouncements in the NO campaign as you suggest. You re-write history. I did miss the main debate due to illness, that is all. Otherwise I got equal coverage. Sir Robert Peliza ploughed his own furrow. Others were allocated their airtime and newspaper space, which was shared amongst the various viewpoints held by different people.

  16. I totally agree with L.E.F. (12:46), an emphatic 100%.

    Robert am I understand that your silence on the matter is due to you biding your time, since you, amongst others have already a plan in motion with regards to the suggestion that L.E.F. proposes?

  17. F

    As I said on GBC this is a a plan under development/work in progress and we need to identify more independents to stand for election.

    A declaration of core principles should be ready early next week. Approaches to certain people will be made. Anyone who may be interested can contact me directly on or leave their name here.

    We will see what we can do ....

  18. Robert,

    A fed up Gibraltarian here who is now excited thanks to the plans you recently revealed. I really really hope you get enough support and that together WE CAN ALL help to change the system and give Gibraltar a much needed breath of fresh air.

    Just want to add to the many that are already encouraging you - please keep going no matter the obstacles!

    Many thanks for making things exciting again. looking forward to casting my vote!

  19. Robert looking foward to this alternative "choice" of candidates.

    I sincerely believe a different option could be a succesful one.


  20. Roacka Fella...we also need MPs who care and with a great sense of social responsibilty. Together with managers and financiers, that would be a great team. A mixture of skills are necessary for good government. We don't want a whole load of lawyers though, too unbalanced!

  21. Dear Llanito World

    "We should not give too much power to the people because if we do the Government cannot then make crucial decisions." Louis Montegriffo

    "It is highly unlikely that we are going to have any cross party intelligent debate." Louis Montegriffo

    If he represents the GSD executive...may god help us

  22. Chocolate Eclair5 February 2011 at 23:47

    Robert, I salute you for all your efforts.

    It is people like you and Sir Joshua who rose out of the ground and shook things up when all seemed impossible. But you have your work carved out here mate!!! I don't envy whatever proposal you may be toiling on that will get the message across to the electorate that block voting is outdated and counterproductive and that it could all be so much more fruitful ANOTHER WAY. -Thats what we all dream about as we walk into the polling station at each election where we are indoctrinated into believing 'vote for the devil you know'.

    Personally, i would approach you myself, but only if it seems fullproof that 'we' -and by 'we' I'm standing for 'the people' - stood a chance. The viability has to be so watertight that people will actually go for it! If we cracked it, it could change everything FOR THE BETTER.....

    Thank you for 2 things Robert.
    1. For bothering for US Gibraltarians
    2. For having the cojones to go out there for US Gibraltarians !!

    Good luck!

    Chocolate Eclair

  23. Could you (someone) tell me why you (RV) were invited to the debate? Considering your "apolitical" ideology.'ve gone back on your promise to not go into politics?! :O

    Also regarding your article on your resignation, I do believe the appropriate saying is "you make your bed you must now lay in it".

  24. Anonymous at 03:50

    Well, I received a phone call from GBC asking me whether as a political blogger I would appear on a debate about the elections ... so I said yes! Is that a problem?

    Who ever said that I am "apolitical"? I certainly have not said it. This blog is everything but "apolitical". It is totally and unashamedly political. I am and have always been highly political. Where do you get this weird idea from? I promised not to go into politics? I said I was not PRESENTLY considering standing for election ... the present is a very short period of time starting and finishing every moment of every day.

    I did not make my bed on my resignation. Other's are making the bed, so it is for those others to lie in the bed that they will make. I have every intention of ensuring that they sleep well in the bed that they make for themselves, or are they making a rod for their own backs? We will see.

    I do not complain and have not complained or whined about my resignation. I fully stand my decision and am getting on with my life. What is your point? All I have done is explained the reasons for my resignation. I am very happy about it. It has freed me from attempts to artificially muzzle my ability to participate in political debate. I was not prepared to accept any restriction, however minor.

  25. "We should not give too much power to the people because if we do the Government cannot then make crucial decisions." Louis Montegriffo. I think it's perfectly clear exactly what Montegriffo meant by this. A Govt is not able to function without mandate nor the required powers within the party system that we enjoy. To suggest that excessive checks / vetoes that prevent an elected governing party to effectively take decisions and lead is tantamount to a chaos in which every political decision will be scrutinised to a point of disabling a Govt to function and rendering the establishment weak and ineffective. What is required is a back bench system that allows opportunity to those with aspirations in politics and independents that can highlight specific issues and influence productively, always without affecting the ability for a Govt to function.

