The PN have been star-gazing for a long time. Their obsession for Malta to join the EU in membership, whatever the cost or consequences, has constrained them to forget they are really Maltese, bound by the constitution. They seem more at ease waving the EU flag with yellow stars on a blue base.`
Their manifesto is so scant on details and on specific measures that basically they are offering nothing but EU membership as a single automatic solution to all home-made problems, created by their incompetent administration over three legislatures.` Their manifesto is evidence that they have been doing nothing but star-gaze at the EU flag.
But since the Labour manifesto has been launched the nationalists have been star-gazing in a different way. It reminds me of a favourite past-time I have when on clear summer nights, from the terrace of my Kortin apartment, I gaze the star-studded skies and try to imagine shapes formed by the drawing imaginary lines joining a select group of stars.
Sometimes I see a bat, sometimes I figure a horse, a mouse, a cat and on and on until I dose off or just go to sleep.` It is a harmless exercise which helps me shed off life`s tensions.
`Their manifesto is evidence that they have been doing nothing but star-gaze at the EU flag.` It has however no relevance in the world of politics. But the PN are doing it. The have taken the MLP manifesto and have been shocked by the depth of its contents and by the fact that it has occupied the political agenda during the campaign. They are raging that they have not succeeded to keep the campaign as a single issue EU contest.
Consequently they have been forced to star-gaze Labour`s electoral manifesto. And just as in summer I imagine images which are not there, the PN are reading into our manifesto and coming out with conclusions that are as imaginary as the lines I draw to join the stars to form creative shapes.
How else could anyone explain their concluding that we are proposing a wage freeze` Since when has the sensible economic objective of having wages increasing commensurately with productivity increases in order to preserve our competitiveness, become worth denigrating as a wage freeze` How low can one go in repetitively quoting George Vella out of context as if he advocated a wage freeze, when in fact all he said was the obvious i.e.` that it would be economically suicidal if we are forced to increase wage rates purely to make good for the cost of living impulses which would be released by adoption of EU rules.
Where in our manifesto, except through star-gazing, does one find that Labour would be reducing social services or pensions as Minister Dalli has so imaginatively concluded`
But the biggest star-gazing exercise has been that related to HSBC employees. Labour`s manifesto is responsibly vague on our approaches to tackle the HSBC issue. Whatever Labour means to do is being framed within internationally accepted competition rules where those economic operators that hold a dominant position on the market will have to be more accountable to ensure they do not abuse their dominant position. Labour has been purposely vague to ensure that we leave ample space for negotiation to come to suitable agreement which would be in the interest of both parties and most importantly of the Maltese economy. `We will negotiate with HSBC in the interest of the Maltese nation and will make no apology for it`
Labour`s top priority with HSBC will be to ensure that they deliver on their promise to bring investment into Malta and to locate some of their international or regional business in Malta as they so gallantly indicated in the days leading to the signature of the agreement for the acquisition of their majority stake in the then Mid-Med Bank.` We will also remind the Bank of the social obligations which emerge from its dominant position to ensure that it adopts strategies that are attuned to the development of the Maltese economy; that it should not place primary focus on their strategy to convert ordinary bank deposits in foreign international wealth management products of the HSBC group but more on financing the development of the economy especially where SME`s are concerned.
We will negotiate with HSBC in the interest of the Maltese nation and will make no apology for it. We certainly expect no thanks or approval from the likes of John Dalli who irresponsibly sold out his underpants and all to HSBC, breaking all rules of prudent and transparent privatisations, and who can only expect to look even more incompetent through a new Labour government`s intervention with HSBC.
How or why this is being star-gazed to mean that we want to downsize HSBC is a symptom of the panic that is striking John Dalli et al as that their day of reckoning is approaching. I assure my former colleagues at HSBC that they have nothing to worry about. If there will be changes there will be changes which improve their status and will give them greater satisfaction that although their employer carries an internationally recognised brand, whilst thinking globally it has to act locally in full respect of the dominant position and the social responsibilities that emerge there from.
Monday, 31 March 2003
Huwa car li f`dil-kampnja elettorali tal-Partit Nazzjonalista tilfu rashom.` Qatt ma rajt lil tal-PN mexjin bla direzzjoni f`kampanja elettorali daqs kemm qed narahom f`din l-elezzjoni.
Jien perswaz li gara kif ser nispjega. L-UE qalet lill-pajjizi kandidati li qed ifittxu shubija, li ghandhom biss jersqu biex jiffermaw it-trattat tas-16 t`April f`Ateni jekk il-gvern ikollu mandat elettorali li jmur lil hinn mill-1 ta` Mejju tas-sena 2004 meta effittivament huwa mistenni li jsir it-tkabbir.
Il-gvern Malti ma kienx jissodisfa din il-kundizzjoni u ghalhekk kellu bilfors isejjah elezzjoni li l-aktar tard li setghet issir huwa fit-12 ta` April 2003.
Ir-referendum gie deciz mill-gvern nazzjonalista ghat-8 ta` Marzu.` L-UE ma nsistitx hi li r-referednum isir meta sar.` Dan kien stqarru wkoll esplicitament l-Ambaxxatur Gallimore li qal li d-data ghazilha l-gvern Malti izda li t-trattat ma jkunx finallizzat qabel id-9 ta` April meta huwa mistenni li jkun finalment approvat mill-Parlament Ewropew. Il-bicca `l kbira tal-pajjizi ser izommu r-referendum wara li jiffirmaw it-trattat. Il-Latvja se zzomm ir-referednum l-ahhar nett fl-20 ta` Settembru 2003.
Mela l-gvern nazzjonalista zamm ir-referednum daqstant kmieni ghal raguni wahda u wahda biss.` Ried li dan ir-referednum isir qabel mal-fatti shah ikunu maghrufa, qabel ma l-oppozizzjoni laburista ikollha cans tispjega kif il-Partnership huwa ahjar mill-membership, u biex iservi ta` springboard ghall-elezzjoni li kienet ilha deciza ghat-12 ta` April. Ghalhekk intghazlet id-data ta` 8 ta` Marzu li thalli il-minimu taz-zmien stipulat mill-kostituzzjoni biex bejna u bejn it-12 ta` April issir il-kampanja elettorali.
`Kienu certi li bl-ghajnuna tal-propaganda, bl-uzu tal-fondi pubblici` biex idamdmu mohh l-elettorat, b`interventi imprudenti minn naha tal-Kummissjoni Ewropeja, u bix-xiri bi flusna stess ta` kull min jinxtara, kienu ser jirbhu ir-referendum b`magguranza assoluta.` Ghalhekk il-Prim Ministru meta kiteb lil Dr Sant lejn l-ahhar ta` Jannar li ghadda kien qed ikun ciniku ghall-ahhar. Offrilu li jekk jaccetta li jippartecipa fir-referednum ta` Marzu allura jiftiehem mieghu data meta l-ahhar tista` ssir elezzjoni. Meta kien ga jaf sew li l-elezzjoni` kellha bilfors issir elezzjoni sat-12 t`April mar joffri koncessjoni taparsi biex jikkommetti lill-Labour dwar ir-referendum.
X`kien il-pjan tal-PN Kienu certi li bl-ghajnuna tal-propaganda, bl-uzu tal-fondi pubblici` biex idamdmu mohh l-elettorat, b`interventi imprudenti minn naha tal-Kummissjoni Ewropeja, u bix-xiri bi flusna stess ta` kull min jinxtara, kienu ser jirbhu ir-referendum b`magguranza assoluta. Meta l-Labour hareg il-policy ta` tlett ghazliet dawn accettawha u ma ilmentaw xejn ghax hasbu li xorta kienu se jgibu maggoranza assoluta tal-voti eligibbli kollha.
Kellhom pjan li wara rebha fir-referendum il-kampanja elettorali kellha tkun zifna ta` celebrazzjoni lejn elezzjoni walkover hekk kif il-Partit Laburista kien ikun` mifxul; wara li jkun ra il-maggurazna tal-poplu tapprova il-membership tan-nazzjonalisti li kienet teskludi il-partnership tal-partit laburista.
Gharralhom! Gharralhom bl-ikrah. Idawwru kif idawru il-fatt jibqa` li l-magguranza li hasbu li kellhom komodament ma gabuhiex.` Kieku gabuha kieku ghadhom sa issa ghaddejjin bil-carcades mit-toroq f`celebrazzjoni li tibqa` sejra sa l-elezzjoni.
Ghalhekk haduha bi kbira li l-laburisti hrigna niccelebraw. Imn`Alla hrigna niccelebraw.` Niccelebraw il-fatt li n-nazzjonalisti ma gabux il-magguranza li tant kienu hadu for granted. Jien kburi li jien kont minn ta` l-ewwel li mort fuq Super One Radio ha nfiehem in `nies li ma kienx minnu li nazzjonalisti kienu rebhu u li kellhom jigu hdejn is-Super One biex flimkien, bla ma naqilghu inkwiet ma min dehrlu li kellu jiccelbra avolja tilef, nifirhu li l-istrategija tal-PN kienet marret il-bahar. Min semaghni fuq ir-radju il-hadd 9 ta` Marzu kont bassart li l-ghada il-Prim Ministru kien se jxolji l-parlament u jsejjah lezzjoni ghat-12 ta` April mhux hekk hekk jixtieq izda ghax hekk bilfors kien ga gie deciz ghalih minn haddiehor.
`L-agenda f`din il-kampanja qed jaghmilha il-Partit Laburista.` In-nazzjonalisti tilfu r-referednum meta kellhom kollox favur taghhom. ` Tifhmu ghalhekk ghala fl-ewwel gimgha tal-kampanja in-nazzjonalisti, minkejja li s-suffara ta` l-elezzjoni saffruha huma stess, fil-fatt ma kellhom xejn lest.` Kellhom jiddisinjaw il-kampanja elettorali taghhom mil-gdid.` Lanqas il-programm elettorali ma kellhom lest u hargu wiehed xott xott b`ritratti aktar milli` bis-sugu.` Programm` li seta gie tradott ghal vers wiehed biss EJJA NIDHLU MEMBRI FL-UE AKKOST TA` KOLLOX U TA` KULLHADD. Dak kull ma qed iweghdu n-nazzjonalisti.` Ma hemm xejn izjed fil-programm taghhom.
