Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word

“It’s sad, so sad, it’s a sad, sad situation

And it’s getting more and more absurd”

–Elton John

gilbert_licudi_june_2014

Listen to the Clip Here: https://clyp.it/34wezrto/widget

I haven’t yet made up my mind whether this week’s incident in Parliament (and I’m sure I don’t need to set out the context) is a comedy, or a tragedy.

On the one hand, it is comical to suggest, as the Government has done, that a Minister in Parliament should be excused for verbally abusing a fellow MP with profane language, just because his ‘microphone was turned off’.

And on the other hand, it is tragic that the said Minister is a Minister for Education and Justice, and is supposed to be setting an example not just to schoolchildren and tomorrow’s generation, but to those that his government introduced the anti-bullying at work legislation for.

To see that such a Minister resorted to deflection tactics in order to divert attention away from his unstatesmanlike behaviour in Parliament last week when he used profane language in response to my questions is beyond regrettable. Any emotional intelligence would have informed the Minister that it is not up to him, as author of these actions, to dictate how the person at the wrong end of them should react. To do so simply perpetuates the culture of victim-shaming that is causing so much distress in this world, a culture which the Government itself claims to be committed to changing. Mr Licudi’s actions, and the Government condoning them, give this claim little traction.

While I get that on a technical level, I may have misunderstood Mr Licudi’s original remarks, it does not give him the right to engage in this behaviour and then flippantly dismiss the prospect of an apology. And then, to add insult to injury, to suggest that ‘aside comments’ are common and even acceptable in the House is, if false, a feeble attempt to justify his language and, if true, an awful indictment on the deterioration of standards in this fine institution.

The bottom line is that if Mr Licudi feels it is acceptable for no-one less than the Minister of Education to use swear words in Parliament, then he is perfectly entitled to continue to refuse to apologise, but it says a lot about the little esteem he seems to hold for the privilege the people of Gibraltar have afforded him.

At this stage, I look forward to receiving a response to my complaint to the Speaker of the House and then get back to the business of ascertaining progress on the issue of school lunches.

In the meantime, I will do my best to brace myself for any patronising invectives that will no doubt follow from the Minister.

More and more absurd indeed.

Happy National Day! 

Since National Day became a fixture on our calendar, it has become an occasion to celebrate the strong unity among the people who call this Rock our home. This is a unity which we have shown to the world on many occasions. We showed it in the 1967 Referendum, which this day marks as its anniversary. We showed it in 2002. We showed it more recently in the EU Referendum. We have shown it in the Estadio Algarve, and we have shown it at many events where our flag has flown proudly. And, of course, we show it on this day every year, where we all take to our streets in red and white and remind the world of the strong bond of Gibraltarianism that is evident in this corner of the continent. It is a unity which has been challenged on many occasions but which has remained steadfast and robust for over three hundred years.
But as well as celebrating this harmony, National Day should also be an opportunity to honour our differences. In the time since Admiral Rooke’s forces first landed on our Rock, Gibraltar has become a cosmopolitan community of different races, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, ages and classes, all of which have bonded to make our home a better place. Ours is a community where distinct personalities and populations can always come together in a spirit of peace and friendship and, in a time when so much fear is shown towards difference, it is important that we celebrate our pluralistic society with pride. Our red and white is, in reality, made up of a much wider palette of hues, all of them reflecting the uniqueness that makes us Gibraltarian. 

Let us enjoy celebrating our National Day. Let us enjoy celebrating our identity and, above all, let us enjoy celebrating the united people that we are. 
Happy National Day.