    "It is highly unlikely that we are going to have any cross party intelligent debate." Louis Montegriffo.  this is exactly the case at present! The opposition has delivered no intelligent debate, conviction, or integrity. It has shown no direction and on matters where there should be consensus, like the constitution, the unions negotiations and other issues they have chosen to either sit on the fence or simply attack with only personal agenda and with no regard to the electorate. A no show at the debate says a great deal about an opposition of 15 years with still nothing of substance to offer.

    "If he represents the GSD executive...may god help us", at least he represented a position. A great deal more that can be said from the opposition. 

  26. Anonymous at 12:25:

    You attempt to justify the unjustifiable. Of course one consideration is ability to govern but a balance with democratic principles has to exist. The balance now favors undemocratic and autocratic government. The UK strikes a fair balance. Gibraltar should be allowed the same, at least, balance. Even the GSD in their manifesto recognise this. They have failed to deliver on this promise, that is the fair criticism.

    Checks and balances have to exist and basic is that there should be some separation of power between legislature and executive, that does not interfere overly on the ability to govern. Additionally there must be systems to call the executive to account. They must be susceptible to enquiry and investigation to ensure that all they do is done, at least, within the Rule of Law, which means that there must be legislative authority for them to do it. Also people are entitled to have an identifiable representative in Parliament to whom they can take their trouble. This is a minimum that has to be delivered.

    One more item, in order to scotch all the constant rumours about corruption and bribery why not have an Anti Corruption and Bribery Commission independent of government? More to come ... watch this and other spaces over the next few months.

    It is arrogant in the extreme to believe that there cannot be cross-party intelligent debate. It takes 2 to tango. This is equally the fault of the GSD. Arrogance is an element that is destroying all politics in Gibraltar. It is prevalent across all elected politicians ... come down to earth ... PLEASE!

  27. Anon 12:25 says:
    RV if you care to re-read the post we are nit far off. The GSD has clearly failed to implement reforms that it said it would. Please do not however insult our intelligence that the opposition is capable of a tango, they have shown absolutely no ability to do so, whether in parliament, out of it or even on GBC on Thur.

  28. Anon 12:25

    Louis (GSD representative) should never have stated the following: “We should not give too much power to the people because if we do the Government cannot then make crucial decisions." The Government is the PEOPLE. It was put there BY the people FOR the people. That the GSD Government happens to think otherwise is another matter altogether. Or at least this was the message that Louis portrayed to the public, whether this was intentional or not is neither here nor there. Louis could have been nervous and “slipped up” as I believe him to be relatively inexperienced when it comes to public debates. When you have the likes of RV and Cruz on the same panel, who wouldn’t get nervous lololol? But as Robert has already stated you cannot attempt to justify the unjustifiable. Following party lines blindly irrespective of what is being said or done does a great disservice to our so called “democratic “society.

    Furthermore if Louis were indeed to be speaking on behalf of the GSD (when those particular statements were made), then we should all be very worried. Personally I perceive such comments as being fit for any dictatorial regime and uncalled for.

    Power has a funny way of changing people and as I have previously stated on LLW. Even those with the best of intentions initially can lose their way. Change is required (in my humble opinion). What if these 'people' start believing their own lies? What then? Please take note of the word "lies" as no one can honestly state that “We should not give too much power to the people because if we do the Government cannot then make crucial decisions." Blasphemy!!


  29. Fred says:


    I'm afraid I have not had the time to read all the posts or keep up with the debate. But, the very best of luck with whatever it is you are up to!

    By the way, as regards a previous thread about the government's propaganda piece in the Guardian, Private Eye has had a little dig at it on the basis of the Madoff feeder funds and the Marache case - Private Eye, No.1281, 4-17 Feb, p.32

  30. Pepeillo says: Anti Corruption and Bribery Commission, I like it now you are talking Robert.

  31. Chapeau: I do not agree that we need an Anti Corruption and Bribery Commission. We have laws to deal with these things and the RGP is well qualified to deal with them - Commissioner Wink should get his people on to it. we all know what we are talking about an so does the police. Schapoor Robert.

  32. Anonymous at 12:25 and 13:09

    I was referring to the GSD and GSLP/Liberals being both at fault but in the end analysis it is the GSD who are in power and so can make the change. They do not need cross-party consensus.

  33. Kafab on yet another rant. The statement by the GSD's rep was an over reach on reality. To class it in the way that Ka has is typical of someone incapable of understanding the real mechanisms and elements required to lead a Govt able to function accordingly.
    I can only assume that his omission to refer to the GSLP in recent postings is admission and acceptance that they are no longer a credible force in politics today. But maybe Roberts team of independent super heroes will attract the boy. Maybe you can help Harry Potter and Donald Duck in the election campaign.

