Sunday, 18 September 2011

Finally On the Road to Greater Democracy?

The GSLP/Liberals have been accused, during the debate in Parliament, of not being serious about democratic reform by the GSD. It has also been accused of its proposals being "wooly" by others. I disagree with this criticism. There has also been much debate about "who said it first", by which I mean who made democratic reform proposals first. I find this point puerile and irrelevant.

It is a bit rich for the GSD to make its criticism of the GSLP/Liberals when it has been so remiss in the 16 years that it has been in power on giving effect to reforms. The GSD are quick to remind everyone of events and failings of the GSLP in the 8 years preceding 1996. Before doing so, it should be self-critical of its own admitted failings on the subject of democratic reforms.

It is no excuse to say that the failings of the pre-1996 GSLP government were greater. The GSD got into power with a promise to precisely to put right the wrong that then existed in terms of the perceived oppressiveness of the GSLP administration. It was to give us open, transparent and democratic government. Its failure on this front is of huge import as it was a central promise made by the GSD to put right a wrong committed by the GSLP that was so palpable at the time. 

Additionally, harping back to the past does not bode well for the GSD in this election. It is the GSD that has been in power for 16 years. It is the GSD who will be more susceptible to criticisms of past failings that are more recent and accordingly fresher in people's minds. A campaign that promises nothing new from the GSD will also not assist to improve its electoral chances. Negative and personally critical campaigning is also destructive and so anathema to democracy.

I do not believe that it is not enough for there to be a debate about systemic changes to the democratic process. I believe that there is a need also to change attitudes in politics by making issues and not personalities the subject of any campaign. Reforms to the political system can help to enhance this aim by creating a better environment for debating issues rather than personalities. It will not work, however, without a change in attitude. This change requires the locking up at home of personal dislikes by one against another and not allowing these to take over the election arguments. The reforms will certainly not help to reduce personality based criticisms at the forthcoming election because no reforms will be enacted or were intended by any politician would be enacted by that time.

The position of each of the three main parties on reforms is now clear. The PDP have published extensive reform proposals, the GSD have forced a motion through Parliament with less extensive reforms that in my opinion are not sufficiently wide ranging. Also they have not been properly thought through. The GSLP/Liberals have published an intent to establish an independent commission to look into and recommend reforms of the electoral system and to Parliament. The breadth of the terms of reference of that independent commission are staggeringly wide. Wider than the proposals of both the GSD and the PDP.

It is impossible to justify a criticism of the GSLP/Liberals being "wooly"on this issue without implying by that same criticism a simultaneous belief that, if the GSLP/Liberals were to form government after the next election, it would not enact any reforms. Is such a criticism sustainable? I do not believe it it is. It would mean that a newly elected government would be ignoring the very central policy that it seems to be gearing up to fight the forthcoming election on. Such behaviour would be cynical and disdainful of the electorate. It would simply guarantee a new GSLP/Liberal administration an election loss at the immediately next following election, not least, because the other parties would immediately fill the gap left by that administration by its own ommission. It is for this reason that the GSLP/Liberals, also, cannot be criticised for supposedly not being serious about democratic reforms.

The important place that has been reached by Gibraltar is that democratic reforms of some sort will now happen because all the parties have put it on their agenda. The reality is that only those politicians who form a government can legislate to put these in place. The decision that has to be taken at the next election, therefore is who will  actually effect changes? Will it be a party, the GSD, that has failed to do so in breach of its promise over 16 years of government? Will it be the PDP, or will it be stymied by the impossibility of it forming government? Or will it be the GSLP/Liberals who will take advice from an independent commission before deciding what reforms to adopt and give effect to?

Oh, to those who do  not believe that there are no suitable independent minded persons in Gibraltar to form part of the independent commission, you cannot possibly then be believers in Gibraltar's ability to govern itself at all. Your criticism, to be sustainable, would need to extend to any of the judiciary, the civil service, the Ombudsman and any other tribunal or committee or authority established by law. I am not so cynical. If those critics were to be right, the whole reform debate is an irrelevance and a waste of time and Gibraltar could never aspire to self-determination.


