Talk of the town
What is expected of those who are not stupid or deaf
The Minister for Europe, Denis MacShane, said that they were neither deaf nor stupid. By ‘they’ he probably meant himself, his immediate boss Jack Straw and the prime minister Tony Blair. But given what he said in the Gibraltar debate in the House of Commons this week, he is at least deaf.
We have listened to the view expressed by Gibraltarians on 7 November and in the run-up to the reeferendum, just as the foreign secretary listened when he visited the Rock in May. That’s what he said.
It is doubtful that Mr Straw did any listening when he came here as that was not his mission, anyway. None of them appear to have been hearing anything because, in the same breath, Mr MacShane says that “if we reach agreement the whole package will be put to the people of Gibraltar in a referendum.”
Since the package is under-pinned by the principle of joint sovereignty, it is obvious that Mr MacShane is having problems with his hearing, as in the referendum 99% of the electorate voted against joint sovereignty precisely.
It is unfortunate that recent ministers for Europe seem to think that, if anyone is stupid, it is the people of Gibraltar.
His immediate predecessor, the celebrated Peter Hain, came here wielding a stick, shouting down at the Gibraltarians, and uttering threats etc.
Before him we had someone called Keith Vaz, who behaved in an insulting manner. He did not last long. Good riddance.
Now, we have Mr MacShane, who says he is not stupid or deaf. Well, well, who next?
What next is really the question.
Unless they are also absent-minded, to put it mildly, they should remember that they are supposed to be democrats, that they belong to a party that should not labour on the principle that the wishes of the people is what matters, and they should truly listen to what 99% said and stop messing about with nonsensical policies.
Of course, Gibraltar has to be decolonised. Of course, it should not be a sore point in the Europe of today.
But the easy way out is not to sell the Gibraltarians down the nearest river without truly arriving at a decolonised status.
Decolonisation does not mean becoming a new colony, this time of both Britain and Spain. Decolonisation is something else, as Mr MacShane must know.
Or has he forgotten?
Why doesn’t he put the Brussels Agreement(which is, after all a Conservative concoction as he likes to remind all and sundry) in the nearest shredder and have it burnt once the fire strike is over? Because Brussels is about sovereignty and 99% are against it. He can then rise from the ashes and proclaim to those wishing to listen (all democrats, presumably) that he, his nearest boss and his ultimate master, will put the wishes of the Gibraltarians first, they being the colonial people and them (that is, the UK) being the administering power.
That is what is expected of those who say they are not stupid or deaf.
Let’s drink to that!
Nothing the Government says now can restore loss of confidence
by Nigel Feetham
In a GBC interview the Chief Minister clearly rebuked the Labour Party for its criticism of the Government’s handling of the economy and instead painted a rosy picture for local political consumption. His comments give rise to genuine concerns about the way forward and about the Government’s own competence in economic management. The public can make their own assessment of the situation based on employment figures, increasing corporate failures and redundancies in the private sector.
Over many months we have challenged the Government’s public spending plans and called upon the Government to explain how they intend to pay £50 million of the Public Debt, which falls to be repaid in May 2005. We have asked for this simple confirmation because with record increases in Public Borrowing and a decrease in the level of Public Reserves, it would be reassuring if a coherent policy lay behind the management of public finances.
In raising this issue the Labour Party is not trying to mount the pressure on the Government but simply trying to make a practical assessment of the state of the economy not just for the next few years but beyond.
The Labour Party has drawn on financial data compounded by the Government of Gibraltar itself as set out in the Annual Accounts 2000-2001. This confirms that the Government of Gibraltar Loan Stock (public debt) of £50 million is repayable in 2005 (indeed those were its terms of issue in 1991 and this information is openly available in the financial markets).
The Government’s own Annual Accounts show that of this debt, £10 million is held by the Gibraltar Savings Bank. This means that there is an exposure of £40 million to other investors, which falls due in 2005. If this is "economic illiteracy" we welcome a public statement by the Government putting the matter to rest once and for all. That way we will not continue to labour on the point. Either the Government has a plan to pay off the Public Debt as it falls due or it does not. It cannot be simpler.
