Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Polls: What do I Think they Mean?

The most interesting aspect of the recent GBC/Chronic opinion poll is, not so much that it predicts a GSLP/Liberal win, but the poll related to issues that people consider important. This merits some thought and discussion, both in regard to the general replies and the specific replies on a party allegiance basis. In this blog I make first observations on what people consider to be the important issues and then on the poll that predicts the possible election results.

It is a salient feature, in light of anecdotal historical evidence, that "relations with Spain" comes fourth in importance after "style of government" (first), "employment" (second) and "health" (third). What this does not make clear is whether it means that people want a continued dialogue with Spain on the basis of the trilateral talks or the other end of the scale, namely, a wish to continue a rejection of any rapprochement with Spain. In that sense it is a meaningless statement. The only hint that there may be a desire for rapprochement with Spain is that GSD supporters place this issue third, after "style of government" (first) and "employment" (second). This is indicative of support by GSD supporters for the trilateral process pursued by the GSD, whereas GSLP/Liberal supporters do not include this option in their three top priorities.

The most important revelation in my mind is that "style of government" comes first in importance by a full 2% differential. Again "style of government" is not a very precisely defined issue but it is precise enough to gather that there is general disappointment in the manner in which we are governed. This is a major criticism of the GSD administration. In 1996 it promised more open, transparent and democratic government. This result shows that people consider that it has failed to deliver on this promise. Undoubtedly the prior GSLP administration also failed miserably, in my view much much more miserably, but that is no consolation for those of us, me very pointedly, who expected a change in this regard. That change is now promised by the GSLP/Alliance. What is significant is that GSD supporters put "style of government" as the most important issue; that is also an indictment. I would suggest that this is one important reason for some defection of support from the GSD. The GSD now persist on offering too little too late. Perhaps, it should rethink on this issue before the election, if it is to offer the electorate any hope of real change.

I could go on about the poll that classified issues in order of importance in the opinion of voters but it is also worth putting some aspects of the poll on election results in perspective. I cannot agree with the CM's argument that the methodology used to undertake the poll on the election result is flawed. 
  • First, it reproduces the accurate views of those asked their opinions: that cannot be flawed. 
  • Second, it asked a sample of 3% of the electorate: that is a huge percentage compared to the sample used e.g. in the UK. 
  • Third, it is as flawed or as little flawed as the Chronic poll that had the GSD ahead (well received by the GSD) shortly after a Chronic poll that gave the GSLP/Liberals a lead. 
  • Fourth, the Panorama poll has the GSLP/Liberals ahead as have several other polls including the Vox poll: one might be flawed (the Chronic one putting the GSD ahead, which is the odd one out of 4, perhaps?) statistically it is unlikely that the majority will be flawed. 
  • Fifth, it cannot be as flawed as the anecdotal evidence that the CM uses to support his comment that "We don't believe the poll accurately reflects the feedback that we get at all levels of the community": perhaps it is they who are seeking the views of sycophants. 
  • Sixth, the CM never comments on polls, he has this time: a sign of concern, perhaps? 
  • Seventh, the CM's criticism that a 12 point lead (or 16 point lead depending on what figures are taken into account) is not a good result for the GSLP/Liberals is clutching at straws: that size of lead for an opposition party in the UK is unheard of. A 2 to 3 point lead is the usual margin of error. Even if there is an unheard  of 50% margin of error (in statistics), namely 6 to 8 points the GSLP/Liberals would be ahead.
  • Eighth, arguing, as the CM does, that change has to be for the better is to argue a truism. Another truism is that to vote for stagnation is also not an option, so the GSD had better come up with new ideas. It cannot just promise, again, to do fundamental things that it has failed to do in 16 years. It cannot rely on boasts of what it has done. I think that the GSD has a more difficult task to convince voters that it should remain in power than any other party has to demonstrate beyond doubt that change will be good, which is the challenge made to other parties by the CM. This is one thing that comes through on an analysis of the poll on issues.
  • Ninth, to make the comparison of the past in terms of what 16 years of GSD government has meant compared to the pre-1996 GSLP administration is negative, stagnant  and stale politics. Everything has moved on but one problem for the GSD is that debating anything else might be to highlight what it promised to do and has not done.
What all recent polls on the election results show is a clear trend. A trend that favours the GSLP/Liberals and should worry the GSD. I can agree with the CM on one observation that "We [the GSD] believe that it's all to play for" but the GSD are not the favourites to win right now. That the GSD is reacting is palpable. Belatedly it has discovered the power of the internet in politics. I am glad to have been a pioneer of politics in this medium by writing this blog. A pioneer in the use of the internet in Gibraltar for the expression of opinion by the public. A pioneer in breaking the hold that exists in Gibraltar of the rather staid press. 

A pioneer also in making my views so openly and widely known without fear but, unfortunately, with personal repercussions to me. I believe that these consequences are to the shame of the Government and the FSC; to the FSC because of it's biased retrospective rules on political involvement developed following receipt of a letter from the CM that has been kept secret. These are crafted to avoid repercussions to other local members but to capture my blog. For those who are interested, weeks ago I provided to the FSC a 5 page critique of those rules. This week, I received the FSC's reply which informed me that the FSC had decided not to change it's rules and that accordingly it was not necessary for the FSC to comment on my criticisms at all. I have replied to the effect that I understand the FSC's inability to justify its decision. I used the word inability advisedly meaning that it is unable to provide a coherent explanation. I now publicly invite them to do so.

It is my belief that the now widely used and accessed political sites and pages on the internet dedicated to political comment and debate has had a marked and positive effect on policies that will be pursued by political parties, a fact admitted by the CM as being beneficial. It will also ensure that parties promise what they can deliver and no more and that they will deliver to us what they promise in their manifestos. Irrespective of reforms to Parliament and the electoral system politics in Gibraltar have already been revolutionised in this manner. This statement is not an excuse not to undertake meaningful and not superficial reforms. Internet punishment will follow if reforms are not effected. I am glad to have been one small cog in this small revolution. The CM has admitted that he and the GSD are now reacting to it.


  1. You fail to explain why we Llanitos have given Caruana 15 years in office when he has supposedly not delivered on "openness", "transparency" etc. This is an honour only accorded to Hassan previously. Come on Robert!

  2. Anonymous at 21:13

    Please feel free to explain to everyone. This is an open forum. My comment is directly aimed at and a reaction to the poll result ... your attempt at criticism is out of context and yes he has been returned to govern for 16 years no one is trying to take that away from the GSD or PRC and?

  3. You want ME to explain - only brand me a GSD propaganda artist - as you usually do when you are short of answers? No chance. You omitted this element from your blog, you explain why someone who has supposedly failed to deliver has enjoyed such huge electoral success time, after time, after time.....

  4. Anonymous at 21:22

    I have omitted nothing in the context and as you please :) keep smiling ... when have I ever been short of answers. I have never accused anyone of being a GSD propaganda artist on this blog. You have the wrong site mate!

  5. Your argument in paragraph 3 of the blog is a non-sequitur. You mean to say that it took 15 years for Gibraltarians to cotton on to the fact that Caruana was not "open" or "transparent" as promnised? Your analysis has to be wrong.

    The reason for the GSD's poor showing has nothing to do with transparency. People are simply weary of the same management style over such a long time. The GSD is responding by changing half the team and announcing Caruana's impending retirement. Beats Picardo's meally mouthed words, no?

  6. Anonymous at 21:35

    What is an non sequitur is your criticism. I have not said anything of what you suggest that I mean to say. I am simply gibing an explanation of why "style of government" has topped the poll of important issues. I also criticise the previous GSLP for a failure on the issue. Nowhere have I suggested or discussed what the reason for the GSD's showing in the electoral results poll is. Where do you get this from? I suggest you read my piece again and understand it.

    Where do you get that PRC is retiring?

  7. He's sais it's his last election, has ne not?

  8. Yes you discuss the reasons for the GSD's poor showing. How about the following words form your blog: "Again "style of government" is not a very precisely defined issue but it is precise enough to gather that there is general disappointment in the manner in which we are governed. This is a major criticism of the GSD administration. In 1996 it promised more open, transparent and democratic government. This result shows that people consider that it has failed to deliver on this promise."

  9. Anonymous at 21:47

    Yes ... in the context of the fact that "style of government" topped the poll of important issues NOT in the context of the poll results on who might win the election. Please re-read AGAIN! You may jot know there were 2 polls one on election results and ANOTHER on issues. In paragraph 3 I am dealing only with the issues poll. Is that sufficient explanation for you? Happy to explain further if needs be but it really is primary school stuff :)

  10. Anonymous at 21:44

    That is hardly an "impending retirement" is it? 4 more years??

  11. Oh, I get it. Your theory is that people's choice of party is unrelated to the issues they deem important.

    You must be the only person in Gibraltar in whose mind the penny has not yet dropped.

  12. Anonymous at 22:04

    You must be a comedian HAHAHA! :)

    The reasons for the drop in GSD popularity and conversely unpopularity are numerous. There is not any single reason. It is also speculative to debate them without any evidence. This is one reason for my not debating that subject.

