CHIEF Minister Fabian Picardo has insisted that legalizing abortion without a referendum would be like ‘shoving progessivism’ down Gibraltarians’ throats.
In an exclusive interview with the Olive Press, the leader, who was recently elected to his third consecutive term, said his government needed to be ‘realistic’ with such hot topics.
While he confirmed he was pro-abortion, he insisted: “We have to deliver the progressive agenda in a way that doesn’t break our society.”
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“Conservative society has adopted our agenda because we have ensured we’ve respected the freedom and liberty of those who wish to disagree with us.”
He added ahead of next March’s referendum: “There are others who are so progressive, they would force things down the throats of those who disagree with them.
“I think that’s actually so progressive that it becomes anti-libertarian.”
He also told the Olive Press that the hard-right Vox party is a serious threat to Gibraltar.
Following the success of the party in last month’s general election, the chief minister equated the party to the Franco regime.
“What Vox represents is a shot in the back of the head and the kick into the ditch of the 1930s in Spain…. It is Franco’s party by another name,” he told this paper.
“I think this is the emergence of the of the rancid, hard right in Spain… it has now started this process of showing its face and has stopped masquerading as your friendly grandfather!”
He insisted a strong left-wing coalition was much needed now to overcome ‘the unfortunate brainwashing that has gone on for generations’ about Gibraltar.
“I think those on the left are more open to hear about our reality and not rely on prejudices to make determinations about us and about our country,” he added.
Speaking at his office in No.6, Picardo told the Olive Press of his ‘huge relief’ of winning a third term in office.
However, he revealed he never took the October 17 result for granted.
“I’m one of those old fashioned politicians who doesn’t believe you can simply sit back and wait for the results of opinion polls to become those of a general election.
“I believe you owe the public the respect of going out to show what you have done and show exactly what it is you intend to do.”
In the end, the GSLP/Liberal alliance took a resounding 52% in the three party election.
“I would like to think the electorate have seen that our prudent management of Gibraltar’s diplomatic, financial and domestic affairs really has been second to none,” he estimated on the victory.
And internationally, particularly over Brexit, his party is well clued up.
“The public know they can ask me or the Deputy Chief Minister any questions about any aspect of Brexit, and we will know the answer and how Gibraltar is going to deal with it.”
Picardo also highlighted the need to be ‘realistic’ with hot topics like abortion, which he supports.
“We have many opinions, but we govern by consent,” he explained.
“We have to deliver the progressive agenda that we want to deliver in a way that doesn’t then break our society.
“We have been progressives in a society that has always described itself as being conservative with a small ‘c’.
“That conservative society has adopted our progressive agenda because of the way that we have ensured that we’ve respected everyone’s freedom and liberty, including the freedom and liberty of those who wish to disagree with us.”
It is this premise that is behind the idea of having a referendum in March on whether to legalise abortion.
“If you are progressive, like me, and you’re rebellious like me, you want to see these things happen,” he concluded.
“But if you are results-driven like me, then you also want to judge who the parties that do are, not just the parties that talk.
“There are others who are so progressive, that they would force things down the throats of those who disagree with them.
“I think that’s actually so progressive that it becomes unprogressive and anti-libertarian.”
He was of course alluding to new party Together Gibraltar, but his harshest rebuke was for the new enemies taking aim at the Rock from Madrid.