A new administration will take office very shortly. What are we to expect from it? After all the pre-election freebies and campaign promises on increased spending, much of which carries more political benefit than rational economic gain, it is vital that whoever leads the country after March 26 adopts a forward-looking mindset. The new administration needs to put an end to any further political expediency which has propagated a growing immediate-redemption mentality among the electorate.
While the country needs to elect a government on the basis of its performance and long-term vision, the stark reality is that many voters will continue to favour the short-term benefits that they are likely to receive.
With the risk of sounding like a utopic vision, we need to put an end to the long-established social order adopted by varied elements of our political class, steeped in the promotion of clientelism and in appointing people based on political patronage.
As difficult as this may sound, this needs to change. Making a difference requires rising well above tribal party politics and instead doing what is good for the country.
Furthermore, the credibility of politicians has, broadly speaking, been somewhat tainted over the years following repeated instances of poor governance and low standards, apart from various instances of wrongdoing, scandal and even corruption among a number of them. Such politicians have a responsibility to carry and, even more, an obligation to regain the trust of many level-headed members of the electorate.
Beyond all this, the long-promised new way of doing politics, based on fairness, transparency and built on meritocracy, sadly remains a pipe dream. This is clearly unacceptable. Fundamental change is needed and it must be addressed as a matter of priority.
Irrespective of one’s ideological or political convictions, following e-day, we need to swiftly redirect ourselves towards a reality check, if not an outright sobriety test to ensure we are walking a straight line, fully focused and back on track to tackle the real issues that matter.
In visualising our expectations and seeking to better understand what lies ahead, we do not need a crystal ball to predict our future. What we, however, need is a vision, a vision that prioritises our ambitions as a nation and that can turn our vision into reality because, when we visualise, we already partially materialise our ambitions and better manage our expectations.
We need to reconsider our prejudices and shift our political divide from a ‘this way’ or ‘that way’ frame of mind to more possibilities of merging two perspectives or realities into new possibilities for the benefit of the nation as a whole.
We need to move away from uncompromising, black or white rote thinking which is neither plausible, practical nor effective in leading us forward.
We certainly will continue to have different political preferences. Nonetheless, we should, hopefully, be able to broadly agree on the direction we need to pursue as a nation.
As we continue to deal with the far-reaching spillover effect of the pandemic and as geopolitical conflicts unfold, with all the repercussions, Malta, now more than ever, needs strong policymakers. Policymakers that have the visionary capabilities of setting the country’s direction, establishing the priorities and putting in place the right policies.
Many politicians still gauge their level of success on the amount of money spent and not necessarily on the results attained- Norman Aquilina
More than promises and plans, we need policies, and even more importantly, results, more so given that many politicians still gauge their level of success on the amount of money spent and not necessarily on the results attained, as indeed it should be.
Irrespective of the administration elected to office, we need to move on, setting aside as much of our differences as possible, focusing on a rethink and realignment of priorities and ways of working, building a truly national strategic agenda.
This should be targeted towards rebuilding our reputational value and levels of governance, consolidating our competitiveness while addressing the slide in a number of sectors, ensuring our public finances are kept in order, staying on track with our sustainability goals and maintaining our social advancement.
Moving forward, we need a government that genuinely reaches out and promotes public consultation. Indeed, our collective responsibilities do not end with casting our votes at the ballot box, otherwise we would limit or even risk surrendering our entire national fabric.
Despite the guardrails of democratic checks and balances of a fully fledged civil society, we need to ensure ongoing participation in the formulation of any policies, legislation under consideration and any matters of public interest, both as individual citizens in our own right and through representative organisations, reflecting the thoughts from all walks of society and interests from all the varied sectors.
Realistically, we may certainly not have great expectations, with many understandably disillusioned with the likely outcome of the electorate’s verdict. However, we need to move on and focus on delivering a better present and future.
If we truly want to further pursue that desired ongoing prosperity, we not only need to ensure we maintain a sound economic performance, pursue further improvements in our social well-being and, even more so, with respect to the environment but also make sure that this is matched by a long-term, all-encompassing and cohesive vision.
This is the way not only to ensure that we, as a nation, build on our attributes and develop our true potential, while addressing our shortcomings, but also that we stay on track to deliver the desired results by synergising our nationwide resources and putting in motion a collective effort for the common good.