The Malta Independent 24 May 2017, Wednesday

On the campaign trail

Claudette Buttigieg Friday, 19 May 2017, 07:46 Last update: about 5 days ago

As a candidate in the general election, I am living this intense campaign on a daily basis. Compared with the previous election, I assure you that it is a sprint, while 2013 was a marathon.

I am knocking on people’s doors morning, noon and night. Time is against us. The only way to mobilise voters, particularly those who are not interested in attending public political events, is to physically meet voters in the privacy of their own home.

ADVERTISEMENT

It is precisely behind closed doors that candidates like me see the reality of the lives of our citizens.

My home visits are taking me to the 8th and 12th districts which spread over Balzan, B’Kara, Lija, Iklin, Naxxar, St Paul’s Bay and Mellieha. In all these localities, in some more than in others, I have seen and touched poverty.

In the old towns and villages, the poor households are side by side with the wonderfully restored old properties owned by the more prosperous young couples. However, I have seen houses which look prosperous on the outside but are totally bare inside: their owners cannot afford to finish up the dream, which is dying a slow but sure death.

Of course, during a home visit I engage in a brief chat about the current situation with reference to how it is affecting the lives of the voters. There is a clear constant feedback in all the localities I have visited. People are shocked, disgusted and sick in the stomach as to what is going on in Muscat’s office at Castille.

This feeling is not expressed solely by voters who are PN supporters. I knock on everybody’s door. I assure you that a good number of Labour supporters are just as upset, if not more.

I sympathise with those voters who have supported Labour all their lives. They are now seeing their beloved party hijacked by a very small group of people close to Muscat. Their anger and frustration stems from the fact that they are true supporters, honest people who still believe that Labour should be the worker’s party. Can you imagine the hurt?

During a particular visit, just as I was about to leave, thinking I had made no inroads with the young man who let me in, he remarked how Muscat and his ministers had taken him, and others, for a ride. How they had promised the young man to help him find a job but never bothered to ask for his CV. The job never materialised. The young man is now working – but not through the Minister’s help.

In another locality, an old woman, who voted Labour all her life, wept her heart out and showed me her pension slip. She receives less than €450 per month. Her daughter is a single mother; she and her daughter live with the old lady. The tears soon turned into frustrated, aggressive anger. She shouted her hurt at the top of her voice because she wanted everyone to know that she will be voting PN for the first time.

These are not one-off cases. Labour must know about these cases and will do everything to dissuade them from their decision. The question is: Will these Labour voters turned 'switchers' make the difference? Will the likes of Fearne and Mizzi insult them further by handing them wine, corned beef and biscuits? Will the next two weeks be enough to swing the vote?

Of course I will persevere with my knocking on all doors. I will do my best to retain the PN vote, while aiming to persuade more voters to Choose Malta.

 

  • don't miss