(Alas) Daphne’s Right

What follows is a letter that was NOT sent to the Malta Independent on Sunday for a number of reasons. It is a reply to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s article entitled “Settle down and read this, please“.

***
It has become a weird habit of politicians to apologise to editors for the space they use up in the letters pages whenever they write in with their contribution. Now I am neither a politician nor am I the apologetic type but I do feel a tinge of guilt that the subject matter of this letter requires more space than is the norm for a letter to the editor which in most circumstances should be short and to the point.

In her article last Sunday, columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia berated the “tiresome lawyer” Claire Bonello for ‘relentlessly whining’ against all that is Nationalist as well as for not declaring her bias towards Alternattiva Demokratika. There is much to be said about the necessity of declaring a bias that is obvious for all to see but that is not why I put fingers to keyboard to contribute to this discussion. What really interests me is the issue of “basic electoral mathematics” so ably brought up by Daphne – the matter of wasted votes.

It is a uniquely magical effect of this country’s electoral laws that give us a situation where – and Claire will surely pardon me for adapting her poster – you “Vote Harry, Get Freddie”. Daphne is right. So right on the issue of these peddling Alternattiva vote-catchers who prey on the arithmetically challenged chatterers of the Sliema Bourgeoisie. Surely they are aware that the votes they crave for their leader will be flushed down the electoral toilet. A vote for Alternattiva is the electoral equivalent of Professor Refalo’s negative marking in the Constitutional law exams for first year law students. You don’t just waste your vote, it’s also less votes for PN and hey presto one more feather in Freddie’s cap.

How funny that I should mention Constitutional law. That very constitution against which the laws of the land should be tested – the kelsenian grundnorm that guarantees that we live in a democratic country and not in a Banana Republic. Daphne is right. The current electoral formula does not allow you to focus on the party you want in power. It does not allow you to say “Hey. I don’t like the nationalists. I not even vote for the MLP when I’m dead lest my vote be counted with that of the living. Then why not vote for AD?”

Why not indeed. It seems that when you think that way you choose to ignore the ominous presence of a potentially disastrous party ready to pounce on Castille. Daphne believes that asking people to vote AD means ignoring the existence of MLP. Something like the child wishing the monster away and hoping the adults will deal with it. Which could be true. Only there is a bit of twisted logic in that too. It may be a step up from basic arithmetic but I am sure Daphne could bear with me as I explain.

You see the problem is that, as the European Parliament elections proved, given the chance 20,000 or so individuals would vote for a different kind of politician. Let me be clear about this. It does not necessarily have to be Alternattiva. My interest is the breaking of the stranglehold of bipartisan politics – and Alternattiva is currently the only plausible alternative I can think of. I see it as a Trojan Horse into the fortified battlements of MLPN. Getting rid of the dichotomy means getting rid of the parochial way of thinking and governing.

So, given the chance people will change voting habits. The bigwigs at MLPN noticed that and last year they dealt the final blow to this possibility. They took away the chance for thousands of voters (even Daphne’s chance) to vote for another party when irked with the two of them. They created the mathematical formula that underlies Daphne’s argument. She is right. Of course she is right. Under the present magical formula concocted by the PN and passed unanimously in parliament, 20,000 votes spread among the 13 districts of the country can be lost. A party garnering 20,000 votes will not get one single seat in parliament. The magic words “proportional representation” have been neutered to an insulting situation where: if, and only if, two parties get elected to parliament under the present system then the seats shall be allocated proportionally to their national vote.

Daphne is right. What she is telling us is this. If you were ever thinking of changing the political spectrum in this country you have been royally screwed. The disincentive first trumpeted to the masses by then PM Fenech Adami – vote AD get Labour – is now here to stay. In one fell sweep, PN got rid of the only party that could seriously challenge its programs with an alternative vision of doing politics. It was one fell sweep that guaranteed the status quo in our political scene. What we have is an alternating chair. So long as Labour remain the band of inept politicians that the PN machinery depict, then PN’s place in government is virtually guaranteed.

Sorry Claire. You cannot go on campaigning without showing the second half of your poster. No “Vote Harry” without “Get Freddy”. I have other plans on my mind. You see Daphne, I too am one of the chatterers. I would love to not have been brutally disenfranchised by the electoral reforms. Like you I am often baffled at the way politicians in this country are ineffective because they live secure to see another day – since electoral scrutiny has turned into a PN vs. MLP farce. Our paths split the day you decided to accept the way MLPN voted to hold your vote to ransom.

I am fully aware of the repercussions of voting AD. I am fully aware of the “wasted vote syndrome” in our elections. Unlike you however I think that the responsibility is not mine to bear but that of MLPN and their electoral reform. Come election day I will exercise my right to vote. I will continue to use my vote to provoke change in Maltese politics. And the day my vote for Harry translates to a vote for Freddie I do not believe I should be the one to do the worrying… I’ll leave that to whoever came up with this wonderful idea that my vote is worthless and worth wasting.

The ball is in their court.
***
This post also appears in The Malta Chronicle.

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69 responses to “(Alas) Daphne’s Right

  1. AD would never get 20,000 votes anyway. The great majority of the few thousands of votes that they`ll get will be those of protest voters who got fed up of MLPN and will just tick AD without actually knowing anything about AD itself. Moreover, I beleive that AD won’t even get those “few thousands” since these voters will now vote for AN (per carita,`a party withs some good ideas but totally leaderless and rudderless).
    AD is doomed to be a folkloristic part of the Maltese elections………..again.

  2. Malcolm Bonnici

    Wonderful!!! Pity you did not send it to the Malta Independent. Yes I’m with you on this. Given election time I will vote freely. If my vote goes to waste, it’s the ones that came up with this idea’s problem. I will not be blackmailed into voting the party I don’t want to vote for a fear of my vote going to waste.

  3. Jacques and Malcolm are right
    As usual Jacques has summed up the situation correctly. Both the MLP and Pn do not realise that for some people, the greatest worry is not that the PN dont make it, or the sceptre of Sant raising it’s ugly head. Our biggest concern is that the present one-party rule continues unabated. I will vote FOR the party I want and not AGAINST a party others tell me to vote against. If that’s a wasted vote for Gonzi or Sant, that’s their tough luck – they should have come up with a fairer electoral system.

  4. Hey, Jacques. Of course it’s not your problem: you live in Luxembourg. You can vote, get on a plane back home, and leave us with Sant as prime minister. Sadly, I don’t have the luxury of doing the same. Unlike you, I have to live with the consequences of my actions – hell, I even have to live with the consequences of YOUR actions. Like I said, there’s no room for romantic notions in elections: Britain, the world’s oldest democracy with the mother of all parliaments, is still dominated by the Conservatives and Labour, even though there’s a liberal party there, somewhere. Keep well. Daphne

  5. Claire: My worry is not one-party rule. My worry is two-party hegemony and a political system with no values or vision. My worry is that under this system MLPN are more and more cocksure. They will sell off the foreshore to the highest bidder. They will mismanage issues which lose them votes like hunting, divorce, church-state relationship, transport, cultural planning and more. I know a coalition won’t save anything. It will probably be AD’s death warrant – all they need is to slip once, never to be elected again.