L-elezzjoni iriduha qisa referendum iehor. Ma jridux jitkellmu fuq l-affarijiet li l-poplu jrid jisma fuqhom ghax jeffetwaw mill-qrib il-hajja ta` kuljum.` Ma jridux jitkellmu fuq id-dejn, fuq il-hmieg, fuq il-korruzzzjoni, fuq id-degredzzjoni ambjentali, fuq it-toroq imhaffra, fuq progetti li ma jispiccaw qatt, fuq servizzi tas-sahha li ma jirrispondux ghal htigiet tal-poplu, fuq sistema edukattivia li qed tipproduci eluf ta; zaghzagh li ma humiex lesti biex jiffaccjaw id-dinja tax-xoghol.` Iridu jitkellmu biss fuq l-UE.
Kif taraw izda mhux jirnexxilhom` L-agenda f`din il-kampanja qed jaghmilha il-Partit Laburista.` In-nazzjonalisti tilfu r-referednum meta kellhom kollox favur taghhom. Tahsbu li jistghu jirbhu l-elezzjoni meta ahna qed naghmlu l-agenda u nikxfu b`mod car l-inkompetenza u l-arroganza tan-nazzjonalisti`
Anke Fenech Adami qed jaqbel.` Araw x`qal il-gimgha `l ohra : `But I am convinced that the people would not change the opinion expressed on March 08`
Prosit. Anke dan ikun bizzejjed biex nghadduhom.` Issa li ftahna spazju ghal-laburisti li anke jekk jemmnu fis-shubija fl-UE jemmnu wkoll li l-Partit Laburista kapaci jinnegozja hafna hafna ahjar, allura ghandna ghax nifirhu li se ngibu maggoranza assoluta biex bl-Alternattiva b`kollox jistghu jimmanuvraw kemm iridu ghax kollu jkun ghalxejn.` L-importanti li kullhadd johrog jivvota bi hgaru u li niggieldu sa l-ahhar ghal kull vot.` Jekk naghmlu dan is-success ma jonqosx.
Sunday, 30 March 2003
Illum niltaqghu lkoll il-Birgu biex hemmhekk mhux biss nkomplu ghaddejjin bil-kampanja elettorali li qed taqta` nifs in-nazzjoanlisti, izda lkoll flimkien nahilfu mil-gdid il-halfa tal-helsien kif konna ghamilna 24 sena ilu.
Tajjeb li kullhadd jifhem li f`din l-elezzjoni qed jintlaghab il-Helsien.` Dak li ksibna b`tant tahbiet ta` dawk li gew qabilna u li lahaq il-qofol tieghu nhar il-31 ta` Marzu ta` l-1979, jinsab mhedded minn gvern mherri li jista` jissejjah kollox barra nazzjonalista.
Jekk il-poplu jitlef ghaqlu jew jaqta` qalbu u jerga jgedded il-mandat tan-nazzjonalisti fil-gvern allura dan ikun ta` theddida serjissima ghal Helsien ta` pajjizna li niccelebraw kull 31 ta` Marzu.
In-nazzjonalisti ma jemmnux fl-UE. Ma jemmnux fil-Helsien.` Ma jemmnux fil-poplu Malti.` In-nazzjonalisti taht Fenech Adami jemmnu biss f`haga wahda. Jemmnu biss fil-kilba li jzommu l-poter akkost ta` kollox, inkluz akkost li jippregudikaw il-Kostituzzjoni ta` pajjizna u l-Helsien li hemm imnaqqax fiha.
` Dak li ksibna b`tant tahbiet ta` dawk li gew qabilna u li lahaq il-qofol tieghu nhar il-31 ta` Marzu ta` l-1979, jinsab mhedded minn gvern mherri li jista` jissejjah kollox barra nazzjonalista.` Ilhom 16 il sena jherru il-fibra morali u socjali tal-poplu Malti.` Flok repubblika hanina mibnija fuq ix-xoghol, gabuna pajjiz mitrugh fejn kullhadd jahtaf u jahseb ghal rasu, fejn kullhadd jara x`ser jiehu u mhux x`ser jaghti, fejn min jahdem jigi kastigat u min jiskarta jigi ppremjat, fejn l-ghazz u t-tbertiq jigi glorifikat u l-bzulija u l-ghaqal jigu mistmherra.
Wara sittax il-sena ta` tbahrid bla sens u tmexxija irresponsabbli gabuna f`xifer ta` falliment fejn ghandna d-dejn hiereg minn widnejna u l-iskart qed innitten l-art fejn nghixu, il-bahar fejn nghumu` u l-arja li nibilghu go sidirna.
Gabuna pajjiz li tilef il-fiducja fih innifsu.` Flok kburin li mmexxu l-azjendi taghna bhal ma konna naghmlu fi snin sebghin u tmenin, ma kull gurnata qed jittimbraw f`mohhna li ahna m`ahniex kapaci wehidna, li ghanda bzonn il-barrani jzommilna jdejna, li ma sirna tajbin ghal xejn la biex immexxu l-banek, la biex immexu l-posta, la biex immexxu l-ajruport, imsomma sirna gens bla hila.
Il-verita hija li ghadna gvern bla hila li jrid igib lil kullhadd ghad-daqs tieghu ha jibqa dejjem jikkmandaw huma li gabuna f`din ir-rovina. Din il-gimgha tajt zewg ezempji cari ta` kemm dawn huma nies servili u ma jafux jinnegozjaw.` Kont f`dibattitu ma John Dalli li ovvjament ma kellu l-ebda risposta hlief li jtellef billi jigdeb u jinterrompi.
Meta jien kont Chairman tal-Mid-Med Bank, fuq talba tal-Ministru ta` l-Edukazzjoni ta` dak iz-zmien Evarist Bartolo, konna xtrajna kwadru prezzjus tal-pittur ingliz Turner tas-sena 1832 li kien pitter il-Port il-Kbir taghna.` Dan kjien kwadru li kien ilu ma jidher u li f`daqqa wahda tfacca f`irkant f`Londra. `Jekk gvern nazzjonalisti qas kapaci jiehu hsieb affarijiet hfief u cari bhal dawn kif nistghu jippretendu li jafu jipprotegu il-Helsien taghna
Konna xtrajnih 61000 lira ngliza u ridna li jkun patrimonju ghal polu Malti.` Gibnih hawn Malta u ghamilna ricerka fuqu u konna lesti npogguh ghad-dispozzizjoni tal-poplu Malti bhala bank ewlieni Malti.
Meta John Dalli biegh il-Mid-Med lil HSBC, wahdu wahdu u` b`nofs prezz,` anqas kellu dicenza li jghidlhom li dak il-kwadru, patrimonju tal-poplu Malti, ma kellux jidhol fil-bejgh u kellu jibqa` tal-poplu. Dak li ahna xtrajna u konna kburin biegh f`daqqa, grazzi ghat-traskuragni u l-inkompetenza ta` min jippretendiha, rega ghadda f`idejn il-barrani.
Issa gejna fis-sitwazzjoni redikola li l-HSBC jaghmlulna pjacir li jhalluna naraw il-kwadru li xtrajna ahna stess ghax il-Ministru Dalli nesa jitlobulhom qabel ma biegh il-Bank.
L-istess jghodd ghall-art il-Blata l-Bajda fejn kien hemm il-Lohombus u llum hemm Hexagan House ta` l-HSBC.` Din kienet art pubblika li nghatat b`xejn permezz ta` rizoluzzjoni tal-parlament Malti biex tintuza mill-Lohombus ghal skop socjali ta` house loans.` Meta nbiegh il-Mid-Med din l-art inbieghet b`kollox.` Izda l-gvern nehha, bi kjsur tar-rizoluzzjoni tal-parlament, l-obbligu li tintuza biss ghal skop socjali u llum l-HSBC juzawha ghall-uzu generali. Izda l-fatt jibqa` li art li nghatat mill-parlament bla hlas ghal uzu socjali illum qed tintuza ghal skop kummercjali u l-poplu ta` dan ma dahhal xejn.` Mank qalulhom isma hares, la tridu tuzawha ghal x`hiex tridu intom allura ta` l-art li kienet inghatat b`xejn tridu thallsu il-prezz kummercjali taghha li zgur huwa `l fuq minn miljun lira.
Jekk gvern nazzjonalisti qas kapaci jiehu hsieb affarijiet hfief u cari bhal dawn kif nistghu jippretendu li jafu jipprotegu il-Helsien taghna Il-lejla nahilfu li dak li ma jaghmlux in-nazzjonalisti naghmluh ahna b`kull mezz, specjalment meta nkjunu fil-gvern daqs gimghatejn ohra.
Friday, 28 March 2003
The Times of Malta
Interpretations can be twisted.` Facts remain.
Having taken it for granted that they can carry the referendum with a comfortable outright majority and having planned the back to back election campaign as a mere celebratory sandwich between two victories, the PN are clearly at a loss to recompose their election strategy.
And this loss is showing in their desperate attempts to thwart facts on two basic points.` Firstly on the referendum result and secondly on Labour`s proposal to re-do the referendum post-election in a serious manner.
Their claim that they won the referendum is so untenable that they themselves apply inconsistent and contradictory arguments to it.` Sometimes they argue that the Yes has to be calculated solely as a percentage of the valid votes cast, and sometimes they argue that the No camp should not count in its bag the total of the uncollected, abstained and cancelled votes but only those above a normal average which they claim to amount to 5%.
`In full consistency with this line of thought, in line with what I have been proposing with nearly boring repetition for several months before the referendum, and indeed with what was promised in its 1998 electoral manifesto, Labour is proposing to re-run a serious referendum.` The former interpretation is ludicrous and undemocratic. Democracy in our system is built on political parties.` MLP, as one of the two major parties and the official opposition, gave instructions to its followers which included their right to abstain or to cancel.` Nobody complained about this before the referendum. No section of the law provides any interpretation that abstention and cancelled votes following official party policy should not be calculated in interpreting the result.
Labour Party gave advance warning to all its followers that their abstained or cancelled vote will count the same as a No vote.` I made this public beforehand in several of my writings. Labour made no attempt whatsoever to get out the vote and on the contrary advised the sick and aged in localities where no local council elections were being held to save their energies for the general elections.
On what democratic grounds may I ask should such votes following official party policy be excluded from the result`
As to the argument that 5% should be excluded being the normal non-meaningful abstainers or invalidators, I have argued that applying a normal ratio to abnormal circumstances is irrational and unconvincing. I argued that a rate of two-thirds the normal level would probably be more appropriate.` This however, remains mere conjecture as it is not possible to read people`s motivations and divide them between meaningful and non-meaningful abstainers/invalidators.
