Where to draw the line? - Monotheism in Politics

It seems that the Maltese saga on freedom of expression has taken another twist recently. This time it was a Labour MP who was part victim, part instigator. It gets all the more confusing considering that this particular MP is simultaneously in favour of censorship on certain issues. But the crux of the matter is whether MPs should be free to vote against the core principles pertaining to the political party they represent.

Let me state from the outset that I do believe, quite strongly in fact, that MPs should be free to voice their personal opinions and vote against their own party. British Labour MPs being "whipped" into voting in favour of an illegal war is a case in point. There is indeed honour, respect, justice and a great dose of courage to be found in straying from the party line when the time calls for it. Who cares for a bunch of yes-men anyway, except for the party leaders and die-hard loyalists ("Jekk qala l-Prim mela tajba zgur") ?

But the recent local incident took matters to an opposite extreme. Let me put it into context. Generally centrist parties such as Nu-Labour or the newly fashioned Con-Dem tend to advocate diplomacy and a respect for international law over irrational warfare. Let us say their core principle on such matters is X. Yet the Nu-Lab leadership wanted to pass motion Y (aiding and abetting the "War on Terror") which is thoroughly dissonant with X. The virtuous MP would have voted against Y and rightly so. Y was not the reason he chose Nu-Lab as his political abode. Here the Partit Laburista is subtly pushing in favour of core principle X (civil liberties, e.g. divorce) but a select-few individual MPs will openly vote against X and push in favour of Y!

Which brings to question why certain MPs chose a party that advocates X when they individually pursue a belief in Y. People will naturally begin to question the party's consistency and resolution to put into practise that which it believes in. Yes it is good to open up and yes it is good to do away with purist dogma but somewhere a line needs to be drawn. Diverging opinions are always healthy but too much of them will cause nothing but trouble. You will end up with a party with many beliefs but no soul.

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