Archive for January, 2011

Labour is scared of … DIVORCE!

January 30, 2011

The issue of divorce has brought to light the contradictions and huge inadequacies of the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party. Today I’ll concentrate on the latter – since one would usually expect socialist parties to recognize that the state cannot allow people to remain in a legal limbo capriciously. I’ll write about the PN later on… letters to The Times by the party’s conservative core (without which PN will remain under 50%+1 votes) angry that some Nationalists aren’t following their party’s motto ‘Religio et Patria’ are really amusing.

Back to Labour. Well, truth be said, they are not much different from the Nationalists. They have become a huge skip quite some time ago now. Yes, maybe the PN knows how to behave like a skip better than Labour. Before anyone accuses me of cheap shots, here is why I call PN and PL large skips – of mixed waste in fact. Before the arrival of recycling banks – in which waste is separated according to type, waste used to go into skips unsorted. Well that’s the aim of both PN and PL – get as much support as possible, not on the strength of policies, principles and values, those  just don’t matter as long as the magic number of one more vote than the other skip is achieved. Eileen Montesin of ‘run rabbit run’ fame is just one proof of the skip theory. Another proof is miraculous appearances of dyed-in-the-wool Nationalists at Labour events, if there is a whiff of a possible change in government.

The skip theory explains Labour’s total confusion and absence from the divorce issue – on the one hand it wants the pro-divorce vote, on the other hand it does not want to lose it’s not insignificant support of supporters who vote Labour not because of some socialist or social democratic or whatever label Joseph and co. decide to use, but just because they were born Labourites (maybe someone should study if there is a ‘labour’ or ‘nationalist’ gene.) The divorce issue is too big for them to handle. Labour does not want to scare away their 3-in-one festa-Santa Perpetwa-Labour fanatics, and at the same time it wants us to believe that the Labour party is the home of progressively-minded people. Divorce is a real political issue unlike sterile debates about ‘inrazznu l-prezz tal-gass’ which any politician coming from whichever party or from any slice of the political spectrum can spout for hours on end. PL and PN speak about things which technocrats can manage. They do so because they do not take sides based on principles – they don’t want to scare away Peppi and Peppa.

Joseph – for whom tonnes of incense smoke with all the ‘dear leader’ rhetoric literally pours out of  ONE studios – wants his cake and to eat it. The divorce debate has uncovered Labour’s mask – it is another PN – a party based on nothingness. They cannot bear it that there are others who are really and truly progressive and have a modern vision of politics. Some Labour supporters expect others, AD included, not to criticise them, they think it is now their turn to win the election and cannot bear anyone standing in their 50%+1 target. The same ‘divine right to govern’ mentality which pervades the other party/skip.

Labour rants on and on that the only alternative is voting Labour…anyone with even one shrivelled brain cell should realise that the only solution is neither voting for PN nor for PL. They never learn. They need to be forced to implement the reforms we need in this country. If you want change, if you are open-minded and want to tell PN and PL where to get off, you will vote AD, at the end of the day you have nothing to lose. Divorce has confirmed that the PN and PL are just the sides of the same coin.

Environment pillar grit-blasted

January 4, 2011

Tuesday, 4th January 2011 – Talking Point – The Times

Many readers have surely read or followed stories in the media about European or American multinationals which wreak havoc in African or Asian countries, extracting resources such as oil, metals or precious metals. We have all heard of multinationals moving to countries where cheap labour and desperate people ready to do anything to survive are in abundance, where low standards and a disregard to people and their environment is what these countries can offer as their competitive advantage.

Some say that in Malta we also followed the same model, maybe with less drastic and visible ill-effects.

One of the main reasons for Alternattiva Demokratika’s support for EU accession was, and still is, higher standards coupled with a better quality of life for all residents of our country.

Others, I’m sure, only followed the diktats of their party leader – whether in favour or against – since the tribal mentality was and still holds strong, and the unquestioning herds are still very large.

