“There is no one to replace him” is a mantra repeated during the term of office of every Chief Minister. Its accuracy is disproved by history. But it is a cycle that needs to be broken with reforms.

No one could take over from Sir Joshua Hassan: yet Sir Joe Bossano did. Then no one could substitute Sir Joe: yet Sir Peter Caruana did. Then no one could become Chief Minister instead of Sir Peter: yet Fabian Picardo did.

Now the mantra is repeated by many about Mr. Picardo, but wait: think about it, wasn’t there an alternative for all previous Chief Ministers?

It is a salutary truth that “rey muerto, rey puesto”, or “the king is dead, long live the king”, who will follow Mr. Picardo may not be obvious, but someone will.


For now, the GSD is not a viable option to govern.

If the GSD wants to become the government of choice, it needs reform, starting with a change in leadership. It must begin to campaign, putting forward different policies, attracting new members, recovering old ones, and gaining greater (and much needed) popularity.

Alternatively, and that seems to be the only route open for now, one must wish for, encourage, seek, hope for, and then join and/or support a grouping that will give voters a new option.

However, both possibilities should advocate a reformed system of government, including methods to eliminate the influence of private interests on public affairs.

The belief in the irreplaceability of any incumbent Chief Minister is born, in part, from the failure of our electoral and parliamentary system. They can be reformed without higher public cost.

The present system leads to rule by one individual, in effect an elected dictator, instead of democratic rule by Parliament, to which the Chief Minister and all Ministers should be subject, and which should be able to force the replacement of postholders.

In the UK a parliamentary political party can and does change a Prime Minister. Moreover, it can and does so, because there is depth in membership of the House of Commons. Each party exercises huge influence through the power of backbenchers, who can collectively threaten the ability of any executive Government (the Cabinet and Ministers) to continue governing.

In Gibraltar that cannot and does not happen. Invariably a new Chief Minister comes about with a change of the governing party at a general election. A Chief Minister remains all powerful, until he makes such a mess as to lead to voters, in one or other of the four-yearly cycles of elections, to elect a different political party into government.

Until a Government loses an election, and so a Chief Minister walks, there is a widespread belief that there is no one to replace him/her, yet suddenly there is someone, as history has proved repeatedly.

Perhaps, the end of Mr. Picardo’s reign is beginning, not least, due to the Professor Derek Burke and Henry Pinna controversies. Those matters have shone a bright light on possible failures and misjudgements, made worse by injudicious reactions.

Continued at link.

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