I watched carefully David Cameron's speech at the Conservative Party conference last week.
There is much that social democrats everywhere can agree with the Conservative leader. That nobody is guaranteed a living anymore is a given. Social Democrats can share the Conservative fondness for the "doers and the risk takers", for those who "get on with it". Social Democrats everywhere share the Conservative penchant for hard work and its abhorrence for the abusers of welfare.
Social Democrats share the Conservative appreciation of having deficits under control as a means to "garnering confidence in the economy leading to economic growth" something the local PN Government needs to comprehend better.
But then Cameron made a curious reference to his privileged background, stating that his party is "not about abolishing privilege but instead wants to spread privilege". This needs to be qualified.
You see, privilege inherently implies inequality. Now, I am not about to infer in Mr Cameron's reference to privilege anything other than what I took him to mean, namely the reference to the better disposable income available to the wealthy as compared to the non-wealthy. This generosity is more than Gonzi and his pack of journalist wolves afford the PL leader e.g. the freezing of the minimum wage. But within the Maltese context unfortunately, the word privilege has to be given a wider definition.
Within the inequality inherent by definition between the privileged in Malta and the non-privileged lies not just the difference in wealth but also a difference in opportunity. This is anathema to Social Democrats worldwide and no matter how well we, in Malta, manage to increase the number of the wealthy, the existence of a privilege of opportunity can never be acceptable.
The very foundation of Social Democracy today is about the removal of this side to privilege; not the inherent accumulation of resources of the wealthy and the disposable income that goes with it, but the privilege of unequal chances of getting a fair go. Social Democracy today is not about bringing equality between the classes and less so is it about the politicsof envy. Social Democrats are not about bringing equality but about equality of opportunity and equality of recognition and reward.
That is what I believe the PL in Malta is all about and why I will vote for Labour in the coming election. No matter what your background, your chances to succeed must still be equal, your chances for health care must be the same, your chances for education must be the same and your chances for getting the job you seek should be equal. Today I believe that in Malta, after 25 years of PN government this is not the case.
Private health care is better than public, private education is better than public. If you are privileged to know the right people your chances of getting a job are easier, your chances of getting access to government assistance are better and your chances of jumping the queue are better.
This is anathema to the Social Democrats and I believe it is anathema to the PL in Malta.
Social Democracy is not about preaching class envy. The only hatred the PL has is for the existence of the underprivileged of opportunity and the battle social democrats wage is against the establishment which allows and creates the unfair disequilibrium of opportunity. The PL, I believe, is about creating an equal playing field for all to succeed in every endeavor, in every sector our society offers; an equal level playing field for all no matter what your social background or your past voting preference.
I believe the PL wants to create a fair society which today does not exist.