Thursday, 19 May 2011

Give Us Substance not Form on Reforms

Let us get back to politics and issues and thank god for small mercies. The GSD have announced support for Parliamentary reforms. It has done so, it says, as a result of the enthusiasm shown by the new Leader of the Opposition and also because the Chief Minister, now, also sees greater consensus outside Parliament for reform.

The unfortunate initial response from the GSLP/Liberals is to attack the GSD proposals on form and not substance by engaging in a "blame game" argument. The alliance is right in that a Select Committee of Parliament was established by the Government two and a half years ago and the Chief Minister has not convened a second meeting of it. The alliance is also right that it is the responsibility of those in government to make initial proposals, especially as reforms were a manifesto promise of the GSD government. The alliance is also right that from a Select Committee with equal numbers of Government and Opposition now the GSD Government have moved the goalposts. The GSD Government have instead proposed a Committee of the whole of Parliament. This would give the Government an inbuilt majority if implemented but, worse still, makes the process rather unwieldy and unmanageable.

The result will likely be that either the Government pushes through its views or no agreement is reached. If the Government pushes through its views those reforms that require legislation are doomed to failure because the 2006 Constitution requires this type of reforms to be passed with a two thirds majority. The Opposition will likely vote against in these circumstances. The effect of this would be to veto any reforms, leaving us where we started with the GSD Government blaming the alliance Opposition for the lack of any democratic advance. This would be political maneuvering and cynicism of the highest degree. I would hope that this is not what happens. I hope that the alliance Opposition will engage on the substance despite this rather negative start from both sides of Parliament and the rather sour and bitter atmosphere presently pervading the relations between both Parliamentary parties.

A small positive step forward is that the GSD Government has now published a draft motion setting out its proposed reforms. Some are good, to a limited degree, and some do not go far enough in order to deliver more democracy. As is usual the devil is in the detail. The Chief Minister is very good at the detail, as we all know.

One proposal is that each Minister will have to answer questions in Parliament once a month and the Chief Minister fortnightly. This is a massive advance. Aside from increasing accountability question time will become  more focussed on the distinct responsibility of individual ministerial but also the press will be given an opportunity to report better and in more detail. Presently there are so many questions at each session of Parliament that the answers get lost resulting in the public not becoming aware of relevant and important issues. The rule limiting the duration of such sessions and prohibiting the asking of statistical questions is the detail that diminishes the effect of this reform. What is a "statistical question" is one problem that will be complicated to define and determine and could greatly reduce the effectiveness of this change.

A standing General Purposes Committee will also increase accountability. It will be chaired by an Opposition MP with power to summons Ministers, officials and others. This picks up on one of my suggestions. However, its effectiveness will much depend on the "... procedures and processes to be approved by Parliament" in which, as we all know the GSD Government has a majority. Much will further depend on the composition of this committee, which will " ... be variable for different meetings depending on the subject matter ..." and how and who will decide what that composition will be.

I was reminded recently that Parliament, or the House of Assembly, as it then was, always used to have a very effective, incisive and inquisitive Public Accounts Committee. Mr Bossano's GSLP Government abolished it . The GSD Government conveniently forgot to introduce it when it gained power in 1996. The reintroduction of this Committee to quiz Ministers and Officials on all financial expenditure should be considered. It is not  one of the reforms suggested by the GSD Government.

The newly suggested ability for Opposition MPs to bring Motions before Parliament monthly is toothless. The motion can always be defeated by the inbuilt Government majority. This is a sheer gimmick.

Reform of Standing Orders can happen forthwith so this is just a fleshless suggestion included to pad out lightweight proposals.

I believe that none of the above reforms require any legislative change or authority. I understand that they are entirely within the hands of the Leader of the House, who is the Chief Minister, under current Standing Orders to introduce tomorrow. Why does he just not do it? Not that it would be enough.

The suggestion to increase the size of Parliament and allow for backbenchers is a more substantive reform. This would require legislation to introduce and implement it. In the absence of any concrete proposals as to how many or how they would be elected, this reform could be purely cosmetic. There are no such detailed proposals included in the draft motion. Enlargement of Parliament without electoral reforms that allow "Independents" to be elected will mean that again this change will be cosmetic and make no real inroads into the democratic deficit.

All in all a major disappointment but it is a start. I beg the GSD Government not to take the electorate for a ride on the subject of these reforms. We may not be as intelligent and clever as you but we are not stupid. I urge the GSLP/Liberals not to engage in any more procedural wrangling and accusations of gimmickry. Let bygones be bygones. Seize the opportunity and put forward some serious proposals for reform. Show the proposed GSD reforms up for what they are. Show the electorate your true democratic and reforming zeal. Make a difference to improve Gibraltar by making substantive proposals . This will ensure that there is clear blue water between your policies for reform and those of the GSD. It will not harm your electoral chances. It will enhance them. The GSD keep on giving you popular ground that you can move into, do not lose the opportunity to fill this vacuum.


