What reality do you want to wake up to next Sunday?

There is only one question that really matters in the end – what do you want to see when you wake up next Sunday?

File photo
File photo

The 2022 General Election is set for next Saturday, and your vote, like mine, counts. It’s our vote that determines the reality to which we will all wake up a week from today.

The headlines on next week’s newspaper will set the tone for the coming five years, and my column won’t be in there (I’ll be taking a three-day hiatus from everything). By then, the result will likely have been announced and my fate will be sealed.

But more importantly, so will yours. Personal achievements aside, there is only one question that really matters in the end – what do you want to see when you wake up next Sunday?

Do you remember after the Brexit vote, how so many people – an estimated 1.2 million voters – according to surveys conducted at the time, had so many regrets (playfully dubbed Bregrets) for not going home to vote, for using their vote to make a point by way of protest for the issues that were prevalent at the time, for being too hungover to get out of bed to vote, etc.?

Do you remember how the same thing happened when America woke up to the news of Trump’s presidency in 2016?

So many people have since told stories about how they were sure he wouldn’t make it, they were sure that their vote not being cast wouldn’t make such a big difference. Once again, they were wrong. Because the truth is that one person’s vote can make all the difference, and we are luckier than these people in one important way – we have the magic of hindsight.

Hindsight allows us to course correct, to rectify and amend before we’re too late. Hindsight also affords us some glimpse into the future through a comparative exercise between what was promised by Labour in government and which of those promises was actually carried through.

As part of a debate recently, I was discussing the environment with a Labour candidate. She began to reel off the positives, and with a look of incredulity (echoed by my eyebrows that betray my every thought and feeling), I asked her whether she believes that Labour’s environmental promises (splashed all over billboards in 2013) promising a Labour government where “the environment truly becomes a priority” were true. Had Labour really made the environment a priority over the past decade?

Somehow with a straight face, she said that they had. I can’t begin to comprehend the level of mental gymnastics that must take, to get to a point in one’s life that has exposed you to so many lies that you start to consider them truths. But, the environment aside. How many more corrupt deals do we need to see? How many more stories about phantom jobs, nepotism, cronyism, lack of transparency in the tendering and procurement process, etc. do we need to read about?

How many more instances must we be privy to of a society that consistently prioritises the enrichment of the inner circle at the expense of the destruction of the very backbone of our society? How many more scandals, front page headlines decrying the conduct of yet another member of Joseph/Robert’s Abela/Muscat’s cabinet do we need before applying what we’ve learnt in the determination of how to vote next Saturday?

People tend to say that it’s ‘negative’ to point out certain realities. As Franco Debono so rightly said during a recent interview, that somehow it is now considered ‘bad form’ to call someone a liar, but he pointed out that someone who’s lying is in fact a liar.

This isn’t negativity, this is realism. These are the real considerations one must make when choosing who should govern for the next five years. ‘Negativity’ is a term that Labour like to weaponise to counter very legitimate concerns surrounding the way they govern. Do not let anyone call you negative for pointing out truths. We must ALL be pointing out the realities that have existed and that continue to exist with Labour at the helm.

In a world where hindsight is a gift and a blessing, where we are forced to plan as best we can and make difficult decisions for our future, we have been afforded a warning. Voting and using your voice have never been more important. Hindsight shows us that Americans had to spend four years watching the news as a leader many thought to be a joke ran so many good people into despair. Hindsight has shown us the UK shut its doors on people’s futures and blindsided their economy. How would the world look now if everyone had voted responsibly in these countries, how would it look if they’d had the gift of hindsight that we have now?

To paraphrase Jay-Z: I got 99 problems, but regret won’t be one of them. I know I’m voting for  real change, a Malta where scandals aren’t the order of the day and mediocrity isn’t par for the course.

I’m voting for a Malta where young people don’t want to leave our shores in droves. I’m voting for a real, tangible, responsibly developed and creative vision. I’m voting for a prime minister that will bring Malta into the future - a future that is economically sound, but also one that is socially responsible and leaves no one behind to fend for themselves.

I’m voting for a future where Bernard Grech and his team of incredibly capable people from a myriad of backgrounds can begin to rebuild the tenements of our country, like Partit Nazzjonalista in government has done so many times before.

So once again I ask you, what reality do you want to wake up to next Sunday? Will we be another tale of regret, mentioned as an anecdote at parties around the world amid conversations of corruption and dreary futures, or will we have taken charge of our own fate and been on the right side of history?

See you at the voting booth.