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Opinion & Analysis

Do your duty: Vote Remain

by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, leader of the GSLP

By now you have heard all the good economic arguments for voting to stay in the EU. You have heard so often that all politicians and unions and FSB and Chamber are united, that you are no longer surprised to see me and Sir Peter Caruana QC standing shoulder to shoulder on an issue.

In fact, you may even have got used to my telling you that it is unprecedented for a current and all surviving Chief Ministers to agree on anything, but we agree on this.

With Referendum polls opening in less than 24 hours, let's get down to brass tacks.

You have a right to vote in this Referendum because we could not be pulled out of Europe without having been consulted.

Usually we have to fight for the right to vote.   We had to fight the UK for the right to vote in EU Parliamentary Elections.

This time, it was a no-brainer that we had to be allowed to vote. We vote in elections to the European Parliament, so how could we be pulled out of the EU and deprived of that vote if we were not also part of the Referendum that would determine that?

The fact is that the way the arguments have panned out your "right" to vote has really become your "duty" to vote.

We have heard over and over again from the Spanish Government that they see a result that pulls the UK out of the EU as having only one silver lining: the chance to once again put proposals for Joint Sovereignty on the table for discussion with the United Kingdom.

Snr Margallo and Snr Rajoy have been explicit and have almost visibly been wringing their hands with glee at the prospect.

I have been explicit in rejecting Joint Sovereignty and maintaining that the perpetual Britishness of Gibraltar will not ever change

It is now our duty as Gibraltarians to go out and vote to ensure we vote to REMAIN in the European Union.

If the result is as tight as the polls suggest (although I never believe or comment on polls) we could even be the deciding number of votes.

We must therefore ensure that every eligible Gibraltar vote is cast and that it is cast for REMAIN.

In this instance, perhaps more than in any other vote in the past, the whole of the UK audience will be looking out for our result.

We will be amongst the first to declare and we will make ourselves very proud if we can show how vibrant and active our democracy is by producing a huge turn out to vote.

Last week, with a visit of a British Prime Minister as part of the Referendum campaign, the first such visit in over fifty years, our credentials as part of the British family were put further beyond doubt than ever before.

We have had to make many sacrifices to remain a part of the British family of nations.

We have suffered an evacuation of our people

We have suffered sieges

And we have suffered a closed frontier

But we have never inflicted damage on ourselves

We have never brought suffering upon ourselves

And so, today I call anyone in Gibraltar or beyond who is thinking of voting to leave the European Union to think twice.

Don't knee cap our economy

Don't knee cap our nation's progress

Don't knee cap our children's future

Because by voting for isolation and voting to leave the largest single market in the world we will fix nothing.

And because I think patriots think first about the safety, security and strength of their nation and their children.

And it is therefore clear that the PATRIOTIC choice is to vote to REMAIN IN the European Union.

Not least because this is the best way to stop Spain playing games about our Sovereignty.

So tomorrow you need to ensure that you make time to go out on vote. There may be queues because so many of us will want to vote. It may be very hot indeed, as we are already in the summer months. You my have to arrive late at the beach or leave early.

But whatever it takes, you have to make sure you go out and vote in the Referendum for the United Kingdom  to REMAIN in the European Union.

It's your duty as a Gibraltarian. And Gibraltar expects that you will do your duty!

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