Russian roulette

Not that it matters. Each scenario is the same. It depends who you are best mates with.

Yes, it’s general election time in Gibraltar.

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Last time it was easy. We didn’t like the existing government, so we voted straight GSLP Alliance. (Socialist Liberal alliance.)

And they won by a narrow majority.

But, what have they done? Well, they’ve refurbed a lot of government housing. That’s nice for people who pay approx £18-20 a week to live in a large flat. On a council estate.

When they first got in, they promised to change the employment situation. Firms were told they HAD to go through the job centre.

The job centre buzzed and I even got three interviews. One of which was the most insulting one of my life.

Having provided a CV which included my employment history as a press and PR manager in both the government and the NHS, one of the interviewers asked me if I’d ever worked in a press office. I thought the idea of providing a CV was for potential employers to read it beforehand. Apparently not. I was so stunned I didn’t a) come out with a sarcastic answer or b) up and walk out, as I was clearly wasting my time.

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But, suddenly it all changed. The number of jobs decreased. From a whole room full of jobs it ended up being a noticeboard.

The last time Partner went, he was told, ‘You know how it works. Find a job on the street.’

That’s before I even mention the secret list, where people with Gibraltarian names are told about potential jobs that don’t even make the public noticeboard. Disclaimer: HMGOG, I have heard about this list from at least three Gibraltarians.

In August there was a record low of 164 Gibraltarians registered as unemployed. Well, there would be. What’s the point of registering when there are No. Fucking. Jobs.

Our government has a zero tolerance policy on illegal labour. Really? That one would have me laughing my bollocks off if I had any.

Cross border workers with legal contracts are entitled to Gib medical cards. Which entitles them to free bus transport. So why is there a myriad of cross border workers all paying for their bus fares? Surely a good start would be getting on the bus at around 8 am or before and asking where these people are working.

How about weekend working, cosy little employment officers in your nice safe jobs? Try tracking down the cross border workers who know exactly what few hours you work so they avoid you by working outside Mon-Fri 9–3 or whatever hours the employment officers work.

So, I read both manifestos very carefully. It took me all morning and more.

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Well, I say manifestos. The GSD titled it manifesto, and then said on the first page it wasn’t a manifesto. But at least a few were delivered to our block. The GSLP didn’t even deliver. We got a copy courtesy of a friend in government housing.

In the end, Partner and I split our votes approx 50:50 across the two, based on the least worst options and the statements made by the individuals.

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Technical note. We can vote for up to ten candidates. Both parties put forward ten candidates. It’s a two horse race. There are seventeen members of parliament.

It’s also an extremely sexist race. The GSD managed to put forward twice the number of women as the GSLP ie an amazing two. So out of twenty candidates there are three women :(

Let’s take a couple of very sexist gender specific examples from each brochure.

GSLP

(Acting) Chief Minister Fabian Picardo:

Manning levels

There will be no cuts in the civil service. Manning levels will be respected and new manning levels agreed where appropriate.

Try ‘staffing’ Fabian. Works just as well. You dinosaur.

GSD

Marlene Nassan-Hahon:

Repeat prescription service

Doctor to state how many repeats he is willing to give …

He? Last I heard there were women GPs at the primary health care centre. Either way, assuming a GP is male is grossly sexist.

But, what about the actual voting instructions. Ah. Back to the early twentieth century when women couldn’t vote.

Here we have he and him. Not sure when women got the vote in Gibraltar but clearly it wasn’t that long ago that the Returning Officer needed to update the instructions to voters.

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And finally, from the Gibraltar Messenger. Vote for Christ and God’s Perfect Law of Liberty.

Well, possibly. Except. Christ wasn’t standing as a candidate.

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123 comments on “Russian roulette

          • You enter politics here to expand your criminal activities. The leader of the government in the Senate was arrested two days ago. Yesterday, the senate voted as to whether keep him in jail. Yes, not the judiciary, not the federal police, but the senators themselves have the final word on who stays in jail. There are a series of self-preservation laws here which made my head spin when I first heard of them.

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          • For democracy to work, you have to have an educated, aware electorate = a critical, independent media. There should have been a general strike here when these laws were even suggested. It’s too late after they’re passed.

            This is the state of politics here in Brazil today. The leader of the government in the senate is in jail, the speaker of the house of representatives will be arrested if the house kicks him out (he funneled $25 million from Petrobras to Switzerland… they’ve found his accounts|) , and the this same person is the one who has on his desk the impeachment papers for our glorious president. Yep, our president is being impeached, but her fate is in the hands of a criminal who runs the House which the police can’t enter unless the members of the house (and the President) say, “OK, go get him.” The biggest problem, though is this: all three leading parties are as bad as the other, and all are involved in this Petrobras scandal… so, no one is going to pull the trigger.

