Vote 2013 Explained

The primary concern

The first thing that comes to mind is change from the status quo. This change must not be based on a mere transition of faces, colors and slogans but it must be deep-rooted; that is to say from the top-down, from the bottom-up and from side to side. It must reflect a change in political culture and ultimately socio-cultural mentality itself. It must therefore be a change that resists and overcomes the culture of patronage and individual interests. It must defeat divisions and destroy divide-and-rule. It must, at the very least, lay the groundwork to eradicate nepotism and cronyism which, in turn, give rise to abuses, clientelism and corruption. 

Secondary but (pretty much) equally important concerns

A - Social Equality and Liberties

Equality is a social issue that is closest to heart. It must be real and it must be felt. The underlying motif should always be that basic fundamental norm that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights. All distinctions based on race, sex and gender, creed, sexual orientation, political grouping and so on must be slowly destroyed. But I do not realistically expect that on the morrow of the election we will have a complete liberalization of all social constraints. Socia liberalisation, secularisation and europeanisation cannot be completely divorced from historical identity at the click of a finger. Prudence demands patience, mutual understanding and compromise and I am somewhat irked by the mentality of "all or none". The same reasoning applies to addressing immigration. I expect much more to be done to safeguard and enhance rights and dignity of asylum-seekers but won't go to the other extreme by claiming that greater efforts at EU-level on responsibility sharing is taboo or unjust, especially considering Malta's limited size and resources. 

B - Social Justice 

Social justice is equally as important. I am not against success and profit so long as it is shared prudently and fairly. I want to be able to be truly proud to pay taxes in the full knowledge that they are going to benefit those who are lesser off. Having said that, no one should simply live off social benefits for the simple reason that they couldn't be arsed to at least try. I am somewhat averse to means testing but I find nothing wrong with giving people the choice to opt out, voluntarily, from benefits such as stipends - guided by civic duty and social justice. Also, austerity politics should be overcome as it is short-sighted and self-defeating. Saving and spending should be wise and prudent. My basic economic compass tells me you should tighten the belt when the economy is strong and smooth - to spend when rainy days come (and not the other way round). Furthermore, spending should be made on things that matter and reap long-term benefits. 

C - Social Corporatism 

I am not anti-capitalist and have faith in the private sector but I expect employers and laborers to have equal seats at the table. I also believe that the state has a role to play in guiding and regulating economic practice when necessary. This is no taboo and should never be treated as such. 

D - Transparency and Accountability in Governance

Transparency and accountability are pretty much tied up with my primary concern. It goes without saying that  enacting transparency and accountability requires a holistic approach and not 1 or 2 pieces of legislation. Nonetheless a Whistleblower's Act, party-financing legislation, appointments on public authorities and boards, and stronger action against political corruption should be mandatory for a new government (although I do agree that with respect to political corruption  - the same measures should apply to the corrupter whoever he or she or it may be - and not just the politician). 

E - Justice (Law & Order)

Justice is also close to heart especially now that I work in the field. The judiciary and organisation of the courts require urgent reform ranging from the way appointments are made to increasing court facilities and staff. There are many issues that need to be addressed which I have briefly touched upon here (paras 18 to 24) and here

F - Other issues

Several other important issues that must be addressed such as ending moral paternalism,  sustainable development and planning, constitutional revision, child-care, employment, energy poverty, electoral reform and so on. 

The Choice


I confess that, being a social democrat firmly on the side of the liberal left, the most obvious choice would be to choose AD in these elections. However, you would be mistaken to think that it is so straight-forward. AD has made grave errors in this election and it is not infallible or beyond reproach. AD is right to claim that is has been consistent and progressive. Yet, in claiming the mantle of "the voice of reason" it has zealously overstepped limits of even basic courtesy and manners by dubbing anyone who votes otherwise as "tribalist", "sheep" or unable to "think freely". This is insulting to say the least and betrays its progressivism and inclusiveness by giving way to quasi-unbridled arrogance which really puts me off. It seems that AD has become an exclusive club that measures intelligence and free-thinking on the basis of your vote. I am also completely against the "PNPL-dichotomy" label because it is a historical falsity. It is PN which has been in power for the last 25 years and not PL. There is no wrong in differentiating oneself from other parties (actually this is a sine-qua-non in politics) but to lump all the country's faults as "PLPN" is misleading.


The only thing that PN has going for it is the relative economic stability in a turbulent economic climate. Of course this has to be qualified by conservative and prudent banking policies. And to be fair, one must conduct a thorough audit of all public authorities and corporations to be able to get a better picture of the state's finances. Other than that PN represents the status-quo defined in my opening paragraph. No chance.


This leaves PL. The thing that put me off most about PL throughout this entire campaign was Muscat's answer to push-backs on asylum-seekers, even if he has qualified this insofar as Libya is a "safe country". Secondly, the hunting issue will cost more votes than gained; that is a certainty. I don't appreciate hunting and  have difficulty appreciating law-breaking hunters even more than hunting itself. But the portrayal of Muscat as a reckless gun-toting-bird-killing redneck  irks me when you consider that he has been very clear: hunting strictly within EU-law framework and increase in enforcement. If you are truly against hunting then criticize the law that allows it to happen in the first place including the judgement that allowed for a spring-hunting derogation under strict supervision. Furthermore, if you are truly against hunting you should call for it to be banned outright. In my opinion, Muscat's true mistake on this issue was not inviting ENGO's such as Bird-Life to also have a seat at the table of discussion. Because of this omission, ENGO anger is merited.

Whilst there are clear red-lines for me on immigration, I will not base my entire vote on spring hunting as the major issue of this campaign. One has to also acknowledge the fact that it is simply not possible to agree with absolutely everything. If I want a party with which I can agree with 100% I'll just go and become a candidate myself. Indeed, Michael Briguglio himself had disagreements in 2008 with AD. Unlike Briguglio, however, I do not think that either-all-or-none is a valid approach to take. I will not abandon ship (as I've done before) but do my damnedest to vocally-crticise and sway opinion, and I do believe that Muscat is not averse to changing his opinion.

These issues aside, PL has opened up. It has been firm and consistent on the need for change from the status-quo, as it has been firm on equality, transparency and accountability.


Sorry to disappoint, but my "very limited cognitive faculties-cum-tribal instinct" tells me to vote for PL candidates best placed to bring about change. Don't worry though, insults aside, AD will still get my cross-vote, with a higher preference than you may think. 

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