Leo Olivero

But not a bright idea to ridicule a banner?

I wouldn’t want to comment too deeply on why Chief Minister Fabian Picardo thought it was a bright idea to post on twitter what many people considered as blatantly ridiculing spelling mistakes on a banner erected yesterday morning on the Winston Churchill Avenue Footbridge.

The only thing I will say that if I had been the Chief Minister of Gibraltar I would have kept well away from making any comments at all!

The latter said, and as the title of this report suggests, the banner is clearly a snapshot of the current social mood in society. Some - in fact many - will say they do not agree and do not feel the mood is anything different than it was as we entered 2020.

Yet, many others would totally disagree with latter point and alternately suggest differently, as the hanging banner with one or two spelling mistakes clearly wanted to get across in the wording that said: ‘Gibraltar Belongs to the Gibraltarians Not The Government’. Even with some flawed diction and expression, the wording, in my opinion, sent out an even more powerful message, if not, a disturbingly sad one that everyone in society, especially the political class, should take note of forthwith!

I intend to keep my report regarding this particular news item short. I believe the words of others, especially the storm created yesterday on social media, speak for themselves. Further, I believe this is an accurate barometer of current feelings running through a growing many in society. And why I say to those who ignore these signs to do so at their peril!

However, speaking exclusively to Panorama yesterday, Mr Clive Borrell, one of the organisers for the planned public demonstration on Monday 29 said:

“No doubt you will all have seen, heard of, or been told of the banner which was hoisted up and displayed on the footbridge at Winston Churchill Avenue this morning. This banner displays a very simple and but yet much taken for granted slogan, “Gibraltar belongs to the Gibraltarian not the Government.” The why of this banner, it’s timing and purpose, denotes the huge unrest that people from all walks of life and quarters in Gibraltar are suffering. This being caused by indiscriminate measures which are continuously being churned out by a government in total disregard to the sentiments of the people, and which is spiralling into an effect of making living and moving about in Gibraltar at the least, problematic, and to the extreme, causing hardship to many families. The Chief Minister’s immediate response to this banner on his Twitter account was to attempt to make light of it and cracking a joke at the expense of the brave author of those words spelling abilities. He obviously does not care to read into the true meaning of those words at this time, or simply if he does grasp the message he does not care and will continue to pursue his visible strategy of riding roughshod over the very people he is sworn to protect and serve in pursuit of some other tangible interest. Mr Picardo would be wise to take a step back and feel the pulse of the people and would do well to forget the notion that Gibraltar and any part of it belongs to the government to do as they please, as described by his new political disciple Minister Dayaranani’s Freudian (or slip of the tongue) slip when questioned in Parliament regarding the Line Wall Road debacle. Listen to the people, do right by them, do not take them for granted and you might still have time to do what is right and fair. Continue to disregard them at your peril”.

I am of opinion, and I know many other people, feel the same way, that no one anticipated that our coming out of a global health emergency was ever going to be as politically contentious among the people of our small nation or with the politicians who drive the nation. Politicians, in fact, who must have thought their ‘Unlocking the Rock Route Map’, containing so many unexpected and unscrutinised controversial pitfalls, would be welcomed with open arms!

To casual observers, it might seem ridiculous to face social punishment for ridiculing a member of the public or a politician who has done something ridiculous. Parliamentary and political shenanigans are generally ripe for satire, and by and large in a free country there is nothing to stop anyone mocking, deriding or lampooning political foolishness within reason, taste and the laws of defamation. There is a Time and Place For That, That’s The Point Here, About Making Fun of Misspelt Words!

The following quote came to mind, I don’t know why, but I picked it up some time back, it goes:

“A man who tells you to follow him, will turn his followers into his company. While a true leader who does not tell you to follow him, will sit in the company of his followers.”

Social Media Was on Fire Yesterday. Below are just a few of the post on Facebook and Twitter:

Anthony Walsh @anthonypwalsh @FabianPicardo

As the leader of a political party, let alone anyone, shouldn’t take the piss out of people because they’ve missed out a couple of letters. This is a cheap shot and unbecoming of a leader of a major political party. Shame.