  1. Alfa Falfa: Robert have you sold out to the 2 party system? Reading this dismal post I get the impression that you have given up on the idea of breaking the block vote and getting independent men and women of quality into Parliament. Now that you personally have thrown in the towel even before you got into the ring should you not be supporting other independent candidates like Free Thinking Charles Gomez or even the PDP in the hope of getting a wider rnge of representation?

  2. What the blazes do you mean when you say let us get back to politics and issues and thank God for small mercies?! The last 200 contributions to Llanito World have been about nothing else than politics and issues. It seems to me that you think that politics and issues is about talking about the packaging and not the contents. Weird.

  3. Alfa Falfa

    No, I am not sure why you jump to that conclusion . In the penultimate paragraph I make direct reference to the need to reform the electoral system and criticise the proposals for not including electoral reform to allow election of independents.

    This dismal post (my apologies but one is not always as alert and inspired as othjer times and last night I was particularly tired following a heavy week at work) is a hard critique of the GSD Government proposals. It is not to be interpreted at all as a retraction of any of my proposals and suggestions. I intend to take up the invitation to the public to make representations by submitting my proposals in full. I believe you have jumped to an incorrect conclusion.

    In this piece I am simply welcoming a very small first step in the direction of reform. Icriticise the GSD Government heavily for the light weight proposals that it has made. It have all the hallmarks of what it does frequently on giving up it's authoritarian power. It pretends to give but retains by ensuring the centralised system of government that exists is not seriously compromised. I despise that. I will never sell out on my campaign to change that and bring greater democracy.

  4. Anonymous at 08:13

    My statement was not intended to diminish the importance of the issue raised in my previous post or all the comments made under it. I am sure that issue will boil on all the way to the election. My reference to "small mercies" was only in the context of the GSD Government having, in a very limited, inadequate and controlled fashion,started the debate on reforms. I cricise it heavily for being churlish in its proposals. I invite the GSLP/Liberals to step into the void that this has created and take the political advantage.

    Politics is both about the package and the contents. I think I have demonstrated that by being the first commentator to raise many issues on both fronts I have done so well before other politicians and the established media. I apolgise if you feel that I have failed on this ocassion :)

    Will anyone be speaking to me in the future ... :)

  5. Robert ere un bicho malo - but I say it with love..:)
    I think the Govts intentions are well meant and although they have dragged their feet on the matter, having to deal with a comatosed opposition party unwilling to engage in proper accountable and intelligent debate has hardly helped our been condusive to a proactive parliament.
    I think it unlikely that with Picardo supposedly at the helm that things are likely to change.

  6. All, please be aware... Facebook is being monitored by the establishment... the Big Hairy Hand will approach you and slap you down... they will get personal.
    No wonder ppl have to post anonymously!

    So much for a free and democratic Gibraltar.
    GSD: Dictatorship!!!

  7. My word anon16:23 is that Mark Ashbey at it again?

  8. To Anon 15;36
    Robert has asked us to debate the substance of parliamentary reform and electoral reform and all of us are happy to do so, but you in typical partisan GSD in this case resort to again have a go at the opposition without substance again and again.
    So it seems to me that the debate is going to become since you are making it into one a Picardo/ Caruana mud slinging match.
    I will be commmenting on my opinion on electoral reform and parliamentary reform without resorting to insulting anyone.
    So I am interested in finding out what your opinion on the subject is if you have any??

  9. anon 16.23 can you back that up with some fact? Instead of the usual shite?

  10. Anon 17:20. I am anon 15:36. If you are going to comment on reform you would need to refer to those that make it happen and those who are genuinely interested in making it work in the best interests of Gib. You will be hard pushed to factor anything substantial by one if the parties with regard to action and acting in the best interests of Gib for reform.
    In short the reforms are good and required - to debate further would be pointless I think all agree they are a positive move. If anyone can be accused of politicising everything under the sun It is the usual suspects who have done it with great effort for the past 16 years.

  11. I am not on Facebook, but have read several references on here to Mark Ashbey and Facebook....LLW-RV or anyone else care to let the restof us know what all that is about! We contribute on here but it feels like those of us not on Facebook are missing out on info

  12. Anonymous at 15:36

    Bicho malo? No creo .. I am a a man with a mission. My mission: to deliver more democracy, more inclusion and stop tribal politics for the benefit of the community, Those who stop it are ... the politicians who are supposed to be the servants of the people.

  13. Bicho malo says: who's fecking stopping you...:) you generalise on politicians Mr V, some are all for democracy and want to feature sensibly and maturely, they also understand realities. I M afraid thee are those who have other agendas like bit featuring and blowing smoke all day whilst sitting in a fence throwing stones.
    Tribal politics as you call it is not the problem, it's the will of the tribes to feature and be accountable.
    You have yourself a good weekend.