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          • I thought ours was dire. Brazil sounds like a circus act.
            Our media, I think, is useless and could be in bed with the thieves.
            We have a bigger national problem, tribalism. People look at issues with a very narrow lens. It is therefore hard to get a majority behind a single idea.

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          • But we don’t have democracy do we? We have a blurred mix of bankocracy, corporatocracy, and electocracy. There is a very good word which better defines what most ‘free’ countries have, but I can never remember it, so the three above will have to suffice today.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Much as I hate to be repetitive: with the possible exception of the Swiss, nobody (that I can think of) has democracy.

            We are told (and we swallow) that by being allowed to vote for our dictators we are being democratic …

            Liked by 2 people

          • I no longer vote. Haven’t in decades.
            How does one choose his medicine, given the free choice between strychnine, cyanide and arsenic?

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          • Are you crazy? Religion is enough madness, I don’t need to introduce any more silliness…. Plus it would require me to watch more Brazilian TV than I’m prepared to watch.

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          • Gorgeous, no doubt about that.

            There’s a Brazilian joke that goes something like: Archangel Gabriel comes to God, shocked. “Lord, I’ve just seen Brazil, are you sure!? There must be a mistake! It has the best weather on the planet, fruit grows for free everywhere, it has more freshwater than any other place, the most beautiful beaches, the most beautiful mountains, is blessed with mineral resources and has rich, fertile land as far as the eye can see… Lord, it’s just not fair!!”

            God looks at Gabriel and smiles. “Sure,” he says, “But you should see the people i’m going to fill Brazil with.”

            Liked by 1 person

          • Not racist at all. Brazilians can’t be racist to themselves. They’re just being honest with this joke. The very best and the very worst is embodied here… and as an Australian whose used to pretty much everything and everyone being middle of the road, it can cause headaches.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. Seems to me that you should have been hired to edit either, or both, of those manifestos. This all sounds a little too close to the current election being “waged” here in St. Vincent, although you don’t have the sex tapes scandal (that no one is allowed to talk about) and silly stunting that’s gone on at the unnecessary and excessively expensive airport this current government has been building for, oh, the past 14 years they’ve been in power. Politicians are the same everywhere, it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. Even Alabama has gender neutral language on their ballots. Someone really needs to rewrite the instructions, not only for sexist language, but also for clarity. It’s a shame you don’t have other satisfactory parties you can vote for. I wouldn’t feel comfortable voting for either of them.

    If they can’t even be bothered to make their sales pitches properly, how can anyone expect them to run your government?

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    • It’s pretty dated having male pronouns on electoral instructions isn’t it? Perhaps I should point that out if I ever get round to writing to congratulate the new old chief minister. Yeah, two parties is a bind. Every time a third one starts up, no one votes for them anyway, or at least not enough votes to get elected into parliament.

      A lot of people don’t vote. This year was the lowest turnout since 1980, although it was a creditable 70%. We usually have good turnouts.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. :) in post election conversation today, people were expressing the usual disillusionment. ‘Makes no difference who we vote for, they’re all the same,’ sort of comments. I think the worst aspect is the cronyism. That is just dire. And as for jobs, it would be nice if there were proper jobs, part of the reason for ‘low’ unemployment is all these crappy schemes and ‘training’ jobs. Yeah. Just like the UK 30+ years ago when I left university, to fiddle the figures.

      But see my comment to Sirius above about what happens to third parties, let alone independents. It’s a very skewed political system here I think.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes I remember in the last election it wasn’t a two horse race, there was an odd independent- I guess I understand why no additional people stood this time if you stand no chance of being elected. I guess REAL change won’t happen until there’s enough momentum. My real bug bear is that, while Gib is effectively the size of a small town but with global aspirations is has a unique opportunity to be a beacon of positivity in so many things. Why can’t a place which basks in sun for most of the year, enjoys winds which divert airliners and has sea on almost all sides use green energy to sustain it? Are burning oil and gas really the only viable options? We could be world leaders in environmental living! But maybe I’m being too simplistic or naïve.

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        • PDP, I just read my post from last time! There’s a link at the bottom of this one. I did actually vote for one of them because I knew him. He came last :( Having a British name doesn’t help in election here.

