The Malta Independent 17 July 2024, Wednesday
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Failed strategies and post-election thoughts

Sunday, 16 June 2024, 07:50 Last update: about 2 months ago

Alexander Mangion

Oh, my oh my, what an eventful week this has been. It all started on Sunday, with the shock result that book-ended a long and very particular campaign for the MEP and local Council elections. Then the dutiful analysis and discussion started.

By the time of writing, the local council votes have not yet been counted, so I will limit myself to comment on the mother of all surveys, the MEP elections which saw Roberta Metsola rocket through garnering a record-shattering 87,000 votes, and the Labour party’s apparent indestructible lead, absolutely decimated from a handsome 42,000 votes to a humbling single-digit 8,000.

Let’s be clear, the Labour Party won the MEP round, and the Nationalist Party lost. But some context is extremely necessary to truly understand this result.

After a generally dishonest campaign from the government’s side, relying considerably on the power of incumbency, supplemented by a bullying and dirt-throwing bonanza, it became clear that the electorate saw through the ruse. In fact, Robert Abela and the Labour Party have some serious soul-searching to do in the coming weeks and months.

The Labour Party must decide if it wants to hunt with the hounds or run with the hare. It cannot lead a respectable government, and inspire the crowds, while attacking the judiciary, and defending Joseph Muscat. It cannot say that it has what it takes to lead a modern Malta that aspires to be better, while at the same time dishing out favours, cheques and only the good Lord knows what else in the finest Mintoff-era style.

The most revolting part was that in one of his first reactions to the result this week, Robert Abela brazenly said that he was happy with the performance of the top tear of Government, referring to himself and the Ministers, but warned anyone else down the ranks that he was no longer going to tolerate people being employed by Government, ‘for the cushy jobs’!

Excuse me?! Are you serious Mr Prime Minister?! So, let’s get this straight. First, consecutive Labour administrations balloon the public sector, robbing valuable human resources from the private sector, with the promise of easy, stable cushy jobs, and next at the first sign of distress, he threatens them that they might be facing the chop?

Because let’s face it, we all know how the Labour party managed to secure those stratospheric majorities. That wasn’t a very good, long-term plan now was it, Mr Prime Minister? Are we seeing the beginning of the end for this current Labour hegemony?

I have always believed that politics shouldn’t be about dishing out jobs and freebies. It should be about creating the right environment for investment, and for creativity, letting people grow on their own steam. Giving the right tools and skills to those who want to succeed while supporting those who might be facing bigger challenges.

The Labour party has historically seen things the complete opposite way. The social services scandal earlier this year, shed a blinding light on how things were run. I shudder to think what else goes on behind closed Ministry doors.

The old saying goes, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day – teach him how to fish and he will eat his whole life. That is what politics is about. Political parties must move away from supplying fish on a daily basis to people. People are perfectly capable of standing on their own two feet and be successful on their own. That is why the younger generation are desensitized from politics, because they don’t want hand-outs – they want an opportunity and the right environment to succeed on their own.

 

Alexander Mangion is Deputy Mayor of Attard

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