The reality is that Mr Picardo cannot have his cake and eat it. There has been a systematic attempt to go it alone in Brexit discussions. As that has been the Government’s choice they need to accept the responsibility that this is their bad deal. Yesterday was a good example. Liam Fox, the Trade Secretary was in Gibraltar to discuss Brexit and trade and the GSD found out via the press.
Mr Picardo can resort to insults as much as he wants but his deal is a bad deal for Gibraltar. He has achieved nothing enduring and allowed Spain a say in our affairs.
His latest statement adds nothing to the debate and is just layer upon layer of excuses, false statements or abuse of the GSD leader. It is false to represent that Mr Picardo meaningfully involved Mr Azopardi in shaping the deal by showing him the drafts as a fait accompli the day before they were published for a few minutes. That is a ridiculous suggestion no one believes. It is false to say GSD MPs hold a different position. They do not.
Mr Picardo appears to want to be congratulated for holding many meetings with people. We have acknowledged he has had many meetings. But he will be judged by results.
He has achieved nothing enduring and beyond all his bluster and smokescreens we are yet to hear one word about what it is exactly that he has achieved for Gibraltar of an enduring nature. The whole debate surrounding the Northern Ireland backstop is because it is enduring. Where is our Gibraltar backstop on freedom of movement? What precisely have we got in exchange for giving Spain a say in our affairs?
It is not Mr Azopardi’s analysis that is the issue here. It is that Mr Picardo is uncomfortable because he has been found out, because his deal is a bad deal and because he does not like being told he has failed. It is Mr Picardo’s handling of the process that is the problem. We are in this hole because of him.
If Mr Picardo wants blind adulation he will not find it in the GSD ranks. Mr Azopardi was elected by GSD members in the second contested leadership election the Party has had and will do his job whatever Mr Picardo says. Despite all his jibes about Mr Azopardi the fact is that the GSLP and Mr Picardo in particular has never had to face an internal contested election so his jibes run hollow when his own election was by acclamation. Mr Picardo would do well to drop his attempt to marginalise Mr Azopardi on the grounds he is unelected. The GSD is the main opposition party and if Mr Picardo wants to meaningfully engage with the Opposition in a constructive fashion he will need to deal with Mr Azopardi. It is ironic that he has no issue dealing with (as Mr Picardo would describe) the “unelected” Pedro Sanchez but in Gibraltar makes constant jibes to the leader of the main opposition party. Despite all that we stand ready to work together with Government if there is a serious attempt at a joint approach. What we will not do is be their smokescreen for their mistakes after the event.