  13. Great analysis of the situation Robert,I think that ALL the Polls cannot be wrong, and I do believe that as we approach the elections the GSD will be in for a bigger hammering than the present numbers.The fact that PC is basically losing 5 Ministers makes no sense to any observer.Half of his Govt do not appear to want to stand with him in the next election, that is a worrying scenario, we know that PC is dressing it up as wanting to bring in fresh (and no doubt very young and controllable) blood but still he is basically losing half his Cabinet!.The people of Gibraltar are not stupid they see everyone and his dog wanting to join Picardo to form the next Govt and they see PC dropping half his Cabinet, something is going on because we know that out of these 5 Ministers who are leaving only Britto is leaving to retire.Remember that when Britto left the AACR that party also collapsed so he does have the timing Knack or vision our Ernesto.
    I cannot see how the GSD are going to make a comeback if the best they can do is carry on with the same old song of the 1996 fast launches and the character assasinations of Picardo, Bossano etc.They have been far too slow to catch on to the Internet media frenzy, even if the elections are called for next year it is too late to catch up with the GSLP on this front.The glaring example is that they have only just launched their website.
    In so far as the FSC is concerned the Legislation governing the FSC in its totality needs to be reviewed and changed.It is ridiculous that all the appointees to the FSC Commission have a direct contact with the present Chief Minister of Gibraltar except for Cassar who is the GM of the biggest Bank on the Rock.If say there was an invetigation into Barclays and the Law Firms involved were Hassans and Triay & Triay the FSC Commission would collapse because neither Cassar, Feetham nor Triay could participate in the meetings because they would all be conflicted!.Would it not be better to redraft the whole of the FSC Act to ensure that it made sense and that justice would not only be done but would also be seen to be done in the streets of our dear rock?.

  14. I personally think that the problem with the GSD is its leader - everything is controlled by PRC even the colour of outside furniture items at Casemates prior to its official opening. There is so much one can do when everything ends up on his desk at no 6!
    In jest, could it be that relations with Spain was no 3 on the GSD supporters priorities because they would fear a change of Govt could lead to longer frontier queues and that would mean further delays in getting home to Soto or even being late for the golf match!


    Some interesting facts for you Robert.
    With regards to the poll you fail to acknowledge that by methodology the CM was referring to the fact that individuals tasked with obtaining data actually visited known GSLP areas twice, in addition one of the collectors of data actually was actually seen to be only targeting GSLP voters that he/ she knew and the representations made by the CM was that it resembled the exit poll of 2007...the rest is history.

    You seem to be getting very excited Robert - tranquilo. What of the 50% change in line up where it is rumored that all 5 will be under 45 years of age? Surely a positive or will you be towing the party line and calling it a sinking ship:)

  16. Anonymous at 11:39

    The facts you mention are certainly interesting if true. I do not know and did not know those facts when I wrote this blog. The CM did not say any of that.

    I do not believe that there is anything in this blog that indicates that I am getting excited. In fact I have been criticised because it is NOT exciting. I have analysed the situatrion on the available evidence no more, no less.

    I look forward to see the changes. It is refreshing to see that there will be changes. Positive depends on the identity of the candidates. Will they be strong enough to stand up to PRC? Very diffciult that ... if they are not it will be a cosmetic change only and nothing will change on the ground.

    I have no party. If I did I would be a candidate. I give my honestly held opinions. Including stating that the GSD is right in saying that there is all to play for. I actually agree with that wholeheartedly. That is why Ii talk of the polls indicating no more than a trend ... surely you must agree with that.

    All your defensive comment does is evidence the insecurity being felt withiin GSD ranks. Myadvive: come back fighting but with forward looking policies, not with personalised attacks, the pre-1996 past or boasts about what the GSD has done. I fully recognise it has done loads. What i am interested in is what it will do in future and in the main I maintain that its reforms of democarcy are not even a starting point, very disappointing.

  17. Could it be that people have prioritised 'style of government' over health, relations with spain, employment etc because the latter are in general good working order and criticism must be levelled somewhere despite the governments assurances of improvements there too?

  18. The fact that the new 5 candidates for the GSD are all under 45 just shows that PC is surrounding himself by candidates he can manouevre and control and therefore its more of the same type of politics.Relying on the GBC exit polls from the last election to win this election is a grave mistake for the GSD in my opinion.The momentum is different this time round for the GSLP and the silent majority are with the GSLP because they fear speaking up due to the coercive manner in which the GSD has ruled Gibraltar.We need a breath of fresh air in Gib and only the dyanamic team at the GSLP are making a credible offer to the electorate.The fact that PC is taking so long to call the election is again another bad move by the GSD giving the impression that they are afraid of facing their destiny.
    Have just gone by the new (and I am sure incredibly expensive to create) Patio Chico Pay and Display Car Park, why hasnt PC unveiled a plaque there.....?

  19. I don't know who this annonymous writer who has so much inside information on the GSD is, but surely, if he's that well connected with them he doesn't need his postings to be 'annonymous'! On the contrary, I would have thought he'd be intersted in gaining 'brownie points' - unless, that is, that he's not that convinced the GSD WILL win the election and is therefore afraid to shoot himself in the foot? In any case, I'm sure it's not just members of the cabinet that are abandoning what looks more and more like a sinking ship, haven't the usual 'every party's best friend' business men that manage to straddle every party from election to election not already started overtures to Picardo? I would REALLY be interested to know if this is the case as that would definitely be sounding the death knoll for the GSD - maybe PC should start asking his most loyal 'consultants' if they're making these approaches!!

  20. Although I do not support any of the parties expected to stand for election I do think that Fabian Picardo's request for access to the top civil servants has both logic and great merit. If as, the opinion polls predict there should be a change of government at the next election it would clearly be in the public interest (which is the only interest that I have any concern for when it comes to politics) that the new government should be as fully briefed as possible at the earliest possible opportunity.

  21. Charles Gomez

    I totally agree with you, irrespective of who might win or not win at amy election. It is surprising that this has not been the conevention in the past. It is surprising that there is hesitation in agreeing to this being done immediately.

  22. Anon 13:46.
    He didn't unveil the plaque because the Hon Clive Beltran wasn't there.
    Or was I the only one to notice the unveiling of the plaque at the Hebrew school,which was done in " the presence of the HON Mr Clive Beltran.....what a joke! and an insult to those present.

  23. so anon @11:39, perhaps you could tell me where the 'known GSLP area' visited twice by the pollsters is?

    On another note, as you point out this poll cannot be trusted, could you then shed some light on the mysterious, yet infinitely more trustworthy 7 Days poll which has yet to materialise?

    Thank you


    p.s. and finally, anon @ 14.03 is right, why do you post as anonymous? I don't want to know who you are as I respect your right to anonymity, and I'm sure you respect mine, but I would love to know your reasons why

    thank you again, Intrigued.

  24. Some comments;

    “This is a major criticism of the GSD administration. In 1996 it promised more open, transparent and democratic government. This result shows that people consider that it has failed to deliver on this promise.”

    I don’t think this is an entirely fair criticism. When the GSD came to power it did deliver a change in style that was more “open, transparent and democratic government”. I think the problem is that the process started in 1996 has not continued with the times and further transparency promised in 2007 (eg parliamentary reform and open planning) have not been delivered. One might go further and say in some respects the GSD have gone backwards since 2007 in that tenders for building contracts have been abolished “in order to make the system fairer” and the delivery of projects has, in the last 12 months, been at such a pace that they are sometimes complete before the gen public even know what’s going on on their own door step (patio chico car park being a good example).

    There is a very genuine sense of dissatisfaction with this state of affairs throughout Gibraltar at large. Anybody willing to listen would be able to fathom that without the need for opinion polls.

    It is therefore dangerous for the GSD to take the approach of one of your commenters that “The reason for the GSD's poor showing has nothing to do with transparency. People are simply weary of the same management style over such a long time. The GSD is responding by changing half the team and announcing Caruana's impending retirement”. An important part of that “management style” is a lack of identifiable process and a lack of transparency and the “all decisions on one desk” impression. When it is PRC himself that announces the change of slate, one wonders if he himself has not fallen foul of the change must be change for the better rule.

    The GSD should sit up and listen to what people and polls are saying. Simply because YOU may believe that PRC hasn’t put a foot wrong when taking substantive decisions does NOT mean you should not be concerned when people complain about the WAY in which decisions have been taken. People will ALWAYS disagree about whether or not a project or policy was a good one or a rubbish one. But when people are complaining about the WAY in which decisions are taken, well then one would have thought there would be more scope for agreement on what is wrong and what is right. Just as easily as this Government committed itself to a very expensive airport with no electoral mandate whatsoever (remember the big airport commitment predates the 2007 election and was not in the 2003 manifesto), the next Government might commit itself to building a giant jelly mono rail. They could use precisely the same system of Government to make sure that the jelly mono rail got built, as this Gov have used to ensure we get our airport built.

    The GSD don’t seem to think anything is wrong AT ALL, not even procedurally despite the very real risk that we will have a Jelly Mono Rail within the next four years. Their approach seems to be the end (airport – what a great idea) justifies the means, and we haven’t made any mistakes when it comes to end results. At the very least, that shows a lack of empathy, trait which politicians should have in bucket loads, with the electorate at large. At worst it means we are going to get the Jelly Mono Rail.

    NB North Americans reading this post should substitute the word “Jello” for “Jelly”. It makes more sense now doesn’t it?

