Protest Evaluation

Leo Olivero

Placing the citizen at the centre of policymaking considerations?

Whatever the future plans the Gibraltar Government ‘designed for us before or during’ the Coronavirus emergency, they certainly surprised countless people when the Picardo government started rolling-out, unknown, unexpected and some bewildering (to most) policies, which few people, outside the cabinet circle really under-stood. Particularly, the timing of the announcements, when Gibraltar was still coming out of Covid lockdown, which we still are!

The same plan, also revealed and uncovered to the rest of the nation, without much or any explanation, which may yet become a catalyst or telling moment. Especially, if the government fails to take note or seize the moment. Particularly, after Monday’s demonstration, by a now estimated 350 or 400 people, apparently fed up. These were angry fellow Gibraltarians, unhappy, to put it mildly, with the direction the nation, at the moment, is being led from a political perspective and not from a Covid emergency one. There is a huge difference in the latter point.

The actual size of the protesters who took part, I warn, should not be mistaken for the true strength of feelings that continues to grow with many more people. Who, for whatever reason, and I know there are many, were not present in Monday’s demonstration supporting or making known their dislike for the many issues the demonstration mainly cantered around.

Parties Have One Function in Common

It’s relatively easy for a person, more so, a political party or a government in power, to have a false sense of security, especially with a potential election well over 3 years away to feel secure and comfortable at this point of their short life or term in power.

The latter point, might be a mistake and a wrong notion to believe. Particularly, in understanding or reading only, from the mood and size of the group of demonstrators as was the case on Monday. The mistake being, the life span of this legislature, which potentially, is already politically camouflaged and on a road littered with pitfalls. Where generally, many politicians and governments have previously wrongly chosen in the past. Though in our case, it’s also a road, with an important intersection heading our way… called BREXIT!

Politics a Union of Personalities

Whether they are conservative, socialist, liberals, democrats or just plain revolutionary, politics has a union of personalities or an organization of the masses. However, whether they function in a diverse democracy or in a dictatorship, parties, generally have one function in common: they all participate to some extent in the exercise of political power, whether by forming a government or by exercising the function of opposition. A function, that is often of crucial importance in the determination of national policies. And there’s the crunch note which many fail to understand.

Major protests have occurred around the world with increasing frequency since the second half of the 2010 onwards. People protest and demonstrations are increasing again as you would know if you follow international news.

Given the apparent similarity of such events to each other, especially the dramatic images of masses of people in the streets. The temptation exists, to reach for sweeping general conclusions about what is happening in the world? Yet, it is in fact, the ‘differences of causes’ of the current wave of protests has its defining characteristics. The increase in global protests is becoming a major trend in international politics. It is here, where care is needed in ascertaining the precise nature and impact of the phenomenon engulfing social order and now it seems, it has arrived into our realm!