As the sounds of the petards start to fade, giving the saints and the several Madonnas adorning and allegedly protecting our towns and villages a well-deserved break after the havoc, the bickering, the excessive consumption of alcohol and the fierce competition, all for the glory of heaven during a long dragging summer, as the bells cease to ring at ungodly hours on Sunday mornings, the MEP hopefuls, start to slowly but surely shift to part two of the electoral campaign, with their number increasing gradually until the line-up is complete.
I shall be keeping a watchful eye on their movements, on the words they speak and write and on their general behaviour. I will try not to bore you with technicalities as I understand that in this time and age reading has become a luxury, on the other hand I feel the need to get to know as much as we can about those that are vying to fill the six coveted places in the oracle of oracles also known as the European Parliament. Our ultimate intention is to enable the average voter see a clearer picture of what is at stake and who is better suited for work in the European capital of bureaucracy before casting their precious vote.
So brace yourselves for a good nine months of lobbying from the candidates and blogging from practically anyone with a smart phone. There will be speeches to listen to and to keep you company on cosy Sunday mornings, on One or NET TV, and maybe even on Smash and Xejk if Zaren tal-Ajkla and Norman Lowell manage to buy air time, that, unless you want to walk to the local Kazin and experience the whole thing live while savouring the local bigilla and bebbux washed down with lukewarm Hopleaf whilst shoulder jostling to get a glimpse of your Leader or Kap, depending on your political inclination. You have to be ready to get flooded by constant posts on Facebook, tweets and Instagram pictures. I can guarantee that you will even be targeted for the occasional survey, commissioned by “independent” entities, moreover, stay on the lookout whilst walking along Republic Street as you might end up featured on the local news answering questions for a vox pop.
This might become tiring after a few weeks for the majority of us, but there is a sizeable section of the electorate that actually looks forward to occasions like these, the coffee mornings, the tea parties, the get togethers, house gatherings, the freebies and comparing the catering in the different occasions organized by the various candidates.
It would be incorrect to say that all these gatherings are fickle and candidates do use them to gauge the feeling of the people, to listen to their worries and to formulate their electoral program. Campaigning is an integral part of elections, on every level and the European Parliament Elections is the pinnacle of these. Which leads us to campaign spending. This is a matter where all candidates, most particularly those already in office use the most imaginative of excuses to get away with. The declarations are downright ridiculous and the electoral commission would be better off by getting rid of them instead of letting the candidates insult our intelligence.
I am a positive person by nature and I hope that this campaign will offer us something new, fresh ideas, priorities that really matter to the electorate, the modern system of elections which emerged in the late 17th century in Europe and North America was designed purposely to ensure that governments represented individual human beings rather than estates, corporations, or vested interest groups. The man in the street should be the fulcrum of every action, every step taken by those who aim to represent us.
Every country needs leaders, leaders bring with them hope of a better future, the onus to choose those who can represent and lead us best is on us, and maybe it would not be such a bad idea if we really did some window shopping before deciding this time around. Politicians and aspiring ones have easy access to our lives nowadays, but this works both ways. We should not just sit back, we should ask the question we need answered, we should challenge positively those who ask us for our vote and not just vote for the candidate with the best open bar activity.