    Daphne: If it was really not my problem I would not worry about it all year round. UNlike most people I live politics on a daily basis and bungled decisions, firework factory explosions, MEPA disasters, sale of public land for development and other MLPN fandangoes do not make me any happier. Maybe I do feel a bit of a wankellectual snob when I say that I see much farther than the current election. So what? You are happy to be royally screwed by PN who knew it would come to the wasted vote argument when they passed the electoral laws? I am not. They knew that more and more people would be considering a different vote – what best way to dissuade them than turn it into a wasted vote? What stopped them from putting a national quota for a number o seats in Parliament? Nothing. Except that they knew that it would open the doors to AD and any other party that takes politics seriously.

    You criticised Arnold and his Italian switch. So be it. But Arnold is not the voters. Beyond the man you attacked are the voters who would williungly go for something new… and for heaven’s sake not Harry dressed as a Nationalist… what kind of change is that?

    No Daphne it is not my actions that have these consequences. It is Tonio Borg’s and his electoral reform. I am nobody’s instrument to be played at will. I am no puppet and never will be. Does Sant worry me? The prospect does. Of course it does. But then I would be unfair to myself and my principles if I were to vote for a party that thinks it can take me for a ride whenever it wants.

    This is not a romantic notion. It is reality. The future of our country is also determined by this kind of vote. MLPN are dry, empty machines only geared for winning power and staying hooked onto it come what may. IS it really quichotic to embark on a movement to change the way politics is made daily? Not really.

    Today the electoral reforms. Tomorrow an independent cabinet answerable to a proportionally elected parliament within a presidential system. Detach the men governing from their constant dependence on the vote – then maybe, just maybe, they will stop deciding whether or not to enforce stronger fireworks regulations depending on the effect it has on votes.

    Thanks for passing by and keep well yourself.

    P.S. The liberals in the UK also serve their purpose. They put the Tories and Labourites on guard whenever they are slacking. Too often we underestimate the electorates intelligence when it comes to poking its leaders into action!

  6. So, the question should be:

    What’s the priority for Malta in 2008:
    a) having an electoral reform
    or
    b) not having Sant in Castille?

    That is the question

  7. Jacques, I honestly cannt understand your constant demonisation of the PN. May I remind you and everybody else in here the ‘dark 80s’ dominated by a horrific socialist rule (of which Sant was a key player). If it was’nt for the PN most of you in this blog would not have been able to pursue secondary and tertiary education.
    May I also remind you other PN acheivements: EU membership, entry in Eurozone, rdeuction of public debt, positive GDP etc..
    Admittedly PN has been in power for too long and corruption is at the order of the day but still I canot feel a breath of fresh air coming from the opposition.
    With regards to AD, I repeat ad nauseam – this is a leftist pressure group which consequently can afford to speak and criticise freely as it has simply nothing to lose. Malta has had enough of leftist parties and ancillary organisations, these have been Europe’s scourge for a century. In Malta’s case, they are also subtly infiltrating the PN and affecting its policies and this is unacceptable.

    Jacques, you know all too well that neither party embodies my ideas and beliefs but I inevitably must agree (for once) with Daphne that, sadly, I’d rather have PN for another five long years rather than a Freddy-bis. Regards.

  8. If I’m getting it right, the main question this election is:

    What’s most important for Malta in 2008 – that I send the PN a message that I’m against the recent electoral reform OR that we have to spare Malta five rollercoaster years of Sant?

    That is the question.

  9. David Friggieri

    Time and time again we take it as a given that only a minute percentage of traditionally Labour voters vote Alternattiva. In fact the impression is given that ALL Alternattiva votes come from the PN side. Is nobody in Labour fed up with MLPN? Are they still ALL voting tribally in 2007?

    La question s’impose…

  10. So the only argument in favour of a PN government is that Sant is worse? or that a vote to AD is wasted? is this the Rebbiegha Gdida that this government promised? Wow, that’s a positive way to look at the future.

    Anton, so i should not vote MLP today because of the ‘Dark 80’s’? If that’s a valid argument why not ‘Do not vote PN because of the 60’s!’ Does it make sense? Of course not. I will vote for whoever is competent to govern TODAY or whoever i deem fit to deserve my vote!!!!

  11. Anton says he can’t understand what he calls Jacques “constant deminisation of the PN”. deminisation is not really jacques’ style and it is taken as given that progress has been made during the PN’s term of office. However it’s supremely arrogant to think that all this was achieved exclusively by Gonzi and Cabinet without any help, initiative or support from the electorate. Moreover we don’t have to be beholden to the Nationalists for “giving” us capital projects, etc. – that’s what the government is there for.
    There is this hysterical portrayal of MLP as everything wrong and un-European. There is hardly any mention of the PN government’s dragging its feet and creative interpretation of sticking to European laws and standards for – the real reason why we voted for EU accession and not because we were particularly persuaded by Taht it-Tinda ex-Labour converts like Eileen Montesin. Under a Nationalist government we have seen the PN turn somersaults to evade its obligations under European law – hunting and building messes are just a couple of cases in point. I don’t expect there to be any change if Labour gets elected. If AD gets in then there might be a change for the better. And if my AD vote is wasted, well then blame Laurence not me.

  12. I’m with you too Jacques. I find the idea that a vote for AD is automatically one less vote for the PN the pinnacle of PN arrogance, not to mention more insulting than Josie’s face on a billboard. The PN seem to assume that my vote belongs to them, and me going out on election Saturday is just a formality. You want my vote, you earn it punk. You’re not going to scare me out of it. Gonzi, Borg and Fenech can kiss my arse come election time.

  13. Claire:
    1) I wrote and meant “demOnisation” not deminisation.
    2} Certainly the country’s progress in all aspects has to be attributed to Gonzi’s government since decision-making lies in his hands (diamo a Cesare quello che e` di Cesare). Obviously the Maltese people elected him into power, ergo they participate in the success.
    3) Capital projects are useful and important for the country. However, something went very wrong in these years since everybody witnessed and is still witnessing the constan rape of our homeland. Something has to be done to regulate EFFICIENTLY and IMMEDIATELY all this without hampering development.
    4) Unfortunately, the impression Sant gives is that his party is at least, not pro-Europe. I’m certainly not to balme for that.
    5) Somersaulting EU rules on hunting is part of the political game, a desperate but justifiable attempt to prevent the haemorrhage of votes from PN. At one point it will come to an end.
    6) AD in parliament does not necessarily imply a change for the better. Actually it would be quite theopposite.