  14. Anon 19:59 You're better off avoiding Facebook. Above was a reference to one of many groups on Facebook. The original one, started by Bryan Zammit Jnr, is called 'Gibraltar Politics', a new one has been started this week and there are others. Don't sign up to Facebook. You'll end up wasting a lot of your valuable time. Llanito World is much better, less time-consuming and easier to follow.

  15. I know ANON 2316h, Ive avoided it for years on purpose. But I am curious as to who this Ashbey is and what the story people here were commenting on was about! Still clueless! Anyone?? Ya na ma pa quitarme la intriga...

  16. Bueno, parece que me tendre que acostar con la intriga. Robert tu tampoco me vas a poner al dia con esto del tal Ashbey???

  17. Anon 00:12. Basically Ahbey was a fake profile on Facebook who began befriending a cross section of Gibraltarians. It's relatively simple on FB to do, once there are freinds of freinds that you know almost everyone accepts an add on because you can see that many if your own freinds are included. This Ashbey set up a group a little like LW called Politiqueo in the pretence of it being impartial at first. To cut a kong story short, it turns out that it was politically motivated by the GSLP to the point that the I.T man at the GSLP was named as an assistant in the project. In essence the group became an attack by Ashbey and other on the GSD. When quizzed as to who he actually was, it turns out that no one actually knew him. Shortly after he closed the group.
    Classic GSLP.

  18. What is wrong with these GSD geeks@ Why choose a home counties psudonym like Mark Ashbey? What is wrong with good old llanito psudonyms like Kayerone Perez or Geovalanka Bassadone or even Tysen Caruana?

  19. Anon @ 09.20 rectifies: Apologies I thought Mark Ashbey was a GSD dirty trick because I had not been folowing "his" mamoneo. Now I read that the GSLP was behind this con. It just shows that the GSLP are as geekish as the GSD - Picardo's mock socialists show Gibraltarians as buffoons e.g. Florentino El Caleteno but when they want to be taken seriously the use English names. To Picardo and the GSLP a traditional Gibraltarian farewell : *rs* * T*m*r P*r C*l*!

  20. To those Anons above, (8:00 in particular) please stop trying to spread lies. As a GSD supporter it is frankly embarrassing to see who I can only assume is the same person bring it up in every blog entry in an attempt to implicate the GSLP in this frankly straightforward and innocent matter.

    It has already been established that Mark Ashbey is a real person with ties to Gibraltar who closed "Politiqueo Llanito because he stated the demands of moderating the group had become to great, and because I imagine he did not enjoy the idea of others prying into his personal life. Please refer to the evidence K provided two blog entries ago as well as the results of a simple google search using the right criteria.

    In short, everything you posted was a lie and you have no evidence to indicate otherwise.

  21. confused-dot-com21 May 2011 at 13:26

    Robert, I read with great interest the spin that Mr. Picardo has posted around Facebook about his professional career having nothing to do with his political career etc. and all his entourage in agreement.

    Please help me, unless I'm missing something, surely grave and repeated errors of judgement in one's professional career must be taken into serious consideration when deciding whether or not to vote in such a candidate as our CHIEF MINISTER?

    If this man has consistently allowed himself to be used by his own clients' to cause mischief, how on earth can any of us trust him to defend Gibraltar's interests internationally, when his track record shows that he clearly doesn't have the nose for smelling trouble until it literally bites him in the backside.


  22. I firmly believe that contributors to this blog should do so under their real names. This would ensure more reflection and a thorough analysis of the content before posting it. I am sure that it would improve the quality of debate.

  23. And we moan......

  24. Anon 12:52. Valiente cara tiene tu y K. If mark Ashbey exists let him come out bf say so.

  25. Well Mark Ashley can clear the matter up himself. He has posted on this site before. Who are you? Where did you go to school? Why have a facebook page without photographs? Where do you work? No one knows the man or met him because he does nor exist. The GSLP are experts of the dirty tricks. You have been well and truly rumbled.

  26. Anon at 12.52 give some credit for being moderately intelligent. You a GSD supporter? Are you Mark Ashbey in disguise?

  27. thank you anon@12:52.

    its quite sad to see them answer their own questions just to keep the level of mud nice and high!

    Grow up, whoever you are, Gibraltar deserves better!

  28. confused-dot-com

    You assume a lot and let us see what debate there is about the judgment exercised by the GSD and the Chief Minister in government ... perhaps politicians from other parties will enlighten us but the retracted Andorra statement comes to mind and the cost overruns on most building projects, including the OEM fiasco come to mind, good judgment?