  25. If anyone does do a quick survey to see how many plaques PC is going to unveil 5 months before the elections taking place it is going to be worthy of a Monty Python Sketch.How stupid does PC think the people of Gibraltar are?, shows a complete disregard to the intelligence of the average Gibraltarian and that is really annoying to the man on the street. Add to that the reality that PC refuses to let D Feetham or Clive Beltran or any other minister for that matter appear as the sole Minister opening their own projects and you have the recipe for the GSD disaster at the forthcoming elections the "I" did, "I" opened "I" Innaugurated syndrome that PC must always be a part of.

  26. Anonymous at 17:54

    You say that my criticism on lack of open, transparent and democratic government under the GSD administration is not a fair criticism. I respect your view but I have one question for you: What objective and positive reforms have the GSD Government enacted to ensure open, transparent and democratic government? Your comment seems to be based on a subjective assessment that is an unsustainable and unprovable opinion. You yourself also go on to argue examples where even on a subjective level the GSD have failed on this issue.

  27. I think that the principal executive officer of the civil service should do Mr. Picardo the courtesy of replying to his request to meet the senior civil service. Nobody doubts the PEOs independance but he must reply one way or teh other promptly.

  28. Surely there are guidelines as to how the PEO of the civil service deals with opposition members of parliament. The PEO Mr. Armstrong is an experienced and well respected civil servant who I am sure will do the right thing but I agree that the delay in answering Mr. Picardo could raise quite a stink particularly since the PEO could soon be working with Chief Minister Picardo.

  29. Anon at 17:54 says
    Robert, I suspect you suffer a little from PRC Syndrome yourself.
    OK examples of how the GSD have made Government more transparent.
    1. JSC for judicial appointments
    2. Reform of DPC including NGO's on DPC
    3. Annual delivery of budget gOg expend stats
    4. Intro of Ombudsman
    5. Intro of Consumer protection officer
    6. Intro of tenders ( with my above caveats)
    7. Data Protection

    This is just from memory as I sit on my fat bum drinking beer. If I could be at all bothered to engage with you U am sure I could pad out the list.

    Obviously I include data protection just to piss u off because of your own most unfortunate, and frankly in my opinion unforgivable/inexplicable treatment. But like it or not Robbie, there it is. Sure u say data protection nothing to do with governance. It was an EU directive they to do it blah blah blah yawn. PRC syndrome Robbie. You got it big stylee.

  30. Anonymous at 21:43


    1. JSC is to do with independence of the judiciary not transparent government.
    2. Look at the full make up of the DPC ... it is controlled by government ... purely superficial changes ... people are baying for reform including greater public participation in the planning process.
    3. This is new? If it is long overdue ... what about all the unauthorised projects?
    4. Ombudsman ... toothless just able to publish his findings! This is administrative not political transparency anyway.
    5. Consumer protection officer is commercial not administrative or political transparency.
    6. Tenders ... hahaha even you criticise the government on this one.
    7. Data protection as you point out is compulsory under EU law and as you point out it is not app[lied in practice e.g. my own case example. Transparency is not passing the law it is giving effect to it.

    Carry on drinking your beer matey it may inspire you a little more intelligently ... and my name is Robert never been called Robbie by anyone is that part of your GSD superiority?

  31. The PEO is a very busy man and he's not one to waste his time, his runs up and down that corridor are famous.

    The delay is just bog-standard civil service 'cosas de palacios'.

    I'm sure, he will give the request his full attention as he is must be well aware by now that this request is no flash in the pan, but a serious undertaking on the part of the Leader of the Opposition seeing as the winds of change might be blowing very soon.

  32. At least in the court the plaque says inaugurated by Caruana and Feetham in the presence of the president of the court of appeal but the Jewish school says inaugurated by Caruana in the precence of Beltran. That's aweful! Why? Control freakery at it's worst.

  33. El pobre Beltran...

    Was he not allowed to have 'jointly inaugurated' with the CM?

    There there....

  34. El pobre PC who probably didn't know what the plaque said until he unveiled it!
    pa verle visto la cara.

  35. Anon 17:54 and All That said

    Oh Robbie. You asked for objective examples because you said there were none. Now you say what is important is your Subjective views on how objective reforms Are implemented.
    If you asked me for my subjective views on how these objective Reforms had been implemented you might discover we hold similar opinions. Oh but instead Robbie you said I felt I was all superior cause I was in the GSD which isn't the least bit true.
    Sorry Robbie, the reason I pulled you up with my original quote is because it was simply sloppy on your part. If you had bothered to think about it you would have to concede that objectively there has been progress. Sloppy Ploppy Robby which makes for a boring read. Much more interesting when your criticism is better thought out.

  36. Anonymous at 17:54

    I know what you are trying to do and it brings a smile to my face LOL ...

    Your "objective examples" are not examples at all.

    Well you not state what your true opinions on your examples were.

    Whilst you remain anonymous your denials of party loyalty is meaningless.

    Not sloppy ... your analysis is wrong.

    There has been no objective progress in my mind proved by the room that has been given to the GSLP/Liberals to move into the open transparent and democratic government void sloppily left by the GSD.

    Increased number of hits (i get statistics remember?) do not show general boredom ... you are welcome not to read this blog :)

  37. I have more questions even though anon @ 11:39 hasn't answered my first lot on the the polls yet.

    anon @ 23:37 what did the plaque say?

    anon @ 21:01 please tell me his post isn't really abbreviated by PEO!

    and finally, Robert and anon @17:54, explain the Jello thing please



  38. Intrigued

    Haven't got a clue what the Jello thing is!

  39. Looks like the GSD have positioned people to rake the Social media sites and put the GSD line in.Too little too late I say especially when the catalogue of disasters that have been caused by this Govertment are so evident to the people of Gibraltar.
    The GSD activists are obviously on your case Robert, must be why you are so popular with the 7 Days Newspaper...they are monitoring evey word you publish!.Congratulations you are achieving your goals!.

  40. robert

    then perhaps anon@17:54 could let us in on what looks like a bit of a cryptic joke.

    Confused (nee Intrigued)

  41. 17:54 and all that.

    "Whilst you remain anonymous your denials of party loyalty is meaningless"

    I am not sure it is really. I think you could accept it at face value. I mean for one, it is you that have raised the issue of party loyalties not me. It’s a rather disappointing fact about debate in Gibraltar that displaying any sympathy for a party will see you immediately corralled (perhaps kettled would be a better description) into their camp as a means of undermining your opinion.

    Really if you look at my original post you will see my criticism was quite limited really - far more critical of the GSD than it was of you. It was simply to point out that there has been progress. To be honest Robby I am one of those all important floating voters who will decide this election. So you better be nice to me, no matter how horrible I am to you. OK? Or I won’t vote for your alliance if you do decide to undecided your decision to decide to stand.

  42. anon @ 17:54, 8:56, etc

    I asked nicely about the jello thing


  43. Is this a proper moment to remind that PEO is only acting; he is not a permanent PEO, no. Pre the 2007 constitution the deputy Governor oversaw the civil service now we only have a PEO.

  44. RV

    Your article this time round raises some important issues, as always. But I would like to latch on to two issues:

    1. mentioned by some contributor, that the GSD are fielding 5 new candidates.

    In my humble opinion I would hope that these are not only young people who have had no exposure wahtsover. I guess my argument is applicable to all parties when I say that although I am respectful of anyone standing for election I am always eager to see candidates who have had a platform elsewhere. By having done so I feel that that person will have a better understanding of real politics.

    My fear, therefore is that, young blood is brought in without having learnt the ropes, so to speak, become dogmatic politicians with no real purpose or lacking sociopolitical skills needed to be close to the people they represent.

    2: Style of Government
    It would seem from the polls that style of government seems to be on the agenda! Whether we disliked the GSLP's style there is no getting away that the present governments record is, over the last 16 years, marginally better (IMHO). But as you so rightly say a Government cannot rest on its laurels otherwise stagnation results. Frankly I think stagnation has set in, partly because everything has to be handled by the CM. This was the similar complaint levelled at previous CMs so many years ago. So in a sense nothing has changed, hence the stagnation.

    The problem requires further debate and certainly an improvement has to be reached so that the wheels of government starts rolling again. Young blood is not always the solution but rather people with passion to help others. People who understand the needs of its people and who are willing to take difficult or even controversial decisions without the need of the CM's intervention.

  45. Anonymous said...
    Disciple X:


    Once again a stimulating blog.

    re: Picardo's attempt to communicate with High Ranking Civil Servants! Hmm.. What "top" Civil Servant. I assume that FP want to get in contact primarily with the one that The Chronicle alludes to as the top Civil Servant that accompanied the CM to New York.

    Does one honestly think that this top Civil Servant can take balanced and progressive decisions without having to run thme by the CM?

    Oh! please dont get me going on this subject.

    Nonetheless, back to your article. I totally agree with your analysis. However if the polls are lopsided as suggested by a contributer then the race is stil back on. (I think)

    By the way congratulations on your pioneering work. Admittedly many of us who contribute anonymously can take no credit for your success and your website but I am sure that our meagre contributions have ensured healthy debate too.

