Sociologist, local councillor, activist, drummer from Malta

Monday, January 15, 2018

Should the PN have an ideology? Michael Briguglio

Appears as 'A Nationalist Ideology' in Times of Malta, 15 January 2018.

Roderick Pace (January 9) makes a very important case for the ideological direction of the Nationalist Party.
Pace says that the PN should not anchor itself into monolithic dogmas, but should instead promote Christian Democratic values such as the respect for human dignity, solidarity, subsidiarity and future generations. He also says that such values should be accompanied with evidence-based policymaking which can help respond to the changing society of our times.
Pace adds that in today’s secular societies there are both different value systems as well as overlapping commonalities. He adds that moral dilemmas should be resolved through pluralistic, democratic methods and people should be entitled to follow their personal moral codes “as long as they do not hurt others or undermine the common good”.
I personally agree with this perspective, and like Pace, I add that both Christianity and Catholicism themselves are subject to plural interpretations and orientations. Hence, I believe that while the PN should not shy away from its Catholic inspiration, it should do this within an ideological framework that respects diversity and the values referred to above, which I will elaborate upon.
Human dignity and solidarity should be seen within the context of an open and free society. Support should be given to plural family forms as well as to those who are living precarious lives. Rather than having such support being based on top-down impositions which can encourage welfare dependency, the State should encourage self-help and individual advancement. Education and training play key roles in this regard.
Subsidiarity is the principle through which matters ought to be handled by the smallest competent authority. Hence, for example, local councils should have proper authority over their respective localities, and the state should not usurp their power through excessive centralisation. On the other hand, decisions which are best left to the European Union, such as those with global or federal implications, should be decided upon accordingly.
Subsidiarity also holds that governments should only intervene when individuals, families, civil society or private groups cannot act independently. In short, this principle puts the autonomy and the dignity of the individual before the dominance of the State.
The PN should be the voice of the disenchanted, the precarious, those who want good governance
The protection of future generations can be carried out through the politics of responsibility. Here, policy making should not be based on short-term quick fixes and ill-advised instant gratification. It should be guided by concepts such as sustainability, dignity and the common good.
Other principles may be added to this list, for example the promotion of a social market economy. Here, economic competitiveness should be tied up with a social model that gives importance to decent employment and opportunities, rather than a cutthroat race to the bottom dictated by greed and precariousness.
A social market economy should look at individuals not simply as consumers with instant disposable needs, but also as citizens whose rights are accompanied by responsibilities towards present and future generations.
Such values and others may represent a tall order for the PN, but I believe that they also represent a window of opportunity in the party’s construction of a true alternative to the Labour Party.
Labour has introduced various positive reforms, but it is also emphasising promotion of endless construction at the expense of the common good, the selling of Malta’s national heritage and assets to dubious investors, the fiscal dependency on passport sales, and the expansion of the public sector through partisan patronage rather than real need: all within an economic bubble that is dictated by the electoral cycle and poisoned by corruption. Will this result in a generational malaise?
The PN should be the voice of the disenchanted, the precarious, those who want good governance, and those who feel that Muscat’s government represents a soulless State. It should reconcile workers who feel left out of Muscat’s bubble with middle class voters who may be enjoying a good quality of life but feel disenchanted with the Muscat model of governance.
The PN should also carry out an extensive sociological exercise to verify, gauge and investigate key concerns, identities and aspirations of our times. I will write about this in a future article.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Mozzjoni f’waqtha - Michael Briguglio

Il-Mument 14 ta' Jannar 2018

“Ghandu jkun hemm talba formali lill-Gvern sabiex sabiex jieħu l-art fiż-Żonqor lura mingħand Sadeen u jagħtih lura lill-Maltin”.  Dan kien il-messagg tal-kunsilliera tal-Partit Nazzjonalista fil-Kunsill Lokali ta’ Marsaskala, f’mozzjoni imressqa din il-gimgha.

