The Malta Independent 20 February 2019, Wednesday

PD is the strong Opposition

Timothy Alden Sunday, 13 January 2019, 09:03 Last update: about 2 months ago

The time has come for me to address the latest unfortunate crisis that has befallen the Nationalist Party. My intention here is to show how this episode demonstrates that Partit Demokratiku has been falsely used as a scapegoat by those who do not think we have a strong Opposition. I argue that we do have a strong Opposition, albeit a small one, and that we are in full control of our destiny.

At many times during the leadership of Adrian Delia, PD has been there to hold the Leader of the Opposition to account for not doing his job. Some have bitten back at PD for having the courage to call a spade a spade, and to do the work of the Opposition. However, PD has stayed out of this latest debacle because Delia's problems are more clearly than ever truly of his own making.

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Since last year it has mostly only been PD who stepped up and did the work of the Opposition - consistently and firmly. Without PD to hold both major parties to account, how can anyone believe we would have a stronger Opposition? I say this with full respect to the many hard-working men and women working inside the Nationalist Party for a better tomorrow.

Each major party is composed of a mixture of people: those who have the best interests of the country at heart and those whose who do not. However, due to the current circumstances, without PD we would have little or no Opposition at all. I am sure this must be endlessly frustrating for the principled fighters inside the PN. Right now, PD remains focused on holding the Government to account when nobody else can do so.

We have often seen how the policy of trying to please everyone instead leads to compromises that are harmful to the country. We saw this as early as 2017, when the PN was whipped into acting against the interests of schoolchildren in Parliament, during the saga of the extension of the Majjistral Park's hunting hours. It was PD who took a stand in Parliament in favour of the children. The PN under Delia voted for the Magħtab fuel station, the Villa Rosa development and the Mercury Tower high-rise in Paceville. It made excuses for not quickly taking a hard line against Silvio Debono on the St Vincent de Paule direct order issue. Under Delia, the PN  failed to tackle corruption until late in the game, and then did so only to try to unite the Party.

So where does that leave us? It demonstrates the power of a smaller number of people, possessing passion, vision, concentration and conviction, against overwhelming forces. With consistency, the truth can be communicated to the public by a small party. Furthermore, for all the size of the two major parties, they ultimately cannot control what you do with your vote. Power is a way to impress, but - in itself - it does not have the ability to inspire.

One's democratic vote ultimately means that the size, wealth and power of a political party are fundamentally irrelevant. Their entire budget and their resources have a single mission - to spend enough money to convince people to vote for them. All the structures, fund-raising activities and extravagances are designed to win your vote of confidence. They serve no other purpose.

At the ballot box, the size of all political parties vanishes. What we are left with is that all the power is in the heart and mind of the voter, who feels inspired. It is you, the voter, who can decide the fortunes and failures of giants, and choose David over Goliath.

While the two major parties flounder and cause collateral damage, they ultimately have no more control over you at the ballot box than PD does, formed of a smaller number of civically-minded and dedicated citizens. We need no exorbitant salaries or favours to do what we do. We do it because we care. And we are the sort of people you need running your country to bring everybody together for the right reasons.

And that is why we are not only part of the Opposition but, by continuing to fight for what is right and by giving a voice to the moral and to the voiceless, we do indeed have a strong Opposition. We have a strong Opposition because Partit Demokratiku stands up for what is right and informs the general public of what needs doing. The rest is, of course, then up to the electorate.  It is up to the voters to have the courage to actually vote and fight for what they believe in.

 

Mr Alden is Deputy Leader of Partit Demokratiku


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