  46. Disciple X

    Of course the contributions to this blog of commentators has had a lot to do with its success. I was not meaning to play this down. In my blog I was simply referring to pioneering the use of this medium.

  47. Gibraltar has always been run by a semi-dictator - hassan, bossano and now caruana. I think that gibraltar needs an authoritative figure more than we care to admit. someone who gets on with job irrespective. remember there is no pleasing everyone, especially in gib where complaining is a local pastime.

  48. Off topic but I hope heart warming and interesting. In the 1960's some US TV series ended with the actors laughing uproariously. This was a fine device to show that all's well that ends well. In today's Chronicle there is a wonderful photo next to but unrelated to a report on the claim by the Registrar of the Supreme Court showing the minister of justice the AG the CJ and the AJ laughing good naturedly with visiting judge HHJ Collin Colston. I shall be enlarging and framing the picture.

  49. The UK's Defence Secretary Liam Fox is in a pickle after it emerged that his a pal a Mr. Werrity seems to have put himself in a position where he may have gained financially from their friendship. Pa que vea que estas cosas no pasan solo in Gib. We all have friends Peter now has friends, Joe has friends, Fabian has friends, not forgetting Keith but they must all ensure that their friendhips do not give rise for concerns. No more "friends" and relations in the FSC (@£15 k pa)no more direct allocations, weird consultancies etc That is how I would like Gibraltar to be run.

  50. The pigeons have come home to roost as far as Peter Caruana is concerned. 5 ministers retiring including heavy weight Feetham, a group of unknowns to replace them, public unease at the lack of openness, Picardo banging at the doors of 6 Convent Place demanding to hear PEO and Heads of department. We are witnessing the last days of the Caruana regime but for better or worse he has served Gibraltar and his departure must be as dignified as possible in the circumstances.

  51. Ths FSC needs looking at urgently because the allocation of posts to friends and family in the FSC Commission should be suspect(sorry Robert as I know that PC is your cousin),but there has to be a method of appointing people to the Commisssion who are seen as being totally objective and as having no connection through either family,politics or business to the Chief Minister of the day.
    The appointment of FSC Commissioners should also be limited to a finite period of time or what ends up happening is that the Commissioner identifies with a certain segment of Society ab initio,in and out of the workplace and this makes it very difficult for the Executive to make a decision if friends or their companies are before him at the FSC.
    In brief the FSC CEO like the Chief Justice should not be seen to be mixing in social circles as it could affect a third party's perception of his objectivity, legislation is needed on this.
    In so far as Dickie Armstrong not replying to FP is concerned,well proves the point above,PC has put himself in an impossible position by the reality that Dickie,his brother in lawis the acting PEO, irrespective of the realities of the situation. It unfortunately causes people to think or believe that Dickie does not reply to FP because it could be against PC's interests which I am sure is not the case but having said that it is what the people think that matters here,as lawyers love to tell us justice must be seen to be done and in Dickies case the general perception is that he is not replying because of his connection to PC.

  52. Anonymous at 15:49

    I acknowledge and understand where you are coming from but I would only say that in Gibraltar some of this is inevitable. It is because of this inevitablilty that the principles that you allude to cannot be applied in the manner that they are applied in a larger jurisdiction.

    What needs to happen is that the overall "mix" of members of a public body like the FSC must by its seperate constituent members give the clear perception of independence. I did explain this to the other members of the FSC at the relevant time but, for whatever reason, my explanation was ignored. The policy that was dveloped is, in my view, very opportune, but it is for others to judge that. It certainly does not deal with your complaint.

  53. There used to be a saying popular among the older generation which went . Could that be the GSD's eitaph?

  54. The epitaph = por un peo aqui me veo

  55. Anon@13:09

    I agree with you entirely. What is more, I prefer a strong leader that gets the credit or the blame.

    That's the way I like it until someone comes along with another system that does not create a wishy-washy, pass the buck, bunch of gormless politicians.

  56. Sadly all we ever get is precisely "wishy-washy, pass the buck, bunch of gormless politicians" that is why apart from that giant among Gibraltarians Sir Bob Peliza in 1972 nobody has ever resigned from government on a point of principle. Surely in the the last 50 years someone in Gibbopolitics must have had good reason to resign.

  57. Robert

    Could you please explain to anon@15:00 that the saying is "chickens coming home to roost" and not pigeons.

    I must admit, it was much more subtle than my previous censored references to another politician's "excess baggage".

    Level playing field, please.

  58. Anon 19:14

    Sir Joshua did.

  59. Anonymous at 19:28

    I can find no such censored comment but frim the words you use it sonds as if it could be defamatory.

  60. 19.32 Sir Joshua, when?

  61. the famous Airport Agreement,y Canepa took over.

  62. 19.55 history as it is rewritten

  63. RV@19:39


    The censored comments that I refer to were not made in this post but in previous ones. I would never take advantage of anonymity to defame an individual.

    Please revisit the Panorama articles "Caruana accuses Picardo" on 18-05-11 and "Picardo replies to Caruana" on 19-05-11.

    Please tell me why Mr Picardo's involvement cannot be debated in your blog?

  64. manana churros en el Education dept!

  65. So Clive Beltran has chosen himself to retire no-one has asked him to step aside to let young blood go through (GBC tonight),well with Britto also choosing himself to retire and D Feetham taking the wise and well timed move not to stand ...who are the people that PC implied he was retiring to let young blood come thru at last fridays GSDLive Press Conf...what a joke, th GSD ship is sinking faster than anyone would have thought and nothing PC does or says at this very late stage will save him now.The writing is on the wall and its every man/woman for himself/herself now.

  66. Sir Joshua had the dignity and class to call it a day when he did. It would be good to see others following suit.

  67. Anon at 19.14 and 19.55

    Sir Bob Peliza did NOT resign from Government. He called an early election in 1972, when he thought he might be able to exploit the so called "big lie" in a general election.

    Sadly for him, this gamble spectacularly backfired and Sir Joshua was re elected.

  68. REF FSC I dont agree that it is inevitable to have the scenario we have with the FSC.It is ridiculous that the FSC Commissioner be allowed to socialise with Lawyers,Accountants, Bankers Etc, be that by attending the vacation homes of these gentlemen in Spain or even attending a Chelsea Football match as it could happen that he would have to make a decision with his executive on whether he would grant or deny a Financial Services Licence to these very same people that he socialises with.
    A FSC Commissioner like a Chief Justice or any other person in a position of Complete Authority needs to keep his/her distance from the people he is deemed to regulate or the word bias raises its ugly head!.

  69. As an observer of Gibraltar politics for the last 30 years I can see history repeat itself. I can see the same gutter politics within the GSD ranks now as I saw in the final moments of the GSLP gov in 1996.
    There is no dought that the GSD are stale ,lacking in ideas, with an autocratic leader that is starting to run everyone close to him up the bend. Gibraltar has to look foward and if that means giving the GSLP a vote of confidence so be it ...But I would like to remind Picardo all is not won...alot of hard work is still needed ,I`m sure he knows.

    Rock Ape!

  70. Anonymous at 20:36

    Simple because, as I have explained in the past, the issues are sub judice and not proven. I leave all muck raking to other press e.g. 7 Days. If you saw the comments that I get about the excess baggage supposedly carried by others, including PRC, Joe Holliday and Nigel Pardo, almost daily and which equally I do not publish, you would understand!

  71. So Gibraltar faces a choice between a man who has lost the plot and another who we cannot examine completely because some issues are sub judice.

  72. With all due respect to everyone else I agree that the great unsung hero of Gibraltarian politics is Sir Robert Peliza.
    He joined the army after the first German bombing raids on Gibraltar motivated by the desire to give the Nazis a dose of their own medicine.
    Major Peliza, as he then was, became Chief Minister at a time when Franco's siege had just began and Gibraltar could have easily gone under. His leadership motivated Gibraltarians to promote a "non concessions, never surrender" doctrine which we can all be proud of.
    A person of Sir Bob's qualities would indeed refresh our current political system; a system which, it seems to me, sadly lacks quality.

  73. Anonymous at 0953

    No it is just that this forum is not for examining those issues about no one. I simply do not have the time to vet that type of comment. Other media should undertake ist research and investigations and comment as much as thye like.

  74. "The PEO is a very busy man and he's not one to waste his time. His runs up and down that corridor are famous." Anon, I think you'll find Dickie's title is Chief Secretary (Acting), not Principal Executive Officer - or maybe you just like the acronym, 'PEO'?

  75. Anonymous at 12:32

    This acronym has just dawned on me, my apologies to the Chief Secretary (Acting), it has been totaly uninitended by me. The acronym will not be used further on this blog.

  76. Disciple X

    Thak you for being gracious. Please do inform me but I believe I have an inkling of where you are coming from. I simply do not want to personalise issues with most people but especially with persons who are prohibited from defending themselves in public.

  77. If there has ever been a case of a dignified resignation from politics it must, surely, have been Joe Bossano's in 1995 when he was forced to stop the fast launches but only after the citizens demanded that he should do so.

    This ended the most shameful era in our history.

  78. Anonymous at 14:44

    Joe Bossano never resigned ...

  79. Anonymous at 14:44

    Joe Bossano never resigned ... and you have said it that ERA ended let us not forget it let us learn from it (I believe we have save for current frontier smuggling that is permitted) but let us not rake it up form political use at every juncture!