So the most one can say about the referendum result is that it was inconclusive. While the YES campaign continues to claim a hollow victory,` the No campaign readily admitted that its joy for winning by default of the Yes campaign to get the outright majority they took for granted, does not necessarily mean endorsement of the Partnership policy.
In full consistency with this line of thought, in line with what I have been proposing with nearly boring repetition for several months before the referendum, and indeed with what was promised in its 1998 electoral manifesto, Labour is proposing to re-run a serious referendum. `we give assurance that we can negotiate with the EU much better than the PN. We can do it, we will do it.`
If the Prime Minister had taken seriously Dr Sant`s offer to discuss an agreement for a post-election referendum we would have been spared the democratic deficit of the March 8 suffrage, and we could have had the referendum soon after the election.` Now that the possibility has been eradicated by the pre-mature, undemocratic and inconclusive referendum of March 8, all those who value democracy should be thankful that Labour is responsibly offering to give the final say to the people after a sufficient breather permitting more specificity on two important aspects. Firstly more substantial information about Partnership which in the meantime gets formally negotiated, and secondly more information on how the EU itself evolves its constitutional structure to crystallise the residual rights that `small members like Malta would have under the federal-like model the EU seems minded to adopt.
Instead of valuing this demonstration of applied democracy, the great pretenders organised under the Yes umbrella, `keep pushing for the minority to impose its will on the majority and expect a democratically elected Labour government to feel bound to the will of the minority rather than to the mandate given it to it by the majority.
And to show how they have no idea of what democracy is about we had Foreign Minister Joe Borg claiming incredibly that the EU will deny proper accreditation to a democratically elected Labour Prime Minister, and ex-PN Minister Michael Falzon pretending to speak on my and my colleagues behalf (It`s no longer `us against them`, The Times March 21st) claiming that we are all against `him`. Does Mr Falzon know that at least 3 hours before Dr Sant addressed the crowds at Marsa on March 9th, I was on Super One Radio explaining that as the Yes failed to get the overall majority, the No camp had a right to consider having won by the Yes default.
And the suspicion about the Prime Minister`s true democratic colours grow the longer he takes in assuring us that post-election he will respect the will of the majority. Labour has readily given this assurance. And likewise we give assurance that we can negotiate with the EU much better than the PN. We can do it, we will do it.
“The keywords this week were pardon and sacrifices. Indeed lent is the time of spiritual cleansing, for asking pardon for our shortcomings and for making sacrifices in reparation for our sins”
“The PM is right in asking for forgiveness. He must however accept that as reparation he has to go to opposition gracefully”
Monday, 24 March 2003
The prejudice of the English language media and business organisations against the left side of Maltese politics is exposing their illogic and inconsistency.
Their interpretation of the referendum result is an insult to whoever believes in the fair process of democracy in Malta. Not only they felt no reason to raise any objection on the acute democratic deficit with which the referendum was wrapped, but they are now trying to turn logic on its head.
By insisting in supporting the PN`s claim that only the valid votes should be counted to determine the referendum result, they are really exposing their true political colours and that they have become mere political instruments serving the right side of Maltese politics.
`Cassola for them carries more weight than 30,000 voters who exercised their right to support the `no` camp by not voting. ` Maltese democracy is built around the operation of political parties. Political parties in the referendum divided themselves into two distinct camps. The Yes camp embracing the Nationalist Party and Alternattiva Democratika and supported by all right wing organisations including Business Associations and white collar Trade Unions. The No camp consisted almost solely of the MLP and the GWU.
Had Labour given instructions to its followers to vote solely for a straight No, then the argument of counting just the Yes and No votes as a straight fight would indeed apply.` Labour however did not advocate solely a straight No for the referendum. It widened its choice to those who preferred either to abstain or to cancel their vote. It did so purposely to embrace those who like me did not want to vote against EU membership in a vacuum, but wanted to know what the alternative would be.
There was no equivocation on this point. Labour policy was made clear soon after the referendum writ was issued. It was widely publicised.` Nobody complained.` Nobody suggested that what Labour was proposing was illegal.` The challenge was accepted and the expectation was clearly that the YES camp would get an outright majority, thanks to abuse of public funds and foreign interference to brainwash one and all out of our senses.
I personally left no doubt whatsoever in my writings well before the event as to how Labour was going to interpret the result. All those living voters on the register who abstained or cancelled their votes would be counted in the No camp. True this could embrace some who would normally not vote irrespective of Labour`s directive. But once Labour`s policy was made clear well in advance this sector was bound to reduce substantially over its normal level and in any case would be a very small balance to address the excessive loading against Labour when public funds were used to promote IVA together with atrocious foreign interference in our domestic affairs by the EU and its embassy in Malta.
Yet after the event, they all turned wiser. Suddenly those of us who, following the instructions given by Labour in full execution of its democratic rights and obligations, decided to abstain or cancel the vote were not to be counted.
Those who raised hell because Labour applied to the Court for removal of Arnold Cassola from the electoral register having lost the residency credentials` to qualify for voting, suddenly turned very cool in trying to disenfranchise thirty thousand voters from giving a true meaning to our right to form part of the No camp directive. Cassola for them carries more weight than 30000 voters who exercised their right to support the No camp by not voting.
If anyone is being undemocratic it is the Yes camp who keeps attempting to pretend that a minority of 48% can impose its will on a majority of 52%. With their heads in the stars the PN and its allies care nothing anymore about democracy. They think that they have a right to suggest to foreign organisations not to negotiate with a democratically elected Labour government. They think they have a right to impose on a future Labour government, their policy rejected by the majority of Maltese voters in spite of being favoured by a huge imbalance in the application of resources.
They have no right to call themselves democratic anymore. And this is showing is the hate overdose with which they are conducting their election campaign, targeting not the opposing party`s policies but the individual in the most abusive of manners.
Small wonder therefore that when Labour offers to subject its Partnership to a popular referendum contrasting it to membership, these despot dictators and their blind followers start seeing red in the truest sense of the word.
Labour`s proposal to make a fresh referendum during the next legislature as soon as Partnership negotiations are concluded addresses the four democratic weaknesses of the last referendum:
It will offer a real choice between the two contrasting policies of the major political schools and not just constrain voters to vote Yes or No to one of them. It will be held after giving the two arguments opportunity to state their case objectively with a fair allocation of resources without foreign interference and without application of public funds to extract out of the electorate the option preferred by the government. It will be held in a serene environment away from the election campaign to ensure that it is really a national plebiscite and not a partisan tool. It will be held by a government with a constitutional mandate to execute the people`s choice and not by a government at the end of its term in office attempting to impose its will on its successors.
This is true democratic spirit for which Labour, and only Labour, has the right credentials.` It is fully consistent with the promise made in the 1998 election manifesto, with Labour amendment to the government resolution recently debated in parliament before the announcement of the referendum and again consistent with Alfred Sant`s reply to the Prime Minister`s approach by letter last January suggesting a common agreement for a post-election truly national referendum. `They have no right to call themselves democratic anymore. And this is showing in the hate overdose with which they are conducting their election campaign, `
But because this proposal burns the ground from under their feet and woes back IVA Labour sympathisers to the Labour fold by proving to them that Labour is prepared to follow the people`s will for EU membership if this emerges from a truly fair referendum after the Partnership deal is properly negotiated and explained, the PN camp and their media allies attack this sincere and straight forward proposals frontally.
Their reaction proves that they do not really believe in the EU, or in democracy, for that matter.` They just believe in anything that could make them hang on to power.
I maintain that a final decision about Malta`s relationship with the EU needs to be taken serenely and when there is more convergence of informed public opinion on the matter.` It is too big a decision to take with a doubtful decimal point percentage here or there.
The argument that the 16th April signing of the Treaty is the last train to heaven is ludicrous.` It is more like signing `a preliminary agreement to buy a property for its full commercial price in full knowledge that in parliament they are debating a law permitting the passage of a trunk road right on the site of where the house is located.
There will be more than one more opportunity to join the EU if the Maltese electorate should so decide in a fair binding referendum, and it will be on terms far more superior than what the PN negotiated. If we decide to do it we will do it together with confidence in full respect of our constitution and when we are economically upright to make the most of the opportunities.
In the meantime the electorate will chose a Labour government to give first priority to bringing our house in order.
Sunday, 23 March 2003
The Malta Independent on Sunday
So I was damn right on the referendum result wasn`t I`
Just to refresh your memory here is what I wrote here 2 weeks ago before the referendum vote:
`The government will interpret the results as the percentage of the Yes vote of the total valid votes cast. On this basis there should be no doubt that once the Opposition has chosen to split its votes on three possibilities rather than concentrate on a single No option, the Yes votes would outnumber the No votes.
The opposition will interpret the result as the percentage of the Yes votes of the total number of entitled voters being the number of voters on the registers less the number of those deceased till the day before the referendum.
So it is quite possible that the Yes vote will get a majority on the basis of the first interpretation but a minority on the basis of the second interpretation which would award the majority to the three option votes of the No camp.
In such a situation we will obviously hear arguments whether it is right to include non-voters within the ranks of the No camp once there is no-way of knowing whether, like myself, the voter abstained purposely or through sheer inability or nonchalance.`
And that`s exactly where we stand to day. The best proof that the YES did not win the referendum is the fact that had they really won in an incontestable way, the election campaign would have been a mere celebratory song and dance, which obviously it is not.
`The way the referendum was modelled was indeed meant to play games with democracy.` As it is impossible to quantify how many of those abstaining or cancelling their vote were actually meaning to adhere to Labour`s directives,` the most generous interpretation the YES camp could give to the referendum result is that it is inconclusive. But their arguing that they won simply because the Yes votes outnumbered the No votes is surely playing games with democracy.
The way the referendum was modelled was indeed meant to play games with democracy.` I have listed four basic reasons why I considered the referendum unworthy of my participation therein, thus not validating the democratic process it was betraying whilst pretending to prove it. Anybody arguing that my meaningful abstention is not a protest against the government Yes campaign, does not even know how to spell democracy. Thankfully Labour has seen wisdom in proposing a new referendum which addresses the 4 basic weaknesses of the last one:
It will be a real choice between Partnership and Membership, not just a Yes or No to one of the options. It will be held fairly in a manner to be agreed through real consultations with the opposition and allowing fair resources to both sides. It will be held by a government that will have constitutional authority to execute the people`s choice and not one at the end of its term in office. It will be a truly binding national consultation and not a mere partisan tool in the throes of an election campaign.
