When loyalty becomes sellable!

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 June, 2024 at 10:46 am by Andre Camilleri

As promised, I am back with my weekly column. Now that the EU Parliament election campaign is over, and I can freely write in my name, my primary duty is to carry on expressing my opinion. As you may have seen the EPP managed to garner a solid victory, in last week’s European Parliament elections. However, far-right groups managed to register major gains across the EU.

Obviously, the President of the EU Parliament, broke an all-time record of votes, while her peer David Casa, broke another record, that of the longest serving MEP. On the other hand, Alex Agius Saliba broke another record, that of the most voted MEP within the history of the Labour Party’s candidates. True, it was a difficult and complex election. However, it was also an election of record breakings. On my side, I truly enjoyed the campaign. I love being with people. It is truly satisfying to help people whenever needed, especially guided by the principles of leftwing policies. Today, I must say that politics is tough, especially if we stand by what we believe in. I kept a narrative of EU policies. It might have been a mistake. However, that is how it should have been. Perhaps, in the coming days and months you might realise what I have been saying. Time will tell.

Personally, I acknowledge to have built a capital on the ground, which I must not discard. However, I still need time to reflect. What I want to see is more enthusiasm, loyalty and also collegiality. The biggest mistake that we can do at this point in time is to build walls. In January I launched my campaign. I was the first one to launch the campaign, which saw a united team. We invited all our colleagues with Agius Saliba endorsing me. This move managed to keep us united. I took Ray’s advice. His biggest worry was to clash with one of the candidates. Something, which even I wanted to avoid. Au contraire, we defended one another, and we all stuck together. Frankly, I am happy to have preserved our friendship. Some of the candidates are like siblings to me. We grew up together in the Labour Party. So, there was no way that I would go head on with one of them. As you may have noticed, Agius Saliba, Daniel Attard, Claudette Abela Baldacchino and Maria Sarah Vella Gafá are quite close to me. Also, Thomas Bajada and I got to know each other within the Labour Party and more closely when we were posted together in Brussels. I am happy he manged to get the EP seat. I got to know the other two Jesmonds through the campaign, although I was already acquainted with Jesmond Marshall from our time together at GWU and during our commutes to Brussels for the EESC meetings. I met Steve Ellul two years ago and believe he is a capable individual. The Labour Party should consider him for a role in the future.

Now that the campaign is over, I can say most of the things that I encountered. This campaign was quite difficult to me. When I returned to Malta in December 2021, I opened a Facebook page, which I still manage to this very day. It was the beginning of everything. Sadly, during this time, my dad passed away from cancer, which gave me a new perspective on life. Unlike others, I had a small team who all worked full-time. Despite this, my team was very dedicated and loyal. We had no budgets. My campaign was financed through my personal income. Needless to say, I truly appreciated the sacrifices and the endurance of my team. Obviously, I can’t mention any names, as it wouldn’t be fair to leave someone out.

What I learned though is that there are many hilarious characters. Some people start with you, and along the way you do not see them anymore. The following week you see them with other candidates. What’s hilarious is that when they see you, they pretend that everything is fine. Not sure if this is cultural or something which I still need to accustom myself to in politics. My problem is that I am loyal. If I give my loyalty to someone it is a lifetime dividend. Well, we learn to coexist with them because they are part of the PL’s family. And if they ever need my help, I will still consider aiding them.

What I cannot forget though is the deceitful act of someone leaking my plan to another candidate. True, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Indeed, I was forewarned during the feast of San Ġwann Battista in Xewkija, Gozo, last year. It might have been a mistake to ignore, but I always give the benefit of the doubt. Recently, I received an unexpected message from this person, and I literally burst out laughing.

Now that the campaign is over, I can say it. My biggest worry during this campaign was to leave Ray behind me for a few days a week if I was elected. When the result was out, I was a bit relieved. It would have been nice to serve the country and to redeem my team’s effort. And true I gave it all. However, today, I see life differently. We all have priorities in life and my family is a priority. I ran for politics because I wanted to help the Labour Party and not to let people down. Surely, we will regroup sooner or later. However, a special thank you goes to all those who believed in me, and those who pushed me. Also, I must thank Prime Minister Robert Abela for believing in my expertise and the PL’s administration for their trust. I am at your disposal if you still need my services.

Best of luck to the newly elected six MEPs. Do work for Malta’s national interests, always.

Thank you Malta and its people. It was an amazing experience.

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