A vote for change

A lot of people feel that the country needs a break from politics. The heavy rhetoric of the past year and a half has taken its toll

As for the Labour Party, we must remain grounded
As for the Labour Party, we must remain grounded

In many ways, this was a unique campaign. It was relatively short, but very contentious. The toxicity was unparalleled, with the amount of vitriol unprecedented. I hope, as a country, we can move on from the hostility that was paraded in front of us. It was a campaign about change. Of course, I’m not referring to the government, its delivery and vision, which received a well-earned endorsement. It was a vote for change because the people saw an injured establishment fighting for influence and they said ‘no more’. They do not want to stop the change, and progress, that our society is going through.

The full-frontal miserabilism, that cost Theresa May so dearly just days ago, also shows that today’s societies yearn for positive attitudes and can-do mentalities. Shifting voting patterns show that allegiances are not set in stone as they once were, and it ultimately boils down to leadership, vision and ability to execute.

The vote was taken in a context where a government was not part and parcel of an establishment, but was an agent of change that threatened the whole established order. Everything was thrown at Joseph Muscat and his family during this election, but it was not really about him. It was about what he represented: a change in the established order, social reforms, civil rights, liberalism, the economic boom under Labour and the fact that influence is shifting towards the wider populace. The effects of such an unfair attack on the Prime Minister’s family were being felt by the country, but it didn’t diminish it by one iota.  

As for the Labour Party, we must remain grounded. We have shown that when we deliver on our promises and reach out to people, no matter how they have voted in the past, we are shown trust by them. The electoral result should not convince us that what we have is good enough, but it should inspire us to keep changing and take it to the next level. We are proudly anti-establishment because what Joseph Muscat has created is a platform for the party to pave the way for progress. The result, especially when taken in the above context, is historic. 

A lot of people feel that the country needs a break from politics. The heavy rhetoric of the past year and a half has taken its toll. I hope that as a country we can continue to find the energy and the will to unite and work together. The 6.2% growth in the first three months of the year shows that our economy is strong and can withstand political tension, but in order to secure the long-term sustainability of our industries we must not undermine them for partisan points.

The movement that has been created must strife for further progress, as the Labour Party continues to work for a better future. The meaning behind ‘equality’, a better ‘quality of life’, and ‘worker’ may have changed from the days of our forefathers but these values and ideology remain intact in the Labour Party.

It was always about change and progress versus status quo. The moment the Labour Party closes itself to protect the status quo, and no longer remains the agent of change and innovation, is the moment it will have lost its soul. We should, always, remain close to the people and question those who tell us change should not take place. That is why this vote was important – it was, really and truly, about a changing society yearning for more.

Evarist Bartolo is Minister of Education and Employment

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