From Oz with Love

It’s not Russia but it’s Cold. Passing through Grenoble yesterday night I got the first glimpse of the mountains – immense. We’ve had some settling in problems – a bunk-bed instead of a double-bed and no wi-fi in the hotel. Switched rooms this morning and discovered that there is wifi station at Tourist Office. I’ve just discovered that I am not essential for the life of this blog – thanks. Over sixty comments and 1300 hits while I was on my ride south. That’s good anyway. My article “Waste Not, Want Not” appeared belatedly (after a week of bouncing around editorial offices – partly my fault) on a paper – the Independent as a letter – with thanks to Noel Grima (who tells me he is a regular reader of this blog – so good morning to you Noel!).

I note that there are more of you blogging – welcome Victor (you seem to be quite busy here). Cannot add much political content since this first connection was spent reading all the Sundays. I do note a shift in the discussion and also note, with satisfaction, that notwithstanding different people’s position on gonzi vs sant, on coalitions etc one common thread seems to exist… an agreement that there IS a need for changing the parties. From Daphne to Rupert to David to Claire and the Greens (maybe even to Fausto) we can gather the seeds of a mature future discussion on how best improve the current political system in Malta. The points of the agenda will be varied – not least the issue whether the MLPN can be changed from without, through legal incentivisation (coercion – e.g. party funding) or whether we shall continue to wait for the political Godot… that they wake up one morning and realise that yes-men are digging our future grave.

I’d really love to discuss for an hour or so. Instead I have to go rent my equipment and start solo practice before my first lesson at 1430 today. Pray for me. Please… even you atheists out there… Ill need all your help!

P.S. How come no one picked on the irony that I am going to Oz on an electoral week? Oz? The Emerald City? Very green innit?

P.P.S. Un capitano…. c’e solo un capitano… un capitaaaaano! Prosit David! We’re coming to getcha!

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12 responses to “From Oz with Love

  1. Lets accept that the system has been structured in a way that hurts the chances of a party like Alternattiva. Lets accept also that this is not good for democracy, certainly in the long term. The question is what can do we do about it?
    Well, I submit that we can do precious little about it at this election, but quite a lot after it.
    Even if you want to make electoral reform the prime determinant of your vote, at the end of the day you only have 6 options come election day. Not a single one of those options moves forward the cause of electoral reform in a meaningful way.
    Voting for MLP or PN will help choose the government of the day; it will not be interpreted as a vote for electoral reform, and whoever wins will do their thing anyway.
    Not voting or defacing the vote on a massive scale would certainly be noticed – but its a blunt instrument, that would indicate disaffection but say nothing of its source. It would become a quickly forgotten historical quirk for election junkies to dissect on TV programmes no-one wants to watch.
    Voting for AN is not really an option right? Certainly not for anyone sophisticated enough to want electoral reform.
    What about a vote for AD? On a scale big enough to win a seat they could use their small minority vote to hold the country to ransom. This is the worst way to achieve their aims, and I think its simply wrong to do it this way, given that there are better alternatives. But this is a hugely unlikely scenario. It means forgetting the lessons learnt from the last few elections, forgeting the opinion polls: AD would need to get a massive percentage in a single district. They are not going to get their MP, but if enough people tried the result would be the election of the Labour Party; from the point of view of electoral reform hardly a good result, since its unlikely that a party that has been looking for power for so many years should immediately seek to find ways to share it.
    So the harsh reality is that electoral reform, while worth pursuing, cannot be pursued in this election. Faced with that reality you can do one of two things. You can rage against the machine and use your vote to make a protest that will be misunderstood and/or counterproductive. A little teenage no? Or you can vote for whoever you think will make the best government generally, and find another way to pursue electoral reform.
    How? By creating a national movement for reform after the elections, when people can afford to join you without worrying about what it means for their life, their lifestyle or their kids. Get one or more national papers to support your campaign; get opinion leaders to join you. In other words do it properly, by winning support for an idea that is good, not by hijacking an election.
    And I would avoid tieing this campaign too closely to a particular party like AD – it begins to come across as self-serving rather than just the right thing to do.
    Will it be easy? Hell no. But it’s the right way to do it – convince the country you’ve got a point and make a wave the politicians will have to learn to ride.
    If you do start that campaign you can sign me up. But you can’t have my vote in this general election. There’s no way for me to give it to you, even if I wanted to forget all the other issues.

