Whatever the excuses what was said remains said. Also, the statements have to be interpreted in context of the recent history surrounding the GSD administration:
- Is it delivering the open, transparent and accountable government that it promised? Is it delivering collective responsibility, as it promised?
- Has it decentralised government so that all is not stopped on the Chief Minister's desk, as promised?
- Have they met basic manifesto commitments, like everything will go to tender and Parliament will be reformed, as promises?
- Are they protecting minorities, as promised i.e. gay persons?
- Have they got rid of the culture of fear that they said existed under the GSLP administration, as promised?
The list goes on but you get my drift, each of you will have her/his own view.
The point is that what the GSD representative said, in my view, mirrors exactly the manner in which the GSD administration has ended up behaving. It never happens at the start of any new administration. It evolves over time. It happened to the GSLP administration toward the end of its second term. It is this effect that the present system has on politicians that I so despise. It is a systemic failure that, in turn feeds each character trait and each ego of each politician.
A systemic failing can only be corrected by a change in the system. It is this that I am campaigning for. I do not intend to stop until it is achieved. I believe fervently that a change in the electoral system and some reforms of Parliament will deliver to Gibraltar perfectly strong but much improved government, with greater democracy. It will go a long way, also, to curing the fear and repression, real or imaginary, that so many people in Gibraltar feel. Democratically elected representatives, Members of Parliament, owe to the electorate a duty to take steps to dispel the causes of such fears. The existence of a lack of fear of reprisals underscores all the Fundamental Freedoms contained in Part 1 of the 2006 Constitution, without that these freedoms are mere statements of principle with no significant substance or value.
I agree with Dominique Searle who said, on that program, elections are not the be all and end all of democracy. Elections are only beginning, the method to choose a government. Democracy has many more ingredients. Tomes have been written about what makes up democracy. It is pointless to write about this subject in depth here but as Vernon Bogdanor said (The People & the Party System Cambridge University Press):
"For electoral systems must be judged by a number of different criteria, and these are unlikely to prove totally compatible with each other. High priority amongst conflicting criteria would generally be given to such considerations as the extent to which a particular system promoted stable and efficient government, fairness of representation, a wide choice of representatives, and contact between the electorate and its chosen representatives. But there will be disagreement on the relative priorities to be attached to each of these aims. Frequently a balance will have to be struck between them. Fair representation is a valuable aspiration, but not perhaps at the expense of encouraging the growth of too many splinter groups which would weaken the effectiveness of government. On the other hand, it would be foolish to pursue the aim of strong government so single-minded as to prevent the natural diversity of opinion amongst the electorate from being reflected in the composition of the legislature."
Both the GSD and the GSLP/liberals have admitted that the balance is not right in Gibraltar. Both of them in their respective Manifestos for the 2007 Elections. The former by saying that they would undertake reforms of Parliament (also importanatly in the 1996 they campaigned heaily on the need to introduce checks and balances), the later by saying that they would empower people. I believe that enough people express this view so frequently, that it is also right to rely on this anecdotal evidence to express the view that voters do not believe that the right balance has been struck. The balance is heavily skewed at present towards autocratic and unrepresentative government. In fairness, for the last 16 years the GSLP have not had an opportunity to make any changes, only the GSD has ... so come on get on with it and enact the required reforms.