  1. Anonymous said...
    "Negative and critical campaigning is also destructive and so anathema to democracy." that rich from you Robert isn't it? All you do is harp on about this Govt's lack of progress with parliamentary reforms, without even a positive acknowledgment that it was in fact cousin Pete that brought it into the game in the first place. Then you choose to throw discreet innuendo at the fact that you see the opposition as moving forward in this issue and fail to acknowledge yet again that they have barely pulled their fingers out with respect to anything political let alone reforms of parliament. You choose to ignore the fact that they have disgraced parliament with abstentions, ridiculous questions on a faulty windows at Cumberland and other matter; but to boot you even ignore fundamental and quite outrageous misgivings of their duties as accountable parliamentarians who on the new constitution chose to u -turn at the final hour for their own political gain and with no responsibility to the electorate and the community at all.
    Quite frankly Robert, I think your campaign (of late) is getting quite desperate. Duty to democracy? - el culo tuyo.

  2. Anonymous at 22:03

    You fall into the trap so well :) You fail to distinguish between valid criticism and and negative ad purely critical campaigning like raking up the past that will never return.

  3. Forget the past Robert. you don't need to go back 16 years, and I've given you plenty examples of recent events, there are many more Robert. The fact that they can not even understand, or choose not to understand the debt is just the iceing on the cake. The inly trap I see is the one you created for yourself - ya te has cometido...:)

  4. Anonymous at 22:13

    A threat from a GSD supporter ... wow is that not what the GSD got elected to bring an end to? Maybe it really is time for change out of oppression again!

    Let me deal with your "history" I acknowledge it was the GSD who first promised it in 1996 and then did nothing about it. That is the entire basis of my criticism, so please get that right.

    The Opposition os not in Government the GSD are in Government. It is the GSD's obligation to deliver on its manifesto promises.

    I have a different take on who has disgraced Parliament by using unparliamentary language and motions. I have said so clearly in the past see

    On the 2006 Constitution referendum, it was a matter of pride to me and the NO campaign that we convinced the Opposition to see the right path and change its mind.

  5. An Omnibus says:

    After having seen the latest edition of the very pro-GSD 7 Days newspaper I am not looking forward to the forthcoming election campaign. This publication, which seems to be a beneficiary of Government official advertising, was being circulated by two teenagers along Main Street to bemused tourists and locals alike. Ironic that on that same morning our school kids were parading earlier along that same street promoting the use of renewal natural resources.

    Threats and negative personal campaigning were the order of the day pre-1996 under the second Bossano administration. I really hope that the GSD learn from that era because many among their number seem to be mirroring the GSLP's own past mistakes.

  6. Anonymous said...
    Robert picha - de que hablas? Wheres the threat man? You choosing to see too many things to your convenience, very unlike you. I knowt they taught you to read Between the lines at QMW in London, but you take it an extreme. Chill out dude.

  7. Anonymous at 22:42

    QMW que es eso?

    "The only trap I see is the one you created for yourself - ya te has cometido ... :)" Not a threat? What is it then?

    Picha is a very Feetham word :)

  8. Pichon is a very Feetham word, not picha, picha is used by 99% of yanitos..:) no threats Robert just your imagination running wild. The translation to your supposed threat "is you are committed" where the threat is I do not know.. QMW, Queen Mary Westfield Uni of London, that's where you went no?

  9. Anonymous at 22:57

    We will let readers decide for themselves on what to read into what you say :) in the absence of any explanation from you ... and no ... I was at Bristol University.

  10. Anon 22:42. Tu que estas en serio? Have you ever heard of the Vox / New People / Paranoia? To suggest that a paper running a frontt page cover of an aspiring wannabe CM proudly pointing at a t-shirt with "the Govt fucks me everyday" us nagative over the crap that and misrepresentation we get from the above mentioned papers is laughable. First we have an opposition leader with the arrogance to sit idly over 15 years at the head of a loosing party 4 times in a row abd now we have to endure el niño Picardo playing games on Facebook with kids to show he's cool and a dude pa coke un vote. Pero aqui que pasa.

  11. I was sure it was QMW. Yes we'll let your crew decide on that threat shall we. Not sure what further explanation u want Robert, seems clear to me.