But the government`s bend of playing games with democracy seems to have interminable limits. Take Min. Joe Borg atrocious declaration that the EU will refuse to deal with Alfred Sant as Prime Minister. Take the PN`s billboard that Alfred Sant is `perikoluz`.
Such declaration normally come from despot dictators who believe that they and they alone represent the State and the people have no right to choose their leaders. Anybody who disagrees with the L`etat c`est moi pretender would be considered perikoluz.
Such thinking should have no place in free Malta pretending to have the democratic credentials to join the EU.` Even the concept that this is our only real chance to join the EU and that on 12th April we are actually voting again Yes or No to EU membership, `exposes deep deficit with democracy. `So when over the next weeks you will hear the Prime Minister et al moaning that EU membership is a now or never affair, `and that we will risk losing Lm81 million, `you should just smile wryly and pity them at their inability to negotiate properly.`
On 12th April we are choosing the party best suited to manage our affairs across the whole spectrum of government, of which foreign policy and EU relations is merely one component. Sixteen years of nearly uninterrupted power has rendered the present PN lot fatigued, arrogant, compromised and incapable of offering true solutions to the huge financial, environmental and social deficits they created.` Their single all-purpose solution through EU-membership is a mirage exposing their weakness not their strength.
This country desperately needs a change.` It needs new ideas and new energies to devise realistic solutions to our problems which brought us to economic stagnation and mountains of debt and debris.` There should be no doubt that whether eventually we would choose Partnership or Membership, Labour can do a better job of it, if anything by making it clear, and using it as a lever in the negotiations, that our Constitution and our neutrality is not for changing, and that whatever we agree with the EU has to be in full compliance with our Constitution.
So when over the next weeks you will hear the Prime Minister et al moaning that EU membership is a now or never affair, `and that we will risk losing Lm81 million, `you should just smile wryly and pity them at their inability to negotiate properly.` Remember that by choosing Labour as your next government you will have a real choice. Even if you still prefer membership it will be a membership that respects our constitution and that is set against a certain background and not, as presently, against a Constitution of the EU that is still being drafted.
But remember that under all circumstances Labour can do a better job.
Lanqas ridt nemmen lil widenjja meta smajt li n-nazzjonalisti hargu bil-logo ghall-elezzjoni bil-kliem Gid, Xoghol u Serjeta`.
Gid u Xoghol ma hasdunix. Dawn ilhom juzawhom. Dawn huma objettivi ekonomici li jifthu diskussjoni dwar jekk inholoqx Gid bizzejjed u jekk hawnx opportunitajiet ta` Xoghol bizzejjed. Certament ahna nsostnu lil-pajjiz stagna, l-ekonomija mhux qed tikber u b`konsegwenza ta` dan hawn problema kbira ta` xoghol specjalment fost iz-zghazagh bla skola u rgiel li qabzu l-erbghin sena.
Izda l-inkluzjoni tas-Serjeta` fil-logo hasditni. Ghax Serjeta tmur lil hemm mid-dimensjoni ekonomika.` Is-serjeta` metiega kullimkien. U jekk hawn xi haga li nhoss li hawn qbil wiesgha dwarha, anke fost hafna nazzjonalisti stess, huwa li f`dan il-pajjiz is-serjeta` spiccat.
`Izda il-huta minn rasha tinten.` Jekk ghandna gvern mhux serju kif jistghu dawn jippretendu li jdahhlu s-serjeta` f`pajjizna.` Dal `pajjiz spicca mmexxi mhux minn gvern elett fl-interess tal-poplu izda minn gvern li donnu aktar izomm l-interess ta` pajjizi barranin u ta` ftit kliek tal-hbieb tal-hbieb. Spiccajna pajjiz li naghtu premju ta` proklami lil min jittraffika d-droga . Spiccajna pajjiz li kuntratti kbar bhall-isptar ta` Tal-Qroqq jinghata b`direct order mhux b`tender pubbliku fejn ditta barranija tiddetermina hi stess kemm hi ghandha tithallas. Fejn ix-xoghol fuq dan l-isptar isir bl-aktar mod apert minn klandestini illegali u mhux mill-haddiema Maltin. Spiccajna ekonomikament gharkoptejna u kellna nbieghu l-aqwa bank Malti maljar malajr b`nofs prezz bla ma tnehdiet sejha pubblika.
Issa wara li l-Gvern Nazzjonalista ilhom fil- poter kwazi 16 il-sena donnhom skoprew u ammettew huma wkoll li fil-pajjiz m`hawnx serjeta U altru li l-pajjiz ghandu bzonn is-serjeta`. Izda il-huta minn rasha tinten.` Jekk ghandna gvern mhux serju kif jistghu dawn jippretendu li jdahhlu s-serjeta` f`pajjizna.
Fejnha s-serjeta X`serjeta hi din li ghax il-Partit fl-Oppozizzjoni ghandu policies differenti mill-gvern, `il-Kap ghaziz taghna jigi mghajjar perikoluz.` Perikoluz ghax ma naqblux maghkom Mela anke d-dritt li ma naqblux tridu tnehhu Donnu li meta appella biex `nimmanginaw li l-Partit Laburista u Alfred Sant ma jezistux, `ma kinetx xi lapsus tal-kelma izda idea intenzjonata u `ffurmata.
Dawn l-affarijiet jigru fejn hemm d-dittaturi. Huma f`pajjizi bhall-Iraq u Cuba li min ma jaqbilx mal-Gvern jigi ittimbrat traditur u perikoluz. Mela Malta ghandna dittatura issa` U tassew tibda tahseb dan. `Is-serjeta tibda wara t-12 t`April taht gvern Laburista.`
Ghax meta l-Kap ta` l-Oppozizzjoni jitlob diversi drabi konferma semplici mill-Partit Nazzjonalisti li huma lesti jirrispettaw ir-rizultat ta` l-elezzjoni li gejja u kull ma tigi hija risposta ta` skiet arroganti tibda tistaqsi, hawn x`gej Imbaghad meta johrog il-Ministru ta` l-Affarijiet Barranin u jaghmel statement grottesk li l-UE ma tkunx trid tinnegozja ma Alfred Sant bhala Prim Ministru tkompli tistaqsi x`demokraizja jemmnu fiha n-nazzjonalisti.
Altru li ghandna bzonn is-serjeta` fil-pajjiz. L-ewwel u qabel kollox ghandna bzonn dikjarazzjoni cara ta` Fenech Adami li lest jirrispetta d-demokrazija. Xejn anqas minn dikajarazzjoni esplicita u cara dwar dan ma sservi.` Ghax kull meta kien fl-Oppozizzjoni Fenech Adami ma tantx ghandu kredenzjali demokratici x`jiftahar bohom.` Bejn 1977 u l-1981 kien jghid li l-poplu jista jekk ma jaqbilx mal-gvern iwaqqghu. Bejn l-1981-1987 ghamel affarijiet perikoluzissimi ghad-demokrazija meta ma accettax ir-rizultat ta` l-elezzjoni anke jekk forsi kellu ragun morali. Bejn 1996 -1998 spicca biex ikkomplotta ma l-ghadu etern tieghu biex waqqa` gvern elett demokratikament li kien anqas biss zvolga terz tal-mandat tieghu.
Altru li ghandna bzonn is-serjeta`.` Izda din tigi minn bidla fit-tmexxija ghax in-nazzjonalisti is-serjeta` qas jafu fejn toqghod. Min gabna f`dil-krizi ma jafx johrogna minnha. Jista` biss `joffri li jbiegh giehna meta jarmi l-indipendenza u l-helsien u jgib il-barrani ha jmexxina hu. Is-serjeta` titlob mod iehor.` Titlob gvern laburista li jmexxi bil-galbu` u b`determinazzjoni, bl-ezempju sfiq ta` bzulija u efficjenza u bi protezzjoni shiha tas-sovranita` u l-kostituzzjoni ta` pajjizna.
Is-serjeta tibda wara t-12 t`April taht gvern Laburista.
Friday, 21 March 2003
The Malta Independent
The PN election logo, launched five full days after their own blowing the election whistle, adds Serjeta` to the overused and abused Xoghol, and Gid.
Xoghol and Gid have economic connotations and are open to debate whether we have created enough work, whether it is the right sort of work and whether our economic growth has been sufficiently strong to get us where we deserve.` Serjeta` has a more general application and applies to all spheres of life.
If there is an argument which finds general acceptance among the public, cutting across party lines, is that this country desperately needs a dose of Serjeta`; that this government has practically stagnated and abandoned its role to govern; that we keep spending money aimlessly without getting fair value for our taxes; that standard of living has at best stagnated and the least favoured of society are experiencing poverty again.
`So by including Serjeta` in their electoral logo the PN are signing their own failure certificate.` So it is strange that a party in government for three successive legislatures, except for a brief Labour interlude of 1996-1998, admits that the country needs a dose of Serjeta`. A rare show of honesty I dare say. But then, this has been the whole basic story line underpinning the EU membership project.
The subtle message has been that once government has mismanaged the country to the extent that it can no longer offer realistic solutions to home grown problems, the needed Serjeta` `to address our problems with rigour and determination, can only be found through an external agent ` hence we need to join the EU!` Indeed this was openly and frankly admitted by Ali Bayer in his report which the Government adopted an economic proof of why we need to join the EU.` He argued that EU membership will give us the economic shocks we need to get out of our stagnation.
So by including Serjeta` in their electoral logo the PN are signing their own failure certificate. And the PN are filling this performance void with a hate campaign against Alfred Sant. How on earth can any democratic government term the Leader of the Opposition as Perikoluz, purely for espousing different opinion from its own` How could the Foreign Affairs Minister proclaim that the EU will not deal with Alfred Sant as a democratically elected Prime Minister` These arguments normally come from Iraq and Cuba not from democratic Malta. `We really need Serjeta` which can only come from a change of government.`
There is more evidence which is putting in doubt the government`s democratic credentials. An appeal for a simple and straight declaration that the PN will gracefully accept the election result and pass on power, without photo finish gimmicks, in case of a Labour victory, continues to be met with arrogant silence.
And the PN`s post-event insistence that only valid yes and no votes should be considered to decide who won the referendum, attempts to deny Labour`s democratic rights for including constructive abstention within the No camp. No such complaints were raised before the event even though Labour`s policy was announced soon after the referendum writ was issued.
