Electoral Moleskine #3 – Daphne chooses the Ministers

In today’s Indy Daphne writes:

“So, if you want Lawrence Gonzi returned as Prime Minister but think that Minister X is a liability, just don’t give X your vote. Give your first preference vote to a Nationalist Party candidate, number the boxes for all the other Nationalist Party candidates, but leave X’s box empty. If enough people do the same he’ll get the message and so will the party bosses. That’s it: it couldn’t be simpler. I do it all the time; if there’s a candidate on the Nationalist Party list who I don’t like, I leave his box empty.”

Now apart from the recent development of practical eulogies to the Nationalist Administration whenever Daphne is writing which were not so evident some time ago when week in week out she would practically crucify every other minister in the cabinet. Apart from all that, we get this marvellous gem of electioneering. It’s a spin off of the spin of the choice is yours… really yours. Flimkien kollox possibbli.

So according to Daphne I get to choose who is Minister and who is not by not voting for those I do not want to be Minister. That argument would be lovely. I’d (cautiously) jump for joy (like a little restrained leap) at that opportunity, only it doesn’t work that way…. does it Daphne? Because Ninu Zammit, Giovanna Debono, Austin Gatt and most other Ministers do not appear on my ballot sheet. Because in case you have not noticed we do NOT have a national ballot and national quotas. We have district quotas and district lists which – if your historian (try Fausto) does his homework well – you will find out have been dabbled with sufficiently to ensure that target ministers get elected by hook or by crook.

Daphne feel free to spin the idea that PN is the only possible and necessary government. I might even end up agreeing with you there. What you should not do (and YES I am telling you what you should not do) is insult the few unconvinced voters’ by telling them untruths. If it was so easy to choose who could make up the government I do not think that we (as in you) would be too worried about people using their vote in other ways like “defecting” to AD. The truth is that it is not so easy. Becoming a Minister involves playng into the hands of the right faction of the right party at the right time. Come election time Electoral District lists will be dictated to maximise the possibility that the faction’s chosen clique of ministers will make it to parliament.

Daphne can see the use of a ballot to tell Minister X to sod off but she cannot see the use of the ballot to vote PN number 1 (to keep Sant out – yep shoot your ideas in the foot because they’ve blackmailed you to doing it and don’t forget that) and then vote an AD candidate with your number 2…. now THAT is a hell of a message to the minister makers isn’t it?


8 responses to “Electoral Moleskine #3 – Daphne chooses the Ministers

  1. Are these people the candidates?

    Are they at least Maltese?

  2. From Katie’s Blog:

    (on the eve of Valentine’s Day)

    “…bħal kull sena, illum qabel norqod għad irrid nikteb nota t’aprezzament lil Lawrence u npoġġijielu fil-bagalja tax-xogħol biex isibha għada f’Jum San Valentino. Is-soltu, wara li jaqraha, nirċievi telefonata mingħandu. Ħa naraw din is-sena nirċevijiex!…”

    if that didn’t wet your eyes, you must be made of stone.

  3. Once I used to admire Daphne, even when most people I knew didn’t think much of her because they thought she was too brash. I used to admire her outspokenness, her tounge-in-cheek style of writing. Now she’s turned into something extremely pathetic. Reading her articles has become like listening to a Manwel Cuschieri program in the bad old days of Labour, the only difference is that it’s from a Nationalist point of view.

  4. Pomegranata, the candiadtes are in further links. That’s just a graphic. But i would have been nice to have the candidates in front. Why not write to AD? They’d surely oblige

  5. The Nationalist government is not the only possible government, Jacques, but as things stand it is the only desirable one. As a right-thinking person, you cannot argue against this, just as you cannot believe that Sant would be a better prime minister than Lawrence Gonzi, or that the two are cut from the same cloth.

