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Reputed author and journalist William Chislett delved into the modern day political reality of Spain in the opening talk of the final day at the Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival.

He declared that the upsurge of Ciudadanos and Podemos ahead of the forthcoming general election, could result in an unprecedented four horse race for Moncloa, as the two new parties attempt to displace the Partido Popular and the PSOE that have alternated in power since 1982.

Mr Chislett examined the effects of King Juan Carlos’ accession to the throne in 1975 and the profound transformation experienced by the country 40 years after the restoration of democracy. The economic crisis of 2008 resulted in high unemployment rates of beyond 20% and led to a massive property bubble burst. Recession brought to the fore some deep rooted problems like those of corruption across the political system, even affecting the Royal Family and key political figures of the transition such as the former Catalan autonomous president Jordi Pujol.

An expert in Spanish politics, Mr Chislett analysed the discredit of political institutions and public perception of the political class as “an extractive elite.” Now with the economy showing signs of a turnaround, and unemployment falling to below five million for the first time since 2011, it is experiencing growth at one of the fastest rates in the EU. Mr Chislett notes that although Spain is now out of a long recession, it is starting from a low base as it has yet to recover the pre-crisis level of economic output.

He further stated that Spaniards do not want a rupture with the recent past, and with the political system created by the democratic transition and the constitution of 1978, which despite its defects engineered the best phase of Spain’s history in terms of prosperity and peaceful co-existence.
Mr Chislett added that what Spaniards want is for “the system to work fairly, without privileges and impunity for the political class.”

Christopher Lloyd entertained children with his wonderful multi-coloured cape, on this occasion with an epic ride through the struggle for freedom focussing on the iconic Magna Carta of 1215 which questioned the absolute power of Kings. Britain is celebrating the 800th anniversary of the signing of this iconic historic document this year. Stopping at various key points in history, Mr Lloyd expounded on how the ideas of freedom and people’s rights have evolved since then. Not content with that, he also took his young guests on another ride, this time through the complete works of William Shakespeare in 60 minutes.
The festival service at the Line Wall Road synagogue by Rabbi Abraham Levy celebrated the unique role of the Jewish community in Gibraltar’s history. At the beginning of the service a one minute silence was observed in memory of the victims of the Paris massacre on Friday night, perpetrated by Islamist terrorists.

On a lighter note, the legendary Nicholas Parson television show ‘Just a Minute’, was recreated on board the Sunborn Hotel, and brought together well known British TV celebrities such as Esther Rantzen, Felix Francis, Miles Jupp and Marcus Brigstock. ‘Just a Minute’ is more than a television programme and is considered more of a BBC institution having been on air for 60 years.

Actress Maureen Lipman brought the current edition of the Literary Festival to a close with an ‘in conversation’ event with Paul Blezard during which she reviewed her successful acting career, other aspects of her life and some of her best and wittiest monologues.