Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Leader of the GSD

After the last election in 2011 and following Sir Peter Caruana's decision to step down as leader of the GSD, the GSD elected Danny Feetham to lead it.  He became the leader of the Opposition consequently.  He was filling extremely big shoes: Sir Peter had led the GSD for many years and been Chief Minister of Gibraltar for 4 consecutive terms.  Sir Peter's leadership of the GSD is recognised by all and by me as having been brilliant and of great benefit to Gibraltar, despite my view as a then independent observer, that there were some policy shortcomings.

It is true to say that without the Opposition in Parliament and without opposition outside Parliament there is no democracy, there is one party autocracy.  The role of the Opposition in Parliament is of even greater importance in the absence of an analytical press that includes widespread comment and in a small place where Governments can exert pressure and provide incentives to colour individual and corporate opinion and opinions of groupings; consequently the opposition's role in Gibraltar has added importance.  This importance is especially so in a system that does not separate the executive arm from the legislative arm of Government, which alone is also a democratic deficit.  This a democratic deficit that I have for decades highlighted exists in Gibraltar.  The GSD has given me now a platform from which, if I am elected into Parliament, I can make efforts to redress that deficit to a sufficient degree.

It is not to exaggerate to say that, without Danny Feetham, the GSLP/Liberal Government would have had a virtually free ride over the last 4 years in Government.  Danny Feetham has virtually single handed maintained an Opposition and opposition to the GSLP/Government.  His persistence and stoicism means that today the GSD have a full team of worthy candidates to fight the imminent election.  He has had a difficult task but he has not shied away from it. Gibraltar owes him a debt of gratitude.  He is worthy and has the qualities to be Gibraltar's next Chief Minister supported by a great team that includes members with unmatched expertise in their respective fields.  He has recently  written that an important role for him, as Leader of the Opposition, is, in part, to hold the Government to account on behalf of all citizens and despite having to take up unpopular issues to do so.  He is right in what he say and it benefits Gibraltar to have someone, performing the role of Leader of the Opposition, who understands that part of the role.

There are many who say that they would vote for one party or the other if someone else was the leader or if one two or more of the candidates of that party were different.  This view is understandable but should it inform how one votes?  The electoral system that currently exists in Gibraltar allows for voting for individuals but that is not the best use of a vote until and if the system is reformed.  Today one should look at policies and visions and not personalities or individual candidates.  I believe that when the electoral campaign starts and manifestos are published it will be seen that the policies and vision of the GSD will convince: it is a vision for your family, yourself and for future generations.  Do not let the dislike of any one or other candidates put you off voting for the right vision and so give the advantage to the wrong party: in the end you are voting for a team when you vote GSD.

Friday, 9 October 2015

My Involvement in Frontline Politics with the GSD

My Involvement in Frontline Politics with the GSD
I believe that the time has come to revive my blog Llanito World, so here goes my first blog in nearly 4 years! I guess some are asking why I am involving myself in frontline politics and why with the GSD?
The answer is actually terribly simple, I have always supported the vision of the GSD and I have always voted GSD save for a mistaken split vote at the 2011 election.  I share the vision of the GSD and despite believing that the GSLP had changed its spot prior to the 2011 election (hence my splitting my vote) I have seen and experienced the truthfulness of the old saying “a leopard never changes its spots”! Los enchufes siguen y se ponen peor and “they overspend and we pay”! 
The GSD may not have performed in the past to the full level that I may have expected, as shown by my criticisms in this blog, but they did perform.  They did it with a large element of sobriety, honesty and trust that is fast disappearing once again: that saddens me as a lover of Gibraltar.
I have campaigned for better government and enhanced democracy in Gibraltar all my life.  Regrettably only very small steps have been taken in the past to achieve this objective.  I have learnt to look forward, however, and today the GSD have given me a platform to achieve my ambition for Gibraltar.  I have decided to take that platform both for reasons of giving of myself to public service but also because my personal circumstances permit me to do it now. I do it, also, because Sir Peter Caruana’s GSD ensured in the 2006 Constitution that the desire to enlarge Parliament and change the electoral system could be achieved.  I thank Sir Peter and his foresight for that!
The influence that I have had recently in formulating GSD policy on the issue of enhanced democracy and good government will become obvious once the GSD unveils its policies and publishes its Manifesto for the imminent election.  I will emphasise that the choice at this election is a choice of visions and not a choice between two parties.   The vision of the GSD is one of democracy, fairness, openness, transparency and accountability, including accountability in public finances where there is much to be concerned about.  All this is to be achieved by systemic changes and reforms and not by idle promises; systemic changes proposed by the GSD that will be made clear in our manifesto and as the election campaign develops.  The GSLP promised this change in its 2011 manifesto but, other than tinkering on the edges, it has failed to make any meaningful difference.
I thank Danny Feetham, a much and unfairly maligned individual, for listening to me and allowing me to influence policy in the GSD on enhanced democracy and good governance.  Democracy in Gibraltar would have suffered an enormous set back without the indefatigable efforts of Danny Feetham to continue the responsibilities of the Opposition: government without opposition is not democracy.  Gibraltar owes him a debt of gratitude for that.  He has a team around him now that is a real squad.  It is a team that supports him: you will be voting for that team and not Danny Feetham alone.  Believe me, the candidates in the GSD team and I and are independent thinkers that will not be taken to where they do not want to go by any leader of any party!  I think that, in my case, I have proven that in my writings on this blog!
Ok bring on the criticism and questions ... I love it but I love Gibraltar more!