The Malta Independent 26 June 2019, Wednesday

Our best shot at change

Timothy Alden Sunday, 19 May 2019, 08:47 Last update: about 2 months ago

These past few weeks, we have witnessed the Labour and Nationalist Parties spring into election mode, which has provided us with a lot of the usual dishonesty and spin against each other. Having a front row seat to this charade has left me particularly disgusted. The hallmark of honesty must be consistency. It reeks of dishonesty for the two other parties in Parliament to adjust their messages as if they were fine-tuning a radio, trying to catch the public mood on certain issues at the very last minute. 

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First of all, they are suddenly pretending to care about the environment, after having spent the past two years since the general election appearing to do everything they can to destroy it. The collusion against the environment between the Nationalist and Labour Parties for this term started in late 2017, when they agreed between them to extend the hunting hours at Majjistral Park. It was only Partit Demokratiku in Parliament that used procedures to try and block the extension of those hours, as it would prevent schoolchildren from being able to visit the Park. Having agreed between them to appease the hunting lobby, the two other parties managed to force through the extension, and use their propaganda machines to make it look as if a compromise had been reached. The Nationalist and Labour Parties both went on to vote for fuel stations, for monster development projects such Mercury Tower and the Villa Rosa development in St George’s Bay, along with many others.

The Labour Party has also promised two new large open spaces. Since last summer, I have been talking about the need for new open spaces, but it is crucial that the government steps in to protect green enclaves in our towns and cities first. The latest threat to Villa Gollcher in Mosta should be a clear example. It is a massive historic green lung in Mosta that may be turned into a car park. Instead, it should be opened to the public, providing a massive garden for the residents to enjoy next to the Dome. The government should be entering into public-private partnerships for gardens such as this, including Villa Bonici in Sliema.

Even though it is not a European Parliament issue, the Nationalist Party has also raised the spectre of abortion, even though no candidate in Malta is promoting it and even though it can never be imposed from Brussels. Unfortunately, much of the European debate has centred around abortion, even though it is not one of the actual issues on the table. This ultimately backfired for many reasons. The President of Gift of Life, Paul Vincenti, accused Adrian Delia of being irresponsible when he called this election a referendum on abortion, adding that “The EU has no competence over our abortion laws and it’s unnecessary for him to create an issue out of this.”

When it comes to hypocrisy, we may also observe that, although Adrian Delia was mocking the Prime Minister for refusing to debate with him again, he himself has hidden away from a challenge to have a debate with Godfrey Farrugia in the same manner. It is my hope that the electorate will pay attention to the track record of the parties this election. Partit Demokratiku has never ceased to represent good governance, the environment and social justice. Beholden to no lobbies and no corporate money, we have been able to represent the people as the first third party in Parliament since Independence, standing up for what is right and what is fair.

This election is a unique chance to bring about serious change to Malta’s political system, because of the presence of Partit Demokratiku. We are Malta’s best bet at breaking the corrupt duopoly. If Partit Demokratiku succeeds in its goals, it will be able to fix a broken system which will, in turn, automatically force the Labour and Nationalist Parties to become cleaner and more responsible. We can raise the standards in politics through reform, and make it impossible for the other parties to take shortcuts and compromise on their ethics just to get power. So long as there are loopholes, they will be abused.

Take full advantage of our Single Transferable Vote system and vote for the Partit Demokratiku candidates first. After voting for all four Partit Demokratiku candidates, you can continue on to whoever else you wish. Then, if we are not elected, your vote will go to your preference from one of the two major parties regardless of whether or not you are considering voting for them. In this way, everyone wins. Voting for one of the two older parties with the first preference is a guarantee that nothing will change. I ask you to vote for the party representing your principles and values today, not for a party that used to represent what you stand for, but no longer does.

 

Timothy Alden is deputy leader of Partit Demokratiku and a candidate for Sliema local council.  He may be contacted at [email protected]

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