The writing was on the wall (and in my previous blog posts). The result isn’t surprising at all to me and no, it isn’t only because a % of the population have been bought.
I believe there were many factors at play here and that they were apparent for all to see. Of course, for me, they weren’t enough because, as I wrote previously, good governance is the sine qua non of any democracy and for me, this is what was at stake here.
But clearly, this wasn’t the case for all voters. So let’s dissect the possible reasons behind voters choosing to vote Labour, in no particular order:
- They didn’t believe corruption was really around.
Yup, I saw so many posts doing the rounds about the fact that there is nothing untoward about two ministers (ok 1 actual minister and 1 chief-of-staff) and, possibly, a prime minister’s wife having secret accounts in Panama, after all, they had no money in the account, no?… or something to that effect and more. And these were genuine posts, people who truly believed this, which brings me to the next point.
- We are living in the age of spin.
This is the glorious age of spin, where Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Donald Trump, totally invents a massacre and when questioned on it refers to is as an ‘alternative fact’. We even have a name for this – post-truth. Yes, that which postmodernity warned about so many decades ago has actually come true. Nothing is real and everything is real. We are unable to discern which is which. A reputable media house is no longer looked at as an authentic source of news. The post I put up on Facebook, Twitter or the latest kid on the block is just as valid, just as true. How is an electorate which has never been encouraged to think critically supposed to be able to truly sift between that which is and that which isn’t?
- They were bought (with a job, promotion etc).
Yes, there probably were a significant number of people who were (although what people actually do in that voting booth, only they know). But let’s be real here, every single administration has done this. Although, of course, one can debate on the scale of one versus the other, (and ultimately, of course, it’s wrong no matter who does it and by how much), there’s no one holy enough to point fingers and the electorate knows this.
- The Nationalist party had its own significant baggage.
This is a biggie. A party which governed for close to 25 years uninterrupted, which had scandals of its own to handle, which suffered a tremendous defeat just 4 years ago. Certainly, 4 years is a VERY short time to convince the electorate that it has changed, especially when a sudden election is called, one year early. Couple this with the style of the new leader who opts for a softer approach, a style which has so far, I believe, been untested locally.
- They felt that the Labour party had delivered.
And here, on certain aspects, the electorate are right of course, especially when it comes to civil rights.
Of course, if like me, you believed that corruption was actually present at the highest levels, none of the above 4 points (excluding the first) really matter because at the end of the day, without good governance one has nothing.
But back to the electorate then. How can I be disappointed in them (not the result) when all these factors (and I’m sure others I’m not considering) came into play?
No, it’s not with the electorate that one should be mad. As I said previously, it’s with a system that has allowed us to get to this stage (and I’m talking worldwide here). In an age which sees Trump elected in the USA and Britain voting out of the EU, nothing surprises me anymore.
Too long have we idealised capitalism for all the wealth it brings us, for the seemingly comfortable existence it allows us to lead.
We fail to realise that this is a hollow existence, where values are consistently eroded, where the weak are preyed upon as the rich get more and more powerful. Where half the world lives in abject poverty while we revel in the latest ‘cheap’ pair of jeans we bought.
How right Baudrillard was all those years ago when he said our temples would become shopping malls. Yes, they have. To the detriment of humanity.
So no, I’m not disappointed with the electorate, but I’m mighty mad with the world.
7 thoughts on “Why I’m not disappointed with the electorate”
Very valid points ma’am… however, I am not surprised. The amount DID surprise me, however, it must be said that Joseph Muscat caught everyone with their pants down. It was clear (to me, at least), that a plan was afoot to hit hard and fast.
And let’s be honest here. If his promises can be kept and maintained, I see no reason for the population to change views. As a factory worker told me ‘I have free school transport for both my kids, free childcare centres, an increase in wages and rebate in taxes, lower electricity consumption bills… these will leave me with nearly 2000 euros in pocket.’
How can you argue with that? By pointing out that some people have accounts abroad? ‘Show me somebody who hasn’t will you? At least I stand to gain something. And that is good, even if it is for my dignity.’
I don’t blame her. The last PN administration was atrocious, and how they even won is beyond me.
Eventually, I think that voting falls within 2 levels. The sheep who will vote red/blue come what may, and the floaters who (rightly) claim that as long as they are living comfortably, then who cares if some money is going the ministers’ way?
Daily life is a struggle. Having it easier is not something to dismiss. As a 52 year old with children in University, I stand to gain absolutely nothing if not a couple of hundred euros tax rebate. PN would give me far less than that.
So when push comes to shove, it is easy to see how the electorate will respond.
Well written blog. :-)
Thanks for your thoughts, Chris.
I of course disagree thoroughly with the reasoning of the person/s you are quoting. Quite apart from the ethical and moral issue at hand, it is very short-sighted reasoning. Corruption in the long run will mean that the decisions taken will not be in the interest of the country and its people but of whose pockets the handouts will end up. This could mean, among other things, that the suppliers chosen do not provide the best quality service and most certainly not at the optimal price. So in the long run, the person/s you spoke to will actually be the ones who lose out.
I too have mixed feelings about it. Sustainability is the biggest problem I see. But you must agree that it is difficult to teach everyone the same standards of morality.
Oh yes Chris, of course, without a doubt.
Thanks for a well thought out blog post which I serendipitously came upon whilst commiserate this year’s electoral outcome. I share most if not all your views and furthermore see that governance fuelled by a capitalist mindset is mired by our inherent greed and corruption. It’s a system failure but essentially boils down to a failure intrinsic to human nature which in the post-truth era sinks to painstaking levels of selfishness, whereby truth is relative to my own gain.
Call me closed minded and unsecular but I have come to realize with a deep conviction that God, through Christ, is the only hope for the fallen, for us. The antidote for corruption is self-sacrifice and is indirectly proportional to the amount of power one wields; ‘then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Moral obligations don’t make sense anyone in the post-truth, post-modern era, only rights seem to dominate and take centre stage. That’s why a call to fight corruption will not lead the masses but get you crucified. However, it is better to be crucified then an accomplice to the corrupt since in the end hope is not a conviction that things turn out alright but that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.
Peace be with you and thanks for your thought-provoking blog post.
Thanks George for your thoughts and provocative insights. I agree, we are living in a world which glorifies narcissism, each wo/man for her/his own. I do not share your faith, personally, while of course I fully respect your right to your belief. Furthermore, I think that even those who do not profess a faith can choose to not be selfish. It’s simply a matter of which metaphor works best for each individual. For you, it’s God, for me, it’s a need to give as much positive energy to the universe as I possibly can.