  12. Robert it is true that you are sounding slightly desperately ANTI PR Caruana of late.....

    But whats this picha pichon thing all about?

  13. Lo que pasa es muy simple........lo pie por alto y el taro de los wine gum en number 6......ya estan de ma.
    Picardo can afford the time to play games in Facebook because he has a team working in unison,unlike Peter who is on his own hartandose de wine gums.
    If the GSD don't win the election they only have themselves to blame,they have fucked enough people over the last 15 years,.........where can I buy one of those T Shirts.?

  14. Anonymous at 23:33

    I write about parties and policies not personalities ... that I have been critical of the GSD for not reforming the electoral system and Parliament YES unashamedly so ... the GSD has let Gibraltar down very badly on that front. I feel very strong;y about that ...

    So please feel free to defend the arguments not the messenger.

  15. Robert the only thing you feel strongly about is ousting cousin Peter, that in itself would suggest that your credibility as a blog writer is riddled and plagued with agenda.

  16. Anonymous at 00:01

    Really now? Is that not called free speech? My credibility as a blog writer cannot be riddled and plagued with agenda ... the essence of a blog is to give one's honest opinion that is what I do. I cannot believe that you may be implying that I am on someone else's agenda ... You comment is a nonsense.

  17. Unfortunately in Gib parties and personalities go hand in hand..........Hassan ,Bossano,Caruana.Ask your friends if they remember who were the minister in government when the GSD were first elected into government or who were the members in the opposition when the GSLP lost in you very few if any could name all the minister,until we do away with the present system,which seeds the inividual obsession for power,parties will win elections on personalities......both parties know this and the battle of the leaders started the minute Picardo replaced Bossano.
    One would hope that reforming the electoral system this would change this,
    Is the majority of the electorate really interested in reforms or can visualise the future benefits?........I would like to think that they do......but I don't think so.

  18. Is it me, or do the GSD sound like they are having a tantrum?

  19. For the love of God Robert chill. You want it all, if it's not your opinion, then it's in the search of true democracy, but wait is also because you don't like cousin Pete, (I assume that that's what you mean by right to your opinion). So is it unreasonable for your audience to assume that you do write with agenda and not someone else's, your own, which happens to be a convenient line for some? You choose to use reforms as your issue for progress and I agree that is admirable, where I draw the line Mr V, is that you write in the name of democracy, but choose to conveniently ignore some serious misgivings of democracy that suggest the opposition are not capable of governing in a way that you suggest is proper and worthy of our community. But that just my opinion..:)

  20. An Ominibus says:

    Anon 22:42 You've missed my point completely, then again that is to be expected of party political fanatics who only raise their heads in a run-up to an election. The GSD do not need to steep to the levels the GSLP reached during their last administration. If they stick to highlighting achievements and defer from personal attacks they will not have a problem getting re-elected. However carry on like this at your peril, attacking anything that is said against you without a reasoned argument and we will end up with a different CM after election day.

  21. "The breadth of the terms of reference of that independent commission are staggeringly wide. Wider than the proposals of both the GSD and the PDP."

    How so? Most if not all of the examples given by the Alliance are covered by the PDP along with many others...

  22. Hi Robert

    I assume the "puerile and irrelevant" comments were mine. As I made quite clear at the time, my objection was to Mr Picardo's "I challenge all parties to copy our policies on these issues", not them adopting the policies. I even posted on GP their buck-passing committee idea with the comment "I welcome this" because it at least showed that they were interested.

    Their reformist credentials are slightly undermined (as is your suggestion that they are bound to change) by Mr Picardo's comment in the Chronicle:

    "He said that at the end of the exercise the findings would be introduced within a stipulated timetable, but did not rule out that the final conclusions may advise that “we stay as we are.”"

  23. (part one)


    Excellent blog entry. I agree with it entirely as it sums up my main contention with the incumbent administration.

    The fact that the GSD have the gall to criticise any other party for their alleged self-serving hesitation to fully commit to parliamentary reform, and then expect voters to take them seriously, is genuinely flabbergasting considering their appalling track record in this regard.

