So we know the runners and riders in the GSD Leadership Stakes and it’s a two horse race. Daniel Feetham says he is going to say little more as “this is an internal matter for the GSD”. He is right and he is wrong.
It will be the GSD executive that chooses the party leader: no argument there. However we can only presume that the chosen one will lead the GSD in to the next general election and will be the party’s candidate for Chief Minister. Hence who the party elects is of interest to us all.
I spoke on Tuesday to two people with very differing views on the Bossino candidacy. One believed Damon was merely putting his marker down for the future and hoping to secure the deputy leadership post. In that person’s view Feetham is a shoo-in.
The other view was very different. That person believes that Bossino is the candidate of the true GSD who wish to stop Feetham at all costs. No surprise in that thesis but I was surprised by the strength with which it was delivered.
I believe Daniel Feetham is the most interesting politician. I may make him the subject of my second book. Second you make ask? Yes my first belongs to another!
The Feetham family are socialist. Daniel Feetham was a member of New Labour and returned to Gibraltar intent on taking the GSLP crown when Joe Bossano stood aside. Joe wouldn’t budge so Danny stomped off to form the Labour Party. That fell flat on its face electorally and as Feetham is only in politics to be Chief Minister he made the ideological switch to the GSD where he finds himself close to the first of his targets: the party leadership. Whether he achieves that we will see in the coming weeks. If he does then the GSD will have a socialist leader with the other socialist members of the family waiting in the wings to take party positions. The attraction of Danny to the GSD is he is an experienced politician who can perhaps give the GSLP Liberals a run for their money. The problem for Feetham is if he fails. He has no desire to be deputy to anybody: not Caruana and certainly not Bossino which sounds too much like Bossano for his taste. I wouldn’t rule out another political incarnation for Feetham or he may just decide the game is over: for now.
Which of course leaves us with Bossino. I said in an article back in October that he could be shaping up to be the true GSD leader. As the party leader really has to be in parliament the traditional wing of the party had little other choice. There are two strong points for GSD members in electing Bossino – the first is he isn’t Danny Feetham and the second is he is not tarred by the Caruana administration brush. Against him is the fact he is new to frontline politics. However I doubt if he is a fool and he has three years as opposition leader to learn the ropes.
I agree with Bossino that a party leadership contest is always desirable. I am sure Fabian Picardo would have welcomed a challenge for the leadership of the GSLP. However since then he has passed the ultimate test – being elected by the people of Gibraltar as their Chief Minister.
Nor do leadership elections always turn out the way a party imagines. The current leader of the Lib Dems and the UK’s deputy prime minister is Nick Clegg. However had the 1,300 postal votes caught up in the 2007 Christmas post not been excluded but added to the count it would be Chris Huhne who would have led the party in to the last election as more Lib Dems voted for him. Currently Huhne is out of the cabinet as he awaits trial for perverting the cause of justice over a 2003 driving charge. He could yet return to the Cabinet or be sent to jail.
I have yet to hear who Peter Caruana favours to replace him. One has to remember that ahead of the last election he insists he backed Fabien Vinet to be one of the GSD candidates only for the party to vote him out. So may be having the former Supreme Leader’s hands placed upon you is best avoided at all costs – especially if they are not on your head but around your neck.