  34. Anonymous at 17:50

    Strong, yes, as strong as I get from GSD supporters? I think so!

    Politics out of context, I do not think so ... hitting the nail on the head, from your reaction I think, yes.

    Heads and arses ... ummmm ... I will leave it to each reader to decide who has theirs up whose arese! I have indications that my blog begins to change things. That is one problem for the established parties.

    Politics and religion were mixed by the GSD in 1996 ... not by me ... look back and analyse my dear anonymous commentator. Again, I will leave it to individual readers to decide.

    Should we mention the gay rights equality debate and litigation at this stage?

    I think the truth hurts ...

  35. Wrote a post before but it seem to fail to get through!! probably pressed the wrong button!LOL

    Other posts have come through and therefore my old one is out of date. Goes to show how a minute in politics is a long time and how popular this blog is becoming!!
    In fact my old post is old because some have said the same as I said. The one which is closest is that written by you Robert 17:34.
    I believe that the GSD sychophants rants are typical and shows them up for what they are NEO-CONS with a mixture of self interested people within their ranks and Ministers who have been given over £80,000 to just make a presence in their respective Ministries whilst Caruana takes every single decision.
    Louis Montegriffo's comments epitomised the GSD's attitude as does those who try to justify them.
    In the missed post I also said that although I do not totally agree with Robert in what he is trying to do because I believe that the current system can work if The leader of the Parliament DID NOT use and abuse the rules, the speaker and holds everyone to ransom, something no other Government have ever done. Yes, Not even the GSLP, who all the GSD sychophants will say the contrary,and mention the way the GSLP treated Peter Cumming,etc. Peter Caruana makes Bossano look like a sheep!
    And this is what Louis Montegriffo actually meant when he said about giving people toooo much power.
    Louis Montegriffo shows he has a NEO-CONSERVATIVE MENTALITY. But as a democrat I will continue to argue my way through rather then using their tactic of ridicule, demean, use smokescreens, and other tactics such as going for the opposition.

  36. O dear Robert, a smiley face to cover your rage on this will do you no favours.
    I leave you with a quote from Napoleon:
    “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” I think the GSD had only accounted this quote for the GSLP. I as a GSD supporter had never thought that it could also be applied to your blog. Shame, you very nearly had me won over with your ideas, which I maintain are credible to a point.
    A word of advice, if you want success for the super heroes, find the middle ground and don't apply your erroneous accusations of superiority of the GSD to your own experiment.

  37. Anonymous at 18:26

    I am not raging nor do I see a smiley face, not on my post at least :)

    I really do not understand what you are saying with the rest of your comment ... in my humility, I may have to plead lack of intelligence on this one :)

  38. Well at least were smiling. Or is that just because Liverpool are winning?

  39. That explains it..;)

  40. 18:26 Quoting Napoleon is just down your street.Quotes from dictators GREAT Stuff!!
    And Robert its not that you lack intelligence is just that the other lacks it!!!:)
    I am happy for Liverpool see if they win cos it does my team a great service. Robert we are arch ravels since I am one who sings, COME ON YOU SPURS!!! and we won 2-1 Arsenal gave away 2 points to the toon army ha!

  41. On GBC Newswatch the other day, main news, Govt and Union sign the Building and works Agreement. Who do we see on GBC? PRC of course, who goes on to give his comments on the deal. Where is Minister Vinet? Could he not have at least said something on what goes on in his ministry. Caruana se lo come todo.

    Robert you are right, lets get a better deal come the next election. You have my vote.

  42. Anon 17:26

    The GSLP not pitching up on VIEWPOINT is inexcusable! Not even I can deny that.

    As you can see my political mindset has not been indoctrinated beyond repair unlike yours. :)

    I am no sheep and I have no shepherd. I call them as I see them.

    As for your comments regarding my lack of “capabilities”, in understanding Louis comments, I beg to differ it is quite impossible to misinterpret “We should not give too much power to the people because if we do the Government cannot then make crucial decisions." How can anyone possibly misunderstand such statements? I find your condescending tone and warped assessment of the aforementioned comments extremely amusing. Keep the good work up sparky you are indeed making the GSD fraction proud. :) LOL


  43. what worries me greatly is that caruana is an inteligent man and must have chosen louis to go to the program so what is he playing at, you could see from both his arogance and body language that he is a clone from his boss el caruana.

  44. good evening they should change chif minister ive been with out a house 4 month and there are houses emty and we are a family of 4 2 child and 2 adult liveing in the car thanks