    I have previously voted for the GSD for a number of reasons, not least of which was their commitment to democratic reform. It has been truly disappointing to me as a voter that they have comprehensively failed to adhere to their promises. It was said that they did not appreciate the desire that is now abundantly prevalent in our community for such reforms, in my opinion that is utter nonsense and a feeble cop-out. Why then they did they commit themselves to it in the first instance? Even if they genuinely thought this was the case, surely there was time in the last three terms to at least get the ball rolling. There’s dragging one’s feet and then there’s keeping the feet propped up on the sofa where they’re nice and comfy.

    So now the electorate’s woken up to this inexcusable failing on the GSD’s part and they’ve been caught lounging around on the sofa (no small thanks I imagine to your excellent blog RV). So now the GSD’s seemingly doing what it does best when the going gets tough, it starts pointing fingers, it starts trying to belittle the other voice in the argument, and it’s trying to get personal. This ugly approach to political debate and propagating their party line resonated more readily with the electorate when they still as a whole resented the GSLP for the fast launch saga (and rightfully so), not so much in 2011.


  24. (part 2)

    I believe that the GSD have already lost this election because of the manner in which they have chosen to conduct themselves in press releases and publications.

    When Picardo was attacked last year and the many rumours arising from it began surfacing (each rumour painted either the GSD or GSLP in a negative light) the GSD made the monumentally foolish decision to issue a press release debunking a rumour that made the GSD look bad as opposed to offering their sympathy to Picardo and refuting all of the rumours as a whole. It made them look petty and it created the impression that the GSD were eager to score scaremongering points where they felt they were able to do so at the expense of their political integrity.

    Recently, there has been the 7 Days fiasco where the GSD took it upon themselves to publish the image of Picardo pointing at a t-shirt on the front page of their publication. The party’s advocates were quick to voice their shock and horror that a politician would dare express any form of enjoyment being derived from the loathsome depiction of anti-authoritism on display. Text so controversial, so obscene, so offensive, and so morally depraved that it was published unedited there for all to see! For the avoidance of any doubt, the editor kindly took it upon it themselves to type out the offensive text which was again uncensored! Far from having the desired effect I imagine the GSD had wilfully anticipated, it came across as a desperate and petty act which further detracted from their own political integrity.

    I could go on, but these two specific examples stuck out in my mind.

    It is my genuine and real belief that considering the GSLP, in my estimation, had been treading water up and until recently where they’ve seemingly switched gears and got their act together that the forthcoming election was their’s to lose. The GSD had been facing dwindling support but the GSLP had been doing nothing remarkable to act upon this shift in support. The GSD could have maintained the higher ground and chosen to take the opposition to task on issues that really mattered and garnered support on the basis of the good they have undoubtedly achieved during their terms in office. Instead they foolishly set out on a personal vendetta on Picardo and his personal matters, which backfired when it was revealed that he had been unable to talk about them in any detail and that he intended to reveal the exact nature of what they entailed in due course.

    This negative campaign they have set out on has given the GSLP the moral high ground and the opportunity to present their positive proposals of reform to the electorate. What I found particularly amusing was that certain GSD advocates were all too quick to condemn Picardo’s supposed lack of transparency, and upon being asked about their opinion as to why RV had not been provided with a copy of the letter Caruana sent to the FSC concerning RV, they were unable to accept and acknowledge that was a CLEAR lack of transparency.

    The electorate as a whole should not be coerced into believing that there is no viable alternative to the current regime. We as a people reserve the right to vote the GSLP out in 4 years time if they fail to deliver on the promises we deem important (which is exactly what I will be doing by voting for the GSLP in the upcoming election).


  25. Matt

    No it was not aimed at you. It was aimed at a number of persons from different parties who in various media made the timing of regorms the main issue rather than the substance of the reforms.

  26. Anonymous at 10:04

    That the terms of reference includes the PDP proposals and those of others is a necessity otherwise the independent commission would not be looking at everything that has been suggested and more ...

  27. LG: Part 2

    You state that, they, who I believe you mean the Chief Minister/GSD foolishly set out on:

    "a personal vendetta on Picardo and his personal matters, which backfired when it was revealed that he had been unable to talk about them in any detail and that he intended to reveal the exact nature of what they entailed in due course".

