I know people – representatives of candidates and parties – who will explain to you how they will never give up the days they spend in the hall where election votes are counted. They enjoy the excitement, the tension, the surprises, even it seems the fatigue that grips them as they wait for the publication of results or keep checking that votes are being counted properly. They insist that if they are not present, many mistakes could happen, or perhaps malignant vote transfers.

You can note how behind the perspex that separates them from the representatives of candidates and parties, the vote counters are working under great tension. Is this for the better or the worse?

Personally, I always thought that the long hours spent by so many people locked up in the counting hall is a waste of time. There were occasions when the tension could have reached dangerous highs. If we could skip this drawn out excitement, there would be an all-round gain.

Which is why I hope the Electoral Commission will succeed to honour its commitment that come the next election, the vote counting will be carried out electronically in quick time.


When economies are doing well

The election result once again showed how spot on was Bill Clinton’s dictum that “it’s the economy stupid”. Both for good and for bad.

It was a cardinal error for the PN to ignore almost completely the effects of economic growth on the electorate’s state of mind. With a consistently negative message, the party gave rise to the fear it would be prepared to undermine the improvements that had occurred. Perhaps they would have done better to keep emphasizing on and on their project to build a metro system for the island. But over the weeks, thankfully, even this proposal was shunted aside.

On the Labour side, the projection of the economic argument was excellent. It remindedme of what used to be said about Harold Macmillan, the Conservative British Prime Minister of the fifties decade in the twentieth century. His government was presiding over a majorimprovementinworkers’ living standards. “You never had it so good”: that was the mantra by which he consolidated and won millions of votes.


Security and defence

Within the EU, the debate is rolling forward regarding a new common policy on security and defence. Some are considering this as a wayby which to give the necessary momentum to the Union after the reverses it suffered with Donald Trump’s election to the White House and Brexit.

I remain unconvinced it is a correct view. A new front is being opened for which a policy is being defined with insiders and outsiders. Or alternatively, in order to bring everybody into the tent, the chances are that a policy will be established which would end up meaning everything to everybody. Meanwhile, there would be an absence of viable policy tools to ensure that what is being decided according to principles set out by the policy is really being implemented.

However there is nobody… or too few… with the view, as of now, that what the European Union needs most to do is first and foremost to consolidate rather than widen its reach.

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