Last Updated on Saturday, 9 December, 2023 at 10:37 am by Andre Camilleri
After 20 months of pondering whether I should submit my name to the list of candidates for the forthcoming European Parliament elections, yesterday, I formally sealed my future political endeavour with the Labour Party. We wait for the internal process to take place.
Frankly, I have been involved in politics, directly or indirectly, for over two decades. In the past I used to assist my husband Ray Azzopardi in his political career with the Labour Party. Since 2001, I have witnessed numerous PL campaigns from local council elections, general elections, referenda, as well as MEP elections. Also, I saw different prime ministers taking oath and also leaving office. However, serving the country abroad gave me additional insight into how politics work. The local scenario was not enough to comprehend the rules of the game. In fact, the eight years I spent in Brussels gave me the opportunity to grasp how the EU functions and the modus operandi of several partners involved in European and international politics.
Upon my return from Brussels, I had two choices to make, either to quit everything and enjoy my private life or to contribute to improving the political system. In reality, my initial plan was to take a step back. Nevertheless, I wanted to come out of my comfort zone and contribute to the local political scene with my opinion pieces, including this weekly column. I felt that I can contribute more to better people’s lives. Regrettably, when I was posted in Brussels, I was not in a political position to take additional initiatives to improve people’s lives. Alas, it was generally executing instructions.
As you may recall, my public appearances began in early 2022, primarily examining what was happening prior to the invasion of Ukraine and providing a technical military analysis. Several people remember me commenting, and predicting the economic consequences of the war, and the repercussions of the EU sanctions on Russia, as well as the counter-effects on the European economy. Indeed, almost two years down the line the EU did not transit from the biggest energy shock in its contemporary history, including the cost-push inflation that is still oscillating around the European economies.
Nevertheless, my involvement in politics is more than just my experience abroad and working at the heart of the EU institutions. It is a genuine recollection, mainly connected to my childhood. Leaving Brussels in 2021 was like unfinished business for me, because I feel that I did not contribute enough towards the marginalised, the vulnerable and the voiceless. It is the profound recollection of my socialist principles that pushed me to put my name in the list of candidates to join politics. Coming from a minority, my values were always aligned with the socialist principles, including giving a voice to the voiceless and helping others and those in need.
Undeniably, my past is still attached to the choices I make. When I was a child, I had countless dreams. We all do. Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to be close to my great grandmother, my great aunts and my grandparents in a lovely community in Santa Margerita, Bormla. Their values are still very much cherished by my family. The one closest to my heart is to care for others, particularly the vulnerable and the marginalised. Notwithstanding that we had a difficult childhood, nothing ever stopped my will to advance in life and still help others. Growing up in Bormla meant that we had to fight stigmas and overcome several obstacles. Nonetheless, the key to success is education and perseverance.
Certainly, Ġanna from Narrow Street Bormla deserves a mention. From the little she had, occasionally, Ġanna contributed to the cost of my private lessons. We are here discussing the early 1990s, where in the preceding two decades, il-Perit Mintoff managed to create a strong welfare state. Imagine, if he did not. It would have been even more difficult for us to progress in life without equal opportunities. Besides my personal conviction, several people encouraged me to join politics because they believe that my past experience in Brussels can assist in safeguarding the national interest. In my view, it was not an easy decision to take. For those who are familiar with politics, it requires a lot of sacrifices. Some may be sceptical, and certainly reading through this article people are saying that Clint is in it to profit. I understand people’s scepticism. However, my goal is to transform that scepticism into optimism. Ideally, my contribution is to create a different style of politics.
Indeed, from now onwards, the game will change. The rules of the game will be altered. Whereas before I was cautious, and economical in what to say, now, any word has a different weight and a thousand interpretations. Certainly, I will not bow to any pressure that goes against my principles, and where needed, my criticism is here to stay especially constructive criticism directed at those leading the EU institutions. However, my primary mission is to help others and to better people’s lives. And my appeal to the undecided voters, even though we are seven months away from the election, is to think twice before abstaining from voting.
The European Union’s ultimate aim is to federalise the Common and Foreign Security Policy by pushing in removing the veto. Today, our neutrality clause is even more pronounced, particularly when examining the wars and conflicts unfolding around us. We all long for a better EU and a peaceful world. However, for this to happen, it only depends on your choices and to participate in the upcoming elections. Hereafter, my mission is also to convince you to vote.
Finally, sincere thanks for your great support, respect and appreciation towards my work. My political commitment is to reciprocate your appreciations with loyalty towards the country, by always bringing Malta’s interests first and foremost.