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Opinion & Analysis

A different style of politics

By Professor Daniella Tilbury

Change is coming and it is not surprising that many of us want a fresher, more engaging and yet accountable government. We deserve better and Gibraltar can open up to a world of possibilities under the right political leadership. This would require a government that recognises and brings us together regardless of background, interests or ambition – politics should not be what polarises us.

I was born just before the 1967 referendum and thus lived through a closed frontier. Notions of fairness, power and unity were always at the forefront of conversations in our close-knit community that had a clear sense of being in it together. I was shaped by this environment and hold these values close to my heart.

However, over time, I have seen how some people have been left behind. I am a firm believer that diversity lies at the heart of a prosperous future for Gibraltar. I therefore want to be part of a government that changes the way that politics is done, displacing money and greed as key determinants of our future.

I want to see a government that preserves Gibraltar’s clear sense of identity and protects the special places that remind us of who we are and where we come from. This approach needs to be balanced so that we can be fairer, more inclusive and future facing.

A GSD government is committed to developing a 2055 vision for Gibraltar; an initiative that would bring people back into decision-making. We are committed to asking the community to help us create a healthy and purposeful environment where we can celebrate our culture and live our best lives. Through this process we hope to identify the spaces that are special to us and are worth protecting whilst also considering how we create opportunities for economic development, housing and other needs. The initiative will develop an overarching framework connecting the work of the Ministries and combatting short-termism.

I bring with me experience as a former CEO of a University, a Dean, a Marie Curie Professor and EC policy adviser. This trajectory has helped me grasp how challenges and political decisions directly affect people’s lives and prospects. I also know how important it is to look at evidence closely if I wish to make fair decisions rather than rely solely on personal experience.

Many see me as an environment expert mainly because I advised the GOG in the process of establishing a Ministry of the Environment several decades ago and wrote Gibraltar’s first sustainability strategy. The younger generation may know me from the Gibraltar Sustainability Awards, UN Youth or the Futures Forward Academy. I have had the privilege of being the UK government representative at the UN Economic Commission for Europe, a Climate Ambassador and involved in the creation of WWF’s Earth Hour in 2007.

Improving education has always been at the heart of my work. I am a qualified educator who taught in schools as well as trained teachers for seven years. I have supported many local students who have sought support to get into University as well as facilitated teacher education programmes locally. I have worked alongside UK, Australian and other governments setting education policy frameworks and helped establish the University of Gibraltar.

As the former Commissioner, I am familiar with cross-governmental remits, financial responsibilities and the public service challenges and opportunities first hand. My responsibilities have seen me liaise closely with our Gibraltar House and Offices overseas as I often promoted Gibraltar internationally. I am currently a key advisor to the EC on the Green Deal and continue to serve as a text negotiator for the UN and the implementation of the Paris Accord. I believe in the importance of strengthening our international relations as we transition to post-Brexit scenarios.

We are a small community and so the impact of every decision is far-reaching. This is why we must move away from a style of politics that is determined by leading personalities and is out of touch with day-to-day realities. I believe Gibraltar has a very positive future that can be attained if you vote for all 10 GSD candidates on the 12th October.

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