Focus on what matters, please

Now that the dust has settled and we’ve all had time to reflect on the electoral campaign and its results, we need to stop gibbering about non-issues, and give the future of democracy in Malta our full attention.

As an electoral candidate who didn’t make it to parliament, I consider myself a regular concerned citizen who knows all too well that, without a good and viable opposition there can be no such thing as a democracy. And, quite frankly, bringing up a child in a country where the process of democracy is non-existent, is petrifying.

For weeks now, I’ve been watching us getting all hot under the collar arguing for or against the marriage equality bill – a non-issue, which both parties agreed upon from the start. Whilst the country is losing out on other more serious issues, we’re too busy trying arguing against what we actually stand for – equality, fairness and a law that’s blind to sexuality, gender and everything else.

I’m not saying that Marriage Equality is not serious or important, in fact, I’m saying the exact opposite – it is so important and serious that we should get on with it, give everyone their rights that they should have had from the start, and move on.

Whilst the Nationalist Party might have failed the LGBTIQ community in the past, Simon Busuttil, who inherited an ultra-conservative party, had the strength and conviction to bring the party this far – to vote in favour of the Marriage Equality Bill, albeit some might do so kicking and screaming.

It is ample clear, at least to me, that the Government has been using equality rights, civil unions and now the marriage equality bill to distract from other more problematic issues in the country, and unfortunately, we, including many members of the opposition, have swallowed this tactic hook line and sinker. Sadly we’ve allowed ourselves to get absorbed in the controversy, playing straight into Joseph Muscat’s hands.

The Government has been very successful with this very dirty tactic, managing to exploit a non-issue, hitting the Opposition where it hurts, and driving a divide instead of encouraging unity as it so vociferously preached throughout the electoral campaign. Thanks to this muddy distraction, many have not realised that what’s more important at this point in time is not arguing about who can marry who and who can and cannot rear children, but building a strong and viable Opposition, without which, our whole democracy will go down the drain.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a strong and viable democracy couldn’t be achieved unless the best possible candidate is elected as Party leader. So please, let’s get our thinking caps on, let’s stop bickering and arguing about non-issues and, choose wisely.

Having worked closely with Simon Busuttil I want to take this opportunity to thank him. He was a catalyst for change when we all know that change within a conservative party is hard to achieve, and during his short stint as leader of the Opposition Simon Busuttil fought corruption with unmatched verve. Despite the disadvantage that he took the lead from, he braved on and stood strong for clean politics and when it came to changing the PN’s mindset from the inside, he was faced with lots of resistance and yet managed to deliver in leap and bounds. Simon Busuttil knows exactly how the party works and was well on his way to making a real change at the core. I’m convinced that given enough time to make a real difference, Simon Busuttil will make sure that our children are brought up in a real democracy, despite this Government’s corrupt and dirty tactics.

It is time to recognize that Simon Busuttil had a good grasp of the situation, had the energy and stamina necessary to lead and convince, and that given more time even the electoral result would have been significantly different.

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