Saturday, 30 May 2009

MaltaToday: A clean, mature approach

Throughout my electoral experience, I have noticed how negative campaigning in Malta is a double-edged sword.

It may create media ripples, but people’s reactions may not be the obvious ones we expect. There are countless examples of how negative campaigns have rebounded on the parties or candidates conducting them. I would say that people simply want proposals, and scaremongering does not impress anyone anymore, mostly because everyone has the facility nowadays to research the actual facts and form his or her opinion.

We therefore strove to conduct a positive campaign, which makes proposals and gets the message across to the electorate: a campaign built on the credible and consistent voice that Alternattiva Demokratika has been throughout these years, especially on European matters, and the energy and experience that AD, Yvonne Arqueros and myself can bring to the European Parliament.

Our campaign was also a very mature one, with a great emphasis on the economy. The Greens have frequently been criticised for ignoring bread and butter issues and emphasising excessively on the environment. This year, together with the European Greens, we are proposing a Green New Deal that links ecology with economy, in the light of the economic and energy crisis the world is facing, so as to create new green and environmentally sustainable jobs, and to move towards a low-carbon economy and away from outdated and unsustainable traditional heavy industry.

We have tried to communicate through all the ways possible to us, and I am also happy that we are using our resources on the Internet as much as possible. AD’s Web 2.0 campaign relied heavily on social networking sites like Facebook and on our electoral website to keep the electorate up to date with our positions.
Despite the general positivity of this campaign, we are competing against other parties, and we have therefore had to, at times, dispel myths or half-truths, through publishing vote roll-calls of our current MEPs in the European Parliament.

Cases that come to mind are those regarding air quality and emissions, gay rights and discrimination, and illegal immigration. There obviously is a great difference between political arguments that try to expose facts, views and beliefs, and scaremongering and mudslinging that tactically try to alienate the voter.

All in all, I feel happy with the way AD has conducted and is conducting its campaign, and I am confident that this positivity will reap its rewards. While committing myself to keep convincing the electorate by proposing and putting forward our ideas and platforms, I sincerely hope that in the last crunch days, the general campaign keeps engaging in mature discourse and does not resort to cheap last-minute electioneering.

On 6 June the Maltese and Gozitans shall be voting for six Maltese to represent our people in the European Parliament. Voting in an Alternattiva Demokratika Green MEP, together with PN and PL MEPs, will reap benefits for our country.

Arnold Cassola is leader of Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party

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