    Rupert:
    1) Il paragone 60s with 80s non regge, sorry.
    2) I never said that we should vote PN because of the red 80s. I just reminded everybody that Sant was MLP president during that period and that during that same period most of us in this blog were not even allowed to attend school.

    Saluti.

  14. Anton, excuse the typo (mine)
    1) If we have to give Gonzi( adesso anche in veste di Imperatore Romano) credit for the positive aspects during his term, then we also have to blame him for the negative aspects of it – and there are many. Contrarily to the black and white fairy tale story of Malta’s recent history, we do not live and have not lived through two decades of gloriously spotless PN achievements and nefarious MLP activity. The PN is dependent on the business and construction lobby for its cash. This has lead it to have selective bouts o amnesia when it comes to certain issues such as permitting more parts of our countryside to be developed – when there is no specific need for this. It was the PN not the MLP which said “let’s increase the development zones”, It was the PN which allowed MEPA to become what it is. It was the PN which allowed a fireworks actory to start operating again practically next door to people’s residence. It was the PN not the MLP which has presided over late completion of capital projects which came in above budget. All the PN can say to this is “But the MLP Bugibba project was also above budget”. Well – there’s no choice between six of one and half a dozen of the other. I’m not taking either.
    – So wriggling out of EU rules is a political game which will come to a stop, and it is desperate but justifiable. When do things stop being justifiable for the PN? This kind of talk reminds me of the situation in Italy some years ago when people would make all kinds off pacts with the devil (or the Mafia) to keep the Communists out.
    – I dont have the gift of prophecy but I’m willing to give AD a chance. Incidentally – to end on a lighter note – I heard that a fortune teller in Malta has predicted that MLP will win.

  15. Capital projects: something went wrong? Yes of course … another donation for the PN Sur Caqnu?

    Somersaults and hunting: justifiable…of course, as long as it’s PN it’s justifiable isn’t it?

    Hail PN, God’s gift to Malta!

  16. David Friggieri

    Come out of the woodwork you traditional Labour voter! Come and debate with all the former blue voters hogging this fair blog? Don’t be shy, tell us what you think. Share your views, give us your take on things. Why haven’t the reds warmed up to Harry and Mike although they’re far more left-leaning than a good number of chaps in Sant’s Gang? And remember – Wenzu and Toni were Green too at one point.

    Hello! Hello! Can you hear me?

    Oops, the line’s gone dead.

  17. Why is it that all these comments are pouring in on the day I am buried with work?

  18. hehe!! Christ!! not nationalist…then you’re LABOUR! maaaaa!

    no further comments.

  19. Anton, i am not comparing the 60’s with the 80’s, no one can compare human suffering. For most Labourites, the 60’s were much worse but still it does not make the 80’s better. Both periods are ‘dark’. If you are so keen to giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s, then you have to acknowledge that it was Sant that cleansed the Labour Party. My point remains one; the PN has to convince me to vote for them for what they have to offer and not because the others are worse.

    This attitude reminds of Mintoff – min mhux maghna, kontra taghna!!!!

    (Just a small not Anton – leftist parties and ancillary organisations, these have been Europe’s scourge for a century – were you referring to Mussolini, Hitler and Franco?)

  20. Rupert, I’m not so sure whether Sant has really cleaned the Labour Party. Time has yet to tell.

  21. First, the Greens will not elect any MPs come next general election. Not because they system is loaded against them but because with the kind of electoral support they have in Malta they wouldn’t elect anyone under any system. So that rules out all talk of coalitions.

    Second, appeals like Daphne’s are not directed at those who genuinely believe that the Nationalists are as bad as Labour. They are stuck in the “MLPN” meme and, despite being all for the EU, risk us membership in the 2003 election either because their ego was too big or they did not want to face up the simple maths.

    Third, this is Sant Mark II (qisu Ford Escort). Some people seem to have forgotten the lesson of 1996-98: this is a politician who’s ready to risk the most opportunistic policies to be voted in office. The Maltese electorate then has to pay for the consequences. The same things are happening now from the promise to slash the surcharge by 50% on assuming office (setting the Maltese exchequer by some €60 million) and creating a massive loophole in income tax with the exemption on overtime,

    You’ve been warned and seen this before. If you still want to give a hand to Labour, go ahead: Enjoy Sant.

  22. Carissimo Rupert, stendo un velo pietoso.

  23. I have always voted PN. This time l will vote AD.

    Here is why I won’t faint when I will fold the ballot paper with a nice ‘1’ in the AD box:

    PN would prefer to have MLP winning than having AD in parliament. MLP would prefer to have PN winning than having AD in parliament. That is the MLP-PN electoral agreement in layman’s terms. (It’s the power, stupid!)

    For both of them, its better to wait (even another) 5 years than losing the bipolar hegemony.

    For you who have not understood, please allow me: GONZI PREFERS TO HAVE SANT AS PRIME MINISTER THAN HAVING HARRY VASSALLO WITH PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY. Of course they wont say that on Neeeet Tiiii Viiii.

    Now, just like you Daphne, I am a great admirer of Harry Vassallo. Also like you, I find Harry to be honest, decent and articulate.

    So… if Gonzi and the Tal-Pieta’ gurus prefer a Prime Minister Sant than 1 (one) seat to Harry… if Sant and the hopless miserable lot around him prefer a Prime Minister Gonzi than 1 (one) seat to Harry… can anyone, (perhaps Daphne) tell me why the hell should I be bothered with any collateral effects of voting for Harry?

  24. PN would prefer to have MLP winning than having AD in parliament. MLP would prefer to have PN winning than having AD in parliament. That is the MLP-PN electoral agreement in layman’s terms. (It’s the power, stupid!)

    So the Nationalists would rather go in Opposition than have the Greens in Parliament. And you’re telling is “it’s the power, stupid”?

  25. For once I must agree with Fausto on the pathetic “MLPN meme”. Pity you ruined everything at the end with the infamous cliche “enjoy Sant”……

  26. Ok. So who’s still awake? Just a little rollcall. Congrats guys you’ve hit 400 today and that means you’ve broken the Bocca barrier. (Last time J’accuse approached 400 in one day it was thanks to a Bocca mention on the Times).

    Daphne’s Right* 1 – Bocca Barrier 0

    I’m off to shave.It’s past midnight boys. Go to sleep or Harry will come and get you!

  27. Majistral,
    I’m a bit let down having to even explain this. YES, THE NATIONALISTS WOULD RATHER GO IN OPPOSITION THAN HAVE THE GREENS IN PARLIAMENT.
    Otherwise why opting for a behind-the curtains electoral agreement with MLP that secures both parties a 50% chance win and practically removes ADs chances for a seat in Parliament?

    Yes IT’S THE POWER, STUPID! MLPN are ready to share the parliament between them to preserve their bipolar party hold on Maltese politics. To preserve the alternating system which assures them 5-year absolute P O W E R. If not this time, in 5 years time.