  29. Anon 15:03, please provide ANY factual evidence that supports any of the points raised by Anon 08:00, if you aren't in fact the same person.

    There is evidence that suggests he exists and has had ties with Gibraltar as an expat but for whatever reason he isn't comfortable with having his image being plastered all over the internet, some of my friends aren't either and they are extremely protective of the information they have about themselves online. Do they then not exist if you or your circle or friends haven't met them because they don't live in Gibraltar?

    Grow up, and either present some solid facts or drop the issue entirely.

    Robert, I agree with Denis Almeida in that I feel the blog would be better if everyone had to post a comment under their own name. I feel releuctant to do so obviously if everyone else isn't already doing the same.

  30. Anon 15:04, I am indeed a GSD supporter. The difference between you and me is I feel we will be able to win the upcoming election on the basis of the great progress that Gibraltar has made (and will continue to make) under the current administration without having to resort to disappointing scaremongering tactics being propagated by individuals like yourself who do a disservice to our party by casting us all in a negative light. Stop being so fanatical, accept the facts for what they are and most importantly of all: stop lying.

    We will win this election and convince undecided voters by showing them the progress that Gibraltar has made whilst the we have been in office, and by explaining that although it has made some mistakes that these are to be expected when any government is in power (as Picardo pointed out in his Viewpoint interview). I genuinely believe that these are the things we have to concentrate on in order to win.

    By trying to undermine their intelligence with scaremongering such as this Mark Ashbey fiasco all you’re doing is convincing them that they should use their vote elsewhere. Use your head.

  31. When is the next opinion poll? Anyone know whether GBC or the Chronicle are carrying one out? Last one (Panorama) showed the GSLP Libs ahead on 49% with the GSD at 45%. What is the likely impact, if any, of Blueprime, GP Noble, Necora etc?

  32. A PDP supporter21 May 2011 at 19:44

    Anon 17.49 YOU a GSD supporter; ME Mike Ashbey. Tell why you are a GSD supporter. What are the achievements of the GSD? As a PDP supporter I am appalled the extent to which you will go to mislead the public. Your concern is to protect Picardo and the GSLP knowing that recent events will put off voters moving from the GSD to the GSLP but you forget that their natural home is with the PDP.

  33. Anon 18:46, it would be interesting to find out.

    The Panorama poll's the only one that holds any weight though.

    It's more interesting to ponder why hasn't Caruana called for the election already if they've placed the emphasis of their campaign thus far in trying to discredit Picardo.

    Caruana is many things but he is definitely not stupid. So surely he recognises that the longer he puts it off the more time Fabian and the GSLP as a whole has to argue their corner and win back some, if not all, of those swaying and undecided voters.

    Instead of being a sneaky suckerpunch that delivers a K.O this has proven to be a wild swing 10 seconds into a fight, sure it's done some damage but whether Fabian wins or not depends on the rest of the fight and what he has to bring to the table.

    A genuine misfire on the GSD's part, or a calculated move (suggesting that they have something else up their sleeves)?

  34. That Panorama opinion polls are dogs bollocks is a myth. In 1992 it predicted a 20% vote for a Joe Garcia led GNP (yes the editor of the newspaper) and they got 4%. Last election they predicted a GSLP win and the GSD won. They have made other mistakes in the past all of which curiously favoured the alliance - purely by chance of course.

  35. Anonymous at 19:57

    That your two examples are accurate may be true but to conclude from them that Panorama does not run a proper and accurate opinion poll is to reach an erroneous conclusion. Virtually every other poll that it has run has been accurate and there have been dozens. Many attribute the marginal win by the GSD at the election precisely to the Panorama poll prediction that the GSLP would win. The theory is that this alone brought out additional GSD voters.

    My advice is ignore the Panorama polls at your peril.

  36. Anon 19:44, I feel that the events speak for themselves. That's my entire point, I wish the PDP and every other party every bit of success that they deserve in the upcoming election, I genuinely mean that.

    Politics doesn't need to be so hostile, it doesn't need to revovle around lies and deception, that is why I support Denis Almeida's point about everyone ideally having to speak under their real name. We aren't warring tribes, we interact with each other on a daily basis, I'm sure everyone has someone that they truly respect of care about that doesn't share their political opinion.

    GSLP/GSD/PDP fanatics shouldn't spoil sensible discussion for everyone else that's based on the merits and facts that are at hand.

    That Picardo is caught up in these different cases: that is a fact. How people can choose to interpret those issues is up to them, personally it makes me question his ability to perceive certain problems and potentially lead.

    That Mark Ashbey was a fake account created by the GSLP to try and deceive the people of Gibraltar and get them (a limited number from different politcal parties) to try and somehow "gang up" on the GSD: this is not a fact.

    I would like someone to present solid evidence that suggests this was the case and I will happily admit that I was wrong.