Granted, not all abstentions/cancellations were meant to be constructive. But providing for a generous 3.5% allowance for such non-constructive abstentions would still not award an overall majority to the Yes camp. Major exponents of the Yes camp, like Lino Spiteri and Joe Pirotta, accepted the argument but proposed a normal 5% non-constructive abstention to squeeze a decimal point majority. I contested the use of a normal rate for abnormal circumstances. So the most one can say is that the referendum was inconclusive for the purpose the government wanted it to serve. Government failed to get its clear pre-set objective to get an overall majority as an incontestable mandate for its EU accession project, in the process removing the major policy platform of the Opposition Party which will be forced to face an immediate election with a discredited policy.
For celebrating this David feat against Goliath arrogance and resources, Labour`s Leader is being labelled as some Hussein tyrant. We really need Serjeta` which can only come from a change of government.
Monday, 17 March 2003
M.O.T.S. means `more of the same`. That is how I can describe the PN election campaign and logo.
What came out clear during the first week of the campaign was how shocked the PN were by the referendum result.` They can put on all the make-up they want.` They can pretend that hell feels like heaven.` Nothing will change the facts.
Everybody knew well beforehand that the referendum contest was between the YES camp and Labour`s triple choice. The challenge was accepted, no questions asked.` Nobody complained about Labour`s triple choice.` Nobody suggested it breaks any rules. On the contrary the YES camp expressed over and over again that they were at first confident and then sure, to get an overall majority. They were supported by friendly opinion polls suggesting an overall majority ranging from 55% up to 72%.
`Their eternal ally, The Times, gave a diametrically opposite interpretation to the same referendum result from that it had given in 1956 to the Integration Referendum and in 1964 to the Independence Referendum. Consistency for The Times is colour coded.` Labour not only stuck to its triple choice but actually implemented it. We forced nobody to go out and vote. We even counselled sick sympathisers not to take the trouble to go out` and to reserve their energies for the general elections.` Local election results prove it. Several prominent Labour figures, including the Leader himself, actually abstained from the referendum vote.
To prove how wise they are after the event, the PN, seeing they failed in what they took for granted,` tried to change the rules. Suddenly positive abstentions and cancellations were not to be counted.` Suddenly Alfred Sant`s and my own positive abstentions counted for nothing.
Their eternal ally, The Times, gave a diametrically opposite interpretation to the same referendum result from that it had given in 1956 to the Integration Referendum and in 1964 to the Independence Referendum. Consistency for The Times is colour coded.
But facts speak louder than words. It took the PN five clear days to come out with their election campaign logo. They were forced to blow the whistle when they had lost the platform upon which they had prepared their election campaign and had to start all over again. The only billboard they could come out with during the first days of the campaign was a hate billboard consisting of just text and perfectly copied from Borg Olivier`s 1976 campaign. Even then they could produce better visuals than the hastily put together hate billboard!
And to prove that their imagination hit rock bottom they had to borrow GID from their 1998 campaign, XOGHOL from their 1987 campaign and SERJETA` from Labour`s 1998 campaign.
I am now more convinced than ever that the 12th April 2003 election date was imposed on them from Brussels. Dr George Vella, mentioned it yesterday and quoted Agence Europe report confirming what I always suspected.
12th April is the latest date the election could be held to abide by the EU insistence that the Accession Treaty should be signed by governments that either command a strong Referendum result in favour of accession or have an electoral mandate which carries them till the real accession date of 1st May 2004. `I am now more convinced than ever that the 12th April 2003 election date was imposed on them from Brussels. Dr George Vella, mentioned it yesterday and quoted Agence Europe report confirming what I always suspected.`
The Nationalist government had none of these. So one could understand that the election is being held by the latest possible date and the referendum date was chosen as a consequence of this fact and had nothing to do with the national interest.` The referendum was simply used as a partisan tool, financed by public funds, aided by offensive foreign interference of unprecedented proportions, to be a spring board for winning the elections set for 12th April.
That`s the only thing that can explain why Government went so early for the referendum, not even giving us time for the Treaty to be translated and finalised, and without taking up the opening offered by the Leader of the Opposition to discuss terms for consensus about a post-election referendum.
So all the PN`s election campaign was based on the `sure` fact that they will get an overall majority; that with such an incontestable mandate the election would have been a mere confirmation.` Labour would not have been able turn majority public opinion in such a short time and would not be able to change its policies and remain credible enough to win the elections.
But it has back-fired on the PN. The majority they took for-granted was not there right when needed.` I had warned clearly about this in very specific terms in my book on the subject I published in 1999. Some things are just predictable.
As predictable as Labour`s victory in the next election as the PN are forced to fill with hate the hole left in their strategy by the referendum result.`
On 8th March we won by default of the IVA.` On 12th April we will win on our own merits.
Laburisti kuragg!` Ghandna ghalfejn naghmlu kuragg u nkunu qalbna qawwija li nhar it-12 ta` April li gej il-Partit taghna ser jiehu l-frott ta` dak li tant hdimna ghalih dawn l-ahhar hames snin.
Tafu li jien mhux wiehed li npacpac fil-vojt.` Jien ktibt sew minn qabel` x`kien se jkun ir-rizultat tar `referednum. Esprimejt ruhi car li la l-vot tal-Laburisti inqasam fi tlett ghazliet, hadd u hadd ma ghandu jistenna li l-voti LE qatt jistghu ikunu izjed mill-IVA.
Izda esprimejt ruhi wkoll li l-IVA ma kienux se jgibu l-magguranza assoluta li tant kienu qed jistennew. Bdew jistennew li se jgibu mill-anqas 55% ta` kullhadd u gieli tellghu l-ottimizmu li kellhom sa 60% u tax-Xarabank sa 72%.
Gharralhom!` U issa harqu l-provli kollha li kellhom.` Issa ma fadallhom xejn ghall-elezzjoni hlief gideb, qlajjiet u tghajjir. Ir-rizervi ta` dawn ma jispaccawlhom qatt.
`Issa ma fadallhom xejn ghall-elezzjoni hlief gideb, qlajjiet u tghajjir. Ir-rizervi ta` dawn ma jispaccawlhom qatt.` Ghalhekk issa tisimghu lin-nazzjonalisti jiddemonizzaw lill-ghaziez Leader taghna.` Ipenguh bhala xi xitan jew xi dittatur.` Tisimghu qlajjiet dwar glied bejn il-mexxejja taghna.` Tisimghu li m`ahniex naqblu bejnietna.` Li xi wiehed bhali dejjem lest biex niehu post xi hadd.` Tisimghu li Alfred Sant ihobb il-vjolenza u lest li jaghmel kollox biex jahtaf il-poter.
Meta tisimghu dan mhux titnikktu.` Meta tisinghu dan tbissmu, idhku , aghmlu kuragg.` Ghax dan ifisser li n-nazzjonalisti tant ma ghandhomx argumenti li resqin lejn l-elezzjoni gharwenin.` Ifisser li qatghu qalbhom u jinsabu ddisprati u allura se jippruvaw jiggranfaw ma kollox.
U ma ttihomx tort.` Ghax kull ma kellhom hlewh ghar-referendum.` L-istrategija taghhom kienet cara daqs kemm kienet anti-demokratika.` Hasbu li b`rebha certa u assoluta fir-referendum kienu ser jaqtghu saqajn il-Partit Laburista u mbaghad jehduna ghall-elezzjoni feruti.` Kienu certi mir-rebha tar-referednum.` Ghalhekk ghamlu r-referednum daqshekk kmieni biex il-poplu ma jkollux cans la jahseb u lanqas jirrifletti.` Ghalhekk xtraw li kull min kien jinxtara. Ghalhekk uzaw il-flus tat-taxxi taghna biex il-MIC jghid biss it-tajjeb li hemm fil-progett tas-shubija u jahbi u jbengel l-aspettivi negattivi.` Ghalhekk il-Prim Minsitru sab il-rizorsi biex joqghod jibghat l-ittri fid-djar indirizzati persunalment kollha mimlija propaganda irhisa u nofs veritajiet.
Ghalihom ir-referendum kien kollox.` Kien il-banketta u l-istaffa biex permezz taghha jaqbzu ic-cint ta` l-elezzjoni.` Mhux ta` b`xejn meta qabel ma thabbar ir-referednum meta il-prim Minsitru taparsi kkonsulta mal-Kap ta` l-Oppozzizzjoni dwar ir-referednum, meta dan ta` l-ahhar offrielu negozjati biex jintlahaq ftehim dwar referendum li jsir wara l-elezzjoni, Fenech Adami sibel. `Din mhix ghazla. Dawn kienu kostretti li bilfors isejhu elezzjoni issa qabel mal-figuri orribbli tal-finanzi pubblici ta` Dicembru 2002 johorgu ghal-pubbliku u forsi wkoll qabel ma jiffermaw it-trattat, minghalihom fis-16 ta` April.`
Ghalhekk bla ma ta l-ebda cans ghal diskussjoni xejn qabad u sejjah referendum.` Ghalhekk Malta, fejn hawn l-aktar divizjoni ta` opinjoni dwar shubija fl-UE, giet kostretta taghmel referendum qabel il-pajjizi `l ohra kollha bla ma jinghata cans ghal riflessjoni, ghal hsieb u ghal ftehim.
Ghax ghan-nazzjonalisti dar-referednum kien kollox.` Ghalihom rebha referendali kienet ic-cavetta ta` l-elezzjoni.` Ghalihom ir-referednum kienet il-banketta biex jaqbzu ic-cint ta` l-elezzjoni.` U il-banketta rieduha quddiem ic-cint u mhux wara c-cint. Wara c-cint ma sservihom xejn.`
Ghax ghandkom tkunu tafu `li n-nazzjonalisti mhux tassew jemmnu fl-UE.` Jemmnu fil-poter. Jemmnu biss fl-UE bhala mezz biex izommu l-poter.` Jekk l-UE ma twassalhomx ghal poter ghalihom ma tfisser xejn.
U issa gharralhom. Il-magguranza li tant hasbu li kienet ghandhom ma gabuhiex. Mhux ta b`xejn li minkejja din id-disfatta xorta hargu jiccelebraw. Ghax dawn giddibin. Bla rebha fir-referendum tilfu l-prospett kollu ghall-elezzjoni u ma setghux jammettu telfa elettorali sa ma qabel ma tithabbar l-elezzjoni. U tahsbux li l-ghazla ta` l-elezzjoni tat-12ta` April 2003 hija ghazla libera taghhom.` Din mhix ghazla. Dawn kienu kostretti li bilfors isejhu elezzjoni issa qabel mal-figuri orribbli tal-finanzi pubblici ta` Dicembru 2002 johorgu ghal-pubbliku u forsi wkoll qabel ma jiffermaw it-trattat, minghalihom fis-16 ta` April.
