The Malta Independent 10 December 2022, Saturday
View E-Paper

Politics of values

Saturday, 19 November 2022, 08:42 Last update: about 20 days ago

Albert Buttigieg

For many, politics have negative connotations. It is considered a dirty word. It brings bad instances of degenerated governance. For others, the term “politicians” is associated with power trips, inflated egos, narcissistic behaviour, opportunism, corruption and arrogance. Many others feel powerless in front of those who hold the keys of power.

This is the dark side of politics.

Sadly, some politicians have dishonoured the noble art of politics. While they were elected to serve the community, some served themselves and sought their self-interests instead.

My main motivation comes from my responsibility of making our society a more humane and just society. Thus, for me the term “politics” signify upholding and promoting the common good. It is not about the “I” but about the “we”. It is not about the self-interest of the few but the wellbeing of the many. Politics is not spin, gloss, theatricals or acting like Tom and Jerry. It is about empowering people, in particular those vulnerable, to go through their daily lives with dignity and reassurance.

Thus, politics is about values.

Within this context, I would like to promote and safeguard a number of values that I consider as the cornerstone of our society.

 

The value of life

The value of life is the cornerstone of all other values. The value of life does not only comprise the well-being and the right of the unborn. This is a narrow interpretation of what the value of life implies. The value of life encompasses also the dignity of every living being during all the various life stages. It means also to care for all that makes life an exciting journey: the wellbeing of animals, nature, fashion, various cultures, art, music, food, and so on.

 

The importance of our environment

I want to be an assertive voice for our environment against the systematic destruction of our environment and heritage by particular fat cats who are on the rampage to satisfy their compulsive greed. That our environment is in a perilous state is an understatement. One has only to glance around to acknowledge the systematic demolition of our heritage, the alarming increase in urban overdevelopment and mega white elephant projects, the destruction of gardens and the ever-growing pollution. We must urgently draw a holistic national building/environment masterplan. We need to revisit/update all current policies, stating clearly that ODZ and UCA are what they are meant to be, ODZ and UCA without any exception! We need to reduce our car dependency. We need to introduce solar rights too. Residents cannot end up living in the shade facing blank walls! Failing to address these issues will make us pay a hefty price. The wellbeing of the environment comprises also the wellbeing of our animals. As much as our nation had the courage to abolish the death penalty for human beings, when are we going to abolish the death penalty for birds? When are we going to stop supporting the new form of barbarism? How can one justify animals/birds being kept in cages or within confined spaces rather in their natural habitat? Can we justify zoos and still consider ourselves animal-friendly?

 

A robust voice for inclusion and social justice

We need to support those who are on the fringes of our communities. We urgently need to address the ever-growing social injustice/inequalities between the have and the have-nots. We need to foster a caring community. As regards inclusion, we need to promote a caring society, in which no one is left outside, vulnerable and/or discriminated against because of their skin colour, religion, abilities, economic status and/or sexual orientation. We must further support our elderly to enable them to continue living in their local communities with dignity. We need to empower vulnerable families to enable them to go through their daily lives with dignity and reassurance. The measure of success of any economy is not headline statistics but the inclusivity of its economic base, the distribution of wealth and the ability for everyone to succeed. The economy should not only be measured through economic growth, but also through quality of life and all its citizens. Corruption is the antithesis of social justice. Failing to combat corruption makes us complicit. Sadly, the current Labour government’s track record is abysmal. Thus, the Labour Party lost the moral authority to lead an honest society.

I am committed to be the voice of our honest citizens, an assertive voice for the environment and a robust voice for inclusion and social justice.

Over the past 35 years, I have held various positions, among which educator, a Franciscan Capuchin priest, CEO, administrator at Caritas and currently mayor of St Julian’s. Whenever I was entrusted with a role of leadership, I have always done my utmost to honour the trust shown with integrity and consistency.

I am determined not to shy away from my values. I uphold politics of values.

 

[email protected]

 

Albert Buttigieg is a member of the Maltese parliament

 

 

  • don't miss