    Will he, (Mr Picardo), be able to reveal the serious or benign nature of these "details" before the elections or when we are lumbered with a liability? In other words what is the timescale on "in due course"?

    Unlike you, I do not address the electorate but just ask questions in order to make up my mind before I cast my humble vote.

  28. I cannot assist you there I'm afraid! :)

    My point was that many had been insisting that he had been obscuring the facts intentionally so as to try and prevent them from being revealed before the election, when in reality he had simply been unable to do so due to the restrictions imposed upon him as a witness in the proceedings.

    He has revealed that he will be able to set out exactly his role in the legal proceedings in due course. This seems to reaffirm his commitment to transparency, which as I set out in the second part of my contribution earlier is something Caruana could stand to learn a thing or two about.

    I respect that you may not want to vote for the GSLP and specifically Picardo on the basis of his involvement in those legal matters, it’s a valid stance to take and it is your prerogative entirely.


  29. Anon@20:17

    You state that he is simply unable to clarify the facts:-

    "due to the restrictions imposed upon him as a witness in the proceedings".

    Then you continue by saying:-

    "that he will be able to set out exactly his role in the legal proceedings in due course".

    Unless he clarifies matters publicly I can only go by what you state and that is that he will only be able to set out exactly his role in the legal proceedings in due course.

    Why does he not just say, just like you have, that he is merely a witness in these proceedings?

  30. Anon 22:25

    I believe he has already explained that he is providing evidence in the proceedings as a prosecution witness?

  31. Anonymous at 22:25

    He has confirmed that he is just a witness.

  32. @LG

    Re your comment that "The electorate as a whole should not be coerced into believing that there is no viable alternative to the current regime."

    Equally they should not be coerced into believing that the GSLP/Liberal Alliance represents the only alternative... Thinking that they do is a self-fulfilling prophecy of the depressing kind :)

    If people who like PDP policies have the courage of their convictions and vote PDP then they have just as much chance of getting in as anyone else.

  33. In the past as elections approached Peter Caruana would mask certain aspects with the advice of the late Francis Cantos.I think it was Charles Gomez who said that Cantos was the inventor of the GSD brand. Cantos' death 2 years ago left Caruana hugely vulnerable in electoral terms. There is nobody who has anywhere near Cantos' ability in the GSD ranks. Even those who might have something to say or advice to give are silenced or not heeded by Caruana. The end of Caruana's reign draws close.

  34. Matt, I agree, I wish the PDP every bit of success it is able to achieve in the upcoming election.


  35. One thing is certain,there is no dought that the GSD is using the "Bajunerio" " Gutter Politics"tactics in this election campain that brought the GSLP goverments " bajunerio tactics " to there demise in 1996...

    Keep it up GSD , for this tactic will also be your demise....

    Rock ape!
    A scared civl servant from Gov. reprisals

  36. So there is a a scared civil servant from Gov. reprisals. Valiente broma mas pesada! The GSD government has treated the civil service like royalty. Summer hours, gold plated pensions, no productivity controls. Bajunerio el culo tuyo - el de anon at 12.25 no el de RV.

  37. I think that I have put el dedo en la yaga.This GSD suporter is what we have got coming. "EL CULO TUYO.."is that all this person can say ....definitly lacking in argumentative critisism,
    As for reprisals from goverment ....just ask around .......VOX springs to mind

    Rock Ape!

  38. Rock Ape aka tu culo. If I were a GSD supporter I would not be complaining about the special treatment which the GSD gives the civil service.Use your head not your culo to think :)

  39. Anon @17:00
    My last input on the matter is that if all you can muster are the words " tu culo ", instead of having a serious and creative debate , I will stop wasting my time and the readers time .

    Rock ape!

    Hasta la siguiente!

  40. Robert

    I am amazed that you allow the foregoing comments that reduces this blog to a nonsensical level and yet you did no allow my comments on Mr Picardo's level of involvement in the "cases" to be published. I am sure that come the election Mr Picardo's misdemeanours will out. So they should be. For the sake of transparency in politics.

  41. Anonymous at 20:28

    I am astounded that you are so cowardly as to make the statements that you make about Mr Picardo under the cloak of anonymity. I am not prepared to print statements that you make that could be defamatory on that basis. Give me your name. Provide me with the evidence and I will publish. Mr Picardo has had the decency to do that personally to me, so until you show the same courage GO AWAY because you are a COWARD!

