Matul dil-kampanja għall-elezzjoni fil-Parlament Ewropew u waqt dik tal-aħħar elezzjoni ġenerali kulħadd jgħidlek kif l-aqwa għodda biex wieħed iwassal il-messaġġ kemm bħala kandidat u kemm bħala partit hi dik tal-midja soċjali. Aktar u aktar meta l-kampanja tkun qed tinżamm fuq skala nazzjonali.

Ir-riżultati sa issa wrew li min qed isostni dan qed jgħid tajjeb. Il-midja soċjali jagħtu aċċess dirett u personalizzat b’mod immedjat. Għal min jidħol fit-tmexxija sofistikata tiegħu, jipprovdi wkoll mezz kif tistruttura l-messaġġ skont il-persuni li qed tipprova tolqot. U hemm ħafna benefiċċji oħra fl-użu tiegħu.

Waqt li nirrikonoxxi dan kollu u aktar, xorta bqajt inħoss li l-aqwa għodda tikkonsisti f’laqgħa wiċċ imb’wiċċ bejn min qed jikkampanja u min se jivvota. Hu f’laqgħat hekk, bħal fi żjarat fid-djar, li wieħed jagħraf tassew kif iċ-ċittadini qed jgħixu ħajjithom ta’ kuljum.

Biss kif issib min jgħidlek: Hu impossibbli li żżur lill-votanti kollha f’darhom – allura kif se tagħżel għand min tmur? U: Sar diffiċli ħafna li ssib ħin wieħed matul il-ġurnata li matulu għandek ċans kbir li n-nies ikunu f’darhom.

***

PENSJONANTI

Pensjonanti li ltqajt magħhom jirrikonoxxu minnufih li l-gvern preżenti kien l-ewwel wieħed li ra kif jagħmel biex iżidilhom il-pensjoni. U li daħħal miżuri oħra maħsuba biex ikunu ta’ għajnuna finanzjarja għalihom. Ifaħħru lill-gvern dwar hekk.

Imma wkoll – speċjalment fost dawk b’pensjoni baxxa – tisma’ kif iħossuhom mhux imħarsa biżżejjed mill-pressjoni tal-għoli tal-ħajja, mhux l-anqas fuq prodotti meħtieġa fil-ħajja ta’ kuljum. Jixtiequ aktar għajnuna u qed jistennew li titwettaq il-wegħda tal-gvern li se jagħtiha.

Stajt nifhem dejjem aħjar l-ansjetà tagħhom wara li tkellimt ma’ anzjan li waqqafni fit-triq. Il-pensjoni tiegħu tlaħħaq xi 650 ewro fix-xahar u skont hu, minkejja t-titjib tal-aħħar żminijiet, mhux l-ewwel darba li ma wassalhiex sal-aħħar tax-xahar.

***

JUM IL-ĦADDIEM

Dis-sena, Jum il-Ħaddiem inqabad fil-mewġa ta’ kampanja politika u ma setax jonqos li ċ-ċelebrazzjonijiet jirriflettu l-messaġġi tal-kampanja. Sadattant, qamet kontroversja dwar jekk il-Partit Laburista hux soċjalista jew le: min-naħa tal-avversarji tiegħu, min jikkritikah għax “reġa’ sar” soċjalista, u min jikkritikah għax m’għadux soċjalista.

Dawn il-kuntradizzjonijiet huma parti mill-mod kif il-lemin f’Malta qiegħed ifisser il-politika tiegħu. Fil-verità tal-Labour kienu u għadhom soċjalisti. Li ġara hu li addattaw il-messaġġ tagħhom skont il-ħteġiet li s-suq hekk imsejjaħ ħieles jitmexxa, fiċ-ċirkostanzi tal-lum, b’ċertu mod: wieħed li jippermetti l-ħolqien qawwi tal-ġid u t-tqassim tiegħu b’ekwità fost l-oqsma differenti tal-poplu. Terġa’, f’Malta dan qed isir f’qafas fejn il-libertajiet u d-drittijiet personali baqgħu jinfirxu.

English Version – Social Media

During this campaign for elections to the European Parliament, as well as during that for the last general elections, the general view has been that the best tool with which to get messages across, both for candidates and for political parties, was supplied by the social media. This is especially so if a campaign is being run on national lines.

As of now, results show that those who hold such a view are correct. Social media give a direct, immediate and personalised access to voters. To those who go for a sophisticated approach to its management, it also provides a method for the structuring of messages according to the type of person one is trying to reach. Other benefits accrue from its use.

While recognizing all these points and more, I still continue to believe that the most effective tool remains the face to face contact between candidates and voters. It is during such meetings, like during house visits, that one gets to know truly how citizens live their daily lives.

Still, people will tell you quite rightly: It is impossible to carry out house visits that cover all voters – so how do you choose where to go? And: It has become quite difficult to find visiting times during a given day during which you stand a good chance to find most people at home.

***

Pensioners

I met pensioners who were quick to appreciate how the present government was the first to take care to increase their pension. And that it also introduced further measures meant to help them financially. They praised the government for this.

But also – especially among pensioners in the lower brackets – one gets comments about how they do not feel sufficiently protected against inflationary pressures, not least for products that they require on a day to day basis. They hope for more assistance and await the government to implement promises made in this regard.

I could understand their concern better after having spoken to an old man who introduced himself while out walking. His pension comes close to 650 euros a month and according to his account, despite the recent improvements, more than once he found he could not stretch it over a whole month.

***

May Day

This year May Day got caught in the wash of campaign politics. Inevitably celebrations reflected the drift of campaign messages. Meanwhile a controversy erupted about whether the Labour Party is socialist or not. On the one hand, its adversaries claimed that the LP had “again become” socialist, and in the same breath came their criticism that it was no longer socialist.

Such contradictions have become typical of the way by which the right in Malta articulates its policies. In fact, Labour approaches were and remain socialist in scope. Only, what has happened is that the Labour message has been adapted to cover today’s requirements in today’s situation: the so-called free market needs to be managed in a manner that allows the fast creation of wealth, followed by its fair distribution among the different sections of the people. In addition, in Malta this is being done in a framework designed to promote a widening of personal freedoms and liberties.