    Majistralo, look I know I can’t convince you, and I never meant to, so I would honestly recommend you not to waste precious time around here and go have your Ovaltine in front of your Ciappara on Net News. There sure you will get a perfect explanation of the political chess game in pathetic Malta 🙂

    Passo e’ chiudo.

  28. A vote for AD is a vote for AD is a vote for AD. This is a fact and no vote is ‘wasted’ because the ballot box is not merely a means to choose bottoms for parliamentary seat-warming, but also an expression of public opinion. AD represents several things that MLP and PN do not (as do the reprehensible small parties for that matter).

    But, to be fair to Daphne, if you want your vote to count towards who will form the next government then a vote for a party other than MLP or PN is a wasted vote. This is an absolute constitutional truth. The duopoloy has made certain of that. If the choice between PM Sant or PM Gonzi is foremost in your mind, then take your pick. There is an undeniable conundrum here because the truth is that to most people one or the other option is a scary thought and to my mind it would be irresponsible to ignore the bigger picture. With that in mind, there is nothing wrong with using an absolute constitutional truth to implore people to be patient about issues that will not be affected by the forthcoming election.

    On another note, change can be brought about from the bottom up. Local councils would be the best place for AD to focus their energies, to learn about governance and to prove themselves. Their failure to make a bigger splash at a local level is telling. Having run elections at university, I know that it does not take a genius or a banker to draw out a few hundred votes and to convince people of a different political tradition to one’s own. If AD were to prove their worth and make that widely known at a local level, this would have a far greater impact on the MLPN duopoly than any general election will. Constitutional change would follow.

  29. Addendum: AD should be fighting to control local councils by now, not merely struggling to be represented. At a local level they could have a huge impact on green issues.

  30. There is only one certainty in this election; that if MLP or PN are left to govern on their own, then it will not be Alfred Sant or Lawrence Gonzi to run this country but the handful of oligarchs who finance them.

    If you have not understood this basic truth then we are not living in the same country, or you are stone drunk on NET or Super1.

    This country is now an oligarchy and soon approaching kleptocracy.

    Only with a third party in will things change.

    That’s my VISION 2008

  31. A vote for AD will be a vote less for the PN? I don’t think so. It is true that many AD voters are dissident PN. However, many of these, in the case there was no AD, they would not vote PN anyway. They will just not vote. An THAT is definitely a wasted vote.

    AD talks about a new way of doing politics. I believe that one should vote mainly on this basis:
    1) What is this party offering (in terms of policies)?
    2) Do I have credibility that they are willing to do what they promised?

    MLP would definitely lack on the first one, while the PN have shown clearly their lack of credivility.

    I will vote AD because the answer for these two questions is Yes and Yes

  32. Does anyone honestly believe that AD stand any chance of electing an MP? Does anyone believe that any MLP voters are going to vote AD? If you answer “no” to both these then no amount of clever arguments are going to change the fact that a vote not given to the PN will result in an MLP government. If you are happy with that consequence than fine! I don’t believe Sant and his team will do a better job than the PN, so I have to vote PN. I care about the environment, restriction of hunting and electoral reform, but I don’t believe that an MLP government will do better on these issues.

  33. I will vote AD because the answer for these two questions is Yes and Yes.

    AD have very little to offer in terms of policies which they often seem to confuse with policy objectives (e.g. as is the case on rent reform) and as to the credibility of willing to do what they promise … that’s a bit of a leap of faith on your part, isn’t it? Is there a track record to refer to?

  34. Dilemmas:

    Adrian: I too care about environment, restrictions on hunting and electoral reform. EU membership guarantees me that the first two will be safeguarded notwithstanding and not thanks to successive governments reluctant to irritate pressure groups of the electorate. So pragmatically speaking MLP and PN will lead to the same results in both. Pn’s “track record” on hunting is sit and wait for the Commission to do the brow beating into disciplined hunting. Not much to vote for there. As for electoral reform the “track record” of MLP and PN is such to make AD win positive points on that one too.

    Fausto: So we are to choose between MLPN track record of the last 30 years and a possibly new, yet untested scenario (AD or potential future parties). Erm maybe that is what some of us mean when we speak of change in politics. Now since when does change (as in moving on to something new) mean voting for something that is already tried and tested. In my book change means voting differently from the tried and tested because there is obvioulsy something wrong with the tried and tested no matter how you look at it. Your argument: never vote for change but vote for the least harmful of the two tried and tested method is precisely the kind of choice many people are no longer happy to make. Independently of Alternattiva Demokratika.

    How do you solve these dilemmas? I think we keep looking at a multi-faceted problem and describing it in different ways. There is no straight answer. Voting is a choice. The implications of the choice this time include whether or not people are prepared, as Adrian says, to pass on the message that enough is enough. The “wasted vote” argument only reinforces each side’s position and will not help convert one side or the other.

    The ultimate question is: Is a change from MLPN politics your number one priority when you consider voting? If yes either vote AD or don’t vote. If you still have the Pn inspired conscience that MLP would be too harmful then vote PN. If you believe that MLP can bring about the change to the political scene then vote MLP.

    I think I am close to making my choice. PN’s state is most worrying. MLP delusions of change have long been clear. PN is running a whole campaign based on an implicit admission of being the lesser evil. That is even more worrying than the evil we already know. Both parties have abdicated from politics of vision and shifted their strategies completely to the politics of manipulation. That is most worrying. Every argument against voting for AD is based on the described formula. That intelligent voters like you are happy with that is their problem and in my opinion and from my perspective it should weigh on their conscience too.

    What I feel essentially is that we are voting on the kind of politics we want and that this will have a much deeped long term effect on our country and its development than the much vaunted PN idea of a bumbling Labour government. As for Labour it has less managerial lackeys than PN, less clarity of vision in the short term (less effective bluff) and will once again provide us with knee-jerk politics. Thanks to the EU straightjacket that intelligent voters were bright enough to vote for in 2003 the damage limitation exercise is already in place. Much as Daphne would disagree, Sant has less leeway to cause damage than last time round (should you subscribe to the PN argument of Sant is danger). No Partnership for Peace to get out of no VAt to dismantle.

    At most we will see one more burst of disciplinarian measures to create an effective civil service, a number of measures to counterbalance the promised tax breaks (which measures will be the PN prize for opposition) and of course the usual flurries of replacement of friends of friends with friends of the other friends. That, is the politics everyone accepts… even when they vote PN!

  35. Lets state the FACTS as they are and as they should be.

    1) Everyone is free to vote to whichever party he/she prefers, irrespective of whether the vote will be ‘wasted’or not.

    2) Anche i muri sanno che AD will not and never will elect an MP. Ergo the potential AD voter knows that his vote will indirectly favour one particular party. It is up to him to decide whether he should still perist with his AD vote or not (for the sake of the common good – as most of you leftists would call it).