  42. Give me contributors with obsessions with culos any time before COWARDS.

  43. Robert and Anon 20:52 nicely put.


  44. I can understand a contributor, speaking against the government and feeling insecure, rightfully or wrongfully, and thus preferring the protection provided by anonymity.

    But in the case of Government supporters, I really cannot understand why they need to hide. Surely they would be the first to argue to their opponents that they should fear nothing and, in the democracy we live in, speaking out is perfectly safe.

    So why do they hide? Why do they not come forward and provide their names with all their posts? I, for one, would feel more at ease if I saw them having the courage of their convictions.

    Unfortunately their cowardly behaviour strikes me as a combination of lack of confidence in their party returning to power at the next election, and unfounded scaremongering as a last-ditch attempt to score cheap political points.

    Thankfully the electorate is not stupid at all, as they seem to think so.

  45. Just for information, it was cousin Peter that went to Queen Mary College, as it was called at the time, not cousin Robert.

  46. Robert the ideal person to chair the Independent Commission, surely.

  47. In a place like Gib it is difficult to make decisions regarding policies without being infuenced by the characters that expound them. To think that the electorate do that is unrealistic and naive. Ideally we would be mature and independent enough to make the required distinctions. However, I am inclined to believe that to do this in a community where we are afforded the luxury of 'knowing' our politicians is somewhat unnecessary and not altogether a bad thing. So I still think that character is key.

    Trust is more important that policies, especially when we see that all parties have hopped on to the 'open and transparent government' bandwagon, a subject that the GSLP had formerly not attached as much importance to. The PDP, in their defence, had, having made it a priority in their manifesto last time round. Where were the GSLP on this matter during the past 16 years? It sounds like they want to maximise on the publicity you have given this subject, for their convenience. You state that the breadth of the terms of refernce of the independent commission proposed by the GSLP are 'staggeringly wide'. Do they GSLP want the moral high ground now after remaining silent on the subject for so long?

  48. Sam:

    Let me get this straight. Your argument is that it is better to have seen the light and never done anything about it (the GSD) than to see the light late and promise to do something about it (the GSLP)? I see ... weird!

  49. To Anon 14:37
    You cannot have to both ways though some from the GSD ranks think they can!!
    On the one hand it is people from the GSD ranks that have been saying that with Bossano there is no change and that whilst he is there the GSLP is the same dog. Yes that might be true but on the other hand now that Picardo has become leader and has shown that he and his party are moving to the 21st century you say that “it sounds like they want to maximise on the publicity you have given this subject, for their convenience”.
    You further say “Do they GSLP want the moral high ground now after remaining silent on the subject for so long?” the simple answer is no what they have done is to make the moves that people like you have been saying will never happen under the old guard and is now happening under the new guard.
    La verdad es que la teneis cruda!! And you have run out of ideas to try and justify the unjustifiable.
    A ve si podeis sacar algo mas!!!!

  50. I think you misread me. my points are -
    1. Character is, and will remain, highly important in local politics at the expense of policies at times.
    2. This is not always a bad thing.
    3. To argue for political openness and fail to practice it, once in power is unacceptable. The GSLP, however, have been slow on the uptake in all their time in opposition until recently. So much so that I am curious as to the sincerity of their promises regarding this matter. Not an unfair assumption to make given their general lack of interest in this matter, which was brought more to people's attention by your blog.
    4. The PDP have always promoted more openness and transparency.

    Do you see how everyone reads into comments what might not be there, seeking to divide into the gSLP or GSD camps? And you seriously think the electorate will vote for individuals and not parties?!

  51. Sam

    No I do not misread you. I do not reply to your arguments about character/personality. I reply to your criticism that the GSLP have been slow in circumstances in which the GSD have broken a manifesto promise and at the last minute try to put it right. You may be curious about the sincerity of the GSLP but there is no doubt about the insincerity of the GSD: that is evident by historical omission.