Issa jinsabu quddiem ic-cint ta` l-elezzjoni bil- banketta mkissra u bil-partit Laburista jibni ghalih banketta wara `l ohra hekk kif ma nitkellmux biss fuq l-UE izda nitkellmu fuq ir-rekord ta` kif mexxew in-nazzjonalista dawn l-ahhar hames snin.` Nitkellmu fuq il-qaghad, fuq l-gholi tal-hajja, fuq id-dizastru ambjentali, fuq id-dejn, fuq it-torq u fuq il-korruzzjoni.
Ghandna tassew ghax naghmlu kuragg. Naf x`jien nghid.
Sunday, 16 March 2003
Il-gimgha `l ohra avzajtkom minn qabel li r-referendum seta` ma sar xejn. Ghax kien car li mir-referednum ma kien ser johrog l-ebda rizultat konklussiv.`
Flok mezz ta` ghaqda ir-referendum serva biss bhala mezz ta` firda.` Serva biss biex il-pajjiz jahli tant energija u miljuni bla gwadann ta` xejn.
B`mod car in-nazzjonalisti hasbu li kellhom rebha cara fil-but.` Hasbu li kienu se` jgibu magguranza assoluta tal-voti kollha biex ma jkun hemm` l-ebda lok ghal-interpretazzjonijiet ohra.` Ikunu jistghu ikantaw vittorja. Kellhom kollox lest.
`Quddiemkom bdejtu taraw li matul l-ewwel siegha tal-ghadd tal-voti, kif bdiet tifforma x-xejra tar-rizultat, in-nazzjonalisti ssumaw.` L-ucuh tqarssu.` Il-hluq inghalqu.` Ir-rebha cara li kienu hadu for granted ma kienetx hemm.` U ma ttihomx tort.` Kelhom kollox favur taghhom.` Xtraw lil kull min kien lest jinxtara. Bi flusna stess ffinanzjaw kampanja agressiva biex ma jhallu `l hadd jahseb; biex iwerwru lil kullhadd li ma kienet tezisti l-ebda ghazla ohra; li vot kontra jew astensjoni kienu `jfissru dizastru; li konna se narmu Lm81 miljun u hafna opportunitajiet li wara ma nsibuhomx.
Gharralhom! Kull min minnkom segwa dak li gara nhar il-hadd huwa xhieda ta` dan. Quddiemkom bdejtu taraw li matul l-ewwel siegha tal-ghadd tal-voti, kif bdiet tifforma x-xejra tar-rizultat, in-nazzjonalisti ssumaw.` L-ucuh tqarssu.` Il-hluq inghalqu.` Ir-rebha cara li kienu hadu for granted ma kienetx hemm.
Meta r-rizultat kompla johrog car u kkonvincew ruhhom li ma kienux ser igibu l-magguranza li hasbu, `bidlu l-istrategija. Bidlu d-diska.` Ma baqghux jikkalkulaw izjed il-Voti IVA bhala persentagg tal-voti li kellhom dritt ghal vot, izda bdew jghoddu biss il-voti validi mitfugha.` U bdew ikantaw vittorja `falza.
Jien ktibtu mill anqas tlett darbiet qabel.` Ma kienx possibbli li l-voti LE jaqbzu il-voti IVA.` La l-Partit Laburista qasam il-vot tieghu fi tlieta, (LE, Invalidi u Astensjonijiet) il-LE qatt ma setghu jghaddu l-IVA.` In-nazzjonalisti dan accettawh qabel l-elezzjoni u hadmu biex igibu magguranza kalkulata fuq kullhadd. Izda kif beda hiereg ir-rizultat bidlu t-tattika. U hargu n-nies fit-toroq jiccelebraw vittorja li ma tezistix.
Kien f`dan il-kuntest li jien hu shabi morna fuq Radju Super One u heggejna l-Laburista biex ma jemmnux li rebhu l-IVA.` Biex jigu hdejn is-Super One u hemm niccelebraw il-fatt li ta` l-IVA ma rebhux.` Li ma gabux il-magguranza li bdew jghidu li kienet mill-anqas 55% u gieli qalu li tista` titla sa 72%.` Mhux hekk qalu tax-Xarabank` `U kif weighed il-Mexxej taghna Alfred Sant, ser inhallu spazju biex anke dawk li ghalkemm jaqsmu dawn l-idejali` maghna, ma jaqblux maghna fuq l-issue ta` l_UE, dawn ukoll isibu posthom biex lkoll flimkien nahdmu ghar-rebha cara Laburista`
Niccelebraw li l-messagg qawwi taghna kien rebah fuq il-media mhallsa mit-taxxi taghkom stess.
U hawn hija l-qawwa taghna.` Ahna ma ghandna bzonn nixtru lil hadd.` Ma ghandna bzonn l-ebda support minghand il-kapitalisti li mbaghad ikunu jridu hlas lura ta` dan is-support u bi flushom jikkontrollaw l-izvolgiment tad-demokrazija vera.
Irridu maghna biss lil dawk li jemmnu fil-kawza laburista u fis-sahha tal-haddiema, taz-zghir, tas-self employed u ta` kull min ghalkemm kiber u sar kapitalist, forsi bhali, ma jista` jinsa qatt gheruqu.` Ma jinsa qatt minn fejn telaq.` Ma jinsa` qatt li l-pajjiz jista biss jimxi `l quddiem fis-sliem jekk iz-ghir jigi mghejjun jitla `l fuq.` Kif kien jghid Mintoff: meta l-borma terfaghha mil-qiegh titla` `l fuq` kollha kemm hi.` Jekk terfa` biss l-ghatu jgholew il-ftit u l-kotra tibqa` fejn hi.
U kif weighed il-Mexxej taghna Alfred Sant, ser inhallu spazju biex anke dawk li ghalkemm jaqsmu dawn l-idejali` maghna, ma jaqblux maghna fuq l-issue ta` l_UE, dawn ukoll isibu posthom biex lkoll flimkien nahdmu ghar-rebha cara Laburista li qed titenniena fit-12 ta` April 2003.` Iz-zmien wasal. Ejja noholqu l-ispazju halli dak li ghandu isir isir basta niskansaw lil pajjizna mil-kundanna ta` hames snin ohra ta` tmexxija korrotta.
Friday, 14 March 2003
The Malta Independent
I did all I could to avoid the confusion we had with the referendum outcome last Sunday. I had warned in very clear terms what the likely outcome would be as early as the 11th February 2003 when writing in the Times under title Back to Square One. I maintained that the referendum will be a dividing force and not a unifying force; that we will have both camps claiming victory using different counting methodologies.
While all surveys tried to indicate an outright overall (i.e. of total eligible votes) YES win using magnitudes varying from 54% to 72%, `using my brain and my ability to question the granularity of survey data and adjusting it for clear untruths in respondents answers, I predicted exactly what was to happen. Writing last Sunday morning in the Independent on Sunday I again warned that the result was likely to put both camps on the roads celebrating and appealed to the forces of law and order to take precautionary measures.
Why am I saying all this` Just to prove to you that I can count. And I stand up to be counted when it matters.
`And I stand up to challenge the Yes camp to prove that the referendum gives them an overall majority of all those who expressed an opinion last Saturday by voting, by purposely invalidating their vote and by purposely abstaining like yours truly. The onus of proof is on them.` And I stand up to challenge the Yes camp to prove that the referendum gives them an overall majority of all those who expressed an opinion last Saturday by voting, by purposely invalidating their vote and by purposely abstaining like yours truly. The onus of proof is on them.
They used and abused of all tricks in the democratic and not so democratic rules to extract a YES vote from the electorate. They falsely branded as a national consultation above party politics, a partisan tool publicly funded in the throes of an election campaign. They bought with our tax money anyone who had a price tag provided one could add another voice to the YES choir.
Against this Goliath sabre rattling David could just answer by using the simplest democratic rule, that of giving voters a multiple choice.` Of course by so doing they captured in the net abstainers who were not meaning to follow Labour policy. But if these cannot be isolated than no one can prove that the Yes votes got an overall majority taking only into consideration the voters and the meaningful invalidators and abstainers.
`I can count and that`s what makes me so optimistic about 12th April.` So the most anyone can truthfully say about last week`s referendum is that it was an inconclusive exercise where the yes camp despite using all its fire power did not manage to get the result they almost took for granted. One has also to admit that my appeals for postponing the referendum were very appropriate to avoid the ensuing division and that we have now come to exactly where Labour said we should be in the first place. We are facing an election from whose rules will emerge a clear single winner with constitutional authority to execute its programme across a wide spectrum of policies not just on a single issue.
Aren`t we experts at wasting energies, money and time to get back exactly where we started off How can we compete in the world if we continue like this`
Now that they burned all their fire-power and afraid to see the dry-powder reserves of the Labour camp for the election campaign, the PN have only one policy left.` The policy to demonise Alfred Sant.` The policy that failed in 1996 and will fail again in 2003. Alfred Sant the dictator we are told. May all dictators take a lesson from Alfred Sant and gracefully give power back to the people as he did in 1998 when he found that internal strife did not allow him to execute the programme he was elected on.
I can count and that`s what makes me so optimistic about 12th April.
Wednesday, 12 March 2003
The Times of Malta
Lino Spiteri and Joe Pirotta both coincidentally argued in The Times yesterday that adjusting the referendum result to take account of those people who abstained for natural reasons, rather than to endorse the Labour Party's stand, would still give the yes vote an overall majority of 50.57 per cent of the valid votes cast plus the assumed "meaningful" (that is, those who really meant to follow Labour's stand) non-voters.
They came to the same conclusion by taking a natural average of five per cent of the registered voters - five per cent of 297,881 = 14,894 voters - who would normally not vote or cancel their vote in any election.
`Once Labour had pre-declared it would include in its fold all those who abstained, it forced those who would "normally" prefer to stay out of the contest to form part of it.` Now to be fair it is sensible to make an adjustment to reduce the total eligible voters by those who died and those who wanted to vote but could not do so because of particular circumstances. But taking the normal average of five per cent seems out of place, for two reasons.
Firstly, because this time there was nothing normal. Once Labour had pre-declared it would include in its fold all those who abstained, it forced those who would "normally" prefer to stay out of the contest to form part of it. Action breeds reaction and this forced many Nationalists who would normally have wished to disapprove of their government by opting out of the vote to actually reserve their protest for the general election but vote yes in the referendum so as not to fall in Labour's net.