    3) Being merely a pressure group, AD does not have a holistic approach to politics. All they are interested in is environment, birds and getting in as many illegal immigrants as possible.

    4) Every sizeable party in the world has its funders and hbieb tal-hbieb, useless denying that. It is only natural that certain organizations are favoured when one party is in power rather than the other. It is however crucial that at the end national interest prevails.

    5) Our problem in Malta is Alfred Sant. I do admire the man for his intellectual background but he is certainly far from being a politician. We all know what mess he made in less than two years in power….. I’m sorry but I dont give second chances, its me….

    6) Back to 1.

    Enjoy.

  36. Let’s face it what does AD stand for except as a collector of voters disillusioned with the MLP and PN. I think that we should be talking more about issues where is Malta going and what needs to be fixed or improved.

    EH

  37. I have been canvassing my district since May 2007. None of the results appear in nationwide polls. We will make it to parliament in 2008.It is time to give us feedback on what you want to see us do there once we will have our first MPs. AD has attained critical mass in some key districts which means that we will be elected in some while in others we are so close that the dilemma for ditherers is different. if they do not vote for us they will be ensuring that they get what they do not want. It pains me to gine them yet another dilemma.
    However they have got quite acclimatized to choosing the corrupt over the violent and the arrogant over the incompetent. Now they have another choice> to be part of the proiblem or to be part of the solution.

  38. Anton calls his prejudices FACTS. Our problem in Malta is corrupt parties like the PN and the MLP…. and the exagerated spin by the PN which is still swallowed whole by supposedly intyelligent persons!

    FACT 1: PN and MLP – finanaced by buiding ‘contractors’ (read: millionaires). PN in government for 18 years plus so the link is obviously more visible. When are ‘national interests’ prevailing??

    FACT 2: Pressure groups: pressure groups do not conterst elections. This old PN spin is simply pathetic…well what do you expect from a party which despite its full time employees (paid for by Caqnu!) copies Sarkozy’s pposters practically exactly!! hehe!

    FACT 3: Daphne is a mercenary. So much for her ‘independence’. Today her article was on the same subject as PN’s latest billboard put up last night. RCC at work again!

    FACT 4: Nationalists cannot stand being told that their party is as corrupt as Labour’s 80s (minus the physucal violence)… ask any other party activist (not from PN) about the pressures at work just because they happen not to support the current mandarins.

    FACT 5: Visit http://carmelcacopardo.com … straight from the horse’s mouth.

    FACT 6: The usual comment by a dyed in the wool nationalist if you criticize his/her great glorius party and supreme leader: INT LABURIST!! hehe what a bunch of wankellectuals! It’s time to go boys.

    FACT 7: voting out of irrational fears is erm… funny?
    Maybe I can talk this way because I will not be held at ransom by anyone and I do not give a F.C.U.K. if Alfred or Lawrence is PM. The message is in my vote (mhux fid-diska)

    Phew…it was liberating writing that! 🙂

  39. oh..another thing about the pressure groups thing…wasn’t it great for a ‘pressure group’ to get 23,000 votes in EP elections? and the non-pressure groups all getting below 50%? wasn’t it fun seeing PN’s tantrums all over the press?! oh what a day!!

  40. Iva, Flimkien Kollox Possibbli
    GONZI PN 2008

    I was still hoping that PN had not really built their campaign around Sarko’s Ensemble Tout Devient Possible slogan. Apperently they did. What a let down.

    And the GONZI PN logo… well i’m not really sure about the effects such a logo will have on the maltese electorate.

    It looks that things have changed at tal-Pieta.

  41. Dear Ralph,

    Pressure groups do contest elections. Norman Lowell contested the same EP elections and almost got as many votes as you did (e se permetti, SOME of his arguments made much more sense than yours) …….and you blew the victory trumpets……….ma dai siamo seri.

    Secondly, did I ever deny corruption in the PN? Would you like me to list all the mistakes they commited during their five year term, no problem, they are so numerous….

    I am not here to defend PN, I just state the facts as they are, plain and simple. No hiding, no turning back, the “truth” is always fearless.

    However, what is worrying is that I do notice a subtle sense of unjustified hatred in your words (and Harry’s) towards PN. In actual fact, you should’nt hate them at all………..sono tutti o quasi fratelli e sorelle di sinistra come voi.

    Sometimes I wish PN lose the elections really badly, so that the party undergoes a much-needed internal reform which re-transforms to its natural state, to the right of course. But it needs the right man to catalyse that metamorphosis, and as yet he is not ready to enter the battle.

    However, beyond the passion and utopia, I honestly wish you the best of luck in the forthcoming elections, anche se credo che rimarrete ancora una volta con l’amaro in bocca.

    Bon nuit mon ami.

  42. Dear Anton, Imperium Europa of Lowell is a political party (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperium_Europa), and considering your xenophobic slanderous comment about AD supposedly intending to bring as many “illegal immigrants” as possible, you should already know this by now.

  43. Bonne nuit. Pas ‘bon’ nuit, stupidotto.

  44. I apologise for the spelling mistake in the French language. Thanks for the kind comment, Mr. P, leone da tastiera. Very easy to hurl abuse on the keyboard isnt it?
    It’s not in my style to reply in the same manner………..

    Equally offensive Kenneth’s unjustified accuse of being “xenophobic”.

    I thought that comments were moderated but apparently I got the wrong impression.

    All this further proves my belief that when the left loses an argument by reason it resorts to the usual tactic of personal offence. Is this what we should expect from AD in Malta? I this the new way for politics in Malta?

    Che Dio ce la mandi buona.

    Ciao, ciao……

  45. Yes, I too thought that the comments were moderated. Then, perhaps your xenophobic slanderous comment that AD intend to bring as many “illegal immigrants” (many of them are asylum seekers with the right to assistence) as possible would have been deleted. But I suppose “leftists” are more tolerant than the far-right.

    By the way, do you still think that Imperium Europa is a pressure group and not a political party? Or has Josie taken over…che Dio la mandi buona!

  46. J’accuse Note: Comments are moderated. So long as comments are not manifestly libellous or completely out of point (like an advert for viagra pills) I prefer to let your little personal censor to act in my stead. Having said that allow me to point out that the phrase “your xenophobic comment” as well as the phrase relating to AD wanting to bring illegal immigrants are both expressions of personal opinions of the writers concerned. Although each writer might disagree with the others’ stand I do not see why both writers seem to urge me to censor or moderate in any way these views.

    It’s an opinion, if you disagree answer back… civilly and respectfully disagree, civilly and respectfully answer back. I think you are doing a good job. Argumentum ad hominem goes beyond imputing certain beliefs to others (Such as “AD wants to flood Malta with immigrants”)… an argumentum ad hominem would be “Totti Merda” and quite a good one at that!