  52. Robert, your comment on 15.58 is interesting. Check out Picardo's press release on the GSLP website. He doesn't actually say he'll do anything at all. All he does is 9a) call the government proposals "half baked" without saying why, (b) not put forward any alternative proposal himself and (c) pull a Sir-Humphrey stunt of setting up a committee to investigate the matter further.

    Let's face it. Picardo's agenda here is not parliamentary reform at all. It is simply no darle a Peter Caruana el logro de poder decir I've fucking pulled it off!

  53. Anonymous at 22:21

    I have dealt with this type of cynicism in the blog piece itself ... please read it!

  54. Does anybody know who the hell is writing all those anti-Picardo articles in the GSD rag that goes by the name of 7 Days? Absolutely obsessive they all are.

    Another coward(s) who don't dare publish their name.

    El Gianni

  55. Your argument in the blog seems to be (a)Picardo has said he'll do something, so let's trust him (b) Caruana says he'll do something - so what. He's taken too long anyway.

  56. Anonymous at 22:34

    I neither mention Picardo or Caruana. I mention the GSLP and the GSD. I also say Caruana has said too little too late and in the 7th paragraph I argue that it would be cynical and disdainful for the GSLP to ignore reforms.

  57. Anonymous said...
    But Picardo - sorry the GSLP- have committed themselves to nothing except setting up a Commission! Is it rocket science to see that the GSD's ideas - more meetings, more question times, televising debates...make sense. Can the GSLP explain why proposing more debates is a "half baked" idea. Politiqueo y nada mas.

  58. Anonymous at 22:45

    Precisely your antic ... politiqueo!

  59. Let's recap. The GSD come up with concrete proposals (more meetings, TV debates, more questions etc). The GSLP vote against. They do not announce in parliament what their counter proprosals are. They then call a press conference to announce, not any proposals,, but a commission who'll study making proposals.

    Your reaction to this? I am prepared to trust the GSLP because, if they do not perform as they they will, they'll lose the next election.

  60. The GSD's insincerity is separate and apart from the GSLP's keenness to adopt policies at which they have failed to concern themselves with over the past 16 years. Political opportunism at its best. Both are to be criticised.

  61. Anonymous at 22:48

    NO ... the GSD after 16 years of inactivity come up with half baked and inadequate proposals at the last minute. They contain a sting in the tail (increasing the size of Parliament without any electoral reform). These reforms are not going to be in place before the forthcoming election anyway. The GSD propose that its suggestions will be open to public consultation (and so change) with a conflicted Committee of the whole of Parliament (in which there is a Government majority). The GSLP propose in its place (having agreed with many of the GSD proposals and having said so) a wider consultation with an INDEPENDENT yes INDEPENDENT Commission ... YOU GET IT NOW?

  62. Sam

    Possibly but i repeat better late than never ...

  63. No mezcles el calcio con la magnesia. There are separate but linked issues here. First, is parliament working as it should. No? Well how can we fix it. Second, is our electoral system fair. No? Well how can we fix it. You will appreciate that a properly functioning parliament does not depend on a particular voting system. Westminister has been hailed as a model throughout the Commonwealth and first-past-the-post is as unfair as they come.

    Let's analyse what you say in your post of 22.55. You start off by using the GSLP epithet forr the GSD proposals as "half baked" but end by saying that the GSLP agree with the proposals anyway. Which is it.

    Second, you accept that the GSD propose a public consultation but then add that the GSLP consultation would be "wider". How so. Wider than the public?

  64. Anonymous at 23:07

    Your desperation is palpable.

    In the UK it is first past the post on a constituency basis, not like in Gibraltar.

    Yes to the extent that the proposals covered certain limited areas of reform the GSLP agreed. That does not mean that the proposasl are sufficiently wide.

    Yes wider because an Independent Commissioner can invite people and representative bodies to make representations and thus widen the consultation. Parliamentary consultation is by volunteers and is more austere so detracts from incentivising persons to make representations.

    You want to carry on arguing to justify the unjustifiable?

  65. Absolutely I do. Gibraltar functions as a single constituency, does it not? Our electoral system has traces of first past the post, does it note? How on earth can youi judge the manner in which the parliamentary committee would function without being privy to their rules of procedure. You are prejudging without evidence.