  80. RV@14:50


    The reason why the citizens demanded an end to the fast launches was not because it involved smuggling but because of a) what it was doing to our youth and b) our reputation abroad.

    To suggest that frontier smuggling should be stopped because of the lessons learnt from the fast launches disgrace is not correct. They are not comparable.

    I did not say that Mr Bossano resigned but that he should have resigned in 1995 or after the comprehensive rejection by the electorate in the 1996 election.

    If this is raked up for political use at every juncture it is because he has remained in politics ever since and that he is standing for election yet again.

  81. To all those anons who have written the GSD's obituary we still have the people that matter. Joe Holliday has the experience, class, honesty and intellect to run rings around Picardo.

  82. GSLP/libs party political broadcast tonight - the more I see Picardo the more I like his style - short, sharp, no nonsense approach, eager to get on with the job.

    And when is the GSD going to react to the claim that public monies are being used to fund their propaganda machine "7 days" that has an editor who doesn't know the English language and how much he is getting paid?

    If public funds are being used we have a right to know.

    The public awaits.

  83. Anonymous at 19:25

    I see smuggling is an OK activity. It is just the means that were wrong mmmmm! So it is all right for one's wife to commit adultery so long as she does not do it in your face ... now at last I understand GSD morality :P

  84. anon @ 20:53 you are not serious are you?

  85. Robert I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of anon @ 19:25's remark.

    Why is the GSD pretending the smuggling today is not something we should be worried about?

    Perhaps its because they need the money and they are willing to put up with anything whilst its rolling in.

    so maybe, not only is it okay for one's wife to commit adultery as long as its quietly behind one's back, its also okay to not question how one's husband earns his money, as long as it funds one's extravagant way of life.

  86. Dear Robert

    Who said that Joe Holliday is an honest classy and intelligent person and could run rings around picardo?

    Are you living in cuckoo land? Joe Holliday and the GSD are finished. This is the end. Fabian and the GSLP will rule Gibraltar the same way Joe Bossano did from 1988 to 1996.

    Lianne Azzopardi and Selwyn Figueras will not save the GSD sinking ship. It is too late. PRC is now holding onto power like Franco did for 40 years. Peter call the election is all over.

  87. The only person who could lead a fight back against Picardo is D Feetham and I am very sad to see him go but I respect his reasons.

  88. Word on the street is Daniel is indeed leaving politics and the GSD rumour-mill keep referring to his unfortunate incident, but Daniel is made of sterner stuff and if he really wanted to stay, if he was happy, he would stay despite his ordeal, and his family would support him, because that is the kind of family they are.

    Word on the street also points to the struggle for the post of deputy and how he too is unhappy with the style of Government practised by the CM, and that is why he is really leaving.

    So if you think he's the only one to beat Fabian, then you can thank Joe Fantastic for not putting the party first over and above his personal ambition!

  89. Great party political broadcast, I hope that the GSLP do field a good team of ministers because Fabian went a long way towards convincing me to vote for them in the upcoming election. Some of the proposed candidates in addition to some of those already in the GSLP party sound like an appealing combination, especially in comparison to some (not all) of the proposed GSD candidates.

  90. RV,

    Having reread your article once again and the subsequent comments offered by our distinguished brothers and sisters I have come to the conclusion that barring several comments, the whole debate often peters off in a crescendo (excuse the oxymoron) into a bout of political sniping, accusations and counter accusations. A pity!

    However I would like to revert to your original theme which was to do with the polls and what they mean to “you”. It is very interesting to note that you deliberately make the point that what you offer us for debate is your own analysis and reflection of what the current polls indicate, rather than pondering on what they actually mean - please note the subtle difference. Despite it being coherent, i.e. your analysis\view and despite the fact that polls very often, admittedly, provide a flavour of what’s on offer, a poll taken some time before the election date can always be inaccurate. I am always reminded of the political journalist who referred to an election poll some weeks before a general election as a snapshot of the Grand National midway through the race.

    Although this metaphor is equally inaccurate and some may argue inappropriate, the underlying principle remains, which is, to quote a well known colloquialism, “it’s not over till the fat lady sings”.

  91. The GSLP could easily field 10 quality candidates for this election,perhaps both the GSLP and the Liberals should consider not wasting the potential candidates and present a bigger team,might even wipe the GSD from opposition.

  92. disciple X of course its not over till the fat lady sings, everybody knows that but I'm sure that had the polls given the GSD a 12 point lead instead of the GSLP, today your comments would not include the melodies of the fat lady unless of course it was to suggest a touch of humility on the eve of an election victory.

    Think about it, if at the last election when few dared speak out against the GSD, with Joe Bossano still at the helm of the GSLP and without the social media revolution currently taking place, the GSD barely scraped in by a handful of votes, what possesses you to think that the GSD have it in the bag this time round? Its obvious that no amount of dirty tricks seem to dissuade the ever increasing support the GSLP/Liberals are gaining on a daily basis, so why remain in denial?

  93. On this occasion I do not think that we will need the services of the fat lady vocalist. The GSD is in free fall; the business of government has stopped, the people have finally seen through the hyperbole and Caruana owes it to the people to call an election NOW!

  94. In reply to anon @ 23.43. Nice idea but there are not many good potential candidates for any party. The barrel of the GSD has been well and truly scraped and the same holds true for the other parties. Succesful men and women in the primes of their lives are busy doing other things. We have too many politicians in Gibraltar.

  95. I read the following in 7 "Days": "As we were all told at law school the secret of success is preparation preparation and preparation" Whoever wrote that thinks that we are all lawyers! The writer of that needs an emergency reality check and an IQ test.

  96. Following the uplifting party political broadcast by the GSLP last night there was a news item that showed the minister for health services at a medal giving ceremony.

    Given the state of the administration of the health services, the minister for health would do herself more justice if she were to spend more time fighting her corner and saying something of substance in defence of her ministry.

    But then how can you possibly defend the indefensible and not be made to look more foolish.

    If The Caruana One Man Show has existed for 16 years with so called experienced politicians he will make mincemeat of the novices.

    Fabian Help!

    By the way I am not a member of any party.

  97. As one of those in the 'undecided' percentage group, I have to say that what will ultimately win MY vote is not slagging and insults - that is, I want someone to win my vote, not acquire it by default, I'd rather not vote at all for that! So, all I can say is please someone WIN my vote!

  98. I agree with anon@13.57, can the GSD please stop wtih the negativity and give us some substance! I have always been a dedicated GSD follower, but talking constantly about what they have done in the last 16 years and about what we had in 1976 is not going to win any votes - come on step up your act and tell us what changes are going to be implemented so that voters feel they can trust the politicians more, not continue as they are.

  99. To 13.57::: The only politician who slags and insults is Peter Caruana in parliament behind the cover of Parliamentary immunity. If any body else has examples of slags and insults write in. I do not think that it is fair to tar all politicians with the Caruana brush.

  100. Anon@16:14

    I for one will wait until both parties publish their election manifestos.

    At the moment I can only go by what has happened in the past.

  101. I have voted Bossano for as long as I can remember however I don't see the New GSLP representing the values of the people. FP is not working class nor he seeks the best for the working class, he has already made his millions in his law firm and now wants a new hobby. We need a grassroots leader for the GSLP not mas abogados del pish diciendo que son "working class".

    Red and Proud

  102. I do not come to praise Fabian Picardo but a progressive and ambitious community like Gibraltar needs people who have made their mark. Picardo's back ground is very much working class and it is ridiculous to criticise him for having been a success in educational terms (Oxford University and Gray's Inn) and professionally. Both Peter Caruana and Joe Bossano have excellent educational and professional back grounds too. Whatever the political differences working class people who have excelled like Fabian Picardo, Daniel Feetham and Dr. Garcia are precisely the kind of leaders that Gibraltar needs and it is perverse to suggest that the Gibraltarian working class people (i.e. 99% of us) should not aspire to as succesful as possible.

  103. Robert

    As a matter of interest. Did the Gibraltar Chronicle publish the blank questionnaire?

    I am not questioning the result but the order of the main concerns shown by those questioned regardless of party preferences.

    The content of the questionnaire and the way the questions were asked could make all the difference to the prioritisation and to your interpretations.

  104. Red and Proud do you know of any possible grassroots member of the GSLP who could fill those shoes, being working class, y no un abogado del pish? These credentials are hard to come by these days!

  105. RV,

    To those that think I am in denial rest assured that I am not. I am not as has been suggested pro GSD nor am I pro any party. In fact as I have pointed out previously I have been known to have voted for many. But that is neither nor there. My point of the fat lady is simple and that is that despite current polls the one that really counts is the final one.

    My comment was not meant to portray any delusion that I may be under but rather a fact. RV's article is subjective and a pretty convincing one at that and no matter how accurate he is with his ananlysis (which I agree with in the main) I have to agree with the CM on this particular point which is that the final count is the all important one.

    Polls as far as I am concerned, indicate trends but more importantly highlight issues that are at that moment important to the electorate.

    Political parties then use these results to their advantage in order to impress their apparent concerns.

