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Although welcome back after a family bereavement, Ms Hassan Nahon’s budget statement is a toxic tissue of spin – 486/2022

By July 15, 2022 No Comments

Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar welcomes the return of Ms Hassan Nahon to active politics after her recent family bereavement.

In answer to her statement on the Budget, the Government notes, however, that it is unfortunately the usual populist spin and a toxic tissue of repeated errors and false misrepresentations designed to be only an attack on the Government and not an objective analysis. In fact, the latest statement from her contains zero substance. It is simply a collection of soundbites and insults laced together with entirely incorrect positions on the economy and public debt.

First of all, there are no cuts in the GHA.  What the Government are removing from the GHA Budget is the cost of COVID as we all wish and expect it will no longer be a required expense this year. Reorganising the GHA is a work in progress, addressing problems which the GHA has, unfortunately, in common with public healthcare systems around Europe.

Secondly, neither the Government nor the Civil Service are presenting anything other than a full picture of the public debt. It is an insult to the Civil Service and all the professionals in it for Ms Hassan Nahon to say that they would present documentation to Parliament that was incomplete – especially when the criteria for their preparation are EXACTLY the same as were used by successive governments of Gibraltar, including the GSD, whose record in government she used to vehemently defend before turning on that Party.

Thirdly, it is particularly nonsensical for Ms Hassan Nahon to say that we have only been able to borrow at ‘an affordable’ sovereign rate ‘in the years since the pandemic’ because the UK has agreed to back our borrowing. In fact, we have NEVER before in our history been able to borrow at sovereign rates. We have been able to secure the support of the UK as a result of our close relationship. 

Fourthly, it is demonstrably UNTRUE for Ms Hassan Nahon to say that ‘we would not be able to borrow otherwise’ – and Ms Hassan Nahon knows it. The Chief Minister already told the Parliament, in Ms Hassan Nahon’s presence in 2020, that we had borrowing agreed BEFORE the UK provided the sovereign guarantee. Ms Hassan Nahon must either have forgotten this key fact or has set out to deceive the public if she remembered it and, despite knowing the contrary, has made this false statement.

Fifthly, it is wrong, foolish and an unprecedented failure of analysis and understanding for Ms Hassan Nahon to say that ‘we were already on the verge of collapse’. That is simply untrue and is scaremongering of the most obvious and unnecessary. Such a statement would be dangerous in itself and would cause Gibraltar huge reputation damage coming from an elected Member of Parliament if Ms Hassan Nahon enjoyed the slightest credibility in economic matters, which she obviously does not.

In fact, the Gibraltar economy is resilient and strong and this is a testament to the incredible work of our entrepreneurs. As the Chief Minister told the Parliament, the GDP of Gibraltar (which is a measure of the performance of economy) has bounced back within two years. The GDP has returned to £2.59 Billion, above pre-pandemic levels. That is hugely positive and is an objective demonstration of Ms Hassan Nahon’s repeated failure of even basic analysis. Additionally, the United Kingdom would not have supported Gibraltar with a sovereign guarantee if they believed, as Ms Hassan Nahon has foolishly suggested, that we would not be able to repay the sums borrowed because our economy was on the verge of collapse.  The opposite is the objective assessment of the United Kingdom’s Treasury – a professional assessment of huge value and much more valuable than Ms Hassan Nahon’s superficial and politically self-serving assessment.

The statements from Ms Hassan Nahon that the Government of the GSLP/Liberals is ‘dangerous’, ‘will do anything to hold onto power’ and is ‘taking Gibraltar to a precipice’ are obviously untrue – no more than a collection of insults worthy of the worst demagogue. They are statements which are beneath an elected Member of Parliament who enjoys the privilege of representing the people of Gibraltar. This type of unnecessary and exaggerated insults from Ms Hassan Nahon will not change the reality that the Government is working hard to ensure the safety and security of all Gibraltar residents in every respect – quite the opposite of what she says. 

The statements by Ms Hassan Nahon about alleged ‘privatisations’ are also demonstrated to be untrue, false scaremongering by the reality that the Government is actually ‘renationalising’ (ie the opposite of privatising) AquaGib.  Ms Hassan Nahon’s errors could not be more self-evident than in this obvious respect.

Of course, the People of Gibraltar will be the ones who will decide who they want to see continue in Government after the next election. Repeated insults and unsubstantiated spin from Ms Hassan Nahon will serve to show the People of Gibraltar the reality that she is not a person who brings anything positive to Gibraltar’s public life and that much of what she says is best not replied to, given she gives the impression of simply piling personal insult over insult as an expression of her own political frustration at failing to see any advances for herself. In fact, the repeated errors and failure of analysis illustrated one again by Ms Hassan Nahon’s latest statement will serve to further demonstrate that Ms Hassan Nahon’s personal political project is no more than an ill-informed vanity project fuelled by pointless name-calling and made up ‘facts’ and that Ms Nahon is wholly unable to seriously present herself as Party leader with any of the abilities necessary to assume the post of Chief Minister of Gibraltar, which is the position which, with a straight face, she seeks to be elected to. That is perhaps her greatest misrepresentation to herself, her Party and the People of Gibraltar.