Monday, June 01, 2009

Gibraltar MEP candidate Jonathan Stagnetto interviewed in Gibraltar Chronicle

Gibraltarian Jonathan Stagnetto, who is standing for election, under the Liberal Democrats list in Thursday's vote for the European Parliament in the Gibraltar and South West England Region constituency, is interviewed in today's Gibraltar Chronicle.

Talking to Paco Oliva, Jonathan Stagnetto says he is delighted to think he may be "setting a trend and opening the way for other Gibraltarians to form part of party lists at future European elections". He says his presence at these elections is "a positive development" which will serve to make them more relevant to the Gibraltarian electorate.

"Without a Gibraltarian presence, the people (of Gibraltar) would have been faced with a choice of UK parties and UK candidates that they would have found even harder to relate to.
Jonathan Stagnetto believes that, in political terms, the Liberal Democrat decision to select him reflects a solid commitment to Gibraltar "which has not been matched by anyone else" and adds that his "responsibility" will be "to provide an input of Gibraltar matters directly into the party line-up".

"The LibDems already had binding policy resolutions adopted at Conference, supporting Gibraltar at a UK, European and global level. My candidature takes this support and commitment to Gibraltar one step further."

Jonathan has also consistently declared, as he does again in the Chronicle interview, that his personal view has always been that Gibraltar should have its own MEP, its own seat and its own representation in the European Parliament. However, he also realises that, whilst this is something he would want to work for, this is not how things are at the moment and accepts that "we need to work within the system that exists at present".

This is one of the fundamental reasons I decided to support him... as I too have been saying for a long time, even before Gibraltar got the European election franchise in 2004, that Gibraltar should have its own representative in the European Parliament!

In the interview, Jonathan goes on to assert his belief that the current system has its advantages "since the Rock will have six MEPs as opposed to just one".

"It is up to the local electorate to remember which of them perform for Gibraltar, and which ones should no longer be considered worthy of the Gibraltar vote!"

No points for guessing who his choice might be!

For myself, I think both Graham Watson MEP and Neil Parish MEP have both supported Gibraltar very well in the European Parliament during the last five years.

Sadly, and even though I support the LibDems I say this sincerely, Neil Parish has now set his sites on Westminster and will be stepping down. He’s hoping to win a usually safe seat in Devon currently held by Angela Browning MP. Mr Parish has been a regular campaigner on the environmental issues arising from the Campo industries and in the Bay of Gibraltar and I will be sorry to see him go. I wish him well.

My own support, were I to be voting in this constituency, would be firmly with Graham Watson, who has also been relentless in his support for Gibraltar and its interest in the Strasbourg Parliament, particularly on human rights and the environment.

It is largely due to Mr Watson, with his support for a Gibraltar candidate, that Gibraltar has its own Gibraltarian representative, in Jonathan Stagnetto, who is standing within the list of the only major party that has shown this important initiative on Gibraltar's behalf.

Mr Waston is also the Leader of the European Parliament's Liberal Democrat group (ALDE - the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe).

So my vote would be very much a vote for the Liberal Democrat list... to ensure that Graham Watson remains one of the principal MEPs to represent Gibraltar. A vote for the Liberal Democrats, not only will ensure Mr Watson is re-elected but with enough support for the LibDem list, not just in Gibraltar but elsewhere in the constituency, the unlikely possibility of Jonathan Stagnetto winning a seat in the European Parliament, could become a reality. A slim chance I know... but a possible one! We can dream can't we? wink

As for the other main party's candidates, I have no idea where they've been over the last five years... and I follow Gibraltar politics closely!

About Jonathan Stagnetto

Jonathan Stagnetto is the only Gibraltarian who is standing as a candidate in the elections for the European Parliament.

He has been an Executive Member of the Liberal Party of Gibraltar for 18 years and is a past party chairman and election agent. He is standing as part of the Liberal Democrats list.

Support for Gibraltar MEP Candidate - How you can help

Support for Jonathan Stagnetto, on his Facebook Group, has grown rapidly during the short time since it was set up, with over 370 members 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