  2. My opinion on electoral reform and party funding:

    FORZA JUVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Patrick, you will find that the two major parties do not give a toss about electoral reform – especially post election. There have been many attempts to bring up the issue- they have only resulted in reforms which benefit the two major parties. I, ffor one, am not going to be browbeaten in voting for either of them – that would condone their avoidance of this and other issues in the past. It would be giving them carte blanche to continue as before.
    And I can’t understand why voting for the party you support is a manifestation of teenage behaviour.

  4. Patrick, make no mistake, the VOTE will be our only chance to effectively say something. I can just imagine how possible it will be to kick off a national movement when a consultation such as a general election would have not manifested any inclination for change whatsoever.

    If you truly want to be a catalyst for what you call a “worth pursuing” electoral reform, do like some others will be doing this time around: give AD a ‘2’. Very safe for you – very good for the country.

    ps. Apologies to Claire and AD. This message is for Patrick and those who happen to see an electoral reform worth pursuing. For all the others who have experienced and seen AD’s consistency in standing up for our environment, rights and common sense and in pushing incessantly for social maturity – A vote for AD means nothing less than a vote for AD.

  5. Claire, as you say, the parties don’t give a toss about electoral reform. And whatever happens in this election won’t change that.
    A grassroots, non-party political campaign after the election has a chance.
    It’d be a hard slog, but there’s a good case to be made, and it needs to be made a lot more convincingly than it has been in previous years.
    G’night.

  6. This is a standing ovation for Patrick Tabone. He has a much nicer way of explaining exactly what I can get so abrasive about. I’m with him 100% on this, and they are my views exactly. It’s all about common sense and taking the road that can best help you achieve your objectives. Hijacking an election and helping bring Sant to power isn’t going to make anyone love you or your cause (except maybe Victor Laiviera and his Labour friends), and it’s going to set any efforts at electoral reform back 20 years. Do you honestly expect prime minister Sant to listen to AD’s request for electoral reform after AD and the unreformed system brought him back from the edge of the cliff?

    Patrick pointed out, rather more politely than I ever could, that AD’s demands for reform are now looking a bit self-serving.It’s as though there are not other small parties in the spectrum. Those other small parties are worrying hideous, but they’re there all the same. And quite frankly, I’m not sure I’m that keen to do anything at all that might help get AN or Imperium Europa into parliament – not that it’s likely.

    On a lighter (?) note, what do you all think about AN’s proposal for the registration of gay relationships? Some people are getting excited about it, thinking it’s a form of marriage. I just think it’s the equivalent of the yellow star for Jews. If they’re registered, Josie knows who they are. And what was all that with them on television – serjeta fil-politika in a purple and pink multi-striped shirt? Well, at least it made a change from the yellow felpa on a previous TV appearance, or the little granny get-up on the back page of The Times the other day.

  7. Dear Daphne,

    AN’s proposal for the registaration of gay relationships is indeed the cherry on the cake for this pitiful electoral campaign. A supposedly right winged party, which is meant to be all out to defend the family (and there’s only one type of family as nature intended) comes out with the greatest ‘boiata’ in history. Only an imbecile like Zapatero or Prodi (Mr. DICO) could have suggested such a stupid proposal. I dont know what to expect next in this campaign……….perhaps another ‘intelligent’ proposal such as giving the illegal immigrants the right to vote.

    AN started off well, with some clever ideas but hasnow turned itself into a shameful parody of what the REAL RIGHT should be.