    Despite the many protestations in favour of democracy, it seems many proponents of AD simply do not understand what democracy is all about. They argue as though it is all about minority rule (the tail wagging the dog as somebody put it elsewhere). I have pointed out to people that our electoral system allows us to get rid of the candidates we don’t like without getting rid of the party we do like – something that isn’t possible under, for example, the British system. We should treasure this, instead of speaking as though it is antediluvian. But it is also a highly democratic system, which means that if people vote for Jesmond Mugliett, or some other candidate you and others don’t like, then we can’t stop them. If they want him, they’ll vote for him. The point that you and AD are missing here is an essential one: that it is not the parties who elect candidates, but electors. It’s representative democracy, remember? Of course, the parties can and should be more selective, but that’s another argument altogether. You are missing the point here that Jesmond Mugliett, for argument’s sake, does not represent the Nationalist Party in parliament, but the people who voted for him. If he lets them down, they won’t vote for him again. If they don’t feel let down by him, they WILL vote for him again. You argue vociferously for your right to vote as you please, and now here you are, saying that people don’t have the right to vote for Jesmond Mugliett if they want to. Gold Roast: I do not need your admiration, because I am not a politician and I am not seeking votes. Whether you admire me or not is completely irrelevant. As I have had occasion to explain elsewhere, the root of the problem is that AD/Labour refuses to accept that an intelligent woman who has made a career out of examining issues doesn’t like either party enough to support it (an understatement). They would rather have me on their side, but in the absence of such a likelihood, instead of examining their own shortcomings they prefer to believe that (1) I am paid by the Nationalist Party rather than by my employers, the newspaper for which I work – yes, it is actually a real job and I’m not one of those people who write for free to see their name in print (2) that there is something wrong with me or (3) that my female side has overtaken my rational brain (this is the men). The obvious explanation does not occur to you: that because I examine issues minutely and have a couple of decades of experience in doing so, my arguments tend to have a little more depth than those of many others. If I don’t like AD or the MLP, you can rest assured that it’s because I’ve thought about it; likewise my support for the Nationalist Party, and the proof of this, strangely enough, is what you see as inconsistency: my strong criticism of the very party I think best fit for government.

  6. Guys, this is point number one out of the eight points of reflection issued today by the Archdiocese of Malta:

    “The centre of every political initiative should be: The value, the integrity, and the dignity of every person who is created in the image of God. The Christian person should seek those political representatives who safeguard the human person from the moment of conception right through all its life”

    Please note that the phrase “safeguard the human person from conception” is lifted verbatim from Gift of Life’s proposed constitutional amendment.

    Coming as it does so soon after PBS reporter’s question to Sant re the same amendment, I think it is only a matter of time before the abortion issue is once again at the top of the elctoral agenda… as it was before the 2004 MEP elections.

    Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it looks to me like Archbishop PawluPN wants us to vote GonziPN to get VincentiPN’s amendment through at all costs.

  7. and this another point of reflection form the Archidiocese:

    From a Christian perspective, social justice demands from political leaders that in all social matters, there will be no forms of hatred and/or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, class, age, disability, political or religious belief.

    “As a co-operator with God in His plan for creation, every Christian person should seek in every political representative and political party the characteristics of commitment that place the safeguarding of the environment and sustainable development at the forefront of the political agenda for the country. The current environmental challenges present serious problems which demand concrete action through policies that seek the long term benefit of every person and of future generations.”

  8. Here comes Fausto to clear up:

    First, only two countries in the world — the Netherlands and Israel — have a “national ballot” (I understand you mean a single ballot paper and the country not being divided into electoral divisions). The downside of that is that they have closed lists i.e. you do not get to chose the order to election. Thus, if nationally Party A is entitled to 33 seats the first 33, chosen in that order by the Party not the voters, are declared elected.

    This is for the obvious practical reason that the ballot paper with all those candidates’ names would be more like a a roll of toilet paper, and Scottex not just any toilet roll.

    Second, I find it surprising that electoral boundaries are designed to elect target Ministers. Like any conspiracy theory that cannot be disproved but the ridiculous implications can be demonstrated. In this election, the Nationalist Party, because of the circumstances, couldn’t even secure boundaries which would have safeguarded its seats.

    So which are the target Ministers this time Jacques? Which districts have been in this way gerrymandered?

    I can mention a few Ministers who will not have an easy time getting elected. Tonio Borg, George Pullicino, Edwin Vassallo, Helen D’Amato, Michael Frendo immediately come to mind. I can also tell you they’ll have a hard time because of newcomers whom voters find an attractive proposition.

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