    Allow me to give an example. It would appear that open and the style of government seems to be the number one critical issue because of the exposure that this blog, in particular, is generating. In my view that is well and good but personally i think it is quite easy to whip up a "frenzy" with this issue. However I do feel that there are far greater issues (IMHO) that need equal exposure, namely Social issues which for example affects those with social needs which the Care agency does cater for.

    So in essence, although polls can be a great indicator and a powerful tool we should not fall into the trap of party political spin doctors who weave their own agendas based on interim results.

    So for that reason I will wait for the fat lady and hope that before then other important issues are debated.

  106. Anon@17:21

    Red and Proud

    Perhaps you should first ask Mr Picardo to define "Socialism".

    He keeps saying that he is a Socialist.

  107. Well said Mr. Gomez. You are a working class boy done well but what happened to your socialist credentials?

  108. DX@18:37

    Disciple X

    I agree with most of your comments,however,please read my comment @18:34.

    I have not seen the blank questionnaire nor how and where the poll was conducted.

    If I were to be stopped in Main Street during working hours and I agreed to be questioned I could, considering the time available, construe "style of government" to mean a whole variety of things including the handling of our "relationship with Spain". As an example.

    I do not believe that that this blog has had such profound influence on this particular issue.

  109. are you really red and proud, or are you a blue & yellow pretending to be red and proud and attempting to stir up some trouble? LOL

  110. L.E.F. says,

    Slightly off topic but reference the prize giving ceremony of the GHA.

    I am fed up of so many medals ,awards,annual mayors, freedom of the city being handed out like sweets to children.

    Do not most off us work as hard and produce the same on a daily basis. Enough of this farce.

    Lets concentrate on our personal moral duty(a fair days work for a fair pay) and let every person work his 8 daily hours to the best of his ability without a need for medal pinning.

    What a waste of money on ceremonies ,new mayors and endless parties and the bloody ambulance does not work.

    Polls are just polls but I hope this one is proven right for the good of all us Llanitos.

    Vote Change

  111. Who in his/her right mind puts off buying new ambulances when the ones we have are falling to bits. One royal toilet less and the ambulance problem would have been taken care off.

  112. Robert,
    we are side tracking.
    How about a posting of the qualities expected from our potential candidates,and the changes we want however insignificant they might appear to be.

  113. I wonder if the airport is still on-budget.

  114. The government has gotten JBS to put in 100 extra workmen to try to finish the airport terminal before the election. That boys and girls is using public money for electoral purposes. How low can you get? Very low because the people of Gibraltar are not very bright. Anywhere else there would have been a scandal and Caruana and Holiday would have been made to pay the extra costs from their own pockets.

  115. Barratry@08:12

    So "the people of Gibraltar are not very bright".

    You silver tongue, you.

  116. Barratry is right - like it or not we are not a society that has ever dared to question anything and people are in awe of any idiot with a medal or a title or anyone in a "high" position. That is an immature society.

    But thanks to this blog people are gaining in confidence and have been given the opportunity to express their anger and frustration without fear of persecution and fortunately waking up to the fact that speaking up is the only way to effect change or achieve anything.

    Caruana should do us the favour of calling an election NOW so that he can stop squandering any more of OUR money to impress and buy votes.

  117. PRC wants to do the opening of the airport so that the plaque has his name on it as a tribute to himself.

    Fabian all you will need to do is just place a huuuuuge plant in front of it so that no one sees it.

  118. If you run a business would you be happy to pay the GSD ministers £80,000 a year each for their performance? I do not think so but that is execatly what you are doing paying them 80 grand a piece. Barratry is right we are not very bright in Hicksville Gibraltar.

  119. RV,

    If we are to believe the interim polls are correct and that every effort has been made to ensure that a representative section of the community has been polled, then “style of Government” is certainly a concern. However, you rightly point out that “style of government" is not a very precisely defined issue but it is precise enough to gather that there is general disappointment in the manner in which we are governed.”.

    In my view, “style of government” is a double edged sword if we are led to believe that the alternative on offer is a consensus type. If by that we are being led to believe that this will be committee styled then I fear that not a lot will get done or done incorrectly.
    Two sayings spring to mind:

    A committee is a thing which takes a week to do what one good man can do in an hour. (Elbert Hubbard)


    A camel looks like a horse that was planned by a committee. Anon

    Before I get lambasted for all the wrong reasons :)....let me say in my defence that I am all for improvement and innovation but I am a bit wary about the effectiveness and efficiency of waiting for an elected Government to meet and decide on many issues. Someone I am assuming will have to give the go ahead and someone has to take the blame if something goes wrong. It would be a farce if for example the GSLP were to come into power and no minister could be blamed for inadequacies etc.. To hide behind the “consensual decision” is a bit (IMHO) unfair to the electorate.

    My apologies if my comment this time seems out of place and I stand to be corrected if my assumptions are ill conceived but I think further debate on the style of Government is required.

  120. I dont think many of the lineups of ANY of the political parties (or candidates) are worth 80k a year. Maybe 2 or 3 at most.

    I would think that with 4 ministers we would have more than enough to manage Gibraltar and Civil Servants would be responsible to the House for the job they are paid (very well) for.

  121. I think they must by now be earning much more than £80,000. No-one knows precisely how much total remuneration Ministers receive because Government does not publish the figures. It publishes the salaries of public servants (from this year also including agencies) but not Ministers, who must be earning close to £100,000. Will any political party pledge to do so in their manifesto?

  122. Anon@11:55

    I take it that the members of the opposition provide their services for nothing.

  123. Anon@10:08

    We did dare to stop the fast launches.

    We do respond when necessary.

  124. Anonymous at 13:02

    Before history gets re-written the fast launches were stopped durimng the GSLP administration, albeit following strong external pressures.

  125. I do agree with disciple x that some form of accountability should be in place - how can 'the consultants' who make SO much money from 'consulting' for projects not only not be accountable when these projects go very wrong and way above budget (paid for by you and me the tax payers ) but they are given MORE projects to 'consult' for!! If there is a change of Government will there be any investigation into the abuses that have been going on, for example the vast sums of money being plied into the air terminal just to get it finished SOMEHOW before the elections. In these moments when most of us are being squeezed and we're having to tighten our belts to make ends meet, it is shameful and dishonest to pour millions after millions on a project that should never have been given priority over our essentials like the power station, new ambulances etc.- it's not that I am crying out for blood, but a little justice would be well received! Chances are thugh, that even if a new Government gets in that the same 'consultants' and big bods will continue to take the juiciest cuts!

  126. RV@13:02


    Was that massive citizens' demonstration imagined?

  127. RV,

    Re: fast launches: true

    But history will surely testify that it was allowed to happen and fester during the GSLP's watch. It was after the vast majority of law abiding citizens took to the streets that it was curtailed.

    In my humble opinion JB failed miserably to take hold of this problem and should have stood down. FP is a new generation and with him comes a new era of politics. He should be his own man. The question mark will always be on JB and the influence that he may still exert in the parliamentary party.

    Should he go, GSLP may still have a bigger chance. Regretfully JB still commands a huge following and for that reason, I think, FP keeps him on.

    I stand to be corrected.

  128. Is Yvette del Agua writing the GSD obituary or swan song when she says:

    “Whatever the outcome of the election, and in case I don’t get another opportunity to say this, it has been an absolute privilege to have worked with you, and for you, these past 4 years”.

    How negative is that? These utterances do not help to portray the GSD as a fighting party but a washed up party.

    Call an election NOW.

  129. DX@15:13

    Thanks Disciple X

    For a moment Robert had me wondering whether I had imagined the citizens demonstration in 1995.

    If anyone thinks that the current cross frontier smuggling of tobacco is comparable is wrong.

    The reason why the citizens called for the abolition of the fast launch activity was because of the disastrous effect that it was having on our youth.

    The only way that cross frontier smuggling of tobacco can be stopped is by increasing its cost in Gib. I eagerly await to see if this increase is promised in the GSLP/Liberals election manifesto.

    Mr Bossano should have resigned from politics after the reaction by the law abiding citizens or after he was robustly reject by the electorate in 1996.

    Where I disagree with you is when you say FP keeps him on. It is more to do with the party executive which, I am sure, is fully aware that without Papa Joe's core supporters there is no GSLP.

  130. LOL listen to the GSD complaining about Bossano even if at the last election he missed out by a handful of votes and nearly ousted Peter the Magnificent.

    They just can't quite understand that, can they? How a party can remain loyal to its leader, out of respect and admiration, and not out of fear, and also be prepared to support his successor, because the party knows the future lies in Fabian.

    Never mind, if it makes them feel better, we'll pretend the smuggling at the frontier is perfectly okay. In any case, we're going to need the money to pay off the airport bill.

  131. Anon@18:35

    I cannot understand how a party can remain loyal to a leader who appeared in Espejo Publico on Spanish television and showed such disloyalty to every Gibraltarian.

    No one can defend smuggling but will the GSLP/Libs promise to increase the cost of tobacco in Gib?

    As a GSLP supporter you are already announcing that "it's that financial mess the previous government left behind" hoary chestnut.

  132. anon @ 19:17 disloyalty on Spanish Television? talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Did you miss Peter the Magnificent in Seville? or are you ignoring this one too?