    Chill boys and girls… we’re only at the start.

  47. I will as usual vote for PN…no need to come up with a full list of why coz it would take a lot of space…however having said all that, one must admit that this present administration, while excelling in some areas, has been performing very badly when it comes to the sense of transparency it projects of itself. It is not only a PR problem…all of us who live in Malta know of someone who should have had promotions and was not given one, would have ended up in jail and has his sentence pardoned, should have had his abusive house pulled down but a blind eye was turned, should have paid the rent for the public land he was using but again this was waivered off and so on and so forth. I will not even go into higher conflicts of interest.

    If Alternattiva manage to elect a number of seats big enough (2 or 3 seats) to bring down a government should a vote of no confience be called for, it would be ensured that while this current government continues to excel in all the areas he’s been doing well in (namely job creation, deficit reduction, the economy in general, education and development of run down places such as BIrgu and Rinella), there would be a constant pressure on him by AD to reform the rent laws and MEPA (and hopefully the presidential pardon system (more than 300 pardons have been awarded in less than 5 years).

    This is what AD aim for.

    (writing shorter sentences is what I should aim for).

    Jon

  48. Just to be clear, I never meant my post to be taken as a call for censorship. I was being sarcastic in reply to another sarcastic comment “calling for” censorship. Actually, I’d rather have an opinion I find repugnant published. It adds force to my arguments (or course, provided others would agree with me 😉

    With regards to my “xenophobia” comment being slanderous, this is false for two reasons. First of all, it is obviously my opinion which I formed out of several hints in that direction by Anton. Secondly, for a comment to be slanderous would require the person “maligned” to be known. Now, considering that Anton posts simply as “Anton”, which is tantamount to posting anonymously, it can’t be taken as slander. Not so the comment on AD.

    That said, to make it clear that NO, I would not like J’accuse to censor Anton, especially for an inconsequential comment such as that AD want to bring as much immigrants as possible, a comment which only xenophobes who would never vote AD anyway would believe.

    By the way, what was this topic about?….oh yes, I’m still on topic 😉

  49. Oh, for God’s sake, grow up – the lot of you. “If I vote AD and Sant becomes prime minister, it’s Gonzi’s fault not mine.” Yes, mummy, and it was the dog that stole the biscuits, not me. NO, IT’S YOUR FAULT IF YOU ARE FACED WITH A CHOICE BETWEEN TWO MEN AS PRIME MINISTER AND YOU VOTE TACTICALLY TO ENSURE THAT SANT IS ELECTED. If you prefer Gonzi as prime minister, vote directly for him. If you can’t tell the difference between Sant and Gonzi, then quite frankly, you either need to have your heads examined or you are so fraught with bitterness over God-knows-what that you are beyond caring. That’s the long and the short of it. Let me throw out a wild guess: you’re all about 10 years younger than I am and if any of you have kids at all, then they’re babies or toddlers. The first factor accounts for your immature outlook on life, and the second factor accounts for your selfishness. Yes, I used to think like this – when I was 26 and my kids were in kindergarten. I even voted for AD in 1992. Now I am 43 and have adult sons well on the way to making on their own life, and there is no way that I am going to vote for anyone other than the best of the two options for prime minister. But hey, guess what? That’s because I’m a grown-up, with other grown-ups to care about.

    I just love the way you’re all so critical about everything that’s happened in Malta in the last 10 years or so. What would you have said if you were 18 in 1983, like I was – unable to go to university despite having A-levels, unable to leave the country because of the restrictions on foreign currency, unable to find anything other than a job that paid the minimum wage, unable to buy the most basic things to wear and eat, unable to go out to a nightclub without the nightclub being raided at 2am and being locked in a room and searched and prevented from calling your parents to say why you’d be late? And our every weekend was spent protesting on the streets. That’s why I say: GROW UP. I mean it.

  50. Dear Daphne,

    Siamo in sintonia su questo argomento.

    I’m 33 years now and lucky enough to remember only the late 80s. If I were 10 years older I certainly would`nt have been able to be a doctor or perhaps I would have had to study in a foreign medical school, like many older colleagues of mine were forced to do. All this thanks to the MLP (Malta Labour Party or Malta League of Peasants call it as you wish) and its squallid socialist rule of which Sant was a key player. I mentioned all this in an earlier post in this blog.

    My impression too after this long, probably fruitless discussion, is that some people here really need to be more politically mature. I was aware from the start that I was playing “away” in this territory. It was clear that many of the people who post here were AD voters. What drives them to sympathise for AD is probably the sheer desire for change, no matter whether this will be positive or negative for the country, they just long for a new era in Maltese politics. Their leftist tendencies might also serve as a catalyst in their shift towrads AD. Niente di male, per carita`. Non saro` certamente io a quotare il carissimo Berlusca nel dire “chi vota la sinistra e` un coglione”………

    What I would like to debate is whether we are absolutely certain that AD will bring new life into the Maltese political scenario. Will a change from the present bipolar system be beneficial for the country? Should we change the present electoral system to accomodate a few thousand voters? What is AD’s policy on other affairs besides the environment? What is its policy on other important issues like the economy, welfare state, health system, education and is it feasible, sustainable and credible?

    A voi…..

  51. Pingback: A noi « j’accuse

  52. Isn’t Daphne the one who would wear a fur coat just to spite Peta? Daphne, YOU grow up!

    By the way, I’m 36, so stop partonising us. It’s a free country, it’s a free vote.

    Perhaps we are so critical of what’s happened in the last 10 years or so simply because we’re not stuck in the past, like all partisan fanatics are.

  53. Oops…I’m actually 37 not 36. I must stop myself from posting before 8am 🙂

  54. Geez, Daphne you’re so repetitive….. every time we are faced with an election we have to read your diatribes warning us that if we don’t note PN, labour will benefit ….
    Guess what? I don’t give a *********** about wither or not Sant is elected. And let me say this I find it rather strange that you are depicting an election as a popularity contest between Gonzi and Sant … exactly PN’s strategy ,,, but that’s an aside.

    I don’t approve of what the nationalists did in these past 5 years, i was against the extension to the development zones, against the environmental mess they’ve put the country in, against seeing all the BLUE eyed boys getting all the cushy jobs. Was this administration free from corrupt practices???? hummmmm think, think, think … Anybody who votes for the nationalists is say “I APPROVE OF WHAT THEY HAVE DONE IN THE PAST 5 YEARS” anybody body who votes for the nationalists is giving them a carte blanche to do whatever they have done in the past 5 years.