Din il-mozzjoni takkumpanja mozzjoni imressqa mill-grupp Nazzjonalista fil-parlament ta’ Malta, u hi konformi ma’ dak li qed jitolbu ghaqdiet ambjentali bhall-Front Harsien ODZ, Din l-Art Helwa, Flimkien ghall-Ambjent Ahjar u r-Ramblers Association of Malta. Dan qed jitolbuh ukoll partiti ohrajn ta’ l-oppozizzjoni, gazzetti indipendenti u nies ta’ rieda tajba. Ta’ min infakkar li fl-2015 Malta rat l-ikbar dimostrazzjoni ambjentalista ta’ kull zmien, bl-iskop li z-Zonqor jigi protett.

Ilkoll nafu li minkejja l-pompa ta’ propaganda mill-Gvern Laburista u minkejja l-preferenzi li inghata Sadeen minn fuq dahar il-poplu Malti, l-American University of Malta falliet bil-kbir milli tilħaq il-miri tagħha u saħansitra ukoll naqset dawn il-miri bin-nofs. Nafu li l-Universita’ s’issa gabet biss 15-il student u qed tkecci bosta akkademici.

Nittama li l-Partit Laburista jisma l-ghajta popolari li tezisti sabiex iz-Zonqor jigi protett. Minflok ma jirreagixxi b’negattivita’, jista’ jkun pozittiv u jipprova jaghmel l-almu tieghu ghal kunsens nazzjonali. J’alla l-Universita’ taghmel success, izda sa dan it-tant m’ghandniex nissagirfikaw art daqshekk prezzjuza. Sa fejn naf jien is-success ta’ Universita’ jiddependi minn kriterji akkademici u sostenibbli, u mhux minn kemm hemm veduta tajba tal-bahar.

F’dan l-artiklu, pero’, nixtieq naghmel emfasi fuq ir-rwol tal-Kunsilliera fil-politika. Fil-kas taz-Zonqor, il-grupp ta’ kunsilliera Nazzjonalisti kien proattiv u pprezenta mozzjoni ghal-gid komuni. Nemmen li din il-prassi ghandha tigi addottata iktar frekwentament b’hidma kongunta ta’ kunsilliera Nazzjonalisti u ohrajn li jixtiequ jinghaqdu maghhom.

Jezistu bizibilju ta’ kwistjonijiet ta’ importanza kemm lokali kif ukoll nazzjonali fejn il-kunsilliera jistghu ikunu proattivi. U jekk dan jaghmel sens f’kunsilli fejn il-Partit Nazzjonalista ghandu minoranza ta’ siggijiet, ahseb wara kemm jaghmel iktar sens f’kunsilli fejn tezisti maggoranza Nazzjonalista.

Qed nitkellem mhux biss dwar kwistjonijiet ta’ kostruzzjoni u zvilupp, izda ukoll fuq kwistjonijiet ohra li jolqtu direttament lir-residenti. Dawn ivarjaw minn infurzar sa’ sigurta, minn devoluzzjoni ta’ art pubblika sa metodi ta’ finanzjament, u minn introduzzjoni ta’ bye-laws sa l-importanza ta’ politika ibbazata fuq evidenza, nghidu ahna permezz ta’ social impact assessments u community profiling.

Ghalhekk tajjeb li fil-hidma ghall-elezzjonijiet tal-kunsilli lokali tas-sena d-diehla, ikun hemm emfasi sabiex il-gruppi nazzjonalisti fil-kunsilli rispettivi jibnu fuq it-tajjeb li diga’ qed isir u fejn hemm bzonn  ikunu iktar proattivi permezz ta’ mozzjonijiet kongunti, hidma mas-socjeta’ civili u prezenza kontinwa fuq il-midja.

Il-Partit Nazzjonalista introduca il-kunsilli lokali 25 sena ilu. Jemmen fis-sussidjarjeta’ biex b’hekk ma jkunx hemm eccess ta’ poter f’idejn il-Gvern centrali u biex il-residenti ikollhom vuci akbar f’kwistjonijiet lokali. Ghall kuntrarju, il-Gvern Laburista qed ihott dan bil-mod il-mod u qed jiccentralizza l-poter f’idejn grupp zghir ta’ nies. Jehtieg li nergghu naghmlu l-kunsilli konformi ma’ l-iskop originali taghhom.