I have been reading a report in the Gibraltar Chronicle on an interview the veteran leader of the GSLP Joe Bossano gave to Andalucía Información.
Now the 72-year-old politician had announced that the last election would be his swan song as leader so a new talent has to step forward. The Chronicle quotes him as saying that a future new leader of the GSLP will be responsible for the decisions that he takes, just as he himself is now, but points out that if at any moment that leader “takes a crazy decision, it will be good that there is somebody with experience to advise him.”
Well the most likely inheritor of Joe Bossano’s crown is the opposition big beast Fabian Picardo although Gilbert Lucadi and others may dispute that. However Joe Bossano’s remarks seem to conjure up the spectre of him hovering at his successor’s shoulder giving “helpful advice”.
I am of the school that believes that when a political leader leaves the stage he or she should not sneak off to the prompter’s booth or heckle from the stalls. Going should mean just that - going. The majority of Britain’s party leaders of the past half century managed the feat with the exception of Ted Heath who haunted Margaret Thatcher like the Ghost of Christmas Past to his dying day.
There is however a problem with the GSLP. Gibraltar’s socialist party is very much the personal fiefdom of Joe Boss, its founder. There is a large percentage of people on the Rock who would never vote for the GSLP because they cannot abide Bossano. Equally there is another chunk of the population that votes GSLP solely because he is the leader. The day he is taken out of the equation it is difficult to know which way the voters will jump.
It will help the next leader of the GSLP if him or her can win the general election and hence become chief minister. Although Joe Bossano led the government in the late 1980s and early 1990s he has lost four elections on the trot. If Picardo or others can snatch the Rock’s top job Joe Boss can be shoved in to the background. Fail and he will be at their shoulder till his dying day.
When I passed the GSLP HQ the other day I am sure I heard the faint rattle of chains.