    This idea of voting PN so as not to get MLP is so pathetic, I will vote AD. I want change. I am not happy with just a change in the government. I want a change in the system and there’s only one way to get it … by voting green. Otherwise this will be a repeat of all other elections from 1992 … MORE OF THE SAME and to be honest I am sick of it. Obviously Daphne is not … hummm who knows why???  One final line, I just hate her patronizing attitude, for Christ’s sake chill out …

  55. i thought that part of being an adult and ‘growing up’ is understanding that people believe in different things and that you shouldn’t get huffy and throw a fit whenever someone does not agree with you.

    the whole point of living in a democracy is that i have the RIGHT to choose who i vote for and not be bullied into voting for a party. If this is not the case then it is the democratic deficit in our country that should be the most worrying.

  56. It seems all arguments here revolve on the fact that not voting PN will help the MLP into government. Obviously this is really unfair towards AD since if people fear the MLP it is definitely not caused by them.

    However, what really worries me is that it seems we Maltese have lost our dignity. We are having the mentality of ‘beggars are not choosers’ which is equivalent to being losers. Vote a party you are disillused with so that the other party you hate even more will not come into power.

    When are we going to start looking forward, not just backwards? AD in coalition is definitely a step forward, many Nationalist and Labourites realise it. The biggest hurdle is the politics of fear keeping us back of thinking we can be better.

    Just coming from a Scandinavian country, and following some Scandinavian politics, I realized that there exists a much better way of doing politics, as AD is trying to tell.

    Isn’t it about time to cut the chains of the past and think of moving forward?

  57. Dear Robert, coalition is not possible, sorry…

  58. I wrote a nice long comment on lots of this, but when I clicked the button, the system failed and the comment vanished, and now I can’t be bothered to write it again because I still have my column to work on. I did post something similar under Michael Falzon letter in today’s (8th) The Times on line, so if you can be bothered, much of it is there. Just a point, Jacques: how do you imagine I’ve been used to one-way commentary for 20 years, when all my contact details are public? I’ve had some very interesting return commentary, like having my house set on fire (twice), my dogs killed, and human excrement sent through the mail. One gets used to it.

    Robert’s last line got me back in: going for more parties is “cutting the chains of the past and moving forward”. No, it isn’t, and I’m quite sure that Fausto, who seems very well informed about Malta’s political history, will furnish you with more details than I can at 11.45pm. More parties is a return to the past and moving backwards, not forwards. Today’s two-party system is the result of an evolutionary process, in which myriad different parties merged or fell by the electoral wayside to eventually form the two main parties we know today. We are even returning to the past in our reference to them by the leader’s name: il-partit ta’ Sant and il-partit ta’ Gonzi, like il-partit ta’ Strickland (the one that my maternal and paternal families supported) and il-partit ta’ Boffa. The assumption seems to prevail on this blog that a two-party system is an unnatural and primitive thing that needs to be ‘evolved’ and brought into the modern world. Well, I have news for you: it is already an evolved system. It evolved over more than a century, and this what it evolved into because a two-party system seems to be what the Maltese prefer. I don’t know why you should find this so unacceptable, when it is good enough for the world’s original democracy with the oldest parliament, which has had virtually uninterrupted alternation of power between the Whigs and the Tories for 300 years. The United States has alternation of power between the Democrats and the Republicans, and it’s OK with them. A country’s party system is affected by its history, people and culture: it can’t be imposed just because some people decide there should be a third party in parliament. Somebody mentioned Italy (bad choice) and Germany the other day. Well, there are 60-year-old historical reasons in both those countries which militate against the overwhelming growth and strength of political parties. But there were also cultural reasons why fascism grew in both those countries while fascists were considered a laughing-stock in Britain, whose democratic tradition was, and still is, much stronger. Maltese people are more like the British than you think; we are certainly nothing like the Italians. AD is telling us that we are unhappy with a two-party system, but that’s just AD telling us. When I listen carefully, what I hear is not people saying that they want another party in parliament. What I hear them say is that they are unhappy with the two main parties, which is not the same thing. If those two main parties were to overhaul themselves, they would be happy with them, and AD would have no reason for existence. AD depends for its survival on the shortcomings of the ‘big’ parties, which is hardly a recipe for credibility or success.

  59. No Daphne, the British are not happy with the present system. In fact Scotland’s devolved Parliament has a system of proportional representation and there are now 5 parties at Holyrood (the smaller parties were squeezed out at the last election). In addition, there are 3 major parties in the House of Commons in London, as well as several smaller regional parties. There’s a good chance that a LibLab coalition will form the next government, but only if Labour accepts to include proportional representation in the next Queen’s speech.

    As for the United States, the constitution is notoriously difficult to amend and is in fact archaic in some respects. Think Bush vs Gore 2000.

    Your explanation of the evolution of Maltese politics omits the fact that we have a bizarre electoral system that falls somewhere in between proportional representation and our former colonial masters’ first past the post system. We might like going from PN to MLP and back, but that doesn’t mean that we would not like a political system that encourages discourse rather than clashing of heads. Moreover, if we are all so happy with a two-party system there is no danger in introducing real proportional representation (with a threshold for the sake of manageable governance).

    Finally, you singled out the UK, USA, Germany and Italy. I won’t bother listing all the countries that have multiple parties represented in Parliament today and that did not massacre millions of Jews – the list is too long and includes pretty much everyone you did not mention.

  60. Robert: However, what really worries me is that it seems we Maltese have lost our dignity. We are having the mentality of ‘beggars are not choosers’ which is equivalent to being losers. Vote a party you are disillused with so that the other party you hate even more will not come into power.

    Actually, that is a choice the Maltese electorate has which other electorates, which can only realistically expect to be governed by a coalition, do not have.

    The most dramatic case is that of the Netherlands which has three main political parties: the Liberals (on the right), the Christian Democrats (in the centre) and Labour (on the left). None can ever expect to govern alone. And their coalitions are usually either Christian Democrat-Liberal or Christian Democrat-Labour.

    Thanks to this the Christan Democrats were in government since 1917 with the exception of the war years and the period 1994-2002. They used to joke that they has been in power longer than the Communist Party of the Soviet Union!

    Not to forget Italy, of course, where no matter how far the Christian Democrat’s support and Parliamentary strength shrank they were in government — in coalitions — for fifty years.

    Or in Germany, where the Free Democrats were junior coalition partners almost uninterruptedly from the late 1950s to the late 1990s. In these countries, electorates do not/did not have a direct say in who’s in office and who’s out of office: you vote for Party A for policies 1, 2 and 3, hope it is in government (the fact that it may have the largest support does not imply an absolute Parliamentary majority) and finally hope that in its coalition talks with Party B it does not trade off policy 2 (which you like) for Party B’s policy 4 (which you think is awful).

  61. After years reading Daphne’s column this is the first time I managed to agree with both her tone and substance.

    Now while all are just debating on taxes and corruption why is no one mentioning the following points:

    1. The fact that the last time there was such an exodus of professionals (especially doctors) from our country was during the doctor’s strike. If the recent agreement between MAM and the Government is as fantastic as these two parties want everyone to beleive this situation wouldnt have taken a turn for the worst immediately after this agreement was signed.

