Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Onwards and upwards....moving on from MPs and constitutional crisis

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been rather focused on the issues surrounding the MPs abuse of privileges in the House of Commons and the conduct of Speaker Martin.

I suspect I bored many of my regular readers a little bit (possibly a lot), by banging on about Speaker Martin (a very important issue for me)... for which I apologise... but I'm afraid the whole issue, not least MPs expenses abuses, has quite incensed me.

With the resignation of the Speaker yesterday and the reforms that have been announced, I'm glad to say I am feeling a little calmer today... but I can't promise I will not return to these issues as there is still much to do and to be said in this regard, particularly on my strong belief that the electorate must be given the opportunity to have our say on these issues.

On these, not least is the opportunity we have with the forthcoming European Elections, where I hope you will be supporting the Liberal Democrats lists in your constituencies... especially those of you in Gibraltar (and the South West Region of the UK of course) who I hope will join me in support of our very own Gibraltarian candidate, Jonathan Stagnetto.

Other News to Focus On

Whilst all this has been going on, a number of other news has caught my attention and normally, I would have commented on with a blog post... but I haven't, because my energies and my eyesight, which sadly seems to have taken a turn for the worst recently (could be due to the rise in blood pressure... just kidding), has only allowed me to concentrate on the most important issue... and that was the brink of a possible constitutional crisis that the issue of MPs expenses brought us to, in the House of Commons. Thankfully... I think we have seen the worse on this, at least for now.

Amongst the other items of news that have caught my eye, which have concerned me (by no means the only ones) are these:

Gibraltar's Sovereign Territorial Waters

Firstly, the apparent escalation of incidents concerning Gibraltar's sovereign territorial waters where one more incident was reported this week.

This is worrying and I very much hope Spain can be 'encouraged' by the UK's Foreign Office and of course the Gibraltar authorities, to reign in whatever agenda they are now manipulating, before these incidents become more serious and someone is hurt through some 'trigger-happy' blunder. So far, all concerned have been able to show restraint... but I can see how these could easily go awry. Let's hope this can be resolved soon... before someone is hurt and we are having to deal with a much more serious 'international incident'!

Action Require on Child Porn Laws in Gibraltar

This issue touches on issues which I have been concerned about for a very long time... and not just in the context of Gibraltar.

But in the context of Gibraltar, the remarkably anachronistic legislation that exists in Gibraltar, as my colleague Brian Reyes writes about in his blog, Action on child porn laws…finally « Letters From Gibraltar is long overdue for reform, as he rightly points out.

"A few days ago I wrote about a glaring gap in Gibraltar’s legislation. Possession of child pornography, it appeared, was not a crime on the Rock. It wasn’t me who said this, but the judge."

In this, I also very much agree with John Baw, a fellow Gibraltar blogger, who said the resulting sentence in this case, was "Nothing short of outrageous" (WildOx Blog!

Age of Consent Bill in Gibraltar

Not before time, a Bill to equalise the age of consent for homosexuals and heterosexuals, by setting this at 16, the age that already applies for heterosexuals and lesbians, was heard in the Gibraltar Parliament.

Daniel Feetham, the Minister for Justice, took the unusual step of bringing a motion asking for leave to introduce a Private Members’ Bill for an Act to amend the Criminal Offences Act.

There is overwhelming international legal and local constitutional pressure to implement equalisation although the issue is untested in the local courts.

The Equality Rights Group GGR welcomed the Bill:

"After nine years of GGR raising the public debate on sexual minorities in Gibraltar, we are pleased to see that Parliament has finally considered the question of age of consent inequality currently in force."

I was pleased to see the Bill has been passed to proceed to a formal reading of a Bill in Parliament.

As GGR Chairman Felix Alvarez said:

"Whilst Government has failed to introduce the debate as a public Bill on what, after all, is a public issue and instead, preferred to rely on one of its own members in a purely private capacity, it has, nonetheless passed the motion to proceed on the formal reading of a Bill to equalise the legislation. This, in effect, falls short of Government’s legal requirement to comply with what is unarguably an international law obligation and not, as they have argued, a mere question of ‘conscience'."

As Brian Reyes concluded when referring to the 'Child Porn' case, "Time for the legislators to get moving on this…swiftly, methinks", there's much to be done to bring legislation in these and other matters concerning human rights and anti-discrimination in Gibraltar, to international and European law standards!

On a Lighter Note...

I was very interested to see this article, in the Telegraph, about the fact that Bright women are brilliant in bed.

This is something that perhaps many men take a little while in finding out for themselves. Personally, I found this out quite early in life and as a consequence, feel very blessed in how my early realisation of this simple and logical fact has much enhanced my... errr lifetime. biggrin

On a similar note... speaking of 'bright women' and how attractive that may be... any investor out there looking for some good ideas, might well do a lot worse than to listen to Peter Daily's report on the BBC World Service - Business - Does the crisis need a feminine touch? The ideas and investment opportunity offered by this investment company run by a couple of Icelandic ladies... who offer the slightly extreme proposition that men got us into this current economic mess, maybe women can get us out of it... sounds very interesting to me! wink

I hope to focus more on all these and no doubt, other issues that will arise, in the foreseeable future.... energy and eyes notwithstanding.