The election season is about to descend upon us – this time it’s a European affair for the parliament. The polls take place between June 4 and 7 (European unity? The nations can’t agree over what day to vote).
Gibraltar it appears is to be visited by two big names from the Conservative Party. Michael Ancram will meet the Chief Minister and the Governor and then hold a reception at the Garrison Library on April 22. At some unspecified date William Hague will descend on the Rock.
The Gibraltar Chronicle describes Michael Ancram as a “heavyweight”. That he may be but I don’t think a person’s size should be brought in to the equation - indeed I was for many a year happily low-chested. “Big hitter” or “big beast” are the phrases we now use for those who play a major role in the British political parties.
Oddly the Tories only have a role to play in the politics of Gibraltar at the European elections. Whilst there is a Liberal party aligned internationally to the British Liberals, and the GSLP has socialist roots, there are no Rock Tories except every four year.
Gibraltar rather bizarrely votes in the South West England Constituency so whilst the Rock’s GSLP and Liberal supporters have allies in Labour and the Lib-Dems, there is no natural Tory constituency. So Ancram and Hague will have their work cut out sifting the Tories from the other chaff.
Of course the chance to vote Tory will be timely for Gibraltarians. Ancram and Hague, with the former leader playing a more major role, could within a year be members of the British Government.
In theory a Conservative Administration is more likely to defend Gibraltar’s interests more strongly – but Llanitos haven’t forgotten that it was Margaret Thatcher and Sir Geoffrey Howe who in 1984 saddled them with the Brussels Process that opened up the current route for Spanish ambitions over sovereignty. Gibraltarians have long memories and it will be hard work getting a Tory vote from this rocky place.