    As it stands, people need to move on and again, stop lying.

  37. Well the chronicle has predicted the result of every general election since 1972. I do not agree that panorama opinion poll are infallible or incapable of being manipulated.

  38. Denis Almeida

    First thank you for posting in your own name.

    I have made many a request for everyone to do so. It would be for the best and ideal but should I make a rule that i will not publish otherwise? I suggested this some time back and got a very negative reaction. There are many who will not post comments except under anonymity.I decided that I would not stop it but I do prefer people to use their own names and would ask them to do so.

  39. Nobody should feel ashamed to put one's name to an opinion. If I were to express an opinion denigrating or promoting any of the political parties or individuals involved I would want it to be taken seriously. I can not take an anonymous comment as a valuable contribution to any debate for the reason I gave in my previous blog.
    RV. I think persuasion is best, however, it is disappointing to see that the contributors that have agreed with name disclosure have not disclosed theirs.

  40. I recall that when you made that suggestion it was GSLP supporters who were not in favour. Now it's the GSLP supporters who don't want anonymity. Wonder why?

  41. Denis tell that to Mark Ashbey!

  42. Anonymous at 21;29

    I really do not think there is any evidence to support your contention.

  43. Look back through the posts.

  44. They were arguing that they feared reprisals by Caruana. Same standard diatribe.

  45. Anonymous at 21:36

    I am not sure about the diatribe description ... ask some Civil Servants privately! ... and why don't I get the FSC letter? if it was how the Chief Minister said on GBC that he had nothing to do with my resignation what does he have to hide?

  46. Good points Denis.

    Though I can understand people wanting to post anonymously especially after the Mark Ashbey fiasco.

    This same individual was specifically targeted by members of the GSD for having the “cheek” to express discontent with the current administration.

    Incidentally Mark has had letters “to the Editor” published by both the Gibraltar Chronicle and the Panorama.

    We must take into account Denis that some people have a lot to lose and others are just not open to confrontation.

    Ps- You will never get that letter RV, cousin Peter won't have it :(


  47. Robert,

    Due to my Position in the civil service if i was to post with my name the CM would be making me redundant in 24 hours.

    I believe that freedom of expression is something that we are all entitled to but lets face it Gib is very small and expressing the contrary to the current administration is simply a no go area!

  48. Just as the Chronicle published a redacted version of your FSC resignation letter on its alternative website, surely Peter could give you a redacted copy of his letter to the FSC. The letter no doubt contains certain confidential matters that can only be seen by the CM and the FSC Chairman but surely Peter could show you the parts that relate to you.

  49. PDP Supporter-You do the party that you support a disservice. If you had made the same comment as an identifiable contributor you would have reflected before submitting it. You may have then realised that it is impossible for anyone to read in between one line.

  50. ANoYMOUS & PROUD OF IT: Is Denis Ameida going to be the anti-anonymous bore. You have made your oin now mov to somethning else.

  51. To the civil servant at 22.32 Francis Buttieggi posts regularand on this site with comments critical the certain decision taken by the government and supportive of the new leader of the pop. He doesnt get the chop.

  52. Anonymous at 23:35

    The applicable rules depend on the grade and position within the Civil Service.

  53. Mike Ashbey has become the Lord Lucan of Gibraltar politics.

  54. Well but if there are rules there are rules and no one can say that people don't post in their names because they fear reprisals by Caruana. Which is the excuse one prominent member of the liberal party gave for Mark Ashbey being an anon.

  55. Mr. Almeida misses the point completely. In everyday life we are constrained in what we say. By writing anonymously we bare our real thoughts. That is what makes Llanito world such a fabulous medium for debate. Of course a lot of poltical propaganda comes in but so does material which would never have seen the light of day pre LW.This is debate in the purest state without the need to pretend. Give it a rest Dionisio.

  56. I fail to see why any Civil Servant could be made redundant for simply expressing a reasoned well balanced opinion as long as it is factual and it does not contravene the terms and conditions of employment. If there is a breach it would be a disciplinary matter and never grounds for redundancy.

  57. ANON 23:39:

    Which member of the liberal party? What was their name? What did they say? In what context did they say it? When did they say it? Back up your comments with facts.

  58. Dennis,

    What do you think about the Joana Hernandez case?why was she given the chop?

    You seem to be living on another world you dont know the CM well enough!

    Thanks Robert, i agree it all depends on the position held.Depending on the position depending the judgement that will e used to evaluate the merits of this autocracy.Information can very easily slip and the disciplinary procedures would start on the grounds of disclosure of the secrets act they make as sign on initial employment.

  59. Is mark Ashbey really scared of coming out because of fear of the hardcore GSD female militia? These evil women of the GSD are incredible.

