The Malta Independent 13 June 2024, Thursday
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Very little Europe in an MEP election

Darren Carabott Sunday, 9 June 2024, 08:47 Last update: about 5 days ago

Though I write early in the week, I can assume that by the time you will be reading this article, in most likelihood, we will have an indication, or at least getting close to knowing the names of the six MEPS who will represent our country for the next five years at the European Parliament. Probably the result will be welcomed with a degree of jubilation by the relevant quarters, while the subsequent and dutiful analysis of the results will commence.

However, we will have ample time to discuss and debate the results, what messages the electorate wanted to send with its vote, or lack thereof, and what lessons each political party ought to draw from them.

Today, I wish to write about the electoral process itself, we have just concluded, and take a moment to reflect on a campaign which I followed closely.

Sadly, especially towards the later weeks, the campaign somewhat degenerated, with some candidates resorting to populist tactics and unsavoury antics which left much to be desired. The usage of certain colourful vocabulary, from certain quarters, left a bitter taste in our collective mouths, wondering if we could ever do better.

The Labour Party led by the Prime Minister, naturally, led a largely dishonest campaign all throughout. I am not only referring to the blatant abuse of power of incumbency, which was so loudly criticized by the Labour party of old. It was not just about the bonanza of desirable transfers which were dished out to the faithful, or avalanche of pjaciri till the eve of the election. Neither am I referring to the wonton abuse of power in the form of cheques posted to each household, disguised as some sort of rebate, coincidentally delivered during the campaign.

The Labour Party led a dishonest campaign, repeating new and old lies. It lied about the Nationalist Party MEPs working against the national interest, it invented a completely new villain which went by the name of Establishment, to which it attributed all the problems of this country (that was a particularly rich one), while leading a campaign of personal attacks and bullying on the judiciary.

This irresponsible behaviour, which was carefully designed from up top, empowered an army of trolls online and off, which felt legitimized in using certain vocabulary. We could do so much better.

Unfortunately, the Labour party campaign was also devoid of any substance. Dragged to the mundanity of local parochialism, it was a campaign which ironically left the EU completely out. Ok, we do understand that the Labour Party might still be suffering from a lingering imposter syndrome in all things EU-related, and who can blame them, but it was the election for the MEPs after all, and some sort of effort was expected.

Throughout the entire campaign, in fact, we heard very little about the Labour Party’s plans for a better Europe, how they plan to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves in the next five years, and how they intend to always put the country’s interest first. Sadly, the Labour Party’s candidates were manifestly underqualified and unprepared, and it showed every time they made a public appearance.

Naturally I wish to conclude these few thoughts with a heartfelt thanks to all the candidates who threw their hat in the ring, and their hearts out for a good cause. I augur all those who were elected, both to the European Parliament but also our new crop of Mayors and Local Councillors, who we will get to know next week, the very best.

May you remain in touch with your electorate and work with them in mind at every hour of your day.


Dr Darren Carabott is the Opposition’s Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Security and Reforms, and President of the Public Accounts Committee.


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