Dangers of blind protest vote
The unprecedented results of the elections in Italy, in which a large segment of the electorate has, in the face of the country’s precarious economic and financial situation, decided to vote in an anti-establishment party headed by a comedian-turned-politician with nothing positive to offer but a clean sweep of the entire existing political class, has lessons also for Malta’s electoral scenario.
Labour is clearly putting their socialist identity and programmes on hold in their drive to allure a protest vote form so-called ‘disgruntled’ Nationalists.
A number of high-profile individuals are playing up to this tune and appearing even at mass meetings to spur Nationalists to protest against the Government they have voted for over the past elections.
However, make no mistake about it, Labour are and will remain socialists and only Alice in Wonderland can ever believe that Joseph Muscat will turn out to be another Eddie Fenech Adami in his policies.
Nor should one in fact even want Muscat to ape any Nationalist Prime Minister should he and his party win at the March 9 election.
Yet, we have no idea of what socialist ideas Muscat has in plan for us, should he win.
This brings us back to Italy.
It is legitimate that Nationalist voters may wish for a change of government.
I say Nationalist voters deliberately since even at the 2008 elections a number of Nationalist voters had shown frustration at having to vote ‘again’ for the Nationalist Party to maintain Malta’s European identity and the mixed economy, which the Nationalist governments had brought with them to substitute the Mintoffian centralised economy.
Muscat cleverly is avoiding saying anything that might now prevent these voters from expressing a vote of change.
However, the country cannot afford a blind vote of protest as much as Italy cannot, albeit for different reasons.
The Maltese economy and our financial sector, not to mention the tourist industry, have all served us very well and have allowed the country to ride the ugly wave of recession, banking melt-down, which in other EU countries have led to massive EU bailouts.
Not only, instead of very costly EU bailouts, the Government’s impressive performance at the last round of EU budgetary talks has assured us of increases in EU financial support.
The electorate would really wish to understand what the real Muscat thinks outside the very carefully programmed media performances that he very competently carries out.
Only when I understand the socialist in Muscat will I make an objective assessment on the outcome of the coming election.
This is said since we do not know if a sector of the electorate will simply vote in Muscat in the belief they are voting in a better version of the Nationalist government they voted for over the past decades or so.
This is not going to happen.
Muscat must be taken seriously in the programme for progressives he started on being leader and now on the ‘conservative’ appeal he is pushing through.
However, somewhere in between there is the socialist who appeals to over 99 per cent of those who will vote for him on March 9, and this is as it should be.
These do not want another Fenech Adami, whom they could hardly stomach as head of State; neither do they want to be led by former Nationalists who voted them out of power and condemned them to decades in the Opposition.
They want a socialist government in a socialist State and this is as it should be.
Let us be clear that there is absolutely nothing illegitimate in being a socialist or having a socialist programme for Malta.
What is worrying is that the model of socialism we tasted last was the disastrous model of Dom Mintoff’s 1970s.
We would love knowing what is Muscat’s socialist economic vision for the next five years.
While the Italians felt they had not much to lose by their protest vote, we Maltese and Gozitans have, in fact, much to lose and fairness dictates we be made privy of Muscat’s socialist vision of our economy before deciding on how to vote.