  60. Anon 9.22: I have never felt constrained so I have always spoken my mind without having to hide under the veil of anonymity. I cannot see what "pretence" has to do with debate in the purest state.

    Meanwhile, I shall take your advice and give it a rest.

  61. Francis Buttigieg runs the anti-bullying at work pressure group, he cannot be touched!

    As for the rest of us, civil servant or otherwise, we have to be very careful.

    It is obvious by the way the GSD moved into politiqueo on Facebook and even managed to get it to close down, that they don't favour open discussion about the Government. I myself looked up Mark and found him to be an active member of the 'Guernsey investors in Landisbank' group, who had lost a lot of money when this bank went under but were not covered by the UK mainland laws for recovery. He has a lot to say about the chief minister of Guernsey! That he has preferred to remain anonymous... well, I can understand that!
    He was hounded and investigated in a frightening way to the extent, that even before the new register of electors, currently been finished, has been/was published, there were GSD-ites saying he wasn't on it. They also said he wasn't registered in the health centre. The thought that this man might not live in Gibraltar now, instead enjoying what's left of his money over the border, and enjoying their health-care never occurred to them! However, these are private records, only open to civil servants, and of course, the Government. I too would have disappeared from the lime-light, if this was done to me!

    The new facebook site lacks the charm of the old one, and one feels the scrutiny of the GSD-ites, I myself have never posted as I fear being 'noticed'. I note there are many who have been added, but aside from a few PDP-ites, a handful of brave GSLP-ites and some GSD heavyweights, there are many who like myself, are just watching!
    I fear now, that this blog is the next thing on the agenda. The need to 'out' the anonymous posters here has to be for the same reason as their need to target Politiqueo.
    I for one would never post again on this blog if anonymity was disallowed. I value my privacy too much, and can do without the big-brother hassle!

  62. anon @ 10:55, you said it mate! Por la boca muere el pez!

  63. Mark Ashbey alert.

    He was spotted having tea with Lord Lucan in some carribean island. Cannot say where for fear of reprisals by Caruana.

  64. I believe Gibraltarians, in the main, make up their own minds about everything. We are an opinionated lot who see through most people's veneer of self-importance.

    Caruana's little slip in Seville has not started a revolution or brought people into the streets with placards and banners. The GSD have explained what he meant and people have carried on with their daily lives. The gaffe forgotten and disaster averted.

    Or has it?

    In the same way, for example, Albert Hammond found out the hard way that Gibraltarians were not as impressed by his successes, as they were disappointed by his pronouncements. This was evident when he recently slipped again, unearthing the mountain of resentment buried away in the hearts of his fellow countrymen and women for years. If anybody thought he had been forgiven by the Gibraltarians, they were in for a big surprise! However, in between these two pronouncements, people treated him politely with a smile, even singing his songs & buying his cd's, they still do!

    Our ability to get on with our lives whilst at the same time harbouring a grudge, is something the GSD ignore at their peril. Seville may not be frontline news, but it still exists as a harboured grudge and Gibraltarians may well show this grudge on polling day.

  65. Part 1 by Isabella Ramognin

    Dear anon @ 11.07, with ref to the "Mark Ashbey" saga.

    1. Mark Ashbey closed the group of his own volition. He said so himself and that is documented on the page as well as in private correspondance with various people.

    2. There was no attempt by the GSD to close the group, this is also well documented.

    3. "Mr Ashbey" ran & administered the group well, also a fact, spoke about Gibraltar as if he was a citizen, knowledgeable of the day to day affairs of Gibraltar and often making some comments in 'Llanito/Spanish', a fact.

    4. Before Easter "Mr Ashbey" as administrator, threw out a GSD supporter from the group for using a pseudonym. He received many complaints about this individual and he personally was also agrieved about people using fake profiles or pseudonyms. The individual was removed, and rightly so.

    5.Before Easter, Mrs Isobel Ellul Hammond deactivated her FB account temporarily as she was very involved with her charity work and was leaving on holiday, she was finding FB a huge distraction, that is the truth; and Mrs Ellul Hammond actually messaged "Mr Ashbey" on the page for all to see in order to let him know what she was doing & why but wanted him to approach her if he saw her in person as she wanted to shake his hand and congratulate him for setting up the page; nothing sinister there. The day after she deactivated her account, "Mr Ashbey" commented on Politiqueo that she had in fact not left Gibraltar as he had seen her at the Piazza that morning helping at a charity event. All this is also documented and can be verified.

