Elwyn Brooks White is probably best known as the author of children’s stories such as “Charlotte’s Web” and “Stuart Little”, but EB White was also a master essayist who despised despotism and stood up for democracy.
On July 3rd 1943, he published a piece in the New Yorker entitled “The Meaning of Democracy”.
“Democracy”, he wrote, “is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time”.
Nations calling themselves democracies are busy electing increasingly dangerous leaders.
Argentina just elected a far-right president notorious for prolific swearing and referred to as “El Loco” – the madman. The Netherlands made another far-right politician, Geert Wilders the party leader with most seats in parliament. Donald Trump is guaranteed the Republican nomination, leading Biden in key battleground states.
And here in Malta, another depressing survey shows that Labour remains ahead, and Robert Abela’s support remains practically undiminished.
The Malta Today headline read, “Labour strengthens lead”. The truth is that Labour enjoys 47.3% of the vote, with PN at 43.1%. That 4% lead is almost within the margin of error, quoted as 3.84%.
Those statistics hide that almost half of 2022 Labour voters (40%) would not vote Labour again if an election were held today. Only 70.6% of Labour voters trust their leader as prime minister, while just 37.5% of the population trust Abela. The overwhelming majority don’t.
Considering the catalogue of scandals, the level of incompetence, the sheer cronyism and the shocking arrogance Labour is responsible for, those results are truly unbelievable. After a decade of Labour’s deception, fraud and amateurism, you would expect them to be crushed at the polls. And while they are not soaring, what is behind the numbers?
A more detailed analysis of that Malta Today poll reveals the secret of Labour’s success.
Labour enjoys a massive lead amongst the least educated. Amongst those with a primary education, 54.7% would vote Labour. Just 23.9% in that group would vote PN. In stark contrast, amongst those with tertiary education, Labour enjoys the support of just 22.8%.
The PN is a full 10% ahead at 33%. The problem for the PN is that less than one-third of the population is educated to a tertiary level, and that proportion has just gone down.
But there’s an even bigger problem.
The less educated you are, the more likely you are to vote. Almost 83% of those with only a primary education would vote if an election were held today. Amongst those with a university education, over one-third, 33.6%, would not vote.
But there’s more. If you only received primary education, Labour’s ONE is your most likely source of information. That’s a triple whammy.
On 11th December, ONE news led with another Labour-glorifying headline: “The NAO praises the improvement in IT at Local Councils”. ONE”s message was clear- Labour is so amazing that even the NAO is praising its work on IT systems because Labour excels at everything.
The truth, of course, was very different. That NAO report showed Labour only fully implemented two out of twenty-eight recommendations on improving the IT systems at Local councils.
Under Robert Abela, Labour had three years to implement those 2020 recommendations. In those years, Labour fully implemented just 7% of recommendations. The NAO’s tame comment in the face of such abject failure was “Clearly more work needs to be done to implement our recommendations in the 2020 audit assignment”.
How many of those 2022 Labour voters with primary school education would have read the NAO report? How many would have realised that ONE News was just turning the NAO’s report on its head? How many would have twigged that their own party station duped them?
One didn’t just ignore the damning report that exposed Labour’s disastrous incompetence; it distorted it beyond recognition to manipulate the minds of its supporters. One doesn’t just hide the catastrophic failures of its party in government; it portrays them as remarkable achievements envied by the rest of the world.
When ONE claims that Labour made Malta the best in Europe, it’s not met with hysterical fits of laughter from its audience. That audience is receptive as it believes ONE’s most absurd fabrications. It strengthens its resolve to vote for Labour again.
ONE’s credibility is bolstered by its brother-in-arms, PBS. If those Labour voters accidentally swap channels onto TVM, they’ll hear the same propaganda, reinforcing their willingness to believe ONE as gospel truth – even when it’s pumping pure fiction. That indoctrination sure works, and it works so well that those same people stop believing their own eyes.
They only need to look around to see the staggering incompetence of their Labour government, even in the most basic services.
The road to Ghajn Tuffieha that should have been completed last June is still closed – years after roadworks started. The road at Msida seafront has been dug up again, months after Minister Aaron Farrugia pompously inaugurated the promenade.
It was meant to have been completed last April and then last August. Two million euros of our money was spent on that promenade, but the road immediately adjacent to it wasn’t fixed. It flooded soon after Farrugia’s inauguration, then it was patched up, and now it’s been dug up again, conveniently timed to cause maximum chaos during the festive season.
Meanwhile, Mosta remains a bomb site.
That’s on top of the garbage collection saga, the electricity distribution disaster, the hospital fraud, the makeshift hospital wards and, of course, the persistent failure in our education system. The PISA results again showed that Maltese teenagers rank poorly in maths, science and especially reading.
Malta has more low performers and less high performers than the European average, a fact that will likely delight Labour.
George Orwell was falsely attributed the quote: “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims… but accomplices”.
Meanwhile, Malta keeps voting for more Labour corruption because Labour captured the state broadcaster to bolster ONE’s narrative with the explicit objective of exploiting the nation’s least educated – and retaining power.
Those Labour voters are not Labour’s accomplices – they are its victims.