The rush for the gay vote

The gay lobby is considered to be an important dynamic of the electorate that can make a difference on who wins the next election

22 May 2017, 8:00am
Cartoon by Mikiel Galea
Cartoon by Mikiel Galea
In the run up to the election there has been a concerted effort to woo the gay lobby.  At one point five years ago Joseph Muscat realized the significant electoral influence of the gay lobby and the compact aspect of this large grouping. What happened after is history. But inevitably beyond all his flaws and incertitude Muscat rose to the occasion against the traditional reluctance in the country to deal with this topic and broke all taboos to finally place Malta at the very top of LGBT rights.

The natural process led Simon Busuttil to also face the music and embrace the lobby by challenging the reluctance in the PN on the subject. In doing so, he imposed a political decision on his party against the better judgement of conservatives within his political milieu.

But then there are instances which betray the reversal of policies by silly statements or outdated ones for that matter. This is not a reference to the return of former Nationalist stalwart and right wing politician Josie Muscat to the PN fold, even though his recent statement on gays and women are difficult to forget.

Rather more weighty are the statements by Godfrey Farrugia, the former PL whip and now a PN candidate on the Partit Demokratiku list, in last Friday’s debate organized by the Malta Gay rights movement, where he resurrected the issue of blood transfusion from gays because of their sexual habits and the reality of HIV.  

It was an unnecessary issue to raise that uncovered his conservative roots and illustrated where many politicians stand on the matter.

Apart from his stand on the morning-after pill and his decision to equate it to abortion, Farrugia returned to an age-old argument from the text books of the early nineties from anti-gay politicians, raising an issue which is considered to be taboo in today’s world.  

But the argument also brings to the fore, whether the political commitments towards LGBT rights is indeed well rooted. It seems to be, but there are several politicians who are not convinced.

What is sure, is that the gay lobby is considered to be an important dynamic of the electorate that can make a difference on who wins the next election.

Maltafiles

The Maltafiles is the result of research undertaken by the network European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), which has brought together 13 media outlets and 47 journalists in 16 countries, and which include MaltaToday together with L’Espresso, Le Soir, NRC, DER SPIEGEL, The Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism / TheBlackSea.eu, Mediapart, Politiken, NewsWeek Serbia, El Mundo, Expresso, Dagens Nyheter, The Intercept and Agência Sportlight. The Maltafiles show how Malta works as a base for tax avoidance inside the EU. Although profiting from the advantages of EU membership, Malta also welcomes large companies and wealthy private clients who try to dodge taxes in their home countries.

This damages the budgets of other EU countries and reveals a weakness in the European Union, which allows member states sovereign rights over their taxation.

But what is interesting is the way the two parties have reacted to the revelations.  

Both sides are interpreting the timing in their own words. It is the unfortunate aspect of Maltese politics.

The Maltafiles perhaps underline the hypocrisy of the system and the negation by both political sides that we as a State attract dubious companies to our shores and then allow them to have a massive refund on the tax paid in Malta.