    6. On Mrs Ellul Hammond's return from her holiday, she reactivated her account and when she saw his comment, she was disapointed that he had said this, without even coming up to her at the Piazza and introducing himself. So she emailed him and suggested that they meet for coffee to clear the air. "Mr Ashbey" replied that he would get back to her, he did not. Days later, Mrs Ellul Hammond emailed "Mr Ashbey" again and again asked to meet him for coffee. He did not reply, a week passed and then two weekends ago, she noticed that "Mr Ashbey" had been active on the Politiqueo group, so she asked him on the wall if he was still up for that coffee, again, no reply. By this time I suppose that others in the group (not GSD supporters) also got curious and started asking if anyone actually knew "Mr Ashbey". Out of 122 members on the page, no one came forward to say they knew him, but many said they did not (including GSLP supporters), both on the wall & in private messages.

  66. Part 2 by Isabella Ramognin

    7. "Mr Ashbey" who had advocated posting in your own name and not having fake profiles was now beginning to look a bit dubious. Members on the Page were asking him to come forward and at least acknowledge that he was in fact writing under a pseudonym, for whatever reason. The majority were happy for him to continue as moderator as long as he was clear about his profile, including Mrs Ellul Hammond & myself.

    8. "Mr Ashbey" appeared on the Sunday morning on the page, completely ignored the issue being discussed about his profile and said that he had been away & was planning to close the page as he was very busy to continue running it. He did in fact email others & offered them the page to moderate as he wanted to leave. Many of these people were very annoyed with him, as over time he had taken them into his confidence and he had discussed "sensitive" issues with them privately, as they did not know who on earth they had been talking to! By Sunday afternoon , "Mr Ashbey" had closed the page without so much as a good bye.

    9.Gibraltar is a very small place & everyone knows everyone...except..."Mr Ashbey". Looking at his personal profile page on FB, he had over 300 friends, an ecclectic mix of GSLP shadow cabinet, activists & supporters, he also had a lot of Conservative MP's & Mep's as well as many locals, it did not take much time to contact a variety of mutual friends on his page to establish that none of them actually knew him. He had, in the main complemented their blogs, charity work or standing in the community to engraciate himself and end up accepted on their friend list.

    10."Mr Ashbey" was never hounded. Investigated? Well, if you consider looking at a copy of the 2007 Register of Electors, which was available to all at the Post Office, "investigating"?. To state that anyone in the GSD had access to the new register is untrue and the Health Centre comment is just shameful and also completely untrue.

    11. "Mr Ashbey" also removed his personal profile. Why? Why would someone take the time to build up a profile over a long period of time? Why would someone befriend so many people he does not know? Why would someone start up a group under the banner of transparency and not be honest about himself? If "Mr Ashbey" had chosen to state from the outset that he was running the group under a pseudonym for fear of reprisal ?? well, that was his right, and people would have joined or not, but at least they would have known what they were getting in to. It is an issue of TRUST & RESPECT.

    12. If you google Mark Ashbey, there are several. Among them "a freelance" financial journalist with some ties to Gib, namely that he has written in the local media on occasion and written some articles posted on the internet. Again, there is nothing to substanciate that even that profile is real, no personal info or photo. The only person who can clear this up properly is "Mark Ashbey" himself. No one is not suggesting that there is not a real Mark Ashbey, however, neither has anyone demonstrated that the "Mark Ashbey" has any connection with a real Mark Ashbey. If you are the real Mark Ashbey, please stand up.

    I hope that this long and tedious piece goes some way to clarifing the events as they happened and that I have not wasted my lovely Sunday afternoon missing the sunshine in vain.

    Best Regards

    Isabella Ramognin

    PS I am signing in my own name & I believe that I do excist :), but I don't know how to post on here without the anonymous thingy !

  67. Bueno y picardo, is he still working on refuting the long and distinguished list of accusations against him. Or is he planning to re-write history again. Tell you what his ability to make himself look like to victim is admirable. His marketing qualities are sublime.
    Change you can trust people. Por los cojone.

  68. So basically Mark Ashbey is a GSLP act. Change you can trust people. PLC

  69. Mrs Ramognin

    We can argue till the cows come home. You have a view on the Mark Ashbey affair, and I have another.
    I witnessed all the toings and froings for myself and have a very different opinion on the matter. I believe I have stated things as I read and saw them, including the reference to the health centre records. Even the register of electors comment was commented on later by another poster, who referred to the new one not being ready yet.
    At no point was anybody ever forced to join this group. People joined of their own volition. Unfortunately your party is very insistent on controlling the internet talk going round, and you are achieving this, however don't delude yourself that its because you are winning the arguments. Many of us daren't risk opening ourselves up to your party's scrutiny, and prefer to save our opinions for the ballot box.
    I'm sorry if I have spoilt your sunny afternoon with my comments, it was not my intention.

    I wish you a restful evening and remain Anonymous.