Further, the indicators given by the Chief Minister to reassure the public about the economy were either confused or confusing. He referred to annual economic growth, particularly in certain sectors of the finance centre and brushed aside the public announcements by Credit Agricole and Hispano Commerzbank of their intention to leave Gibraltar as part of global consolidation moves. Such statements suggest that the Government has difficulty in facing up to the economic crisis.
There is clear loss of confidence in the finance sector in Gibraltar as evidenced by lower levels of company incorporations compared to previous years. Nothing the Government says now will restore that confidence.
INSURANCE WON'T COMPENSATE
Whilst it is true that the insurance sector itself has grown over the last 12 months, this will not compensate for redundancies in other areas of the finance centre because it is not a labour intensive sector of the industry. That too is reality not fiction.
The Government cannot pretend to have all the answers and not expect to be challenged publicly but instead store up huge problems for the future. Labour is determined to challenge the Government’s record on the economy. This is the responsibility of any opposition party, particularly when the strategy for handling the current crisis is clearly lacking. We are therefore prepared to debate this issue publicly and challenge the Government to make a specific public statement on the matter.
Del barco al banco...
Estoy pasma, my dear, con Ia Alatoya accusing Gibraltar por lo del
Y yo estoy atonica, Cloti dear.
Rues tomate un tonico antes que te ponga tomate.
It's too much, que se hunda un barco por ahi y que nos quieran acusar a
nosotros, esto es eI colmo de los colmo.
And thanks que el UK governation ha salido in our defence and in their own
defence, espressing dismay.
Dismay or desmayo? Y eI As-nar lost no time to blame our Gibraltar, y ese es quien decia that we would have a great future con el joint
Como para creerse nada, gracia que we voted in the right way en el
referendo, porque otherwise nos dan fuel oil por olive oil.
Un marino from Spain said in a television debate - tu sabes, los que llaman por el telephone - que el no entendia como se podia acusar a Gibraltar porque eI barco may have been coming in this direction, cuando se hundio en
Nos acusan de todo, my dear. Y de pronto Ia Ataloya saca todo eso about money laundering, smuggling, y otras
palabritas, como si fuera una peleona en un barrio de Sevilla instead of a European Commissioner.
Si yo fuera eI Chief Ministron Ia llevaba a las corte, porque todo esto es un verdadero
corte, if you ask me.
Claro. Estas dos no son de las hermanitas de los pobres, I am sure. Estas dos hermanitas no saben que nuestra gente ganan Io que tienen con su sweat, y que ya esta bien with so many insults.
Es como creerse que todo eI mundo en Galicia anda con eI contrabando, I mean, there are honest people everywhere.
La otra noche en un Spanish radio debate nos pusieron de rich rag, vamo que our Gibraltar was just un pedazo de piedra con muchos
Tela rnarinera, esto del fuel oil, tienen a todos revuelto. Como para comer pescaito frito these days.
Si un barco is a problem up there, down here it is un banco, eI French one, RIP.
Caramba, el second oldest bank nos da un portaso and goodbye de melon.
And you cannot even say au revoir, porque este no tiene intencion of coming back.
Eso es un Bye en plan Valarino. Pero have no fear we are whiter than white.
Como sigan las cosas like this we will not have money even to buy toothpaste. Say cheerio to me.
Cheerio to me.
Spain accuses Gibraltar of sinking the Titanic
by E.L. Botarate
BRUSSELS: In a spectacular move, the EU transport commissioner has announced to the world that Gibraltar is to blame for the sinking of the Titanic.
Reporters at an
international news conference switched on their hearing aids to ensure that they were hearing correctly.
The Commissioner said that her sister in Madrid had told her. And she believes everything her sister tells her.
She went on to reveal that an indepth study had taken place secretly in the waters of the bay which confirmed a long-held suspicion by Madrid.
Long, long ago, water from the bay had formed into a giant cloud, blown out into the Atlantic by a strong levanter wind. It turned to rain, solidifying into an instant iceberg right in front of the Titanic.
"It was like instant coffee," said the EU commissioner.
US records showed that the Titanic's radio officer said on 14 April 1912 that "we have hit a rock".
This is conclusive evidence that the iceberg had its origins in Gibraltar, said the commissioner.
A Gibraltar reporter told her that if she wanted to be a commisioner she should join the girl guides...
Foxed, she replied: I will ask my sister.