          I think a lot of people here struggle with living in the past, the odd culture, the fact that a lot of money has and does come from smuggling, the disparity between wages, private housing, and government housing, and um, well, narrow minds if they’ve never lived anywhere else. Again today, Partner was talking to some Moroccans he knows, and one of them, said ‘you will never stop this’ and made the backhander gesture for accepting bribes …

          And they used to have the catchments for rain, but then decided to build a desalination plant. But, it’s probably the wrong sort of wind and sea ;)

          Liked by 1 person

  3. The whole enchufe culture turns my stomach. The other day I read the Spanish vice-president holds 25 positions/jobs. Consultant, chairwoman, board-member et al. and of course she’s paid for working full time as vice-president. The concept of conflict of interests has apparently not yet made it to the Iberian peninsula. No wonder there’s unemployment in Spain. If every politician is going to have 25 jobs, that leaves little for the rest of the population.

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      • That’s the point… she doesn’t, yet she gets paid for each and every one of them- including consulting for major companies that have government contracts or are directly affected by government rules she can influence.

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          • Let me give you a good British public sector example. When I worked in the health service, public health doctors would sign off cremation certificates at the local council offices. It was known as Ash Money for obvious reasons. On top of their salaries, funded by the tax payer, they got paid extra for this by the council, and they invariably went in work time to do it. This was no fiddle, it was acceptable and legit. In fact, if you gave a lecture/presentation somewhere and were offered payment, it was perfectly acceptable to take it, even though you were already being paid by the NHS. I gave a day’s training to charity workers about writing, publicity, press releases etc. I waived the payment, it struck me as grossly unethical.

            Ash money may have changed now as public health doctors were transferred to local councils, and extra payments in work time may have been tightened up on. Still annoyed me though that people (doctors) on £50,000 plus (fifteen years ago) were getting paid twice. All funded by the tax payer.

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          • That is just crazy, I think. You earn double from the same employer for doing basically your job!
            It’s the same way we pay our mps sitting allowance for being in parliament. That is part of the job for crying out loud!

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          • Well, not double, but you certainly get paid twice. Or did. As I say it may have changed. Although I can imagine if PHPs (public health physicians) lost out on Ash Money, they would have negotiated an increase to their salary.

            That’s an interesting one! Nice move Kenyan MPs :)

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          • Ah well a commission is extra you know. There needs to be some incentive. Unlike when I was called for jury service and there was nothing had I been actually picked as a juror.

            One law for those in power, another for the plebs.

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    • Enchufismo is amazing here. It’s endemic in Gib. If they had a constitution (maybe they do) it would be written into it. We know construction firms on both sides of the political divide who openly admit to getting big tenders due to political connections. Bit rich of the GSD to criticise the GSLP though, as they are both as bad as each other. Allegedly.

      Spanish vice-president? Didn’t know there was one. I lost interest in politics after Zapatero went. I admired him for doing what he said about pulling out of Iraq and for making his cabinet 50:50. Much good it did him.

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  4. I wonder if that one’s gender isn’t covered in the instructions to voters can it be used as an argument for not punting a vote on the 2 horse race and would there be a fine for taking a pen and editing it.
    Although labelled “political system” to me it more resembles “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. Australian politics were an unhappy unproductive mess for years. Interestingly, because no-one ever admitted voting for him Tony Abbott aka the Mad Monk got in last election as Prime Minister, and there was no end to the subsequent whinging. Then via party politics he was recently ousted in favour of the suave Malcolm Turnbull, and voilà Happy Australia. Now the media needs to find another sure thing to feed off.
    From experience, many jobs are never advertised but recruited via various means fair, partial and otherwise.
    As for speaking politically for Christ or God… I’ve always thought it presumptuous and disrespectful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fine for editing the instructions? Interesting. Doubt it, but, the elections here are very formal. Much moreso than in the UK.

      Australian politics were a mess when I was there! What with Joe Bjelke and Bob Hawke, they were media editors’ dreams come true.

      Jobs are very dubious here. Public sector ones in the UK became very strict in terms of advertising. Which made it a farce when the job was a set-up and other people applied. Saw it loads of times. One HR person told me that it didn’t always go to the favoured candidate. Yeah. Right.

      The whole newsletter was loopy. It went on about illegal parking fines and the police and judiciary stealing people’s money by enforcing civil law. Groan.

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    • I agree with you there Yvonne. And it does seem to be getting worse. Back when I started out in journalism, we interviewed our local councillors prior to the council election. One of them was really principled, didn’t claim expenses, another one was unemployed and claimed nearly as much on expenses as I was earning working full time!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Politics are the same the world over judging by some of the comments on here. It’s disappointing though.

