January 2012


As I write, many Maltese people are biting their nails to see whether Franco Debono votes against the government or abstains. Half of them wish he abstains, the other half hope he’ll bring the government down. “Nazzjonalisti u Laburisti”, same old story.

Much less noticed are two young gentleman spending days braving the cold at Valletta City gate collecting signatures for a petition against the obnoxious development of 24 apartments and 26 garages in the middle of the picturesque valley of Wied il-Ghasel, Mosta. They are representing Harsien Patrimonju Mosti, that has been pulling a hard fight against the rape of the valley for years. They are also fighting a battle against time since though pending an appeal next June, the construction is going on at this very moment.

What has this got to do with what’s going on in Parliament and democracy? Much more than you think.

Before it degraded itself into mud throwing and petty bickering, most of the “Franco Debono issue” was about transparency, accountability and democracy. And while I may disagree on Franco Debono’s tactics, about the issues he put brought to surface I can only say one thing – He is right.

As can be seen in the well documented saga of the destruction of Wied il-Ghasel on Harsien Patrimonju Mosti’s website www.it-tarka.com the rape of the valley was given the green light through a process marred by conflicts of interest, lack of accountability and a massive exploitation of legal loopholes.

The destruction of this valley, like all the other past and present environmental scandals goes against the interest of Maltese citizens who have a vote. Yet, even at the risk of losing their votes without gaining others to compensate (for instance losing the votes of conservatives but in return gaining the votes of liberals when taking a stand on divorce or gay marriage) the abuse goes on.

Doesn’t this raise an eyebrow or two?

Isn’t it a pity that the much needed arguments on transparency and accountability Franco Debono was talking about have descended to petty bickering and mudslinging before even seriously discussed?

PS: I urge everyone who really love this country to download the petition from www.it-tarka.com print it, sign it, distribute it amongst friends and post it in the provided address. With around 30,000 signatures, the President will be asked to intervene. By the time of writing around 19,000 signatures have been collected.

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The first time I voted, I cast my No1 to a random PN candidate and my No2 to AD.

I didn’t like the PN much but considered them as a lesser evil. Then I realized that I should give my No 1 to support the part and principles I believed in because at the end of the day, the world will not end if either the PN and PL is in government and my no 1 vote gives a very strong message – a message against blind tribalism. After my first election I am proud to have given my number 1 vote to AD each and every election with no regrets.

By the time, my interest in politics grew, and the more I came to know about Alternattiva Demokratika, the more I liked them. To the extent of eventually joining the party, and will be contesting Local Elections on Mosta next March.

If one had to ask me what I find different in AD, I will point mainly towards two things, which I will call Freedom and Direction.

Freedom

No one in AD has his hands tied. It doesn’t accept donations from people/companies it may have a conflict of interest with and no one in the party has any personal interest that may jeopardise his position in politics, be it with a construction magnate, a contractor or a North African tyrant.

In other words we are free. We say what we believe is right because no one is pulling our strings.

Direction

In modern Europe, one hears about political ideology much less than before. In a way this is good. Fewer people are fossilized into ideologies of both left and right and many try to avoid any of the two extremes. This is partly due to the atrocities committed by both sides in our not-so-distant history.

However, in many European countries ideology has died completely, to the extent that democracy is not undermined by tyrants who oppose free and fair elections but by the fact voting for a party or another doesn’t actually make any difference.

This can’t be more true than in Malta where I describe both parties’ ideology as a “mad rush to where they think the votes are

They use the term “rainbow party” as if it is some kind of compliment! In MEP elections, you could have voted for hunters advocate Perici Calascione or environmentalist Alan Deidun, both contesting on the same party ticket (PN). On the other hand, in the same PL opposition, you have ultra-conservative Adrian Vassallo but can still vote for a liberal like Evarist Bartolo. So on and so forth.

I don’t consider that as a rainbow but a complete mess.

Needless to say, we in AD do not always agree on everything. That would be against human nature. We do have our squabbles. However these are usually sorted out in a short time and without any resentment, not only because we mean well but also because unlike in the examples mentioned above, we don’t have people who are diametrically opposed to each other.

In short I think of Green ideology as left of center, liberal and one that puts a lot of weight on ecological issues. That said, this is not (and should not be) shrouded in dogma and a refusal to make a compromise, but a clear direction.

We do not promise a quick-fix for Malta’s problems like populist parties. Anyone who proposes that is either lying or hallucinating.

However, we do offer something different. A change that while I’m sure there are people who honestly mean it in both PN and PL, for the reasons mentioned above, can never deliver it.