Yesterday saw one of the most awaited debates organised by students for students surrounding the snap General Election, which was recently thrown at the Maltese population due to alleged corruption in the Labour Government.
Despite the controversy surrounding the debate, and many hitches along the way, (one of which involved a very annoying change in day due to clashes with other events on the Prime Minister’s schedule) the Organising Committee elegantly carried out a debate which saw many questions asked in relation to students and their interests, whether they were answered efficiently by the party leaders is a totally different story.
Being sure to attend this debate from the second it was announced was a must. I wanted to attend the one debate which was going to make sure that the students’ questions are answered as fully as possible, this especially coming after the fact that the snap election was organised right in the first week of exams.
Questions were asked, many of which directed the party leaders of the Labour Party, Nationalist Party, Democratic Party, Ghaqda Patrijotti Maltin, and Alternattiva Demokratika to tackle important issues within the education system, as well as different sectors of the economy. Despite this, it felt like all present party leaders were more interested in attacking each other - with the topic of discussion mostly falling on corruption and the Panama saga.
Definitely, I am not saying that the current issues that led to the snap elections are not worth discussing, on the contrary. However, these leaders were brought to University for one reason: to let students know all about their plans for the Maltese Islands, especially ones which these youths will benefit from themselves.
Instead what do our politicians do? Point fingers, call each other names such as ‘ħmar’, thus further dividing the Maltese population. The Maltese Islands have already become a sad state due to the partisan politics that preach hatred for one another rather than work upon themselves to enrich the country. A political atmosphere that is more inclined to pointing fingers and saying ‘you did wrong’ rather than saying ‘I can do this for my citizens’. Moreover, it is a pure shame to see the appalling tactics where students are being thrown around in articles by the Labour Party’s media, one which just picks and chooses whichever points fit its agenda and pretty much ignores all the rest.
Where does this leave us? This leaves us in a state where friendships are being shattered. People are getting into fights. God forbid you’re out in the street holding one party’s banner and you meet someone from the opposing party. Sadly enough, the same (while contained as best as possible) was seen yesterda at Sir Temi Zammit Hall.
A variety of students have gone to Facebook and expressed disappointment at the crowd, which had been told not to engage in rowdy behaviour, and allow room for a civilised debate to take place. Unfortunately, this rule was not respected, and in fact, there were points where certain politicians were given standing ovations, loud cheers and claps, and random comments from individuals within the audience for instigating hate towards each other.
What many of these people seem to miss is the fact that at the end of the day, these politicians are hunting for votes. They do not look at you as a human being, they look at you as either a vote that can be won, or to the other extreme, a lost cause. This does not just make you useless for them but it also pushes your needs and wants further down on their agenda, or far worse making them non existent. Pin pointing on one instance, which was rather shocking to say the least, happened during the third section of the debate.
Here, students were picked at random from boxes which had papers with the names of attendees who wanted to ask a question. One of the people who got the chance to ask a question happened to be the son of a Labour Party candidate. To no surprise the question was directed at the Opposition’s leader. The student diligently asked Dr Busuttil how he was going to carry out the proposal which says that the Nationalist party in government will give 10,000 Euro to those who build a family in Gozo. To this, the student got a very arrogant reply where he was told to send the Opposition Leader’s regards to the student’s father - and that the student can read about the proposal when the manifesto is sent to him by post. Not only was this kind of answer not fit to be said by the person who is in the running to lead the country but it also shows that once you appear as a ‘lost vote’ to any politician, you are simply useless, therefore your opinion (and questions) means jack.
Truth of the matter is this, it is down to us to come to terms with the fact that these vote hunters are going to tell us everything and anything to secure that, we give them that blasted 1 on June 3rd, but it is up to us to make sure we evaluate our decision well. Make the choice that is best for our country, for our family and friends, and ultimately for ourselves. Give the vote to those you believe in, irrespective of which party they come from. Let us students be the change this country very well deserves, and needs.
Nicole Borg is a currently a 4th year student studying Communications and Theatre Studies. She joined Insite as a writer and editor in 2014/2015. Following she progressed to join the media team as Publications Officer in 2015/16. Currently she is the Executive Editor of Insite Malta for the term of 2016/17.