Secondly, of those who did not care to collect the vote there is likely to be a pro-Labour profile. If a voter is working abroad and would normally fly over to vote, would he actually do so when his party told him it would count his non-vote as much as a no vote`
So the normal five per cent, if it is normal, has in this instance to be scaled back by at least a third to take account of these two peculiarities thus applying a "normal" percentage of non-voters for this instance amounting to, say, 3.33 per cent.
Applying 3.33 per cent to the numbers would bring the following result:
Total of registered voters 297,881Less 3.33 per cent non-meaningful abstainers 9,919Adjusted "meaningful" registered voters` 287,962Yes votes` 143,094per cent of yes votes to "meaningful" registered voters 49.69%
So I could argue that the yes votes do not add up to 50.58 per cent of the adjusted number of registered voters but to 49.69 per cent. Nobody could prove me or them right or wrong.
Maybe my credentials in this regard have recently increased by predicting exactly the referendum result more than a month ago ("Back to square one", The Times - February 11). Only the Almighty has the property to read people's minds and interpret whether their doing nothing or cancelling their vote was "meaningful" or "non-meaningful". `the decision to bind Malta into irreversible EU membership cannot be taken by a few decimals of a full percentage point here or there. And this was the whole charade about this referendum.`
What I am positive about is that the decision to bind Malta into irreversible EU membership cannot be taken by a few decimals of a full percentage point here or there. And this was the whole charade about this referendum. It was the apex of democratic instruments being used in betrayal of democracy that it was attempting to symbolise.
I repeatedly and consistently made the point that the referendum was undemocratic for four basic reasons and that the government was using a supposed national democratic instrument for pure partisan politics. I pre-declared that I would not validate the referendum with a yes or no vote and that I will reserve my vote for a referendum that addresses the four basic defects of this one.
It has to be a choice between the two polices of the main political parties, not just saying yes or no to one of them.
Both arguments have to be rewarded with commensurate resources to state their case without unfairly bombarding the electorate with public money to extract the decision that the government wants.
It has to be held in a serene environment on a national basis after the election and not in the throes of an election campaign.
It has to be held by a government that has the constitutional mandate to execute the people's choice.
The last two conditions will take care of themselves by the calling of the elections on April 12. The first two will have to be considered by the next Labour government.
Monday, 10 March 2003
This was the title of an article I published in The Times on 11th February 2003. I think it is worth a re-read for those who prefer a sober prediction and analysis rather than the high din of phyrrhic victories, no matter how unavoidable these are to match opponents in this mad din contest.
QUOTE While the country continues to burn scarce and invaluable resources in a lop-sided referendum where the government side plays a Goliath and David game with an opposition starved of financial and media resources, the outcome of the referendum has become all too predictable.
It will simply take us back to square one where both sides claim victory and the real match will be postponed to the general election leaving the country`s state of indecision suspended in mid-air.
The Government will claim to have obtained a yes majority for EU membership counting only the valid votes cast; the opposition will claim victory for its Partnership policy counting nays, abstentions and invalids as a percentage of the total eligible vote.
The referendum, being purely consultative and with government shorn of the constitutional authority to execute its membership policy which falls well into the next legislature, leaves the whole issue postponed for a few months till the next election.
This shows how sensible the opposition has been all the way in arguing that a pre-election referendum is just meaningless and that an election needs to be held first. The referendum, unless either side obtains a very strong margin of victory in the next election, should sensibly have been held post-election where free from the heath of general elections the EU issue can be discussed and debated seriously and serenely but still within the calendar of the 2004 enlargement.
It is very regretful therefore that the electorate is being presented with a very partial view of the EU from the government side whose resources are focussed on brainwashing and scare mongering.
Government`s argument for membership is built in doctrinal terms on a false assumption.` An assumption that membership is an objective in its own right rather than a means to a haughtier objective, that of providing a decent standard of living for our citizens, in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner, whilst contributing to regional and international peace and prosperity.
Government wants membership not as the better or best alternative, but as the only possible way forward. This strategy not only weakened its hand whilst negotiating membership, but also instigated EU emissaries to join to fray and try to persuade us that no alternatives exist and that the deal we got could not be improved under any circumstances.` I am old enough to remember the same thing being said about the independence package negotiated by Borg Olivier only to find out seven years later that this was far from being so.
So whilst governments spends our tax money lavishly to drum in people`s heads that there is really no alternative and even attempts to ridicule those of us who gallantly try to prove otherwise, facts are different, very different.
The core of government`s message is that it has mismanaged our economy and our environment to a degree that leaves no further solutions other than calling in an external agent like the EU to force upon the discipline to get us out of the rut we have fallen into.` This argument, which is widely subscribed to, generates the inverse logic that the greater the government`s incompetence in managing domestic affairs, the stronger becomes its argument for EU membership as the only solution.`
Labour`s message line Partnership ` the best option, acknowledges the existence of options and argues that if we can regain control of our domestic affairs we can do much better through partnership than through membership. This is so because partnership allows us the possibility to position ourselves differently, to be flexible in grasping opportunities as they arise, and to leverage to our advantage our geo-strategic position to translate it into economic benefits. Through membership we are not allowed to be different, we are not allowed to be flexible and we have to give up the negotiating card of our geo-political importance rather than use it for our economic advantage.
Those who, like me, still believe that we can` find the internal strength to manage ourselves properly, will subscribe to the creed that Partnership is the best option and that the electorate should have been given the right to choose between options in a calm and informed setting rather during the high din of an election campaign.`
Allow me now to contrast my accurate predictions to the supposed scientific Xarabank surveys conducted before the referendum.` I present hereunder their major supposedly scientific findings
QUOTE Xarabank Survey of Feb 2003
The respondents were asked how would they vote if a referendum with the question `Do you agree that Malta should join the European Union in the enlargement that will take place on 1 May 2004` was held tomorrow.
Int kif ser tivvota fir-Referendum`
Percent Iva 51.9 Le 19.2 Ma Nafx 26.4 Ma Nivvotax 2.4 Ninvalida l-Vot .1 Total 100.0
If one were to eliminate the `undecided` and those who would not vote or invalidate the vote, the results would be split as follows ` 72.9% in favour of Malta`s accession into the EU, while 27.1% would be against.
Int kif ser tivvota fir-Referendum`
Percent Iva 72.9 Le 27.1 Total 100.0
I think any further comment on how truly scientific Xarabank surveys are would be superfluous. It is absolutely unrealistic to assume that in just one month all the undecideds would end up in the No vote. Somebody has to teach the Xarabank team something on the art and science of conducting opinion polls.
Sunday, 9 March 2003
The Malta Independent on Sunday
Unless the referendum result gives a large absolute majority to one of the opposing blocks, i.e. Yes vs. the rest, it could be open to many interpretations.
Being of a consultative nature and offering no executive solution, the real value of the referendum result is more on the impact, if any, it will have on the general election which is now widely expected to follow in a matter of months if not weeks.
My major pre-occupation today is not on the validity of such possible interpretations. It is more on the possibility that both camps will declare themselves as the winners and we could have two large crowd masses celebrating within walking distance of each other, what` ought to be a mutually exclusive victory.
`It is more on the possibility that both camps will declare themselves as the winners and we could have two large crowd masses celebrating within walking distance of each other, what` ought to be a mutually exclusive victory.` Having missed the real feeling of carnival due the referendum campaign heat, it would not be bad if for once a political decision would bring joy to both opposing camps. But I strongly appeal to forces of law and order to take all necessary precautions to ensure that celebrations remain what they are supposed to be and not allowed to get out of hand.
With two crowd masses celebrating within walking distance of each other (the two party headquarters are, as the crow flies, within a hundred metres of each other) it would not be at all amiss if both parties were to co-operate with the forces of law and order to arrange to hold their celebrations in different places keeping the area of the two headquarters as a no-go zone except for the party executives.
Having established my pre-occupation and given fair warning for precautions to be taken to avoid the need of cures, one might just as well ask who is going to interpret the results and on what basis`
The government will interpret the results as the percentage of the Yes vote of the total valid votes cast. On this basis there should be no doubt that once the Opposition has chosen to split its votes on three possibilities rather than concentrate on a single No option, the Yes votes would outnumber the No votes.
The opposition will interpret the result as the percentage of the Yes votes of the total number of entitled voters being the number of voters on the registers less the number of those deceased till the day before the referendum.
So it is quite possible that the Yes vote will get a majority on the basis of the first interpretation but a minority on the basis of the second interpretation which would award the majority to the three option votes of the No camp.
`So it is quite possible that the Yes vote will get a majority on the basis of the first interpretation but a minority on the basis of the second interpretation which would award the majority to the three option votes of the No camp.` In such a situation we will obviously hear arguments whether it is right to include non-voters within the ranks of the No camp once there is no-way of knowing whether, like myself, the voter abstained purposely or through sheer inability or nonchalance.
Rather than waste energies on rhetoric interpretations it would be more practical for both parties to draw whatever conclusion they wish from the result and give the opportunity for the electorate to express its definite view in an early election which would give executive authority for the elected government to carry out its programme.
However I must register my condemnation and disgust at the democratically insulting way this referendum was conducted. We have made ourselves the laughing stock among foreign journalists who were here to report the proceedings and gain a first-hand experience of the unlevelled playing field that prevailed throughout the campaign.
Chief culprit of this was MIC who funded with public money insisted on making a mickey-mouse of itself by presenting only and consistently the positive side of the argument.
Just consider the impact on the cost of living of EU membership. Whilst noting in bright colours the positive effects of price reductions through the removal of agricultural levies, collectively with an impact of some Lm8 million, MIC glosses over the impact of the introduction of some Lm 25 million new levies on basic food items which we have to import from the EU at higher prices, simply stating that these would be subsidised by government and partly by the EU.
MIC places little emphasis that the government is thus taking on collectively some Lm30 million new obligations to finance such subsidies which will have to come from our taxes. As if the government and the people, as consumers, are living on different planets.
Decisions like joining the EU cannot democratically be taken by an electorate deprived of time and space to reflect what it is really deciding about, brainwashed with publicly funded partial information.
I am looking-forward for a serious re-play.
Jekk qed taqra din il-Hadd fil-ghodu allura bhali ghadek ma tafx` x`inhuwa ir-rizultat tar-referednum u ta` l-elezzjonijiet lokali.` Jekk qed taqra wara nofs in nhar allura forsi taf xi haga li meta qed nikteb jien ghadni ma nafhiex.
