MR PICARDO INVITES FURTHER CONCESSION DEMANDS FROM SPAIN
Mr Picardo’s latest pronouncements on the bad Brexit deal he negotiated for Gibraltar that gives some control to Spain show the lack of direction and low ambition of this Government when negotiating with the EU and Spain. He says that in the event of a no deal the Memoranda of Understanding are not legally binding. In the same breath however, Mr Picardo says they would be a good base to build on in a no deal scenario. In other words he thinks that the concessions he made, that allow Spain a say in our affairs, permanently protect Spanish frontier workers and give us nothing enduring in return, are a good concessionary basis to build on in further negotiations with Spain.
“That is a slippery slope that can only lead to Spain wanting more and expecting to extract more from a weak Chief Minister” said GSD Leader Keith Azopardi.
These statements illustrate how mistaken Mr Picardo is and how low his ambitions are.
Rather than seek arrangements that are enduring, positive for Gibraltar and recalibrate our relationship with the EU on a permanent basis he sets his sights low, on just proceeding on the basis of his bad deal and opening the door to Spain to ask for more control. This is not what Gibraltar wants or needs. Gibraltar deserves greater ambition and imagination.
All this is why the GSD have said that the last two years have been a lost opportunity and Mr Picardo promises further lack of imagination.
In his latest statement Mr Picardo launches into another personal attack on Mr Azopardi. But Mr Picardo has a lot to be quiet about on the issue of political expediency. No one has put party interests over national interests more than Mr Picardo who refused to back the new constitution in a referendum after the GSLP helped negotiate it because he wanted to destabilise Peter Caruana when he was Chief Minister.
No one has put his own interests at the forefront of his political decisions more than Mr Picardo who switched from being a liberal to the GSLP because it was his only route to no.6.
Conversely the most politically expedient thing in 2005 for Mr Azopardi would have been to remain in the GSD and await developments. Instead he decided to leave the party on a principle because he disagreed with the merger with the Labour Party and thought it was the right thing to do. In those decisions Mr Azopardi put principle over expediency unlike Mr Picardo.
Mr Azopardi said “I have never hidden from that decision and explained my reasons both at the time and when I returned to the Party in 2017. I did so to help it win the next election and because there is plenty going wrong intoday’s Gibraltar – from mounting public debt to agency workers. I am glad GSD members as well as Sir Peter Caruana and Daniel Feetham backed my return in 2017. The fact that Mr Picardo is using increasingly terse language towards me is only because his GSLP Government failures are mounting up and he is trying to hide that. People in Gibraltar are tiring of the constant media spin of the Government.”