  66. Anonymous at 23:21

    No, Gibraltar does not function as a single constituency ... we do not elect a single Member of Parliament who represents any group of us. We elect 17 MPs who ALL represent ALL of us. That representation is not PERSONAL.

    The Committee has been set up and no rules? Well you prove the point yourself.

  67. We elect 17 MP's representing a defined territory and population size. A constituency in other words. Not 1 MP per defined territory, but 17. And we elect them on first past the post.

    Yes the committee has been set up, but give the GSD a chance to announce reforms to it, man! It's not as it the GSLP are l;aying their cards on the table, after all.

  68. Anonymous at 23:29

    No Gibraltar is a jurisdiction that Parliament governs. It is not a constituency in which individual representatives are elected. On your argument the UK is a constituency ... it is not.

    The GSD has had 16 years, MAN!

  69. 16 years? You have no idea the times Peter Caruana, in the course of debates over the years, has invited Bossano to join him in reviewing parliamentary procedure. Bossano's reaction, complete disinterest. It takes two to tango, Robert.

  70. Anonymous at 23:36

    It was a GSD manifesto promise made 16 years ago. The GSD has failed to act on it. You cannot blame the GSLP.

  71. Parliamentary reform was a manifesto commitment, not electoral reform. No party has ever made the latter an issue.

    Sure. It's taken the GSD 16 years to react but they have taken the bull by the horns and faced the music weeks before an election. Takes balls, no? Be honest, Robert, and accept that.

  72. Anonymous at 23:45

    An admission of failure is honesty ...

  73. Not an admission of failure, an admission of delayed implementation. And yes, it is honesty on the part of the person who's doing the admitting. Thank you.

  74. 'Takes balls'? to implement something by law that didn't need a law for it to be implemented in the first pace? and on the eve of a probable election loss?

    It would have taken 'Balls' if these reforms, bar the backbenchers one, would have been carried out without a law forcing the CM to do so, with only the interests of better democracy at heart.

    It takes 'Balls' is to stand up to these reforms and see them for what they are, a last-ditch attempt to address the criticism from forums like this one (that just refuse to shut up) and a realisation that the end is nigh and as if putting into place all the contracts, both to companies and 'placed' employees in the lead up to the election, hasn't been enough to control Gibraltar from the Opposition bench, this might just help them to hold on for a bit longer.

    This isn't about improving the democratic process but about retaining control. Its not about 'taking the bull by the horns', but about ensuring that when the matador does in fact kill the bull, there's still a way of keeping a foot in the bull-ring!

  75. Many who are arguing about the GSLP proposals are deliberately ignoring the facts. Example anon 22:41 says "But Picardo - sorry the GSLP- have committed themselves to nothing except setting up a Commission!" WRONG and you know it. The GSLP/LIBS not only proposed an amendment to the "Half baked" motion by the Chief Minister which went much further than More meeting etc, (Which by the way does not need a motion to happen anyway since Caruana can do that NOW), They have proposed Electoral and Parliamentary reform,a 20 year rule, Freedom of Information Act, Ministerial codes, open and indenpendant tendersystem and others things which will once and for all Open THE Government in order that we once and for all have REAL OPEN GOVERNMENT which I would assume you will welcome like Robert is advocating. The Commission would be a Humphrey thing if it did not have dates attached to it.
    Venga I am now awaiting more excuses and criticism from the GSD ranks about the GSLP/LIBS proposals and more unjustifable defenses as to WHY the GSD have not even done the small petty changes they have proposed and even failed on that. LET OPEN THE GOVERNMENT TO HAVE A REAL OPEN GOVERNMENT

  76. "Delayed implementation".....rofl are you serious man? How long and how many manifesto inclusions (this would be the fifth one) does the GSD need to finally see things through or isn't sixteen years enough? Go through all the GSD manifestos and see how many 'promises' are still being 'delayed'....

    The GSLP manifesto is the last one is anything to go by, will have tick boxes and completion dates for the electorate to verify that their election promises are being kept...and on time. THAT takes balls and political accountability...

    On the other hand 'KEEP TRUSTING' the GSD even though they themselves know that everything new which is included in this year's manifesto might not see the light of day for another 20 years...They should change their slogan to "KEEP HOPING!"