this week: Last laugh!?
A chance of losing out
The election is some 17 days away.
On Sunday 13 April we will all be anxious to know the outcome of the
results. It will be a close call, unless one segment of the electorate
chooses, or falls, for the partnership option.
It should not be the case.
The option of getting into Europe clearly outweighs the advantages of
not becoming a full member. The short-terms gains of staying out may
appear attractive, but the long term isolation of missing out will lead
to more problems than solutions.
Let us for one moment imagine what will happen if we choose to stay
In the first instance we will suffer with those whom we have chosen
to castigate and ridicule and it will take some time before we reaffirm
some standing with the European Union Commission.
It does not stop here, all the legal and technical preparations that
have been painstakingly negotiated by the government will be lost.
The worst part will be the loss of funds, missing out on Lm81 million
over a three-year period will confirm how downright stupid we are, it
will also lead to havoc in the business community. And it will do anything
but trigger confidence in investors to look at Malta.
Two and a half weeks into the election campaign and we now have the
political manifestos officially out in public. For most of the electorate
they are meaningless booklets containing promises to be broken once
political victory is achieved.
Indeed, the publication of the manifestos half way through the electoral
campaign, at least by the main parties, indicates that the manifestos
are nothing more than electoral paraphernalia for the political parties.
The 51-page Labour manifesto is a collection of bullet-point proposals
covering different sectors and issues. It is an elaborated re-hash of
the 1998 manifesto, which never came to fruition.
It is a bold programme of government but in certain aspects the MLP
manifesto lacks conviction. The biggest question mark is the uncertainty
that the proposed partnership policy with the EU will bring about. No
time-frame is set for negotiations and this country might very well
be left in a state of inertia for many years to come in relation to
its foreign policy direction.
The response to Labours manifesto is the Nationalist Partys
30-page glossy booklet that is a good exercise in presentation. It lays
the groundwork for the modernisation of the island firmly entrenched
in the European Union. It strays from the traditional manifestos highlighting
promises in different sectors and focuses more on achievements by the
current government administration. The manifesto is entirely crafted
on the negotiated package with the EU and might lack an emphasis on
issues unrelated to EU membership.
The minnow of Maltese politics, Alternattiva Demokratika, published
its electoral manifesto way back in November and it includes more than
400 proposals. ADs political road map is not one solely based
on membership of the EU but it still recognises the importance of Malta
Despite the central importance political manifestos should have in any
electoral campaign the run-up to the election, more than any other before
it, is heavily focussed on the respective leaders. It is a pity for
the more discerned voter who prefers to evaluate proposals, vision and
cost-effectiveness to have the political campaign reduced to a one-man
show on all three sides.