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The C Word

By Jeremy Sacramento 

As we've entered the final stages of the GSD leadership election, we have seen an upping of the ante, with a notable uptick in the toing and froing between the camps.

Amongst these exchanges, there is one critique that continues to strike discordantly with me: the charge against being ‘conservative’.

Well, opposite to its intended effect, the accusation sheds a reassuring light on what a Damon Bossino Chief Ministership would look like - one which is much more intimately aligned with the Gibraltarian mindset than some would have you believe.

‘Conservative’ is a word that’s frequently bandied about on the political stage, and as in this case, is levelled with the intention of causing some sort of distrust of the accused.

Unfortunately, this isn’t really surprising given the character of some of those who ascribe the term to themselves. 

The accusation in this case, has been to scaremonger with ‘backtracking’. That is, that Damon Bossino, who openly prescribes to a conservative outlook, would seek undo and rescind policies.

Needless to say, Damon has (repeatedly) rejected the notion. And rightfully so, as such an undemocratic measure would be ostensibly unconservative. Not to mention his commitment to leading a broad church GSD, as has always been the case.

So if not taking us backward, what does a conservative ideological approach tell us about the potential future Chief Minister, you might ask?

Well in my opinion, it tells us he's instinctively attuned to the Gibraltarian psyche.

Here's why. 

Conservatism, despite the critique and opprobrium that's often hurled its way, cannot be defined in a one size-fits-all type of way.

Unlike the universally applicable socialist and liberal schools of thought, conservatism is intrinsically connected to place.

Nationalism, conservation of the natural environment, preservation of heritage, protection of beliefs, respect for democracy and the rule of law, and prudent management of government finances, are all fundamentally conservative tenets.

It's not difficult to see how intimately these are aligned with the collective Gibraltarian point of view. 

Our new-found love for the Llanito language and culture, our desire to prevent further degradation of the built-environment, our concern with profligate government spending. The parallels are frankly uncanny.

The late Roger Scruton described conservatism as “an instinct” rather than a school of thought in the traditional sense. And one which most people naturally have.

In not shying away from conservatism, Damon Bossino not only displays conviction which is so desperately amiss in politics these days, but shows us that he is fully in step with Gibraltarians’ natural tendencies.

Jeremy Sacramento is a politics and public policy graduate and occasional contributor on local and current affairs.