“Grech obtains the worst results,” was Labour TV ONE’s headline after a recent survey put the Opposition Leader’s trust ratings at an all-time low of just over 18%.
A picture of a smiling, youthful Robert Abela was uploaded next to one of a sour-faced Bernard Grech. “The trust in Robert Abela is strong,” ONE bragged.
There is no denying the surveys paint a depressing picture both for the opposition and its leader. But ONE’s concocted delight in the opposition’s misery and its manipulative narrative is intended to hide from its readers the truly sobering message for Labour.
Out of those who voted Labour just six months ago, 17.2% wouldn’t vote Labour today. Close to 8% would not vote, 8.6% don’t know who they would vote for, and a smaller proportion would vote for ADPD.
Almost one in five of those who voted Labour in March wouldn’t vote for Labour again. Labour is shedding voters by the busload.
But there’s more depressing news for Labour. Among the youngest voters, aged 16 to 35, only 28% would vote Labour if an election were held tomorrow.
True, even fewer would vote for PN – a miserable 7.3%. But the support for ADPD in that age bracket is an unprecedented 8.3%.
Despite Labour’s swagger, the country’s youngest voters are sending a clear message. They are fed up with the current state of affairs. They want a new beginning.
While Labour may find solace in the even more catastrophic showing of its rivals, they must surely have felt that cold shiver running down their spine. 28% support is abysmal. They must know that things are about to change for them – and fast.
Labour attempts to bury its own bad news by broadcasting the worse news of its rivals. ‘They’re worse off than us’ is Labour’s rallying cry.
Labour’s strategy is to inflict a pervasive pessimism onto that significant majority of the population that does not support Labour. Despite Labour’s bluff, despite its arrogant sense of entitlement, only 39% of the population supports Labour.
Labour’s biggest fear is that 61% of Maltese voters who don’t support it might unite for a common purpose and punish Labour for its unrelenting abuse of power and betrayal of the people’s trust. And Labour is expending all its energy to discredit and demolish any potential adversary.
And its strategy has worked, until now. That pessimism that Labour administers in gay abandon has seeped into the national psyche.
There is a general feeling of doom that this is what the country is, and there is nothing that can be done to change it. That pessimism is what blocks solutions.
It infects citizens with draining helplessness and hopelessness that guarantees not only stagnation but also regression. Each new scandal, each worse than the previous, is just met with a shrug.
That pessimism enables Labour to dominate, despite its low trust ratings among the whole population and particularly abysmal support among the young.
Labour’s well-funded and highly organised propaganda has convinced people that Labour is unassailable, that there is no point opposing it, and that Labour will stay in power. Many have swallowed Labour’s lies that there is no possibility of real change.
Labour’s managed to convince many that corruption is part of life and cannot be eradicated. If Labour succeeds in its strategy of pessimism, that would be its biggest triumph – because pessimism robs us of the energy to push back and resist and drives us into apathy and disinterest.
It makes everybody give up. And that is precisely what Labour wants.
There is only one genuinely formidable weapon against Labour’s attempt to spread despondency – and that is optimism. Dr Hannah Ritchie wrote an eye-opening article in The Big Think titled, ‘An end to doomerism’. She eloquently elucidated why optimism is the answer.
Optimism, she argues, is about seeing problems as challenges that can be solved and knowing there is a lot that can be done to make a difference. Optimism is hope and confidence about the future, an impatient demand that spurs action.
Progress is possible. There are alternatives to Labour’s stinking sleaze. Institutionalised corruption needn’t be a given.
We can solve this problem that is Labour, and we will. We’ve lived through bleaker times.
We’ve touched desperation. But it didn’t break us. It fuelled our lust for change, transformation, revival and success.
Would anybody have thought that the destitute depressing island with third-world infrastructure that was Mintoff’s Malta could be transformed into a prosperous EU member state within 17 years?
Could anybody have imagined that a hell hole of a country without even a reliable water and energy supply would achieve a standard of living comparable to Western European countries?
Even in the darkest days, when anti-government protesters were met with tear gas, baton rounds and live ammunition for daring to exercise their right to freedom of association, we knew it wouldn’t last.
Even when Labour thugs sprayed machine gun fire at opposition party clubs, killing an innocent supporter, there was still hope.
Even when the police framed another innocent man for the murder of that young supporter, optimism survived.
Even when everything we detested – fanaticism, intimidation, violence, humorlessness, philistinism and coarseness – went against everything we loved – respect, politeness, decency, freedom and irreverence – our spirit wasn’t extinguished.
Optimism survives. Most of our life is past. But we have children – and a future worth fighting for. We are not doomed.
We are not pessimists. The country is slowly waking up. It is now dawning on an ever more significant part of our population that things could, should and will be so much better. There is life after Labour. And it’s coming – soon.