Izda tajjeb li qabel ma johrog ir-rizultat nirregistra d-dizapprovazzjoni tieghi bhala citaddin li nixtieq il-gid lil din l-art helwa taghna, ghal mod vili u partiggjan kif il-gvern mexxa r-referednum.
Filwaqt li baqa` jlablab li dan suppost kien referendum nazzjonali merfugh `l fuq mil-politika tal-partiti, fil-fatt u fil-prattika il-Prim Minsitru ghamel min kollox biex jiehu vantagg politiku minnu.
`Hija tragedja li f`isem l-istess demokrazija sar tkasbir daqshekk sfaccat tad-demokrazija vera f`pajjizna.` Biss biss wiehed jara z-zmien li fih inzamm ir-referendum. Kif jista` jkun referendum nazzjonali jekk dan qed jinzamm fuq l-ghatba ta` kampanja ta` l-elezzjoni generali` Kif jista jkun referendum nazzjonali jekk il-gvern hataf f`idejh il-media kollha, ghalef bi flusna biex gibded lejh lil kull min ghalih il-principji ma jfissru xejn, u gieghelna nivvutaw fuq xi haga li kwazi hadd ma jaf fuq x`hiex u ghal x`hiex qed nivvutaw.
Hija tragedja li f`isem l-istess demokrazija sar tkasbir daqshekk sfaccat tad-demokrazija vera f`pajjizna.
U huwa kompletament kundannabbli li l-Prim Minsitru, flok igib ruhu ta` statesman tan-nazzjon kollu, igib ruhu b`mod daqstant partiggjan li permezz ta` dan ir-referednum jista` jitfa` l-pajjiz f`bahar ta` nkwiet.
Mhux forsi jahseb il-Prim Minsitru li permezz ta` xi rizultat ta` referendum manipulat ghandu xi dritt li jarmi l-kostituzzjoni taghna fil-landa taz-zibel u jinsa li ahna pajjiz newtrali` `Mhux forsi jahseb il-Prim Ministru li jista jghodd il-voti validi biss u jinsa li l-Partit Laburista gabar fi hdanu anke lil dawk li ma hassewhomx komdi li jivvutaw u dawk li deherilhom li kellhom jikkancellaw il-vot
Mhux forsi jahseb il-Prim Ministru li jista jghodd il-voti validi biss u jinsa li l-Partit Laburista gabar fi hdanu anke lil dawk li ma hassewhomx komdi li jivvutaw u dawk li deherilhom li kellhom jikkancellaw il-vot`
Ghalija dan ir-referednum sar biss biex il-PN jiehu vantagg bi flusna stess halli jiehu rikba b`xejn ghal kampoanja elettorali. Ma kien hemm l-ebda raguni ohra ghala dan ir-referednum sar qabel l-elezzjoni meta pajjizi ohra sa jdumu ma jaghmlu referendum sa Settembru li gej.
Ma jahsibx il-Prim Minsitru li forsi b`dan ir-referednum jista` jorbot idejn min jigi warajh` Ma jahsibx li billi Mintoff lilu fl-1987 rabatlu jdejh u kkonvinciewh li jdahhal in-newtralita entrenched fil-Kostituzzjoni ta` Malta, issa hu jista` jaghmel l-istess lil ta` warajh`
Jien ghedtu qabel u nerga` nsostnih anke meta qed nikteb wara li spiccat il-kampanja izda ghadu ma hareg l-ebda rizultat tar-referendum. Dan ir-referednum seta` ma sar xejn. Li ghandu bzonn il-pajjiz huwa gvern gdid permezz ta` elezzjoni u mbaghad skond ir-rizultat ta` dik l-elezzjoni jekk hemm bzonn isir referendum serju wara,` fil-kwiet u fil-kalma fejn il-poplu jigi rispettat u mhux ibbumbardjat.
Nawgura lil kullhadd li jkun xi jkun ir-rizultat ingiebu ruhna sew halli nersqu l-lejn ic-challenge veru ta` l-elezzjoni fl-ahjar forma
Friday, 7 March 2003
The Malta Independent
After a campaign that added more heath than warmth to the referendum argument, the electorate today is allowed to enjoy the sound of silence. I think that the din was so high during the campaign, the issues have been so wrapped up so much in exaggerations and gratuitous assertions, that one day of silence is not enough. A week would have been much better giving time for the electorate to reflect properly on the underlying issues involved, removing the wool and smoke which were purposely included as a substitute for real arguments.
But as we enjoy the sound of silence I invite readers to reflect on the history written last week is the sports world by the Geneva based Swiss yachting ALINGHI consortium that succeeded to bring the America`s Cup to Europe. An enterprise that had eluded so many more quoted sea-faring nations resulting in the highest international` Yachting honour staying` away from Europe for 153 years from where it had departed in 1851, was clinched by land-locked Switzerland. What an irony!
`a prime example of what can be done if one believes in one`s inner strength and work together in perfect teamwork to build a team of result oriented professionals that are given clear objectives, motivation for the challenge and adequate resources to accomplish the task of them expected.` This is a prime example of what can be done if one believes in one`s inner strength and work together in perfect teamwork to build a team of result oriented professionals that are given clear objectives, motivation for the challenge and adequate resources to accomplish the task of them expected.
Alinghi is not just a Swiss boat.` It is a project conceived by Ernesto Bertarelli, a bio-tech entrepreneur and director of UBS Financial Services Group.` UBS were also the major sponsors of the Swiss challenge and they believed in the project so much that for two whole years they built their international marketing campaign around the Alinghi`s challenge for the Louis Vuitton Cup first and the America`s Cup later.
The Alinghi crew, although Swiss based and sponsored, contained the best elements from 17 different countries.
Is there not a message we can note and adopt` How dared Bertarelli dream that land-locked Switzerland could make a serious bid for the America`s Cup How dared he reach out to the best of breed in the world and capture their imagination enough to convince them to join a formation which initially nobody would have seriously rated with any real chance of success` `This country needs to dream new solutions and needs to gather all its strengths to face the future as one nation no matter what we may choose for ourselves in the 3 electoral consultations that await us.`
For me the success of Alinghi is a living example that with good leadership and efficient teamwork, with determination and belief in one`s own strength and acknowledgement of one`s own weaknesses, the impossible becomes possible and dreams can be turned into realities.
Irrespective of the referendum outcome next weekend the structural problems facing this country will not be washed away with the euphoria of the winners, real or imaginary.
Solutions to these problems needs the same qualities that Bertarelli has shown in taking a very unlikely, almost laughable, idea and with determination and persistence accumulates enough resources which are applied with diligent efficiency to make a step by step approach to reach the final objective.` By building enthusiasm, celebrating small successes along the way, until the whole march of the project becomes unstoppable even by those that initially smiled wryly at the idea.
This country needs to dream new solutions and needs to gather all its strengths to face the future as one nation no matter what we may choose for ourselves in the 3 electoral consultations that await us.
Thursday, 6 March 2003
Much as I hate it this referendum has revived the unsavoury experience of elections in the 1960`s, when it was a mortal sin to vote Labour. It was a mortal sin to read Labour`s newspapers or to attend Labour`s meetings.
Then as a young lad in my teens I rebelled at the notion that fundamental clerics pretended they have the right to freeze my brain and to force me to vote against my free will.` Today`s youngsters would probably not believe that this was actually happening in Malta 40 years ago.
And yet it is happening again.` This time it is not fundamental clerics that are acting as the freezing agent. It is the entire right of the political spectrum who with unashamed access to the public coffers they have used our tax money to buy the support of the English language media and the business organisations to attempt to freeze the electorate will power to exercise its democratic right to vote freely.
`I am proud that I can call this tiny island my home and that we can define our own role in the world respecting our particular psyche.` Instead the electorate has just endured five weeks of relentless bombardment which had a simple but deceiving message. It continuously pounded our brain that this referendum was our last chance to catch the train to heaven, that details do not matter but this is a unique opportunity to save us from the dire consequences of our inability to rule ourselves, that our children expected us to join the EU to save them destruction from under our own incapable hands, and that if anyone dare doubt any of this than one should just as well go and have his brain checked because all who mattered were just singing the tune to sign away our freedom irreversibly.
Just as in the sixties fundamental clerics were using their religious powers to freeze our brains, forty years later the business interest that control and finance the right wing of Malta`s political camp have just completed a disgusting attempt to freeze our brains through the sheer use of the media they control.
And it is highly regrettable that in all this they found the undemocratic support of the EU that prides itself as an ultra-sample of democracy. My stomach turned when the EU embassy sent direct mailings to my home. How dare they intervene in a domestic plebiscite` How dare they hold press conference to set the record straight always in the interest of the Yes camp when they failed to set the record straight on the multitude of blatant lies and half-truth which the Yes camp have been saying ever since Labour Government froze Malta`s application in 1996`
I am a Maltese and am proud of it. I am proud that I can call this tiny island my home and that we can define our own role in the world respecting our particular psyche.` Many larger islands just kilometres away from us (Sicily, Sardegna, Corsica) cannot enjoy this pride. I want it to remain that way. `I beg you to bring your brain back to normal temperature and think and think hard during Friday`s silent day.`
I am therefore extremely offended that my own brothers have used my own money to convince the rest of the family to sign away the privilege which many others covet but cannot achieve.
I will not even consider going to VOTE NO to prevent this betrayal. Voting No would be validating the process by participating in it. For me the whole process is un-democratic and void.` It does not deserves my participation.
I very much agree that this issue needs to be decided by a referendum. But it has to be a referendum that addresses the democratic deficit of the current one.` It has to have these four characteristics which deprive this referendum of true democratic credentials:
Presentation of the real choices, with full disclosure of studies and text of treaties, rather than the present` just saying yes or no to one of the choices.
Fair balance of resources between the two opposing schools of thought
Ability and commitment to abide and execute people`s majority choice (no subsequent referenda to force the electorate to give the decision that the government wants)
Serene environment for taking an informed rational decision away from the electoral pre-election heat.
So I will not vote in Saturday`s referendum. And if you, brother, have had your brain frozen by the media bombardment or by the foreign intervention of the EU embassy, I appeal to you to understand that through your yes vote it is like electing a government for life. You will never have another chance to out-vote the EU bureaucracy you are signing us into depriving us of the flexibility to differentiate ourselves ` a hallmark of our economic successes of the last 40 years.` You will be giving away the only natural asset that God endowed us with, that of having a geo-political strategic importance far bigger than our size.
I beg you to bring your brain back to normal temperature and think and think hard during tomorrow`s silent day.