  70. Anon 20:12. I am sure that you have neither spoilt Miss Ramognins afternoon, nor have you in any way or form accounted for the facts of the Mark Asbey affair accurately. It seems that your play at suggesting that the GSD is controlling the social media is far more applicable to the GSLP and the Ashbey affair is evidence of this. The fact remains that Ashbey was conjured up by the GSLP and was then found to be an erroneous profile at which point the classic GSLP cowardly move comes into play and you blame everyone under the sun for you're own misgivings. If you are interested in really learning who controls the social media, i suggest you refer to the countless GSLP sites in which you admirably attract many members, even your new leader has achieved over 1,600 freinds. I guess on this basis you're on a role, but as you say it's the ballot box and that silent majority that will deliver.
    For now we continue to be truly dazzled by the GSLP. Change you can trust, PLC.
    I wish you a truly magical afternoon and a great week ahead.

  71. I agree for Mrs Ramognin as Itoo witnessed everything! I accepted Mark Ashby friend requeast as Isaw he had 300 friends, many the same as mine, so I thought he was good. I had private messages with him that are private and now I do not know who has the message and my information! I was cheated by this person and as Mrs Ramognin says, it was about trust. If it is not an act, or hiding, he should have had the courage to tell us so, not stay quiet and then close the group por la cara!

  72. Please, please, please no more Mark Ashbey ... it really does not matter so long as the posts and comments on political isseus were serious debate!

  73. The GSD party or government "controlling the Internet"???? When the vast majority of posters on here and FB are GSLP supporters and openly lie, exaggerate, misrepresent and twist facts to try and criticise the gsd? Stop playing the victims. Try and convince by resorting to the truth... For once!!

  74. Robert you are wrong. This is important because you have a leader of the GSLP decrying dirty tricks and nothing could be dirtier than someone who worms his way into your confidence for political gain under false pretences.

  75. i agree robert, and they were, perhaps you shouldn't allow them to start it off again in your next blog!

  76. I hear that Mark Ashbey is seeking a super injunction to stop all this debate about whether he is real or not. He's being represented by Cornflake, the only person who knows his identity. Of course if the injunction goes ahead, he really will cease to exist as his continued existence seems to depend on him being talked about through social media. If he wins he will disappear in a puff of logic.

  77. Cornflake is apparently taking advice from Scooby doo on the natter of the injunction, it's not totally clear cut and unlike other open cases, they are looking to close this one speedily hence scooby.
    Change you can trust. PLC.

  78. Isabella, although I don’t agree with your opinion and assumption as to the Mark Ashbey situation I can see how one could come to the conclusion that he isn’t a real person. It’s a matter of opinion either way I suppose, I’m more inclined to believe that he is real based on what I’ve seen online and the letters published in the chronicle/Panorama, and I therefore subscribe myself to 22 May 2011 11:07’s version of events.

    Thank you for taking the time to provide a thorough explanation based on actual facts and observations as opposed to the ridiculous claims that 21 May 2011 08:00 for example had previously made.

  79. What spin K ? Mark Ashbey is an erroneous profile - no one knows the guy and the only thing connecting him to anything is the GSLP. Change you can trust PLC.

  80. Anon 21:36, you've got a lot to say about Mark Ashbey, but not so much about Peter's letter to the FSC that Robert's mentioned in his latest blog piece no?

    Keep trusting :)

  81. K eres un Seneca, con los problemas que tiene el Picardo te vamos a ver como leader del GSLP.

  82. K for Chief minister!!

    An honest straight talking CM. What you see is REALLY what you get!

    An individual striving to provide preferential treatment for our people in our land regardless of EU law.

    Now that would be something, if only I was intelligent enough :) lolololol


  83. Cucumberbear now asks...

    Included in all these proposals for reform, is there any mention of the abolition of the priviledge that exempts the Govt and hence the CM fom prosecution ?

    What about Freedom of Information, in these proposals for reform, will access to information by joe public be made truly practicable ?

    And with regard to Data Protection, the same ?

  84. I am Cucumberbear and I am here again...

    Now I have been on walkabouts hither and thither and thereabouts dressed innocuously so as not to attract attention and asking questions of people I stumble across in a way that appears incidental...

    I have been on a walkabout in Devil's Tower Road.

    This is an industrial area.

    I have asked people running businesses there for their views on the attempts at "beautification" of the road.

    Disrtegarding the inconveniences attributable to roadworks, the general response is one of fury.

    There are multiple complaints in particular about the flower bed in the the middle of the road and proposed to run along its length.

    It makes manoevering in and out of very active commercial sites an absolute pain.

    It seems the govt and in particular your cousin have made a blunder again with these ideas of "beautification without consultation".

    They are not pleased over there. In fact there is a lot of frustration and resentment...does not look good for a govt seeking re election.

    I also had a wander around the Laguna Estate.


    Witout exception all of the responses to my apparently innocent questioning of residents there elicited very negative responses with regard to your cousin and his cabinet.

    Doesn't look good either.

    Next week I shall be venturing into other areas to sound out what the electorate really thinks.