I am sure that I voice the feelings of many when I say that this election was a distressing experience with both parties trying to outbid each other to win votes. The shameful record of blatant corruption by the outgoing administration was a sad reality. Yet, the Opposition had only been out of power for less than five years and their track record, when in government, was not enviable either. It was just a question of degree.
The level of political decadence is reflected in the hideous concrete buildings that sprout like mushrooms defacing even small hamlets like Manikata. The goings-on in the area of Sliema, which has been converted into a concrete jungle and the ghastly tower of Babel in front of the Addolorata cemetery are other obvious examples.
Nothing is sacred. Old buildings are gutted and torn down irrespective of their history and beauty, gardens are ripped up and the little remaining farmland and open spaces are earmarked for so-called new development.
After the election of 2013, Simon Busuttil had an uphill struggle convincing us that there would be zero tolerance for corruption and that good governance would be the cornerstone of his future government. Sadly, as the unexpected snap election campaign unfolded, he started to scrape the barrel to appeal to one and all. Now we are saddled with the mess.
If the physical environment is being bashed, this pales in comparison to the onslaught on our traditional values and the institution of the family. As predicted, divorce legislation paved the way for further legislation that hollows out any concept of what is right and sound. Joseph Muscat is a shrewd, unscrupulous politician and he knows that the promotion of so-called ‘gay rights’ is the perfect wedge to cause division in the PN.
Here again, Simon Busuttil opted for the undemocratic option of placing ‘gay marriage’ in the PN’s electoral manifesto. This was profoundly dishonest. The shameful claim that the manifesto was unanimously approved ignores the basic fact that such a core value should be decided by national referenda and not by a party cabal.
The proposed bill on ‘gay marriage’ is anything but an innocuous and positive development. It has very far-reaching negative consequences.
Amongst other things, it aims to redesign the concept of family, eliminating reference to fatherhood and motherhood and introducing the promotion of ‘fertility’ for gay couples. This crass aberration of Natural Law involves the scrapping of the Embryo Protection Act and the introduction by stealth of gamete donation and surrogacy thus reducing children to a commodity.
Politically, it costs the government nothing and is an excellent ruse to deviate public opinion from its corruption and the breath-taking last minute abuse of public funds on the eve of the election as it dished out jobs, promotions, favours, not to mention the building permits and regularisation of neglected long standing employment issues.
The PN now has a fresh opportunity to take stock and learn from its flawed and undemocratic decisions. Integrity and honesty demand that the unjust stand on ‘gay marriage’ be withdrawn. People of principle make U-turns when they realise they are in the wrong.
Promises of fine- tuning the prospective corrosive legislation is farcical and unacceptable. Any offer to MPs to be allowed to vote according to their conscience is insulting, to say the least. It is like conceding that we are allowed to breathe.
For the record, before the last General Election, Life Network phoned and emailed all prospective candidates about their stand on core values. Shamefully, with the exception of a handful candidates, the majority were not prepared to declare themselves. This is a miserable reflection on the character of people who expect our vote.
Hoping for our MPs to stand up and be counted may be wishful thinking, as financial and career interests seem to trump any other consideration. Yet, I still feel there are politicians of integrity who will not kowtow to the imposed party line and will stand up to try and put a stop to this rot.
Meanwhile, as never before, the grass roots of both parties have to wake up and tell our so-called representatives that our vote does not give them a blank cheque to pass laws that defy our values and are an unjust imposition by a well-organised, amoral clique.
Dr. Klaus Vella Bardon is deputy chairman of Life Network Foundation Malta