    2: Why is no one taking a stand against the recently opened incinerator, when across the world there is a graness to this way of treating refuse? (it’s a proven fact that areas within a 75-100 kilometer range from incinerators are hit by a much higher rates of cancers and birth deformities…considering the maltese islands are less than 35 kilometers from Marsaxlokk to Dwejra I’d expect this to be a rather big issue, but apparently all parties in opposition think that the only way of ruining the environment is by pulling down trees to erect buildings)

    3. Why don’t we have a national long term energy policy?

    4. Why do we still have some substandard courses at our University? (please spare me the usual diatribe that there were only 800 students under the MLP….I vote PN already so such stupid replies are wasted on me).

    5. Also…why does everyone speak of this country as though it’s going through the lowest point in its history, conveniently forgetting that considering our history, we have the most diversified economy ever (not simply dominated by a couple of big employers), the lowest rate of unemployment ever, the highest rate of direct foreign investment ever, lowest illeteracy rate ever, etc, etc. Anyone can put these facts into question, but all she or he needs to do is go and look up the official statistics.

    6. Finally, why is no one lamenting the fact that both parties are very prone to base their arguments in such a way as to woo the intellectually challenged rather than try and gain the support of those who know better

  62. Daphne your argument about the UK is plainly wrong. A substantial part of the electorate wants proportional representation. Both Labour and the Conservatives do not want it because they do not want to share power with the Liberal Democrats. It is just that two parties want to keep a third party out. The USA cannot be compared to any other system in Europe or any other part of the world let alone Malta. Except for the President, Government is not chosen by the people. The Government does not even have a seat in Congress (Parliament). Government (the executive) cannot even legislate!!!

  63. Jon: “why is no one lamenting the fact that both parties are very prone to base their arguments in such a way as to woo the intellectually challenged rather than try and gain the support of those who know better”

    You must be kidding? I think I’ve done much lamenting about this fact for quite some time now. Where have you been man? (Sorry, picked up the “man” business from Fausto)

  64. I would normally vote PN, but the move by the MLP/PN to invalidate any vote towards smaller parties is a serious threat to democracy. For this reason alone , I feel I have no choice but to rebel against this , and vote AD this time, just to make my stand in favour of democracy. It would be disastrous if Labour was elected , but I feel I have no choice but to vote for democracy, and hence submit my protest against the PN/MLP alliance. If the PN believe that they can depend on my vote out of fear for Labour in government alone they are mistaken, the fear of losing democracy is greater.

  65. The wrongful assumption of both political parties seems to be that Maltese people are still stupid. All they do is resort to scaremongering in order to deter people from voting otherwise. It happened with MLP 5 years ago, trying to depict the EU as the boogeyman when it would have been in a better position now had it tried to take part in the negotiations. Then there’s the PN, who are now scaremongering us with Dr. Alfred Sant. These same PN also expect you to be eternally grateful that now you have a free education and the fact that you’re spoilt for choice everytime your chocaholic instincts take over.

    The truth is that at this point, I (and I’m sure that there are other people who think the same) am really impartial whether to have Gonzi or Sant as prime ministers, or PN or MLP in government for that matter. Indeed, Sant acts too much on impulse and it’s what deters me from voting him, as much I have admiration for the person’s integrity. On the other hand, is this Gonzi government that much better than the Mintoff 70/80s? Ok, it did bring some improvements around in the country but, apart from that, I feel that in a large number of aspects we’re still the same. Whilst on one hand we had Mintoff expect to hold his control on the Maltese population using hardly democratic means, nowadays we have a party in government resorting to psychological manipulation to keep you from voting Labour. PN nowadays … yes IT IS as corrupt and as arrogant as Mintoff’s MLP, minus the political violence (as someone pointed out) but not the psychological one. And anyone, like me, working in the civil sector is probably familiar with a lot of Nationalist-backed people in the workforce who are so arrogant to think they own the place, and would p*** on you and s*** on you if they could. Even the contracts that come from the government and the EU, it’s always the same few who have their share of the cake. Is this really the party that fought for democracy twenty years ago?

    As far as I’m concerned, I will not vote anybody, and I don’t care if this will mean a vote for Sant. I just won’t vote, I won’t be bothered, and I will do this by not even bothering to pick the vote and not by invalidating it at the ballot box. If I’m forced to choose between PN, MLP and cowdung, then I’d rather have someone else choose for me. Why do I not choose AD, you may ask? As many people here pointed out, I’d like to see a party which certainly stand up for it’s own policies’ sake and not play the role of the “black hole” of (mainly) Nationalist votes. The rest of the political parties, ah well, they’re not even worth considering. God forbid Josie gets a seat in parliament.

  66. Jacques, you say “You don’t just waste your vote, it’s also less votes for PN and hey presto one more feather in Freddie’s cap.”

    Your assumption that people who vote AD would have voted PN had AD not existed, is invalid. I am one of many counterexamples to your incorrect generalization.

    And this “wasted vote” business is crap. When one votes for whom he believes is best able to represent him and his ideals in Parliament, then that vote has been utilized correctly. Too much speculating on who will or who will not be elected, and then voting for someone other than your real first preference on the basis of these speculations… then that is a wasted vote.

  67. Gold Roast, you say “God forbid Josie gets a seat in parliament.”

    I do not usually agree with the viewpoints Josie Muscat, or of Norman Lowell. However… so what? Suppose that 1/65 of the Maltese population believes in Josie, and another 1/65 believe in Norman Lowell, why should they not have a seat in Parliament? These people all have their own valid contributions to make, with which we do not all necessarily have to agree. After all, Parliament, by definition, is a place for debate. If one of them were to propose a bad idea, well, first of all, he would not be the first one to have proposed a bad idea, and second, if it really were such a bad idea then the other 64 would surely disagree, no? The positive outcome would be that the issue would have been raised, and it would have been discussed.

  68. I am writing this after the election hullabaloo, and with a sigh of relief that no damage has been done, but almost so. As I see it I believe that no vote is wasted when one votes for what he believes could represent him/her best but one must not miss the wood for the trees. The whole scenario should be taken into account before casting a vote for the following 5 years, or else one would have to suffer the consequences of his actions.

    The way I see it, it is not the electoral system that needs a reform but rather that AD fail to get enough votes from the voting population. All members to parliament are elected after individually they obtain a quota from one single district. Why should AD be given a preferential treatment and elect a candidate if it gains a quota nation-wide? And if so, whom would they elect to parliament given that their “quota” is fragmented among all their candidates?

    This is a situation where if AD really wants to be successful it has to get down to business and win the trust of the electorate. So far they are a far cry from even having the image to being taken seriously. And I need not add the reasons why because they are public domain.

    I trust that when they stop victimising themselves and trying to throw mud on the “big parties” to win votes, they will have a chance to get the seat they long wish for.

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