Tuesday, 29 September 2009

MaltaStar: “Towards a progressive agenda”, as think tank IDEAT launch challenge to conservatism

Think tank IDEAT was launched amid expectations it will put forward a progressive agenda to influence politics in Malta.

Speaking at the launching of the think tank, Aaron Farrugia, IDEAT’s chairperson, emphasised that this organization while working with the Labour Party it will put forward its own agenda and ideas which might be different or contradict the PL’s executives’ policies.

Yet, Mr Farrugia insisted that it is high time that all those who have at heart an open-minded society to come together and out forward all ideas. “we need to challenge conservatism by putting forward a progressive agenda.”

During the opening speech he laid down the guiding principle of the think tank:

1. An inclusive society within a global age, which respects the needs of minorities.
2. Rights and obligations following the financial crisis in the capital system
3. Quality jobs for everyone
4. Education: “No one should be left behind. No talents should go to waste. We believe that in education lies Malta’s strength to remain competitive in the European Union.”
5. Child care: “If we need to reach certain targets, then we must invest in sustainable child care systems.”
6. Equality: “We have to strive for more equality between men and women.”
7.Social Dialogue: “We believe that the workers and employees should have the best representative in today and to take a proactive role in today’s society”.
8. Sustainable Development: “We believe that sustainable development has to be on the forefront on the country’s agenda to protect the vulnerable. We should not be passive.”
9. Civil Rights: “We need to legislate for everyone. The majority should not impose its will on the minority.”
10. Social Europe: “We believe in a social and competitive Europe, which unties us.”

Labour Leader Joseph Muscat insisted that the think tank has “card blanche” on its policies and hoped it can influence not only the PL but also other parties. “I would not be surprised if other parties would take the ideas that will come forward from this think tank. The time of monopolies is over.”

“The idea that the workers vote labour and the middle-class vote Nationalist is over,” Muscat said, insisting that the electorate have matured and moved away from ‘tribal’ political affiliations. “The time when people voted just because their parents voted a particular political party is something of the past.”

“We need to move forward from the politics of the past and create a political movement that represent all sections of society, and its ideas should go beyond budget rhetoric but reach people’s hearts,” Muscat said.

“Change is not easy. Section of the establishment knows it and is afraid of it. We need to accept it and face it. Even though we might have the media against us, we still need to deliver our message, thus we need to return politics to the people.”

“We should also not be afraid to say that we stand for minorities and that the Labour Party will defend Gay rights.”

“We need to make it personal, we need to meet people, talk to them and listen to them,” Muscat concluded.

Ernst Stetter, Jessica Asato, Godfrey Grima, Evarist Bartolo and James Debono formed part of the panel of discussion.

After 25 years of conservatism in Malta

“Ideas have to be connected with the needs of the people. What we are guaranteed is the struggle and not the win,” Evarist Bartolo, Labour MP said.

He also emphasised that it is high time to challenge the conservative and confessional side of the nation while insisting that each idea that might come out from this think tank has to win the hearts of the people.

However, he also warned about “internal bickering”, which can hinder progressive thinking.

Godfrey Grima noted that the same principles of this think tank were the same principles, which guided Bartolo as a young politicians and himself before.

“Politics is very similar to journalist. It is based on credibility. Thus, this think tank has to forget theories and be practical,” Grima said.

He noted that while the country has economical improved, he questioned whether this society has become more open-minded.

“Did society change for the best? And are they any quality European leaders out there?” Grima added.

He also said that a perversion in the media exists and that the political parties should dismantle their media. “It is a matter of credibility, when the traditional media, switches against the PL just before General Election it loses credibility.”

“It is one thing to lie. It is another to be accepted that you are saying the truth,” Grima added.

However, Bartolo said that until a credible PBS is set up, it will be impossible for the PL to dismantle its media.

James Debono, Maltatoday journalist, noted that while “progressive issues” might be relative from one country to another one should not compromise on human rights, in particular to the subject of immigration and state welfare.

He also added that the State should not use the Welfare state as a way to punish people but rather to help the most vulnerable.

The two foreign guests agreed that with the change of the US president, progressive ideas would be able move forward.

However, they warned that even though the Left-movement have been given a good momentum, it is still lacking to get its arguments across to the people and unless this is done, very little change can ever happen.

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

Il-KullĦadd: Il-Moviment tal-Progressivi u l-Moderati biss jista’ jgib il-bidla ghall-ahjar - Joseph Muscat

27.9.9 mill-KULLHADD TEAM

[Parti mill-aritklu]
Pajjizna tilef hafna zmien u issa wasal iz-zmien ta’ qabza ‘l quddiem. “Wasal iz-zmien fejn pajjizna jrid jaghmel il-glieda kontra l-medjokrità politika, ambjentali, estetika u ekonomika”, tenna Joseph Muscat. Il-Mexxej Laburista semma kif il-Moviment tal-Progressivi u l-Moderati huwa kontra d-diskriminazzjoni tal-omosesswali. “Ahna favur d-drittijiet tal-omoseswali biex titnehha d-diskriminazzjoni. Bl-istess mod dwar id-divorzju, l-ghazla ser tkun cara. Il-Moviment Progressiv huwa favur l-introduzzjoni tad-divorjzu”, sahaq Joseph Muscat.

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