Editor's Blog Nov 25th 2011

Don’t get mad, get involved

 When tourists flood into Gibraltar, they are greeted by the sight of the brand spanking new airport, shimmering under the backdrop of the Rock, or the new houses popping up from the walk through Watergardens. They see casemates and Main Street, with master services dutifully tidying every crumb, cigarette butt and discarded chewing gum, the façade is impeccable, the reality of the situation though, wouldn’t make it into the glossy photos.

 Now, I could bemoan the Government for abandoning any area that doesn’t rake in the visitors, and we can all agree that if you leave main street the difference in maintenance is more then a little bit telling. The whole situation reminds me of a school mate of mine, as we left the school gates, he’d unwrap his sweets and toss them over his shoulder, saying ‘it’s somebody’s job to clean that up’. The same thing happens all over town, how many people have pointed out the latest dilapidated area of town and said ‘The government should do something about that’?

 It’d be great for a change to hear less people say ‘what are the government going to do about this?’ and more saying ‘what can I do to help’. There’s certainly enough work to go round, and there’s nothing stopping any of us from picking up our trash and cleaning the unfortunate ‘I woz ere’ scrawl on the walls. Maybe one day we can visit Princess Caroline’s battery to take in the magnificent views, rather than complain about the enormous spliff, doodled on the side of one of the cannons by some giggling teen.

 It’s encouraging to see that less and less people are relying on the ‘someone else should do it’ philosophy, and instead, rolling up their sleeves and doing what they can to improve their own hometown. It began with the repainting of the Referendum Steps leading up to Devil’s Gap, where local residents and youth volunteers did a tremendous job on the well-known Union Jack steps.  More recently, a number of groups have come forward to tidy up Witham's Cemetery; weeding the unkempt plants and cleaning the damaged tombstones.

 If we all were to commit to keeping our own little corners of our rock nice and tidy, we might just encourage the tourists to venture outside of the shops for a minute. And who knows? We might be able to take a walk without holding our nose.

 Have a great weekend