In Malta, is Merit just a brand of cigarettes?

While ADPD is fighting in court to ensure that its 4,747 votes actually count and get what is rightfully theirs, the future looks brighter than ever for the third party as 60,000 people chose to cut their umbilical cord from the Labour and Nationalist parties. The trend is increasingly towards ever greater quantities of political orphans. How to adopt them and point them to the third option? How can a third party ignite the hope which other parties have dampened or extinguished?

Government would have us believe that these are the best of times. However, even as the Labour Party wins and conveys an aura of grandiosity, it is slowly but steadily alienating people. The pre-election vote-buying might have worked to get in government, but Labour is far from commanding a popular consensus given the low turnout rate. It just means that the Opposition was even less popular. They are trying to maintain fake positivity and a façade of invincibility, but they know they are no longer as strong as in previous election cycles. The cracks are showing and no amount of faux positivity can hide it.

On the other hand, we have the PN which is ever on the decline and has just pulled a U-turn as regards taking the Electrogas deal to court. It proved just an electoral gimmick, another non-reaction in the face of government’s injustices. As indebted as the party is, it continues to prove susceptible to business people who use it as an auction house. It seems that the “fat cats”, which mayor Buttigieg referred to, are free to do what they want, because the PN will not stand up to them. Developers continue to have the sun shining on them from Malta to Gozo as they obliterate our quality of life freely.

Only ADPD stands up to the cabal of elites. We name and we shame. We never received a cent from the likes of Joseph Portelli and never will. We collect our few funds from the many. Instead of debt we spend intelligently within our means. We have no links to large businesses and will continue to keep it that way. We have close links with those who are struggling and live from pay cheque to pay cheque, with young people who see the prospect of owning a house as an impossibility due to speculation. We are kin to anyone who has our environment, culture and heritage close to their heart.

We are the ones out there protesting with you against abuses. You may find many of us riding a bike, walking or using a bus. We practise what we preach. People who have been marginalised are realising that they can find in us a party which can give them a voice. There is no puppeteer pulling our strings, but good will as a bunch of volunteers with nothing to gain except the satisfaction that we are doing the right thing. It is a sense of justice which every day moves us to fight for the common good in a country where the common good has given way to the tyranny of the few. Management by crisis is the order of the day when crony capitalists pull in different directions, preventing a holistic national vision.

We, the people, are angry! It is the anger of average people who want the rule of law in their country to be respected, against a backdrop where cronyism and party loyalists are everywhere and merit is just a brand of cigarettes. We are angry at how our courts are slow and inefficient due to ineffective Ministers of Justice with political agendas. We need reforms which do not condemn the perpetrators of crimes, while the victim gets a hefty bill to pay for his lawyers. We are angry at how farmers are being neglected and agricultural land is seen as an opportunity for more tarmac highways, ignoring the question of food security.

We are angry that in an island blessed by sun 365 days a year, we need another interconnector instead of taking alternative energy more seriously and using the abundant space and vertical solar technologies available. Sustainability is not the whim of tree huggers. It is about quality of life and about survival.

Our hope is that your anger leads to action, because giving up is not an option. Use your anger as a tool to confront the Grim Reaper dressed in red and blue, which has been selling out our country for decades.

Sandra Gauci
ADPD Deputy Chairperson
Published in The Malta Independent – Sunday 29 May 2022