Lies don’t work
I’ve always looked at surveys as a kind of weather report.
Political surveys give you only a snapshot of the thinking of the electorate at that point in time. Inasmuch as a weather report can correctly describe a particular day as full of thunderstorms and gales, the very next day may turn out to be sunny and hot.
A week, as they say, is a long time in politics and surveys half the shortest shelf-lives possible. Nevertheless, they provide a minefield of interpretations, analysis and conclusions.
The survey published in last Sunday’s edition of the Sunday Times was a valuable exercise. In a nutshell, it revealed that Labour has increased its lead over the Nationalist Party by four percentage points. And what’s more interesting is that Labour increased its lead despite the fierce minimum wage freeze lie that the Nationalist Party pushed forward so forcefully.
The morale of the story is that lies don’t work any more with the electorate. Lies and spin might excite the grassroot base and it may cause a stir or two for a couple of days. However, electorally, they are counterproductive because the Maltese people can not only read between the lines, but read through lies and sincerity.
As one who was, along with Dr Joseph Muscat, at the receiving end of the minimum wage freeze lie that the Gonzi-Fenech tandem put forward I can relate from first hand experience that even genuine Nationalist supporters were telling me that lies are simply a thing of the past. Lies can be quite effective, but the Maltese electorate is sharper, more intelligent and more attentive than ever.
I am sure that the GonziPN clique will churn as much lies as it can from now till the day of the election. Against this shower of lies, Labour must not hit back in kind… rather, it must remain calm and offer hope to the people at large.
Lies don’t work. Hope does.
Owen Bonnici, a Labour MP, is the Opposition Spokesperson for Higher Education, University, Research and Culture. To contact him, email email@example.com.