Europe, together with the rest of the world, is still digesting what happened during this weekend. It’s been dubbed as the “most important EU vote” to date, and with good reason – the changes that we’re all witnessing are undoubtedly both wide-ranging and of an abiding impact.
There are many people out there who dissociate themselves from ‘politics’ – I used to be one of them until I realised that we are all part of the process and that through eNGOs, lobby groups and other institutions we could very well steer policymakers into different courses of action.
At an even more micro-level, in a functioning democracy we’re all into politics, even those exercising their right NOT to vote. Notwithstanding the #thistimeimvoting campaign, locally we’ve seen a spike in the uncollected votes, and an even lower turnout than usual. Therefore this growing rate of disengaged citizens is something that politicians need to start taking seriously.
Following the results of last Saturday’s vote, and the inevitable numerous analysis, a couple of reactions struck a chord:
My background is in agriculture, therefore it’s only natural that most of the comparisons in my mind revolve around this striving industry. We often hear that local farmers have a tendency to work in a segregated manner, that the lack of a collaborative approach is what has been holding back the sector for years on end. It doesn’t bode well to find that the top people who are aspiring to be representatives of society are also victims of this obsolete mentality. It seems that lack of collaboration is well ingrained in our roots.
“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” – Reid Hoffman
Conversely, the outwardly collaborative and inclusive strategy, together with an unrivalled positive marketing campaign, is what took the PL to its umpteenth glorious victory. And a deserved one at that. The sooner political parties and individuals understand this, the sooner we might be able to see the resurgence of a credible ‘green’ choice to challenge the status quo.
We’ve also seen some firsts this time round when it comes to agriculture. It was truly refreshing to see that the farming community gained some meaningful attention thanks to Peter Agius’s campaign.
This was the first time in 15 years that we’ve witnessed an MEP candidate campaigning mostly on agri-related issues. Ironically more than 25% of the EU budget is dedicated to the CAP, yet locally we still have politicians and heads of departments claiming that agriculture in Malta is an insignificant sector.
My hope is that the newly-elected MEPs will start getting more involved in farming issues as from the onset of their term as opposed to turning to the community just a few months before the elections. This is not just for the benefit of the agricultural sector – as we’ve been waging all along, we need people to realise that farming is as much about our environment and health as it is about the food we produce.
Cover photo – Terraced fields under the bastions of Mdina.
Photo credit – Chiara Dalla Fontana (Merill Rural Network).