Anglu Xuereb’s AN run in the elections is a bit like a man running through a street where hundreds of horses have passed. He cannot make two steps without stepping in shit. This time round we had the unsavoury Balzan poster promising to close an Open Center that helps immigrants. Once the ruckus was kicked up (by a priest – please note all those who never lose a chance to shoot at a man wearing a frock) AN had to defend themselves. “We are not racist. We will only close the open centre if EU money is not forthcoming. Government is not a philanthropic organisation.”
AN still have to master the subtleties of what the EU is all about. So you do not want public money channelled to our Treasury spent on assisting immigrants but you want public money channeled via the EU and then acquired for Malta to be spent on assisting immigrants. Since joining the EU this is a new tactic of party politics. In each and every case, whether it is hunting (PN), renegotiating membership conditions and derogations (MLP) orspending public money (AN) the parties revel in the different labels they can put on the actions they intend to do.
So a PN government cannot take a strong stand against spring hunting? No problem – the EU will. MLP knows that the derogations are a non-negotiable part of the package? No problem – its electoral commitment is limited to discussing and negotiating with the EU. It is fully aware that the outcome is practically a foregone conclusion (something on the line of -you’ve got to be kidding me) but its electoral mission will be fulfilled the day Sant steps on the plane to Brussels. And AN? Ah AN want us to believe that they do not want public money spent on assisting immigrants. They shy away from declaring that they do not want the immigrants punto. If they really had a spine down their back they would… instead political exigencies require that they appear moderate. So what do they tell us? That it’s not the immigrants that is the problem, it’s how we fund the help we give them. OK. So what do they suggest? That we do not pay them out of public money (Box labeled Tezor ta’ Malta) but out of public money (box labeled Tezor ta’ Malta (Fondi UE)). Not that I’d vote for AN anyway.
Old style political parties could not be expected to introduce daring policies for the good of the people. PN had 20 years of power before they warmed up to the idea of an environmental policy in Elections 2008, MLP’s most daring act would probably be to draft a comprehensible policy of making EU membership work…. yet another example of why old politics needs to be given the boot. Did I mention that one of AD’s six points for a coalition is implementing all obligations under the EU environmental acquis without delay or without waiting for an EU threat to punish? That is the kind of stuff that makes you not want to waste your vote.