The Malta Independent 19 April 2021, Monday

Political parties

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 8 April 2021, 08:00 Last update: about 12 days ago

In the ongoing polemics and quite obscure campaigns arising from the accusations and newly available information about what happened or did not happen during the last ten years, it has become an easy gambit for some to run down a political system that operates on the basis of political parties. Among the terms used to criticize such systems we find “partisanism”  and expressions intended to show people who give their support to some political party or other as hotheads.


In truth, without political parties, there can be no democracy. They assemble people who believe in the same social aims for their country. It is on the basis of an alliance constituted by likeminded people within a party that the democratic fabric of a country can take shape.

The big fault line in political organization today does not result from partisan belonging as much as ... indeed much more... the running of political parties as if they were football clubs or worse, commercial companies where the major aim remains that of securing no matter how, a greater share of the market.



The European Commission is trying to establish a clear distinction between “active” farmers and other people who although they might be labelling themselves as farmers, carry big question marks as to whether they deserve the label. The distinction will have weight when the EU’s common agricultural policy is being carried forward in the coming years. “Active” farmers will be given superior consideration.

In order for them to be recognised as such, the likelihood is that they will at least have to satisfy two criteria out of five: namely: living on the farm; personal work and management on it; rearing animals; deriving a significant part of personal income from the farm; managing an ancestral or inherited farm.

Over the years, but especially since Malta became an EU member, the number of real farmers in Malta has greatly declined. It seems that they will continue to do so in the future.

Perhaps it would be opportune to check how many of the farmers that still operate here would qualify as “active” under the definition that the European Commission is inching towards.



I have been going through an interesting book “It-tpespisa tat-Tama” (“The Whisperings of Hope”) written by the Agostinian priest Rev Ray Francalanza. It is not the kind of book I usually relate to. It covers how the Catholic faith is lived with commitment but also in a confrontation with doubt, as well as by contrast with those who do not share the same faith.

The text takes the shape of observations and comments that reflect different moments of experience, some linked together, others completely on their own. There is a design in all this, although it is not easy to recognize it so quickly. At least by my values...  one could just call the whole approach mystical or almost... and I find mysticism extremely distant from my perspective on things.

Yet at the same time, “The Whisperings of Hope” establishes links with arguments and intimate experiences that should be discussed in the ways attempted by Rev Ray, as well as otherwise.


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