On Thursday I sat in Gibraltar’s parliament as the chief minister, Peter Caruana, delivered his budget speech.
Later that afternoon I spoke on Talk Radio Europe with Peter Cochrane and said it was like sitting through a speech from another era.
Gibraltar has around five per cent growth (what’s growth Obama, Brown, Cameron and Zapatero cry?). There is a surplus. Low national debt and unemployment. Taxes for Gibraltarians and businesses are coming down.
It would be wrong to say that Gibraltar has escaped the effects of the world economic crisis but it has had nowhere near the chaotic impact as in the EU or USA.
Across the border from Gibraltar sits the Spanish town of La Línea. As a cruel reminder of what the crisis means for ordinary people I also wrote yesterday about the 10,000 signed on at the local unemployment office and the thousands of others, who are not registered, receive no hand outs and rely on the Red Cross (Cruz Roja) and the Catholic charity Carítas for the food on their tables.
Of course there are very many Gibraltarians who are not happy with the chief minister’s speech or his performance in government. If you go to Facebook, key in Fabian Picardo, you can read his comments from parliament as he and the GSLP – Liberal opposition - of which he a member - peppered the GSD government ministers with difficult questions and came up with some unhappy answers.
That is why I say this is a tale of two budgets – the same document that wows the outside world appals many Llanitos. So much so that the GSD trails the opposition in the opinion polls and Caruana may well be facing his last year in office after being in the post for an awesome four terms.