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It is not Sophie’s choice

As the day of reflection draws closer I thought I’d write about the profound choice we’re all facing come election day. Voting is personal and I’m not a big fan of all these statuses on social media which give a run down of voting intentions. This post is not meant to tell you how to vote, but it’s just a reflection of how things stand from my point of view.

Truth is this election campaign has been a great disappointment and most of the reasons have been very eloquently listed here. Not much substance, no decent debates, few proposals that go beyond the short term clientelism, lots of probably unrealistic promises and a whole lot of white noise. It also didn’t help that the Prime Minister has subtly declared a boycott of all independent media leaving many to draw their own conclusions.

It has surely been a bumpy four years for the Labour Party in government and dismissing the good work that has been done by this government is not only naive but counterintuitive. Equal rights for the LGBTIQ community, free childcare, record unemployment, the introduction of the Morning After Pill and a growing economy are some of the really good things this administration has brought forward.

But they’ve done so much more, I hear you say. We now have a surplus and I hear Enemalta is not in debt anymore, oh and what about the electricity bills? These are some of the points the PL have shouted about this electoral campaign dubbing it “L-aqwa żmien” but I am somewhat incredulous to see these as achievements.

For Malta to have a surplus, this government has had to reduce capital spending, it has sold valuable public assets, (Enemalta, its generating plant and huge inventory of public land, the hospitals, Żonqor etc), visas to Algerians, Libyans and Chinese and also our passports, a scheme which has not only cheapened the Maltese passport, and if the allegations turn out to be true has also been tainted by corruption.

For Malta to have a surplus, this government has had to reduce capital spending, it has sold valuable public assets, (Enemalta, its generating plant and huge inventory of public land, the hospitals, Żonqor etc), visas to Algerians, Libyans and Chinese and also our passports, a scheme which has not only cheapened the Maltese passport, and if the allegations turn out to be true has also been tainted by corruption.

For Malta to have a surplus, this government has had to reduce capital spending, it has sold valuable public assets, (Enemalta, its generating plant and huge inventory of public land, the hospitals, Żonqor etc), visas to Algerians, Libyans and Chinese and also our passports, a scheme which has not only cheapened the Maltese passport, and if the allegations turn out to be true has also been tainted by corruption.

Enemalta might not be in debt anymore but this is partly due to the previous administration’s projects. Not only that, to clear this debt, 30% of Enemalta has been sold to the Chinese, as has the BWSC power station for a measly price, and most of the workforce has been shifted to other government departments. Again, the electricity bills were indeed reduced, but this was due to projects such as the interconnector together with slashed international fuel prices.

Then there is the 18-year contract with Electrogas. Yes the change to gas is indeed welcome but, (and this is a big but) for 18 years Enemalta is obliged to buy 200MW of electricity every day, whether we need this electricity and even if we can find it cheaper elsewhere. If Enemalta fails to do so, the government has to step in and foot the bill.

Then came the various corruption scandals (Cafe Premier, Gafferena, Visas, etc) and the cherry on the cake, the Panama Papers, all of which are characterized by a lack of action from the Prime Minister. Even if the Egrant allegations are nothing but fabrications we’re still left with a Prime Minister who failed to do anything in the face of corruption.

And that is exactly what the vote on June 3 amounts to, doing something when confronted with corruption.

The main argument seems to be that corruption is everywhere, and that all politicians are corrupt! Like we are somehow meant to choose between two evils and the best thing to do would be not to choose at all. But we all know what happened in Sophie if the choice wasn’t made.

Corruption is indeed everywhere. Politicians come to our doors asking us if we need anything, they get their assistants to call us and check, they send us wine and hot cross buns so we think about them in the voting booth. This is the very fabric of Maltese society yet very few of us reject it.

Instead of having a social system that just works and where everyone simply needs to wait in line for their turn, we are taught to go to the Minister and ask for favours to get the service, or whatever else we need, that we are entitled to anyway.

I understand that such small favours are nothing when compared to high scale tax evasion, or worse kickbacks running into the hundreds of thousands of euros but it is up to us to start saying NO.

I still want to believe that Muscat has nothing to do with Egrant and I want to believe he is uncorruptable. But he failed to act in the face of corruption, even though he was elected because the people were fed up of corruption, whether perceived or real

Not everyone within the political parties is corrupt. I still want to believe that Muscat has nothing to do with Egrant and I want to believe he is uncorruptable. But he failed to act in the face of corruption, even though he was elected because the people were fed up of corruption, whether perceived or real, under the previous administration.

Muscat would be in a much stronger position today had he decided to get rid of Mizzi and Schembri and taken decisive action in the face of all the other corruption scandals plaguing this government.

There are great candidates on each side of the divide. We all have the opportunity to use the Single Transferable Vote to its full potential by starting with giving the number 1 to the party who can best govern Malta and then continue down the list, cross voting if necessary, giving the vote to those individuals worthy of it.

If PL are voted back in power - which will probably happen - it will give the Mizzis and the Schembris and all their hangers on, free reign to do whatever they want. If people don't vote against such blatant corruption again then we're basically giving those corrupt politicians carte blanche to continue doing as they please. We are at a crossroads and it is up to each and every one of us to decide the direction we want to go and we need to send a message of rejection to corruption.

We are at a crossroads and it is up to each and every one of us to decide the direction we want to go and we need to send a message of rejection to corruption.

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