New movement seeks to give Gibraltar a lawyer-less new way
Marlene Hassan Nahon cast a lonely figure at the launch of ‘Together Gibraltar’, a political movement she believes will truly reflect how all people feel today.
In an impassioned speech she set out the goals of her movement to press and supporters but refused to name any of those who were behind the democratic transparency she wants to uphold. However, the tune of this democratic movement will be far more to the liberal and left-wing side of the spectrum than anything Gibraltar has experienced before.
“There’s about ten of us working together at the moment,” said Hassan. “We are hoping to expand that through the launch and the interest we will gauge. I don’t believe in giving names for the same reason that these people who would be very willing to sit with me at the desk didn’t need to be here today.
“We’re not a fait accompli. Every member and every interested body is the same as everybody else - it is not a party so there is no slate. With time it will hopefully grow organically in the same way as a membership like everything else.
“We have no executive or constitution but just a humble movement of people that want to reach out to the public that want to enfranchise people. Whatever blossoms from there will happen in time.”
The presentation included a video where certain Gibraltarians expressed the ideas the movement is working with and it seemed to embody the youthful progressivism Hassan wants to promote.
“Young people are the ones who are most motivated and less aligned with the current two-party system that perhaps us older people have voted for all our lives,” she said. “Progressivism is one of the core values we agree on at the moment. I have already shown my progressivism in different ways in Parliament in terms of gay marriage and want to be a voice for minority agendas.
“We want to tackle intolerance based on gender, race, colour, religion and mainly fight for the betterment of civil rights and equality. Right now I want to create something that is bigger than me because I am not here to proclaim myself as a leader and satisfy my ego. But I am happy to say quite openly that Together Gibraltar is not a place for people with intolerances, prejudices and very right-wing values.”
While many thought Hassan would launch a new party to challenge the currently declining GSD this step might have taken many by surprise as she spoke of distancing herself from what she called an “authoritarian” party structure.
“Right now I haven’t sought to get an infrastructure for a party as I consider myself one more,” said the daughter of our longest-serving political leader Sir Joshua Hassan. “This is the best way to consider what is really needed and find out what the voices of Gibraltar want to hear, say and discuss. The whole point of this movement is to bring people closer to the political nucleus outside of the usual party system.
“I want to entice people rather than myself putting a political agenda for the future. If in time the membership decide that they want to launch a party or a collective to go forward to the next election that will be a matter for when it comes. But that is an irrelevance because if our members believe there is a need for this type of group that wants to talk and be heard, that is where we are right now.“
When challenged on why she believes Gibraltar is disenfranchised considering the GSLP/Liberal landslide election win she responded that “perhaps the alternative option wasn’t a good one at all”, referring to the GSD she resigned from soon after the big defeat.
“Perhaps it was because they were on a second term and they were still on their honeymoon period,” she continued. “It doesn’t necessarily represent the current perception of the way things are. Any government after a first election is bound to do well but then people start to notice cracks in the system.
“Had I not been in touch with so many people who are so disillusioned I wouldn’t have taken this step because there wouldn’t have been the space for it. This is a space and an option for people to feel that their voices are valued, that they can engage with the community, that we can enhance social cohesion and only time will tell and democracy speak for itself.”
The future of what could be a very political movement that could transform Gibraltar in the future has already been road-mapped.
“For a start our first meeting will be held on the 6 November at the Charles Hunt Room discussing the environment,” said Hassan. “We will have a few panellists, experts in this field, some to be determined, others who have already signed up. Once we collect views, data and viewpoints, some will need representation in parliament which I will undertake.
“Others will contribute towards a generic manifesto for change that one day may be used in a party structure if the movement decides it wants to go forward in an election. We would need a democratic system for voting on views and agendas.”
She talked of breaking the system of nepotism and corruption in Gibraltar: “There’s a lot of talk about ‘jobs for the boys’ so only by being 100% transparent can we break these vices. In terms of funding we are working on a structure of crowdfunding so donations are 100% anonymous so nobody owes anybody anything.
“Only by leading by example can we challenge the prejudices and groans of our community. This is not about getting to the top but understanding and serving the community and if we get to that point that we can reflect the real agendas of the day then we really have a good programme to contest an election.
“That will be the start of change rather than a team of grey-suited barristers who think they can change Gibraltar because they are ‘gente de peso’.”