Dear Michael ... (an open letter)

An open letter to Michael Falzon: The country needs politicians as much as it needs democracy. Age does not necessarily make us mellow, but it makes us wiser (or so I would like to think!)

It would like to start by stating that I, too, relished the experience of working with people having a different political ideology, when promoting civil liberties. However it is a pity that we still have an ‘us and them’ mentality, especially on national issues. And national issues should not be restricted to campaigns for divorce and other social topics.

The ‘us and them’ mentality tends to categorise people into groups. It is a way of getting at one another’s throat rather than a way of working together. You seem to accept the fact that Guido de Marco’s approach was the correct one but one wonders if we have all learnt from this experience.

In fact, do you think that the Guido approach is helped by a declaration from a leading light of the Nationalist Party claiming that he has a different DNA from the other side (ostensibly a ‘superior DNA’)?

Do you think that another leading PN strategy manager who, beyond demonising all citizens with Labour tendencies and rubbishing all government initiatives, goes on to flauntingly proclaim that St Dorothy ex alumnae are the only Maltese ladies deserving respect – Is this helping to promote the Guido de Marco approach?

The PL has never published a set of Panini photos to demonise all those who served the country in PN times. We were more responsible than to stoop so low. Does Panini promote the Guido approach?

The Labour Party has never undermined Gonzi’s nominations for Maltese appointments in the EU to gain some brownie points. Does undermining Labour nominees and relishing their discomfiture help the approach that you mention? We seem to forget that a Maltese nomination is not a party nomination but a national one.

Graffitti came out with a concise slogan a week ago,  “Same crap (for the sake of being delicate), different governments”.

I agree that we are two different governments in our different approach to such eventualities. Labour does not believe it is all white, nor that the others are all black. But Labour does not explain away the crap with fist banging. It admits errors and there is a ministerial apology, something unheard of from the “divine right” side of the political divide. Labour took commensurate action. It however will not accept being arrogantly dictated to, as to what remedial action should take place. Labour’s attitude promotes the approach you so eloquently praise, by its actions.

This government has shown great fortitude in the face of provocation. The Jason Azzopardi episode was the classic case in point. Does the agent provocateur promote the Guido approach?

We believe that our years in opposition have helped us to learn our lessons. We believe in the alternation of power in government. We strive to work for the common good during our term in office without any pretension that the country will not switch when it is our time to move on.

Both of us are products and promoters of the media. The media have evolved and the people no longer depend on printed matter as their primary source of news. The meteoric rise of social media is important in today’s world but we must make sure to use the media to give responsible information not for indoctrination. We must give a chance to let the people judge for themselves and not hassle them with undue belligerence. One wonders if the opposition leader has read your ‘Guido de Marco’ approach. If he has, he either disagrees or does not understand it.

I have already written about the risks that we are taking in the making of future politicians. The country needs politicians as much as it needs democracy. Age does not necessarily make us mellow, but it makes us wiser (or so I would like to think!). I agree with your comment regarding ‘the others’; there is no such thing and our people stand to gain far more, now and in the future, if we work towards a common goal.