If you had asked me before the end of last September about One Nation politics I would have pointed you in the direction of former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and the One Nation tradition in the old Conservative Party.
That was to last year’s Labour Party Conference in Manchester when party leader Ed Miliband captured the concept of One Nation for the socialists. He did it just a stone’s throw from where Benjamin Disraeli had first used the term in a speech at the Manchester Free Trade Hall some 140 years before on April 3 1872.
Now I presumed at the time this was the second coming of One Nation politics but I was wrong. It was the third. The second happened in the mid-1990’s when Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party. It was part of his New Labour journey from One Nation politics to the Stakeholder Society to the Third Way.
So to Ed Miliband’s speech at the Fabian Society Conference in London on Saturday. Certainly the Fabians were anxious for flesh to be put on the One Nation bones. Did Ed achieve that? He certainly did for me but then I have long embraced the notion of One Nation politics. Some of those around me shared my satisfaction but others didn’t and I wonder if they are waiting for Ed’s One Nation to fit their agenda, which I am not sure it is ever going to do.
One Nation politics is essentially a British, perhaps even English, dogma. It will be the socialist buzz words ahead of the next British General Election. Yet I can think of no better way to describe how politics in Gibraltar should be carried out and I would argue that in essence Fabian Picardo (not to be confused with the Fabian Society) is a One Nation politician.
In such a small community as ours the One Nation concept sits very easy indeed with Gibraltarians’ core beliefs. It wasn’t the philosophy of the GSD which set out to serve its own at the expense of the majority. However Fabian Picardo governs for all Gibraltar and not just those in the GSLP or Liberals. In his heart and soul he believes in fairness: a concept that is shared by those in government with him.
Blair’s 1997 view of One Nation politics was set out in the Labour Party’s manifesto. He stated “I want a Britain that is one nation, with shared values and purpose, where merit comes before privilege, run for the many not the few, strong and sure of itself at home and abroad.” Isn’t that 2013 Gibraltar?
Miliband in his 2012 conference speech hoped for Britain to be a land in which “patriotism, loyalty, dedication to the common cause courses through the veins of all, and nobody feels left out”. Isn’t that 2013 Gibraltar too?
If Gibraltar is to be successful this small nation has to be one nation. For well over a decade the GSLP – Liberals have demonstrated first how a coalition can work for a country in opposition and how that can be successfully carried through in to government. This is in stark contrast to the Conservative Lib Dem coalition in the UK which is self-serving and not there to serve the nation. Now as One Nation politics again takes centre stage in the UK we here can point to how it is a core Gibraltarian belief which defines our small nation as one nation.