Thursday, May 12, 2011


If you are reading this article in the hope I will describe the chief minister as the anti-Christ with a cloven hoof who heats his home with fire and brimstone and chomps on live babies for breakfast you will be sadly disappointed.
This article is going to beg questions and not answer them. The theme started in my mind when recently I asked a GSD activist who has the ear of Peter Caruana when he thought the chief minister should go to the polls. Having answered, in the autumn, he went on to give a ringing endorsement of Caruana ending with these words: “Also, whatever his opponents may say about the way he sometimes comes across (they call it ‘arrogance’) he truly is a religious, caring, and a good person. These qualities are rare for any person, let alone a politician.”
Now the person who passed this comment doesn’t wear religion on his sleeve. He may well be church-going for all I know but I was curious that he should stress that Caruana was truly religious in his description of his vote winning assets.
It is no secret that the chief minister is a religious person, even devout, and it has coloured his views on policy especially concerning the rights of homosexuals. My question is this: should Caruana do God when his God is not shared by all Gibraltarians?
Peter Caruana is a four-term chief minister and for that he deserves credit. However he has been chief minister not just of GSD voters but of all Gibraltarians regardless of their race, colour or creed. Their God may be Christian, Jewish, Hindu or Islamic with a good smattering of agnostics and atheists thrown in. Therefore is it acceptable to colour your government’s policies on sensitive social issues based on devout Catholic beliefs?
Tony Blair’s spin chief, Alastair Campbell, famously declared “we don’t do God”. Indeed Britons are very suspicious of politicians who are motivated by faith in comparison with US Presidents who bash the bible whilst admitting fornication or invading Iraq.
Cherie Blair is a Catholic and since leaving office Tony Blair caused no surprise when he converted to Catholicism. Yet whilst he was in office his administration passed much social legislation that angered the church. He presided over a secular government and his own personal religious convictions did not infringe on policy or legislation.
This brings us back to Peter Caruana. His devout religious beliefs do him credit and one presumes that a strict moral code comes with them. However as he prepares to bid for a record fifth term in office voters have to ask themselves should doing God be a part of any parties political manifesto? Should their chief minister, whoever he is, do God?