“If the GSD were in government at this crucial point when we are facing the unprecedented need to renegotiate our relationship with the EU we would have formed a cross party negotiating team. Our offer to assist the Government in the public interest was genuine and constructive. If the Government want to go it alone it is their prerogative. There was no need to ridicule the offer.” Said GSD Leader Keith Azopardi.
It is now increasingly clear that Mr Picardo thinks he is infallible. That is a dangerous feature in any politician and precedes a downfall. The Government’s latest press release on Brexit is just one of a pattern of press releases where its standard reply to criticism is that everyone else except it is wrong. The GSD analysis on the latest Brexit developments was measured, largely directed at the UK and entirely reasonable given where Gibraltar is right now. In reply the Government has reacted so defensively and nervously that it must be worried it is exposed.
Additionally the latest comment ridiculing the GSD offer to present a joint negotiating platform on Brexit as “pretentious” or adding nothing is the height of arrogance and shows how far the Government is willing to go in taking risks with Gibraltar’s future rather than present a united front at such difficult times.
Mr Azopardi said: “United fronts are not new. Politicians of different parties came together in the 1960s when Gibraltar faced threats at the United Nations, the 1970s in talks with Spain and when the 2006 constitution was negotiated. This is no different or important a moment. It is a recipe for disaster but regrettably no longer surprising that Mr Picardo is singularly unwilling to listen to other political voices.”
As we have repeatedly said we have expressed our willingness to assist. If the Government do not wish to take up an offer it is up to it to carry the can if things go wrong. We cannot help if we are never shown any internal papers or invited to have a genuine participation in negotiations alongside Government as a real and effective partner. One sided briefings are not the equivalent of real participation. We are in the final stretch and the reality is that beyond the platitudes the UK have given we have received nothing concrete to make us think that our future has been secured. We hope that despite all that Gibraltar emerges with an appropriate and effective long-term arrangement at the eleventh hour. At this stage, however, and two years after the referendum we have precious little to show for it. It would be more productive if instead of hitting out at the Opposition the Government focussed its energy on the UK Government and put more pressure on it. They should in the words of Nick Clegg, the former Deputy Prime Minister be “ferocious” in defence of Gibraltar. Instead they are looking like Mrs May’s poodles. We cannot imagine the GSLP of Sir Joe Bossano ever facing that criticism. If there is a Party that is a shadow of its former self in that regard it is the GSLP.