Steer­ing the coun­try back on the right path

Malta is at a cross roads. One road is that of un­bri­dled eco­nomic growth ac­com­pa­nied by com­plete dis­re­gard of the rule of law, ethics, moral val­ues and even the most ba­sic prin­ci­ples of democ­racy, even if this means the de­struc­tion of our nat­u­ral en­vi­ronm

Malta Independent - - NEWS - David Agius is the PN Whip and a can­di­date for the post of PN deputy leader for par­lia­men­tary af­fairs. David Agius

Those build­ing this road fly the free­dom of speech flag as though it were a li­cence to in­sult any­one who does not agree with them. They run roughshod over the ar­gu­ments about the col­lapse of the rule of law by quot­ing past, and of­ten ir­rel­e­vant, sit­u­a­tions as though these some­how jus­tify the cur­rent malaise and give the in­cum­bents the right to act as they please. Any at­tempt at con­struc­tive crit­i­cism is shot down im­me­di­ately amid puerile ac­cu­sa­tions of ‘neg­a­tiv­ity’ - be­cause those who ven­ture down this road are ex­pected to fol­low the Party which won the last gen­eral elec­tion with a large ma­jor­ity, as though the prin­ci­ples of what is fun­da­men­tally right or wrong are gov­erned by gen­eral pub­lic opin­ion in an elec­tion process.

The other road is that of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, based on the pil­lars of eco­nomic growth, so­cial strength and in­clu­sion, and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. This is a road which has as its foun­da­tion the prin­ci­ples of di­a­logue, sol­i­dar­ity, jus­tice and qual­ity of life. It is a road which is planned and based on a longterm vi­sion that has as its ul­ti­mate goal the bet­ter­ment of our coun­try, where each per­son has the op­por­tu­nity to flour­ish, and where pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion and scru­tiny is cen­tral to good gover­nance. It is a road which may be more ar­du­ous and less glitzy and gaudy than its al­ter­na­tive be­cause it does not prom­ise im­me­di­ate gain, but is one where stan­dards are high, in­tegrity and sound moral val­ues are paramount, and where the rights of each in­di­vid­ual are more im­por­tant than the short-term gain of a se­lect few.

The Na­tion­al­ist Party today stands at this crossroads, as it selects its lead­er­ship team. In an un­prece­dented move, this de­ci­sion is in the hands of the Party mem­bers. They have re­spon­si­bil­ity which goes be­yond per­sonal pref­er­ences based on my­opic al­le­giances and provin­cial af­fil­i­a­tions, be­cause this is a de­ci­sion which each vot­ing mem­ber will take on be­half of the rest of our so­ci­ety. It is a de­ci­sion that will de­ter­mine which route the Party will of­fer as an al­ter­na­tive to the cur­rent state of af­fairs.

The mis­sion of the Party in the com­ing months and years is to con­vince the elec­torate that it has got its act to­gether and show that it can pro­vide an at­trac­tive al­ter­na­tive route.

It must pro­vide a vi­sion that seeks eco­nomic growth through the cre­ation of new and in­no­va­tive eco­nomic sec­tors which are sus­tain­able and will ben­e­fit so­ci­ety across the board, and not one which re­lies pri­mar­ily on ram­pant de­vel­op­ment, the sell­ing off our na­tional as­sets, bla­tant clien­telism and cor­rupt prac­tices which bring noth­ing but shame to our name.

It must present a vi­sion where the com­mon good is at the cen­tre of its pol­i­tics, to en­sure so­cial co­he­sion and en­rich­ment, to guar­an­tee equal­ity and the dig­nity of each per­son, as op­posed to the more facile ap­proach of giv­ing pri­or­ity to in­di­vid­ual in­ter­ests in ex­change for guar­an­teed al­le­giance.

It must en­sure a vi­sion where en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion is paramount, not as a cliché, but as a clear choice for a bet­ter qual­ity of life, from the way we treat our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, to our ap­proach and at­ti­tudes to­wards waste and re­source con­ser­va­tion.

Above all, it must prove that it is ready to gov­ern, by pre­sent­ing it­self as a tight, well or­gan­ised struc­ture, where all as­sets strive to­wards a com­mon goal, with can­di­dates who are be­yond re­proach and united in their mis­sion. It must do this by seek­ing jus­tice, democ­racy, free­dom and equal­ity in all it does, even while in Op­po­si­tion.

It must, in the end, show that it has no in­ter­est in lord­ing over a na­tion from a seem­ingly sep­a­rate world, pur­su­ing its own in­ter­ests in the man­ner of medieval princes. Rather, it must strive to con­tinue to em­brace the no­tion that pol­i­tics is the high­est and most no­ble form of pub­lic servi­tude, where politi­cians are there to serve the com­mon good.

The mis­sion of the Party in the com­ing months and years is to con­vince the elec­torate that it has got its act to­gether and show that it can pro­vide an at­trac­tive al­ter­na­tive route.

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