Sunday, 7 June 2009

Times: Confessions of a Labour Party convert

Thursday, 4th June 2009 by Albert Gauci Cunningham, Buġibba

There were many who approached me and asked how come I am writing in favour of the Labour Party. Some seemed shocked, others snubbed me but most agreed with my point of view. I have to admit that coming from a very Nationalist background it was pretty hard to try Labour out and though the PN is in its worst form right now it still was a bit of a shock to go to the Labour Party headquarters in Ħamrun and speak to people I had criticised so much. And yet I still don't understand why so many disgruntled and hurt Nationalists who believed that the PN had really learnt its lessons before March 2008, and who are now realising their mistake, find it so difficult to try Labour out.

Let's face it, as things stand right now this might end up as one of the worst, if not the worst, Nationalist legislatures ever. Lawrence Gonzi, who was the PN's biggest asset, is slowly but surely becoming one of its biggest liabilities. Arrogance is at a record high, broken promises galore, finances out of control and decisions go diametrically opposite to what we voted for such as in the Delimara power station saga. The PN has become the "no" party; no to everything anyone says especially if that someone happens to be called Joseph Muscat. The party thinks it can bull-doze anything it fancies down our throats and tragically it is taking the shape of a quasi-dictatorial party (election campaign apart).

So what's the difference between me and most of the others I meet? Simple. The others moan, groan, complain and sulk but in the same breath try to find every imaginable excuse to vote PN when push comes to shove while I decided to break my family "tradition" and act!

Being gay and quite liberal I decided to take a step towards the left which unfortunately in Malta seems to be considered as a "bold" move. When the PN became too arrogant and deceitful to handle I decided to "march" to the Labour HQ and see for myself if it's true that whether we like it or not we have to remain stuck with this conservative lot forever and ever. What did I find within the Labour party? Did I find all the ħamalli and nincompoops that we were always indoctrinated to believe the Labour Party to be made of? Not at all. What I did find is a group of people who accept even a once ardent Nationalist supporter with a very Nationalist background like me with open arms. I found a party in which some of the young members I've met openly say they are pro-EU and some even voted "Yes" for the EU, but most of all I found an environment where people are full of energy and ideas all working to build a coalition of citizens from all walks of life.

Is the PL perfect? Definitely not! Will it falter? I have no doubt it will and let's be fair, the Nationalists have done a lot of good to this country and the young generation is quite appreciative of the fact that it was Eddie Fenech Adami's PN that fought for the fulfilment of our European dream. Yet it's time to move ahead now, it's time for the Nationalists to re-invent themselves and shed the arrogance, it's time Malta is given back to those who can build bridges with the people and it's time to embrace the past and prepare for the future. It's time to go Labour! And June 6 is only the first and the smaller part of this equation.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website. ]

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