Recently I watched once more Krzysztof Kies´lowski’s cinematic trilogy: Blue (1993), White (1994) and Red (1994). He had planned this trilogy as his final films, hoping to spend the rest of his life “reading and smoking”, but two years later he succumbed to open-heart surgery at the age of 54.

The titles of the trilogy are taken from the three fundamental principles on which the French Republic is built: liberty (in blue), equality (in white) and fraternity (in red). The politically eminent titles are not reflected in the films’ mainly personal content, though some commentators read a political sub-text, particularly in White, for Kieslowski’s Poland political situation. The connection between the symbolic value of the colour/title and the film’s substance is very loose. Moreover Kieslowski cynically attributed this connection neither to aesthetics nor politics but to the presence of French investment looking for financial returns.

Malta also has its own tricolor: red, blue and green – which is purely political. As in Kieslowski’s case one sometimes notices a cynical loose connection. In this case it is between the values symbolically represented in the colours adopted by the parties and the political content they actually push forward. Publicly declared political content is sometimes a marketing tool more than a principled choice. This commentary is a strong rejection of this utilitarian and cynical trend.

Before the last general election, for example, Joseph Muscat shunned the use of the colour red, which symbolised core left-wing values. I remember the comment of Jérôme Vignon, a close confidant of the eminent Socialist Catholic politician Jacques Delors, former president of the European Com­mission. While driving around a Malta already well adorned with political bill­boards, Vignon looked flummoxed: “I thought there was a Labour Party contesting but there is no hint of red.”

I explained that the party was con­veniently buried so that the Moviment could Phoenix-like rise to electoral victory. Muscat explicitly said that the time for political parties and ideologies was over.

This mantra produced results.

At heart it was a neo-conservative position which had been adopted in the discourse of political parties associated with the left. Tony Blair fathered this child whom he preferred to name ‘Third Way’, conceived, he said, “by reality, not ideology, not by delusional thoughts based on how we want the world to be”.

Before the last general election, Joseph Muscat shunned the use of the colour red, which symbolised core left-wing values

But if politicians don’t harbour a dream that realistically pushes their parties to help people reach the upper echelons of the ladder of needs I discussed last week – accountability, transparency, ethical and cultural capital, environment – will they not risk the people’s imprisonment by the lower level needs, represented by the Roman dictators’ predilection for panem et circenses (bread and games)?

By doing so, these politicians will risk the ‘normalisation’ of a worse dehumanising perversion that considers the ‘higher’ needs as if they are at the service of the lower needs.

Arthur Miller, in his play Death of a Salesman (1949), articulately shows us the danger to the human spirit whenever money is deified, when economic standards are used as if they are moral and aesthetic ones.

The play presents money as the only realistic (to use Blair’s words) solution to all problems. Happiness is one with economic success. Money is equated with freedom, and eventually with self-worth. Within this so-called realistic view of politics, the economy is not determined by morality, but morality is determined by the economy.

This type of mentality gave rise to myriad pre-electoral backroom deals which helped the Moviment achieve elec­toral victory but is now spawning a con­tinuous string of scandals that is strangling this government and the country. The Panama Papers mega-scandal is just the rancid cherry on a mouldy cake.

A Moviment based on self-servicing deals cannot but be ephemeral, so much so that references to it are totally missing from the current discourse of those for whom it was the mantra of salvation before the election.

The good news is that there are many in the Labour Party who would like the party to rediscover its core traditional values. They have to work hard to re-establish the fraternity symbolised in Red as a value encompassing all the people instead of a bulwark for the alliance of politicians and ‘in-nies tal-flus’ (moneyed entrepreneurs) for whom government is a business. Only then can their party enjoy the liberty of Blue.

The Nationalist Party, in its bid to regain government, has to continue to shun the temptation of making short-term alliances to gain votes. It is true that politics is the art of the possible, that compromise is politics’ second nature, and that coalitions of common interests are the only way to succeed. These means can be adopted in a principled manner if inspired by the model that resulted in the building of the prin­cipled coalition that led to Malta’s accession to the European Union.

The diversity and organic unity of the rainbow is another model. The target should be the race for the top echelons of the ladder of needs while aiding the vulnerable and ‘weak’ to reach them as well.

Alternattiva have an advantage. Their weak­ness – there will never be an AD govern­ment – should be their strength. They are not tempted that speaking their mind will lose them an election. Blue’s liberty, that emanates from this realisation, will help them contribute validly for the sanity of the political environment.

Will there eventually be a touch of orange? Possibly, but not probably. I don’t believe there will be a local version of Donald Trump or Beppe Grillo.

I believe in an alliance of honest men and women who continue to militate under different colours but whose final loyalty will be to the liberty of Blue, the fraternity of Red and the equality of White. Theirs will not be structural alliance, as each will keep his or her party, but one based on a common spirit that will help them keep their colours loyal to their grassroots.

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