Għadu kemm sar referendum fid-Danimarka dwar jekk dan il-pajjiż hux lest li jieħu sehem fil-ftehim li bih il-pajjiżi membri tal-Unjoni Ewropea jikkollaboraw mill-qrib fuq materji ta’ ġustizzja u sigurtà. Id-Daniżi ivvotaw kontra.

F’April li ġej, fl-Olanda se jsir referendum dwar jekk il-gvern għandux jirratifika il-ftehim ta’ assoċjazzjoni bejn l-Unjoni Ewropea u l-Ukrajna. Il-biża’ hu li l-vot se jkun negattiv.

Ftit wara se jsir referendum fir-Renju Unit, hekk kif dan itemm negozjati mal-Unjoni Ewropea biex jibdel il-kondizzjonijiet li taħthom hu msieħeb fl-Unjoni. L-Ingliżi se jintalbu jiddeċiedu jridux jibqgħu fiha jew le.

Personalment kont kontra r-referenda meta r-riżultati tagħhom kienu jmorru favur aktar għaqda Ewropea u nibqa’ kontrihom illum, li r-riżultati qed ixaqilbu kontra.

F’demokrazija parlamentari, l-għażliet tal-poplu huma espressi per mezz tar-rappreżentanti tagħhom, magħżula minnhom. Meta f’nofs dis-sistema, iddaħħal proċedura li biha d-deċiżjonijiet jistgħu jittieħdu b’referendum, tkun qed tiftaħ skop sħiħ għal manipulazzjoni enormi tal-fehma pubblika.

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Xbieha u Disinn

Fil-politika, fin-negozju, fl-arti u l-kultura, fil-ħidma governattiva, ix-xbieha — l-“image” biex ngħiduha bl-Ingliż — saret tiddomina kollox.

L-“ippakkettjar” ta’ prodott, servizz, ħidma, ħolqien artistiku, semmi li trid, u kif jitwassal liċ-ċittadin, saru indipendenti mill-kontenut u jieħdu ħajja għalihom. Sirna niġġudikaw il-kontenut fuq kif ikun immodellat u pproġettat.

Ħaġa tajba? Ħażina?

Hemm min isostni li minn dejjem hekk kien jiġri.

Jipponta lejn il-liturġija reliġjuża jew lejn il-pompa tas-slaten biex juri kif ix-xbieha u d-disinn dejjem kienu fil-qalba ta’ kif taffaxxina, tattira, timpressjona… jew tinganna.

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Bidliet kostituzzjonali

Reġa’ qam diskors dwar il-ħtieġa ta’ riforma radikali fil-kostituzzjoni. Għedtha kemm-il darba u nerġa’ ngħidha.

Ftit nara l-ħtieġa għal dan.

Ħaġa ovvja li jista’ jkun hemm ċerti bidliet, ftit jew wisq ta’ natura minuri li jistgħu jsiru, fuq kollox biex ineħħu punti li saru anakroniċi. Imma lil hinn minn dan, ma narax li l-Kostituzzjoni qed tħallina bin-nieqes.

Hu pjuttost bil-maqlub — li matul is-snin ma ġietx ittrattata bir-rispett li jixiriqilha għax il-proċeduri ta’ tmexxija li tissettja tħaddmu b’rieda ħażina.

Hemm ħafna raġunijiet għaliex dan ġara, imma fost l-aktar importanti, u qed nirrepeti ruħi anki hawn, hemm il-fattur taċ-ċokon tagħna, ta’ soċjetà fejn kulħadd jaf lil kulħadd. Minħabba f’hekk, it-tentazzjoni qawwija dejjem tkun li tissuspetta li l-oħrajn qed jaġixxu mhux b’ġenwinità imma b’sens doppju. U allura tħaddem ir-regoli li jiggwidaw l-imġiba bejnek u l-oħrajn — bħal dawk tal-Kostituzzjoni — mhux bi trasparenza, imma f’logħba doppja.

Ħaġa bħal din tibqa’ tiġri tkun xi tkun il-kostituzzjoni.

English Version – Referenda

A referendum has just been held in Denmark over whether the country should take part in the agreement by which EU memberstates collaborate closely on justice and security issues.

Next April, a referendum is being held in Holland regarding whether the country should ratify the agreement of association between the EU and the Ukraine. The fear is of a negative outcome.

Soon after, a referendum is being held in the UK, once it has finalised negotiations with the EU to change the conditions of its membership in the Union. The British people will be asked to decide whether to stay in the Union or not.

Personally, I was against referenda when they delivered results that favoured greater union in Europe and still am of the same opinion now that the results are going in the opposite direction.

In a parliamentary democracy, the decisions taken by people are expressed through representatives they have chosen. When into this system a procedure is injected by which decisions are taken via referenda, a wide margin is opened for an enormous manipulation of public opinion.

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Image and design

In politics, business, arts and culture, in public management, image dominates.

The packaging of products, services, work, artistic creation, no matter what, as well as how such packaging is delivered to consumers, have become independent of content and taken on a life of their own. We have come to judge content in terms of how it is modelled and projected.

Is this good? bad?

Some insist that it has always been like so.

They point to religious liturgy or the pomp and circumstance of royalty to demonstrate how image and design have always been at the heart of methods by which to fascinate, attract, impress… or deceive.

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Constitutional changes

Once again we’re getting told that the Constitution needs radical reform. I said it a number of times and will repeat it.

The Constitution does not need radical change.

It is obvious that some amendments, mostly minor in nature, could be implemented, above all to remove certain anachronic references. But beyond this I fail to see how the Constitution is shortchanging us.

Rather, the contrary is happening: over the years, the Constitution was not treated with the respect due to it because the procedures it sets to manage national affairs were deployed with bad faith.

Many reasons account for why this happened, but among the most important — and I am again repeating myself here — there is the factor of our small size, of a society where everybody knows everybody else. As a result, the temptation is great always to suspect that others are not being genuine in their decision making but are playing a dubious game. And so the rules which should guide interpersonal and interinstituitonal behaviour, such as those laid out in the Constitution — are not followed in a transparent manner but via double takes.

This will go on happening, no matter what format the Constitution assumes.