      Thank you :)

      I was amazed how sharp the pencil was. We speculated that someone must rush into the booths after each voter and re sharpen them!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It sure is Kate. Seems they’re all in kahoots and we’re the ones suffering. Makes me wonder if they started some ‘club’ and let us out of the loop?

        LOL! I was thinking they shouldn’t sharpen them that much. You do know you can kill someone with a sharpened pencil.

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  5. Well, in South Africa, the gender thing is taken to the extreme in government. It’s an insult to be appointed because I’m a woman. Appoint me because I’m competent first. ‘Nuff said – you can draw your own conclusions about some of the things that happen in our public service.

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    • Well, most men get appointed because they are men … In fact only two out of the three women made it into parliament. With typical ‘female’ portfolios I might add. The one in government has social care, and the opposition minister has health.

      Sonel, who commented above you, doesn’t sound impressed with SA politics either :D

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  6. Can we trade? You can have Jacob with pleasure.

    There are rumours,that JZ is going to be made the National Bird of South Africa and ornithologists will recognise that he is the biggest tit in the world.

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        • :D

          Have to say your JZ sounds a pretty dire case. Doesn’t he have a press officer/PR manager? Doesn’t exactly do a lot for world population control either does he? Does he think the ANC is some sort of Christian body preparing the way for the second coming? He sounds truly undesirable. T say the least.

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          • I think you pretty much nailed it with this comment, RS.

            I do not follow politics any more and certainly not the exploits of this Dickhead – or Showerhead – and his cronies.

            And when one switches off it is quite amazing how mic sweeter the world becomes!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Why thank you. Google is indeed a wonderful thing.

            I suspect it is old age and cynicism that leaves us shrugging our shoulders and shaking our heads at the imbecility of it all. I rely on blogs to tell me about major events, or a quick glance at a few headlines although it’s hard to find the news from all the fascinating tales about who wore what before they shagged whoever.

            It’s too depressing to follow politics, and one can do stuff all about it. Apart from complain, of course.

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          • I rely on the JZ who resides in Brazil to tell me about South African politics! lol
            He kept me up to date during the Pistorious trial. I knew the basic story, of course, but John Z was somewhat surprised I did not know he had already appeared in court!

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          • I was a lot more au fait with national and international news when I worked in journalism/PR. Unsurprisingly. The sad thing is, not knowing about it makes so little difference in one’s life.

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  7. Makes you weep, the whole pot and boiling of them…..
    Leo is desperately sad to see how South Africa has gone (while predicting that it would).
    We have a president who is trying to turn round the corrupt ship of state and is fighting an uphill battle – though at least he is exposing the clientist nature of the corruption.
    France was a nightmare…accumulation of mandates – the pay, the privileges and, of course the pensions….
    And I find it hard to believe how the U.K. has declined….

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  8. The job market sucks and that interview… Hang on, got the t-shirt somewhere… no, binned that too! (or was that the one I burned?) This is why I detest job interviews. Decisions, decisions. Let pod vote in your place… he’ll probably get it right! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wait I think Christ is running for office here – wait, that’s Christy. He just thinks he’s the chosen one (GAG)…actually gag on the whole lot of them.
    We need term limits to prevent career politicians (who become pigs at the trough and live far from the reality of an average citizen’s ordinary life) and some rule if your parent or grandparent or great grandparent was president, you can’t run for president.
    I vote for Snowy whose got all 4 feet on the ground most of the time and takes naps.

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    • Thought all your US candidates were chosen. By someone/thing. Usually themselves although they claim divine intervention and Close. Personal. Relationships. With God.
      I no longer know what we need. Just not what we currently have.

      Snowy has a fine view of life. Eat, sleep and pee when necessary. Meet and greet friends. Repel enemies. Got a book to review called Learning from Dogs. Including a gorgeous GSD. Hoping to post next week :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Surprisingly the Evangelical/born again annoying self righteous ultra Christian groups have pretty much waned in power although the media still loves to hear their ravings. Nothing scares me more than a politician preaching how religious he/she is.
        From what I’ve been reading around blogs, so ordinary people in all sorts of places are livid about their government ignoring people’s wishes. Certainly a messy situation.
        Snowy’s on track. Voting for him. (Today’scandal is how one political party got caught having “secret meetings” to decide how to get their preferred candidate on the ticket even if the voters vote and select someone else. The clown show continues…)
        Interested to see your dog book review. I may declare a “Read blogs only” week, so I can catch up. Sleepy paw waves from Molly – great weather 80 degrees F – so lots of outdoor time…. which is why I’m behind reading. But winter is coming. Shortly.

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