    You are right on two accounts though... firstly, no one can defend smuggling and yet the GSD has sat back and allowed the problem to reach the heights we witness today, but I suppose £80M is worth your turning a blind eye, and secondly, The GSD will leave the GSLP a financial mess to sort out, but rest assured, we have the best man for the job, the same one who left you a kitty full of cash 16 years ago!

  133. RV,

    I can't believe it. Its mind boggling every time something is written one is labelled one way or for or against any party!

    Personally I am not in favour of JB but that does not mean that I discard the GSLP. Likewise I don't discard the PDP nor the GSD. I would have preferred some Independents to enter the fray namely CG or even maybe RV himself. But then beggars cannot be choosers.

    I, as a disciple of BoB, I care for my homeland and frankly JB did the youth a great disservice. We harp on about PC not admitting to failures but neither have I heard an apology from JB nor an admission that that period was one of the darkest ones that that can be remembered. Who can seriously forget the riots, the lack for civil order, etc.. I know times have changed and thankfully the GSLP has chosen a new leader and a new "way" but I do disagree with RV when he mentions in some blog that current politicians will not permit a return to those days.

    Unfortunately history often repeats itself at the most unlikely times, hence my worry that JB is still around in active politics. Apart from the fact that he would love putting one over PC before he finally retires.

    Anyhow, what do I know? Thankfully not a lot as I am often reminded by my other disciples.....

  134. Disciple X, anon@21:17 here, for the record I was answering anon@19:17's post before, not yours, hence my reference to this at the start.

  135. disciple X don't listen to your other disciples, they don't sound like very good friends to me, their comments to you are making you a little paranoid.

    Unfortunately history has been repeating itself throughout the last 16 years otherwise the duty on tobacco raked in by Government wouldn't have spiraled from £8M/year to £80M/year.

    This is something we cannot turn a blind eye too anymore and requires serious thought on how to eradicate it before we are swamped further with uncontrollable amounts of Spaniards buying and concealing tobacco.

    Serious thought also has to be given to the manner in which we carry this out, as we wouldn't want another riot, now would we? People, who's livelihoods are threatened, however illegal or immoral these livelihoods may be, tend to react violently when steps are taken to stop the manner in which they earn their living. Perhaps this is the reason the GSD has not taken any steps to stop it now and prefer to pass on the buck to the GSLP/Liberals to deal with instead.

  136. Let's get things in the right perspective,the tabacco business,and it was a business, generated millions and there are many "respectable members of the community" who made a lot of money...........loads out of it,the big importers of tabacco and all the other business and services who provided the infrastracture for the exportation of the tabacco.
    Remember it was smuggling at the other end and it was generally accepted by the population as such in the early years,and it was not uncommon to hear,que se joan los slo..
    No one could have predicted the negative impact this would have on our society,particulary with our youth. The neuvo rich soon discovered how money talks and that money can change peoples perspective of whats right and wrong,and as long as I'm not the one doing the tabacco ok!....and thanks for your money.
    Initially even the guardia civil turned a blind eye as the crime rate in la linea and the Atunara dropped and with the odd arrest here and there justified their role.
    The hash runs were the turning point and changed the senario,it was not uncommon to see the boys buying and replacing flash cars almost on a weekly basis,buying new ribs and engines,cash!
    True,Jb should have seen this coming and act sooner,but there are other who now preach high moral values who capitalized on the uncontrolled spending who could have reduced the impact by putting their morals before their busniess.
    Roles have changed and now we all have to suffer the long delays at the a result of the tabacco smuggling,mainly by spaniards,so it's OK,no son llani.
    It not OK,but it's is significantly contributing to our ecconomy,so vamos a dejanos de tanto moral,the only diffrence is that the winston boy now wear suits!
    If we wan't to finger point,let's not all point at JB,there are many out there who contributed to the sad events of 1996,some still making tabacco smuggling their primary business.
    Let he cast the first stone!

  137. RV,

    Anon 2:14
    My disciples as you call them come, are all who commit to this blog so you get it wrong when you insinuate that I have friends of one or any particular party.

    Anyhow without wanting to delve too much in what is, in my opinion a critical debate of smuggling, my concern is more related to the apparent disregard that began to evolve then within our society. To me, it was and continues to be a local political problem and unfortunately the leader then was JB who unfortunately allowed it to develop unashamedly back then.

    I am not even going to enter the economics of that period (perhaps on a different blog when RV so decides)not because I would want to shy away from it but rather because now and back then it continues to worry me.

    The impact of tobacco smuggling was self evident then. It was and never has been a case of greed nor of envy of those getting rich fast. For me it was the decline of social standards (not morals) that emerged during this dark period.

    I too am old or young enough to remember what was said during those unpleasant times and it was the rising tide of discontent that finally gave way to the demonstration.

    However I know its never comfortable to speak of those times because many still feel that it was our own way of getting back at Spain etc.etc. but IMHO we should never repeat those mistakes and avoid them at all costs even it means rekindling old and unpleasant memories.

  138. The GSD's Facebook group is a private member's club.


    Surely there'd be a greater incentive for people to join and participate in the group if everybody was able to see what was being discussed?

    What's being said therein that can't be said out in the open?

  139. Anon14th@21:17

    Yes I can remember what the CM said in Seville.

    To compare that to Mr Bossano and Mr Costa washing our dirty linen on Spanish TV is absurd. You must remember the closing remark by the presenter:-

    "Can't the Spanish Government do anything to stop this?"

    You state:"but rest assured, we have the best man for the job, the same one who left you a kitty full of cash 16 years ago!"

    Firstly, I thought that the CM/Finance Minister in waiting was Mr Picardo and secondly, if you think that making us the highest taxed people in Europe in order to accumulate a "war chest" takes a genius, so be it.

  140. Anon 01:06

    I was actually invited to join the GSD FB "club" the other day. I think that proves just about anyone is welcomed.

    I have for the past year attempted to expose the party’s flaws, belittled their propaganda ploys and even purposely goaded potential candidates. Never once though have I hidden behind the cloak of anonymity to do so.

    Recently I called one of their activists’ out (for a live debate) referring to her as lovely but simple. The barrage of insults and comments of disapproval that followed where justified in my opinion, as I can certainly understand how such comments can be open to interpretation.

    Yet when a self proclaimed member of the GSD publicly calls Joe Bossano a clown no one even bats an eye lid. I have never voted for the man but he did fight tooth and nail to obtain parity with the UK (in terms of wages) in an era where Gibraltarians where very much treated like second hand citizens in their own land. Double standards? I think so indeed.

    Furthermore I sense my year long ANTI- GSD crusade will be soon coming to an end. I am even starting to feel a bit sorry for the GSD.

    Whilst the GSLP/Lib’s has a line of credible hopefuls waiting to take the plunge, the GSD seem to be having issues filling the void the “jumping sinking ship” recurring theme has left behind.

    I guess the polls where right after all.

    Good luck to the GSD, they are going to need it!


  141. K

    If that is the case then why have others been refused entry to the group on the basis of their perceived political affiliation?

  142. Others may be perceived as being a genuine threat?


  143. You would probably need to ask that to those who have refused to give you entry into the aforementioned group. :)


  144. Disciple X, otra vez te va por la via tarifa!

    I only refer to your disciple in this sentence:

    "disciple X don't listen to your other disciples, they don't sound like very good friends to me, their comments to you are making you a little paranoid."

    Where do you get that I "insinuate that (you) have friends of one or any particular party" from this?

    Oh and for the record, its you who first refers to the term 'disciples' in your 21:38 post of yesterday:

    "Anyhow, what do I know? Thankfully not a lot as I am often reminded by my other disciples....."

    que rollo tiene LOL!

  145. anon @ 10:01

    You confuse Leadership with control-freak but after 16 years of a one-man band, an autocrat presiding over 9 assistants, I suppose it must be hard for you to understand how wrong this style of Government has been for Gibraltar. Take a look at the polls and you will see that this is what the individuals polled had the biggest problem with.

    It will take the advice of the man who accumulated the war-chest to get us out of the complex financial mess we are in today. If he wasn't a genius then, he's certainly going to have to be one now.

  146. In 1996 the electorate voted for change...The slogans used by the opposition at the time were that Bossano's Government was a 'one-man band', that there was a 'democratic deficit' in Gibraltar due to a lack of 'transparency' and 'accountability' in the public finances and the award of the tender system and the Government had lost the moral high ground due to the tobacco smuggling and its effects on our way of life.

    Sixteen years later the electorate appears to head to the polls once again on the same premise...How ironic for the GSD to have trumpeted for so much 'political integrity' and to have failed the electorate so miserably in the delivery of their own manifesto commitments....

  147. None of the parties impresses me. I might vote for a few individuals but I am very tempted to heed Gomez and put in a blank vote. Our political system is bad for Gibraltar.

  148. Where have all the GSD supporters vanished to? In so far as the Polls are concerned more and more people are now OPENLY saying the same thing....Caruana is finished.The fear that most Gibraltarians have lived with over the past 8 years in particular of not voicing any public discontent against Caruana et al has now gone! That in itself is extremely refreshing and shows that the reign of terror is coming to an end...long live democracy and the right of free speech and well done Robert for upholding these values.