    A final note: this blog represents a niche where civilised homo sapiens discuss the Maltese political scenario and political ideology. I stand to be corrected by Jacques, but I think that this blog was never meant to be a whorehouse were contributors hurl abuse or personal offence (wigs, witches, shirts and all). I believe this is nothing but a sign of immaturity and sheer ignorance.

    I openly follow a right-winged ideology but I love to discuss hot issues with people who are on the other side of the fence like Mark, David, Jacques et al since their arguments are always intelligently displayed and never cross the border of vulgarity and pesonal offence. Thanks e scusate lo sfogo.

  8. Azzjoni Nazzjonali temmen f’Unjoni Ewropea li tirrispetta l-valuri li ghagnu l-poplu Malti u Ghawdxi tul is-sekli; li taccetta li Malta qatt ma tigi sfurzata biex iddahhal l-abort, l-hekk imsejha zwigijiet bejn nies ta’ l-istess sess, id-divorzju, u mizuri ohra li jdghajfu l-istituzzjoni taz-zwieg u ma jaghmlux gid lill-familja u lis-socjetà kif nistghu naraw jekk inharsu madwarna. (Source: http://www.azzjoninazzjonali.org/manifest.pdf)

    I’m always intrigued by the notion that homosexual unions, whether they are called marriage or otherwise, should weaken the institution of marriage. Apparently, Josie and Anglu believe that given half a chance heterosexuals will ditch their spouses and bunk up with people of their own gender.

    Now if by some sort of twisted logic AN is proposing that civil unions should be recognised (which I agree with) could they kindly explain how that is different from ‘l-hekk imsejha zwigijiet bejn nies ta’ l-istess sess…jdghajfu l-istituzzjoni taz-zwieg u ma jaghmlux gid lill-familja u lis-socjetà’?

  9. I have been more than surprised at reading AN’s proposal on gay partnerships. I am all for gay partnerships, and I do not believe we can ever call ourselves a true democracy before we heed the exigencies of the minorities in society (not just gays, whoever they may be). This proposal coming from AN does make me raise an eyebrow as to the authenticity of it, and I think Daphne’s suspicion could be plausible. However, both electoral programs are only aimed at family and anzjani, as if society is composed of only those. Nothing wrong with that mind you, but society is also composed of gays, lesbians, people who have been through unsuccessful marriages, single people, people of different religious beliefs … come election time, all these seem to be forgotten. It’s about time we start discussing certain issues which concern specific niches of society more seriously.

  10. What is more shameful is that our Nationalist representatives in the EP, Simon the Lamb and David the House, are getting the reputation of homophobes, this notwithstanding the fact that one of them seems to feel at ease in a gay bar atmosphere.

  11. Why is voting for a party you support “hijacking an election”? It’s a right afforded to people by the democratic process. I see that only AD is being accused of doing this. I contend that having to vote for the PN whether we like it or not is far more threatening.

    With regards to electoral reform – it will not come from the major parties – neither the PN nor the MLP – whoever is at the helm. They have had ample time to this and have only reformed the law to their benefit – this was very self-serving (the precise thing you accuse AD of being).

    I find all this talk of AN trying to act as if they are champions of the gay community rather odd. Not half as odd as Nationalist MEPs hanging around in gay bars campaigning for the gay vote and then voting against a resolution condemning homophobia. But then these are things which are glossed over and not highlighted by the people working the PN propaganda machine

  12. The election was hijacked last Summer with the Electoral Reforms. Being unwilling participants in this hijack is what AD supporters can be accused of at most. They are an unwilling accessory to the crime committed by the party that wants to save us from the men we cannot trust.

    As for the campaign. Well the election was the best time to bring its premises out in the public. The fact that the reasons for change are so obvious is not enough. We need the panic of an election to get an admittance by the parties involved. The charge must start now… and yes, continue later. But in the meantime I would not go so far as insult people who still choose to vote how they wish, blackmail or no blackmail.

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