“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished
by being governed by those who are dumber” (A Paraphrasing of Plato)
It irks me that in this day and age we still have to discuss the obvious when it comes to talking about the Maltese political scene. I originally had the pleasant feeling that the blogosphere was in agreement on one important issue… the need of change and a move away from the dualisms and MLPN entrenchment. I was more than glad when Immanuel (a blogger who I have had many an opportunity to disagree with) blogged his mini-manifesto for change here. If anything this showed that we have a number of things in common:
a) We chose to disengage from the current system of politics. We see through the miasma of rubbish that is churned out by the MLPN (and more recently AD has joined them in its methodology) and opt to be non-political or rather non-partisan.
b) We believe in the need for change: We agree that the real bidla (change) is still to come. It is not found in a pseudo-christian democrat knee jerk reaction document that ignores the truths of a society at a loss morally and economically but elsewhere.
c) We believe that it takes a break in mentality: An independence of the mind. An intelligent empowered mind that thinks outside the box but for the box. We agree that thinking outside the duality is not against the duality but a necessary tool so as to reach a new order.
d) We recognise the chaos of the present system: A chaos that is manifested by misplaced priorities and the birth of extreme movements that take advantage of uncertainty.
People like us see the need of a NEW POLITICS. The new beginningbeginning is in the medium as well as in the result. Unless that is understood it is useless to continue to preach. It is very difficult to think outside the normal mindset. The recent reply here to a comment of mine here is a clear example of the difficult struggle for a change in mindset.Arcibald’s original statement was to the effect that Gonzi’s government would lose an election even if it contested it alone but as long as Sant and MLP are there it is not so sure. The import is that the PN do not win elections but it is Sant that loses them. I added in the comments that this is the typical comment of a Nationalist who says that he would vote Labour were it not for Sant.
Mark took exception to this statement and blogged that such Nationalists who make this statement are either (a) naive or (b) gullible voters who believe the mantras by PN about Sant’s fallibility. (He also added the usual alternative argument mentioning Varist Bartolo and Anglu Farrugia as credible alternatives which would still push off PN voters!).
Now, to begin with I feel that the lack of respect for the hesitant voter is another aspect of old style politics. The label of “irresponsible voter” was slapped on to me the times I voted for AD. Most of the flak on my wasted vote came from the PN camp. I was not admitting hesitation there… I was clearly stating that I voted for another party. Now in our island, even hesitating about voting is a no-go area. Old style politics requires allegiance. Old style politics requires that at most you can consider reshuffling your party (good luck) but never switching to another party.
And it is in this age of old style politics that we begin to see the hesitant people. We had the labourites switching to vote for Europe in a referendum, we had the discontent nationalists voting AD for Europe. True no such switch has happened during election days and this is no thanks to Eddie’s dire warnings or Freddie’s incompetence. I resent however the attack on naivete. Even if I was not the one being referred to (especially since I know that I WOULD vote for a better choice) I still find the attack of naivete insulting.
To begin with, they are hesitant. They are the seeds of doubt that are sown in the cracks of the system. Not many can change. Not many will make the big step. Yes maybe the big propaganda machine of MLPN will turn them back on the eve of the election (as has been done before). There minor doubt must not be laughed at but cultivated and encouraged. They must be allowed to think freely. They cannot be labeled traitors before they even start to walk!
A bigger concern of mine is that this ludicrous allegation against these hesitant voters normally comes from the Labour camp. It could be a psychological reaction tantamount to the reaction to the kid who switches to the winning side on the last minute. It is almost a “We do not want you aboard. We have suffered the ignominy (only in Malta is Opposition a shameful position and not something from which constructive elements can be had) of opposition and we do not want you with us now that the moment of “victory” is almost here. We want to be able to point at you and laugh from the heights of Castille in the same way as we will point at all those nasty nasty nationalists who have terrorised us labourites and Dr. Saint for so long”. This is a hunch of mine. it is a hunch that the labourite in opposition wants to gain power for revenge (unlike the nationalist who wants to gain power for economic and social gain) and he has no place for last-minute turncoats.
Having said all that, we must admit that this is all Oldspeak. The rules of engagement in this kind of reasoning are still entrenched in the tribalistic dualist mentality of always. What I call Old Politics. It was Politics for Beginners. But an old fashioned politics for those who are still interested in initiation into the system.
Yes, you are entitled to believe that maybe a hesitant nationalist is a naive victim of some propaganda machine and he will never vote for Sant (incredible) Bartolo (vengeful) or Farrugia (incompetent) as much as you might believe that he might even vote for a Lino Spiteri (intelligent). You are entitled to go on living in the world of categorisation based on collective conscience, victimisation, revenge and whatsnot. You are entitled to believe that the only way out is that one day everyone will wake up and miraculously decide to vote for Harry and the Golf Course Greens. You are entitled to keep on living in the past.
Politics for beginners must no longer remain the same litany. It must no longer remain the Idiots Guide to Politics or Maltese Prejudices Made Simple. It is time to begin the change. The real change. It is time that we get the few heads that are outside the box together and like Immanuel (and myself in earlier posts) begin to chart a possible way out. It is time that we accept the label of idealists and show the realists that we mean business.
It is time that we Begin the Politics.