Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BBC News on how Gibraltar can sway UK poll results... is no news at all

As regular readers will know, I am supporting and helping Gibraltarian Jonathan Stagnetto, in his campaign for election in the forthcoming vote for the European Parliament in the Gibraltar and South West England Region constituency on 4th June 2009.

I was therefore quite interested and a little excited to see this headline, 'How Gibraltar can sway UK poll results' from BBC News, in my Google alerts this morning.

Unfortunately, when I came to read this article, I found it rather lacking, very disappointing... and I have to say, the headline is very misleading!

Writing for the BBC News website, Stephen Chittenden has missed (or chosen to ignore) a rather important point.... when he wrote:

As Gibraltarians prepare to vote again, there is talk in some newspapers of getting an MEP all of their own. That remains an unlikely prospect in a place with such a small electorate.

An 'unlikely prospect' maybe... but the fact is, in this Euro Election, Gibraltar will have the opportunity to vote for our very own Gibraltarian candidate, namely, Jonathan Stagnetto (right), who is standing under the Liberal Democrat List!

This salient fact is, not only historically important, but also very exciting for most Gibraltarians, who can vote in the hope of getting our own Gibraltar voice in the European Parliament, and Mr Chittenden, one would have thought, is aware of it and should have said so in his article!

Now... is the possibility of getting Gibraltarian Jonathan Stagnetto elected an 'unlikely prospect'? Possibly. There are 88 candidates standing for election in the constituency of Gibraltar and the South West Region of the UK, including the incumbent MEP Graham Watson (who has done a very good job for Gibraltar during his tenure) and Jonathan Stagnetto among the total of 6 in the Liberal Democrats list. This, to elect only 6 MEPs. So yes, the prospects for Gibraltar to elect our own representative is unlikely. Nevertheless, the fact remains... since he IS standing, it is a possibility!

However, to my mind and as Jonathan himself states in his 'Mission Statement' on his Facebook Support Group, the important thing is... "to make these European elections relevant to the Gibraltarian electorate". I agree and I believe he is certainly doing that.

Gibraltar can sway UK poll results?

I was also disappointed with this article, because having titillated this reader with the headline, 'How Gibraltar can sway UK poll results', Mr Chittenden does absolutely nothing to explain why he thinks Gibraltar can sway the UK poll results. Having been made curious by the headline... I remain completely mystified!

Gibraltar enthusiasm for Euro Poll

While Mr Chittenden makes a few good points, such as the fact that Gibraltarians vote with far greater enthusiasm than their UK counterparts, (at 60% turnout - double the turnout in the last Euro election than the UK managed) other facts seem to me to have been a little 'rushed' if not badly researched.

Mr Chittenden claims that "approximately 18,000 voters of Gibraltar will help to choose who represents South West England in the European Parliament". In fact, only last Friday, a report in the Gibraltar Chronicle quoted Gibraltar's Electoral returning officer Melvyn Farrell, the Clerk to the Gibraltar Parliament, who said that as of 17th April 2009, there were 20,357 persons in Gibraltar, registered and eligible to vote in the European Parliamentary election on 4th June 2009.

All in all... a rather disappointing article from the BBC's man, reporting on Gibraltar's participation and 'swaying of the UK poll' in the forthcoming European Elections. Must and can do better methinks!

The resulting BBC report was broadcast on BBC Radio 4's 'PM' programme yesterday. It is available for the next seven days on the BBC's iPlayer here.

The Gibraltar clip, including Jonathan's 15 seconds of 'fame and glory' is on minute 46' of the programme.

Please bear in mind this clip is only available on the BBC iPlayer during the next 7 days. (You can listen to radio in BBC iPlayer if you are outside the UK. As long as the computer you are using has RealPlayer correctly installed, you should be able to listen live and listen again normally, just as you can in the UK. Find out more in this guide).

Support for Gibraltar MEP Candidate - How you can help

In a matter of days, support for Jonathan Stagnetto, on his Facebook Group, has grown rapidly and is now standing at 252 as I write.

If you haven't done so already, why not join us and help support Jonathan's Campaign for Europe?

If you have family or friends in Gibraltar or living or perhaps studying in the constituency areas of the UK, you can also help by inviting them to join the Facebook group and support and vote for Jonathan.

Support our Gibraltarian candidate... Vote for the Liberal Democrat list on the 4th June and help elect the first Gibraltarian to the European Parliament! cool


I am indebted to Brian (see comments below) who has quite rightly corrected me on the fact that Jonathan Stagnetto is NOT the first Gibraltarian to stand for the European Parliamentary elections. In my original post, I wrote that this was the 'first time ever' that Gibraltarians can vote for a Gibraltarian.

In fact, that credit belongs to Lyana Armstrong-Emery.

In the 2004 European Parliament election, the first time Gibraltar was able to vote in these elections, Lyana Armstrong-Emery, the former leader of the now defunct Gibraltar Reform Party, secured a place on the UK's Green Party list for the Gibraltar and the South West region and stood as the first ever Gibraltarian candidate. Her campaign helped the Green Party to third place in the election in Gibraltar.

I have now corrected my post... and thanks again Brian. My apologies to Lyana!

More information here: Lyana Armstrong-Emery - Information @ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


brian said...

I have to agree with most of what you're saying here. The BBC story was, apart from anything else, rather dull. BUT you're wrong in saying Stagnetto is the first Gibraltarian to stand for election as an MEP. That one goes to Lyana Armstrong Emery...
Nice post...

Cybernest said...


I stand corrected... I am an idiot!! How could I possibly forget Lyana!! I actually supported her at the time... D'uh!!!

So sorry Lyana!!

You must both forgive me... I was taken up with the 'heat and excitement' of the moment... no doubt a 'senior' one! Thanks very much Brian for correcting me.

Glad to see you also agree with the 'minimalism' of Mr Chittenden's BBC report! :)

Brian, many thanks for your comment today. You must come back regularly... someone needs to keep an eye on me! :) heh heh