The Malta Independent 4 October 2022, Tuesday
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The boy who 'was left' to die

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 11 August 2022, 08:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

The controversy in the UK about whether the boy who had been medically certified as brain dead should have been left on a life support machine which kept him “alive” or taken off it, was heartbreaking. Both the parents who would want at all costs to keep their son among the living and the doctors who knew that the “life” thus kept going was not a life, were right from their perspective.

Inevitably too, “economic” considerations came into play. Does it make sense to allocate medical resources to such a case and deny them to other patients who would really be in a position to benefit from them while being brought back to a viable life?

Some believe in the existence of absolute values which allow us to judge what should be done in such cases. And one finds them primed with their condemnations against one or the other side. Perhaps this happens because situations where choices about life and death must be made, place us face to face with a fundamental dilemma: What makes us as humans, a different animal in the lives we live from other animals? There’s no easy reply.

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A NEW ITALIAN GOVERNMENT

If the next government in Italy ends up being run by the right-right, the Orban front in the EU will be strengthened. This does not cover simply immigration concerns and rule of law issues in democratic governance, but has now extended to the question of what Europe’s attitude towards Russia should be.

As of today, Hungarian Prime Minister Orban appears to be isolated within the EU context though he is less so that would seem to be the case from the outside. If Italy leans his way, he would gain more leverage. And this would happen when Germany seems quite confused and rather apprehensive of the future.

I do not like at all Orban’s authoritarian tendencies, though not all his statements are misguided, as is claimed by many Europeans. It seems to me for instance quite clear that nationalism still has a role to play in European affairs, even if not of the kind that Orban proposes and defends.

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WHO SETS THE AGENDA?

As happens in all countries, the national agenda is greatly influenced by the government of the day. But normally, other social forces also have their say in how it gets shaped, forces like the Opposition and often, the Church and the media. However in this respect, the first two have recently lost much of their salience.

For the Church, this happened because on the one hand it opted for a lower profile than the one it traditionally asserted; and because in the recent past, it incorrectly understood the Maltese reality (as with divorce).

The worst decline in this sense though was that of the Nationalist Opposition. Since the times of gonzi-pn which saw the start of widespread internal strife, and then when the themes it kept on the boil led to electoral defeats, the PN’s input to the agenda weakened considerably.

So, the so-called independent media – mostly The Times of Malta but not only – ended up after the government as the most powerful unit in setting the national agenda (and effectively therefore becoming the major force of opposition to the government).

This is not a healthy situation.

                       

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