I needed to move some things around the house a few days ago. Out came a long forgotten box and there were my old my vinyl records. Memories came rushing in as I flipped through my collection: Queen, Genesis, Rush, Pink Floyd, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Tea, Yes, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin.
Places, names and situations popped one after another into my head. I particularly remember going into Valletta one day to buy the then new Led Zeppelin 4 album, patiently waiting for the No. 41 bus to rumble back into Attard and then putting the album on the record player.
It is not an exaggeration to say that my hands shook as I placed the vinyl onto the turntable! A few hisses and then MAGIC, what an album! Song after song of sheer musical and poetic brilliance, the coming together of four immensely talented musicians.
The most popular song from this album was Stairway to Heaven. I hadn’t heard it for a while on the airwaves so I brought myself back to today chose the more efficient option and Googled it, and listened to the song with the lyrics coming up in the background as the song progressed. At the time it was released, part of the joy was also that of trying to decipher the lyrics. Remember we did not have access to computers then so you had to lift the needle and re-start the record, time after time until the words appeared clear in your mind!
Much has been written about this song and its hidden meanings. Sometime after the song was released Robert Plant, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin (All hail the original God of Rock!) explained that there really were no hidden meanings. It was intended to be a moral tale of society’s greed “through a rich crochet of metaphor, rhetoric and intertextual reference” (his words). Basically, Plant uses the song and its poetry to point a finger at society’s endless materialism and greed.
Now, as then, materialism and greed are with us. In all facets of our society, the endless desire to have and to hold seems to be the be all and end all of what we do. However, there is hope for us. “Yes there are two paths you can go on, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on.” The song progresses to this hopeful line. You can change. You can bring about a change in society.
Apply these words to the local political scene and you will truly marvel at the sheer force of lyrics that take meaning beyond the time when they were penned. The past few days have seen a corruption scandal of enormous potential unfold with regard to the acquisition of oil by Enemalta. Opinion pieces have abounded with descriptions and references to other potential examples of corruption. Mater Dei and the Power Station have been mentioned in this context. Direct orders, irregular tendering processes, jobs for the boys, the handing out of favours – everything has been done to satisfy greed and materialism.
In a few weeks time, voters will have to opportunity to deliver a message, a simple one: ‘No more’! The Labour Party has made transparency, accountability and meritocracy the basis of its electoral proposals. The PN has a recent history of scandal that cannot be ignored. The scandal also lies in its unbelievable attempt to portray itself as an agent for change. How can this be so, when the manifesto includes items promised five years ago that have not been delivered? How can this be so, when items are promised by the PN without having been costed? How can this be so, when this government is directly responsible for a huge chunk of our massive deficit? How can this be so, when this government has been at the forefront of useless unwanted projects? How can this be so, when the government has repeatedly stated that utility bills could not be lowered, only to change its mind when the Labour Party showed that it could be done? How can this be so, when the PN has refused to pass the Whistleblower Act?
The voting population of Malta wants a mature and serious approach to politics. The Labour Party is not only making promises, but is also explaining in detail how this will be done. This is a serious approach not only to electioneering but also to ensuring eventual good governance. It is the latter that all voters should keep in mind.
Which political party can give us good governance? There truly can be only one answer.