  149. I agree with your view Anon 21:29 and it seems this phenomenon is not restricted to this blog. As you rightly said 8 years ago any dissent towards Caruana would be brutally brushed aside by the infamous GSD letter campaign brigade set up for precisely that purpose. No public dissatisfaction with the present Government was tolerated and lone voices were ruthlesly swallowed up by the sheer numbers of psychopantic GSD fanatics who would constantly sing their praises of their leader and remind everyone of what Gibraltar was like BC (Before Caruana).

    Now however the mood is that people seem to have had enough and there is no stopping the masses when they get going no matter what as a few Arab dictators have found out to their great cost. The GSD argument is old and stale, the people want answers not reminders, the fact that both GSLP and GSD supporters chose style of Government as their main concern speaks volumes. The GSLP have not been in Government for 16 years so even large numbers of moderate GSD supporters appear to chastise their party for this. Many have openly defected already and more I suspect will follow unless they see real progress in this aspect which is impossible under Peter Caruana.

    As they say history has a tendency to repeat itself and this time it is Caruana's turn to face the wrath of the people. Even his most ardent supporters seem to be bunkered in already awaiting either a miracle or the inevitable.

  150. I agree with 08.26 the GSD doesnt come up with some outrageous dirt on Piqui they are finished. Caruana is heading for an electoral thrashing the likes of which have never been seen. It has taken the electorate many years to see the GSD government for what it is which is 8 dim ministers unconciously covering for the real power in Gibraltar. What / who is that real power? Guess!

  151. RV,

    rollo indeed...I see my purpose as sometimes to part insert a bit of humour. Thankfully I have succeeded with you... :)

    Apologies if I have misunderstood you...must be my age ;)

    Welcome to BoB

  152. Anon @ 9:19... As a make of clothes, 'Guess' is not to my liking, I much prefer 'Hilfiger'.

  153. RV,

    I read this saying the other day:

    "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It only frustrates you and really annoys the pig"

    I wonder whether this somehow fits within this debate... :)

  154. Anon/14th@23:14

    On revisiting your comment I spotted the following:

    "Unfortunately history has been repeating itself throughout the last 16 years otherwise the duty on tobacco raked in by Government wouldn't have spiraled from £8M/year to £80M/year".

    I did a simple calculation and took the stated £80 revenue from the duty from tobacco smuggling.

    I divided £80m by the approximate cost of a carton at £20 each. For the sake of my rough calculation I have taken all £20 as duty.

    The result is, that in order to make £80m from tobacco smuggling, circa 11,000 cartons have to be smuggled every day.

    If duty is 25% of the cost of a carton then 14,000 cartons would need to be smuggled every day.

    Since I do not believe that anywhere near that volume is being smuggled it begs the question.

    Where did you get the £80m from?

  155. you have indeed Disciple X :) ahora explicame lo de BoB...

  156. Anon@09:19

    To call 8 Government ministers dim is insulting.

    To suggest that there is more outrageous dirt on Mr Picardo that can come out makes me wonder.

  157. anon @ 11:59 dream on! lol although I suppose the GSD has little else to use in the coming election to change the way the polls are heading!

  158. Anon@12:43

    The GSLP/Libs election manifesto will give us a good indication as to whether the GSD has anything else to use.

  159. anon @ 12:58, enlighten me, how would it do that?

  160. The idea of attacking Picardo thru the famous A Hewitt (highly synchroised question) to Picardo in the Viewpoint Programme was a huge mistake by the GSD stalwarts,in panic Caruana followed another attack on Picardo with the attack on the £500 billion podcast,another mistake,now anything the GSD try to dig up on Picardo will merely show the electorate that they are a desparate bunch.The people of Gibraltar are seeing Picardo on the one side dealing professionally with what is already a full blown election campaign and Caruana using all the devices he can to attack Picardo on a personal basis,the GSD is coming out as the weaker party and no-one votes for a loser.
    In so far as the 7 Days is concerned I think the GSLP should, on getting into Government, order an inquiry as to who authorises these quasi advertorial subsidies to the 7 Days Newspaper and why are not these taxpayer paid adverts placed in ALL the Newspapers in Gibraltar.
    Is it Civil Servants who make the decision on advertising in newspapers or is it the decision of Government Ministers?It will be interesting if an Inquiry does take place to see what evidence Clive Golt gives on this issue as the Press Secretary of Caruana and ex Editor of the New People!.
    There is a clear need for legislation to be enacted dealing with the issue of advertising of Government Notices in Newspapers as the chances of the 7 Days surviving without the GSD Government adverts would be very slim I am sure.

  161. I'm a resident in Montague Gardens and my family and I were wondering what had happened to all the builders working on refurbishing our estate.

    Lo and behold, it turns out that they have been re-allocated to the airport instead. Turns out that some of these workers have resorted to sleeping in their cars at night as they do not leave the construction site.

    Nice to know that the rest of Gibraltar is expected to hold its breath and put up with their lot in life just so that an arbitary deadline of no real importance is adhered to, and the Chief Minister gets to put his name on a shiny bronze plaque on its wall before the upcoming election.

    To this observer it seems like the government's desire to have the airport completed prior to the election at the expense of the unnecessary and disruptive delay it is causing in other projects shows that they have no faith in their ability to win the upcoming election, and it shows what little regard they have for the electorate as a whole.

  162. Anon @ 11:15

    The Government fails to provide statistical evidence of this figure, preferring instead to keep it hidden amongst a global figure for imports, maybe to avoid potentially embarrassing moments such as this one. So we can only go on what is a well known figure, widely used in discussion circles. The Government has never come out publicly, vehemently denying this figure, as is their usual style when an unfounded rumour needs to be quashed.

    There are two ways Government gets import duty from cigarettes, from over-the-counter sales, which pays £5.80/carton (£290/box) and from re-exported containers, which pays 5% duty of the total value of the goods. But without detailed statistics its difficult to be certain how much it does indeed get.

    As a rough guide, the other day, I was waiting outside Bayside School, right next to one of the many tobacco kiosks (during off-peak time). In 20 minutes I counted 15 people each buy 2 cartons. That shop opens over 10 hours/day, 7 days/week. That's a 90 cartons/hour = 900/day = 5400/week or 5616 boxes of 50/year.

    Off the top of my head, I can think of 41 tobacco outlets (I'm sure there are many more though). If they each sold 5616 boxes/year, that's 230,256 boxes @ £290 in duty, this would equate to just over £66M/year in import duty on over-the-counter sales alone.

    An 80 foot container fits 2220 boxes. The average cost of a box, less duty & profit is £500 or £1.1M/container & £55K in duty on one container alone.

    Taking all of this into account, the figure of £80M is therefore not as unrealistic as you think.

  163. Anon 16th October @11:15

    At last someone is questioning the reality behind the tobacco statistics.

    Taking as a given the £80m annual duty income, you are quite right this adds up to anywhere between 11,000 to 14,000 cartons a day! Is anyone asking where 5-figure daily average sales of tobacco are going? Are the tobacco companies scratching their heads wondering how many cigarettes a population of barely 30,000 smokes per day?

    Is that why the government has to take care with statistics on the number of tourist visitors to Gibraltar, to justify such volumes of sales?

    The short answer is as follows (and watch me get blasted by the GSD clique who pretend tobacco smuggling ended in 1996):

    Smuggled. Over the border. Down people's trousers. HIdden in converted vehicles (yes, all those you see impounded in the Guardia Civil compound). Van-loads simply driven over. With the balance shipped out in launches (yes, those which last saw a profitable day in 1996 if you believe the story) from Rosia Bay.

    Is it a coincidence little kiosks in obscure estates in Gib are being sold for a tidy little sum on the strength of their tobacco licences?

  164. Anon:@22:20 and Anon:@22:34

    Perhaps you are both right.

    What is more, I believe that the GSLP/Libs should include the equalisation of tobacco prices with our neighbours' in their election manifesto.

    It is the only way of ending this evil source of revenue.

  165. ah I see, the GSD condemn tobacco smuggling but allow it to happen for 16 years and now want to hold the GSLP/Liberals to account and expect them to get rid of it overnight, and this they must do immediately by equalising the price of tobacco with Spain.

    Anything else you want them to do whilst they at it, anon @12:51?

    You know we are both right, and you know the GSD has allowed this problem to reach the dizzy heights we witness today, and now you want to penalise the ordinary Gibraltarian smoker on the street to get rid of it but get the other lot to do it so that you won't lose face or look bad.

    There's a word for this approach to a problem, and its not a nice one at all!

  166. Anon at 12:51 is being tongue in cheek with his/her suggestion that the incoming GSLP government should equalise the price of tobacco to that which it is in Spain.

    This simply disguises the sheer hypocrisy of the GSD position on tobacco.

    Let us assume that in 1996 tobacco duty accounted for £8m and in 2011 it amounts to £80m. Allow a margin for increases in duty, inflation and general increase in cost of living.

    We are still talking about an almost ten-fold increase in tobacco duty revenue.

    Unless the explanation for this is that Gibraltarians have increased ten-fold their smoking habits (something i doubt), the only rational explanation is that the amounts being smuggled over to Spain have increased from the 1996 days.

    Now, given that 1996 was all about removing the tobacco smuggling scourge from society (something i applauded and lauded), where does this take us today?

    Or does it make a difference that those making the money in 1996 were thugs and those making it today wear white collars (and I'm not talking about priests)?