mardi, septembre 27, 2005

What Vlad Said (sic)

What follows is the full text of a comment to my post entitled "Begin the Politics". Since I intend to discuss a few points that were brought up by this anonymous commentator who has no blog of his/her own I thought it would be useful to post his/her comment as a Guest Post before adding my reply. It would be also helpful for readers of my later post who, like me, hate switching from blog to comment window to see what is being referred to. So read this. Reply will be up later today. (You can still comment here and I hope that Vlad will answer any questions directed to Vlad here too). I also know that Xifer has continued the discussion here and will also be commenting on that separately later on.

It is a sure sign that someone is confused when they can state, in the space of a few paragraphs, that they prefer to opt of out being political only to then to say that they want NEW POLITICS, in capital letters no less. New politics for a new generation we are to understand. The Kinnie Generation of thirty-year olds to be exact, the curiously vague and inaccurate term coined by the holder of these opinions. Indeed, the last time that Malta was truly and genuinely excited about political choice was when everybody was allowed to gorge themselves on Mars bars, without having to wait for their cousin to go on a daytrip to Catania, which is why I think that Mars generation would be a more fitting epithet.

The day that priorities began to lose their definition in the Maltese political was the day that people chose EU citizenship. Embracing the European Union, whether Eddie knew or not, signified the withering away of the immediacy of domestic issues. Shortcomings can now be indirectly ascribed to European inflexibility. Eastern European countries are in a similar predicament, evolving as they are from a post-Soviet culture, while Malta is eased out of an anachronistically statist dimension.

While I am on the subject, is it legitimate to inquire whether The moral quagmire that the country is in is not an issue because the people have spoken on abortion, divorce and all the other heathen menaces that threaten to ravish the purity of the Maltese lifestyle. Remembering that the 500 that judged Socrates were a representative cross-section of Athenian polity, so the self-elected free-thinkers must concede to the majority. It matters not that the resulting outcome is injustice, hypocrisy and misery, but that the people have spoken. Alienation from the prevailing moral code is not the exception, it is not a Maltese syndrome, but a regular fixture of contemporary European life.

Nonetheless, the cited �break in mentality�, or �paradigm shift� as we say nowadays, is a political choice we have to make; not as Maltese citizens, or as Europeans, but as human beings. Having said that, what are the concerns that pose the greatest challenges for the a country that has taken the post-modern route, where local dialogue is no more than a sideshow and where democratic choice is a ceremony instead of a process.Polemics about the redundancy of the monotony of the false bipolarity of the MLPN (an odd collision of Anglo-Maltese there, by the way) are not healthy if the only thing one can volunteer is aloof observations about the ill state of the medium, whatever that might be. Neither is it fair to suggest that the dialogue has been only a two-sided contest of allegiances. There was a time when Maltese politics was about fighting for rights, even at times when the ugliness of vitriolic partisanship made it seem otherwise. If for no other reason, Malta should pride itself on leaders like Mintoff, Mifsud Bonnici and Fenech Adami, because for all their misguided decisions they belonged to an age when policies when informed by moral convictions.

If the only thing the self-appointed �liberal elite� (sic!) can agree on is that they don�t like the here and now then what?Actually, as far as the debate at hand is concerned, it is obviously hard to make accurate generalizations, but it is also misguided to maintain that the process lies exclusively in the realms of social change and imponderable future factors. The recent German upset is evidently a result of shrewd politics and campaigning, though I would argue that the Italian predicament is more indicative of how electoral influence is mostly wielded from the top down. Indeed, the recent scandal over mooted amendments to Italian electoral legislation raised many questions about the issue of which system best served the country's needs.

Of course, it would be disingenuous to suggest that the legislative debate is the most noteworthy aspect of the affair, but it does suggest that the way polls are organized remains a crucial and sensitive matter.If we have to be honest, the question of coalition's stability or otherwise is not as relevant as any given country's prevailing political culture. If, when the British Labour party had come to power, it had held true to its tacit pledge to the Liberal Democrats to introduce some elements of PR, the House of Commons would not have fallen apart. This is because British political life is rife with factional infighting, but pragmatism compels parties to avoid open schisms. Rare examples, such as the anti-war Respect, nominally built on George Galloway's shoulders, and one-issue anti-EU parties like UKIP, are notable in being marginal.

Meanwhile, Italy demonstrates that even a largely first-past-the-post setup will crack under the pressures of personal enmities and ambitions. Notwithstanding the resulting stasis, it is heartening to see that Italian voters continue to demonstrate political commitment.Shortly, Malta�s best hope is some kind of implausible telescoping back into individual relevancy in the era after the death of politics; �Ci vogliono uomini di cultura!!�, as Norman Lowell would say in a semi-sexual faux Hitlerian fashion. And ironically, as a country that has almost always had politicized leaders and cataclysmic historic development, this may be the moment when people discover that their voice can be about more then just self-interest.

Hesitancy is pardonable when it seems like everything is at stake, but perhaps now that the gamble isn�t so decisive the voter might feel unshackled from the conventional categories. What we need is not new politics, but politics full stop.

Oh yeah, and why not a quick Churchill quote:

"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average (Maltese) voter."

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