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.