It is indeed ironic that the Palumbo and grit-blasting issue had to raise its head six years into EU membership. It is also symptomatic of the lap-dog mentality that pervades the corridors of power that nobody from the country’s executive – starting from Lawrence Gonzi – has told Palumbo’s CEO that threats and blackmail are completely unacceptable.

Palumbo’s statement, that it would pull out of Malta if it was not allowed to carry out grit-blasting, is reminiscent of colonialists who raped and pillaged whole countries and expected the “natives” to be grateful for the crumbs and trinkets graciously conceded by the colonialists.

Rules are there to be followed and if our country’s institutions and society do not want to carry the social and environmental costs which Palumbo is dumping on us all, then Palumbo has no place here. The statement by Palumbo’s CEO, that the only possible method to strip ships of old paint is grit-blasting in the open, is misleading and wrong. There are a variety of options, from enclosing ships in temporary tent-like structures to other methods to strip paint.

Palumbo know this but since they seem to have been given the impression by the government that they have a carte-blanche to do whatever they want in this country, they have gone for the cheapest and dirtiest option. Great, we have donated the shipyard at a huge discount to a company with a concept of competiveness based on a disregard of people and their environment. The Prime Minister’s words, that the environment is a pillar of his government’s policies, have long been dismissed by those who know the real meaning of the word. Palumbo has grit-blasted away the remains of that pillar.

Will the government back down and order the Malta Environment and Planning Authority to reverse its decision to stop grit-blasting? Will Nationalist pundits bring up a myriad of excuses using jobs as an excuse for the government’s failure to rein in cowboy companies? Will Labour remain silent for fear of being accused of threatening the livelihood of Palumbo employees? It is obvious that workers are once again being used as pawns by a company which refuses to invest in modern technology and expects to get away with polluting our sea and air. I will not mince my words: the government should stand its ground and tell Palumbo where to get off. Failure to do so will mean that democracy is just a buzzword. Probably some bungled and unsatisfactory compromise will be reached. Well, we all get what we voted for at the end of the day.

Mr Cassar is secretary general and spokesman for energy, industry and transport for Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party.

2011 … appell u awguri

January 2, 2011

Is-sena t-tajba lilkom kollha.

Qed inhares ‘il quddiem biex inkomplu l-hidma flimkien biex inkomplu nsemmghu l-vuci taghna u nuru li Alternattiva Demokratika hija partit li ghandu politika serja u moderna fl-interess tas-socjeta taghna.

Dalwaqt ikollna l-laqgha generali annwali u email u avviz bid-data u l-post se jintbghat fil-gimghat li gejjin. Nfakkar ukoll li ittri lil AD ghandhom jintbghatu fl-indirizz AD, PO Box 38, Marsa MTP1001 jew inkella bl-email fuq jew

Nispera li kellkom festi tajba. Bhas-sena l-ohra bi hsiebna norganizzaw aktar attivitajiet kemm biex niltaqghu socjalment, kif ukoll laqghat fuq suggetti specifici. Importanti hafna ukoll l-attivitajiet biex nigbru l-fondi. Ahna ma nqassmux il-pjaciri u ghalhekk irridu nahdmu aktar biex nigbru donazzjonijiet. Barra minn hekk ufficcjali u kandidati taghna mhux l-ewwel darba johorgu flus mill-but biex inkunu nistghu mmexxu ‘l quddiem l-hidma taghna.

Ghandi proposta zghira x’naghmel. Wara l-festi hafna minna spiccaw bi fliexken tax-xorb u inbid zejda li ma ntuzawx. Nissuggerixxi li ittuhom donazzjoni lil Alternattiva Demokratika biex ikunu jistghu jintuzaw ghall-attivitajiet socjali u ‘fundraising’ li se norganizzaw din is-sena. Nistiednek tikkuntattjani bl-email jekk tixtieq tghinna. Bhal dejjem donazzjonijiet ta’ flus jistghu jintbghatu fl-indirizz postali indikat aktar ‘il fuq.

Grazzi u s-sena t-tajba 2011

Ralph Cassar
Segretarju Generali
Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party