The Malta Independent 18 October 2018, Thursday

Delia’s denial

Rachel Borg Saturday, 12 May 2018, 07:53 Last update: about 6 months ago

Many movements start in order to deliver people from a suffering, an injustice, a dictatorship, rampant corruption or to lead them to a better life.

During the dark days of communism in the 80s, Solidarnosc was born in Poland and began a seismic change that was to take place and contribute hugely to the fall of communism.

This week, Malaysia’s newly-elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, has vowed to reassure financial markets and return billions of dollars lost in a graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which was a major factor in the election and in the ouster of Najib, Mahathir’s predecessor and former protégé.

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The new prime minister said the country’s attorney general was wrong to clear Najib in the 1MDB probe in 2016.  “He, in fact, has hidden evidence of wrongdoing, and that is wrong in law. We have to do what is permitted by the laws of this country,” Mahathir said. (in.reuters.com).

As our country slides back and forth from corruption to institutional capture and an open front on freedom of expression, it seeks desperately the leadership, inspiration and full commitment of an opposition party, union or NGO movement or charismatic person to deliver a message that will resonate with the people and restore pride and a good name to Malta and Gozo.

At the moment, we have a mosaic that is still quite in its infancy.  Civil groups and NGO’s have made significant inroads into cultivating that sense of solidarity and pressure that is needed to not fall into complacency.  For its part, the newly represented Partit Demokratiku is punching above its weight.  On the other hand, in the place where most people’s hope for delivery would lie, we find a weak and divided Nationalist Party.  No matter how many cameos are created of the hand-shaking and back-patting leader Adrian Delia, open-collar, out and about meeting the good folk of Malta at home, at work, in social clubs and in political gatherings, there is a sense of lack.

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. 

This week we followed Adrian Delia and his colleagues to Gozo where they tried to rouse the support and establish a rapport with the Gozitans.  In spite of a Churchillian approach of you will find us in the trenches, it fell flat. 

Nothing new.  Nothing that has not been done before.  True, the need for better and closer communication with people at every level is always important and had been neglected in the previous Nationalist administration, in general but perhaps not amongst decision-makers and investors.  But apart from compromising themselves, when meeting at root level with the locals, what really can they offer?  It would be like trying to order online from a site that does not deliver to Malta.  Ok, maybe they can use a send-on hub via an MP, but in truth, there will only be frustration.  They cannot deliver jobs, or permits, or get an elderly parent into the state residence or make sure that a child who needs special attention or has talent will get into the right school.  They have not got an alternative to the Barts Medical school and unless people start to encounter some new problems with Steward who are running the Gozo General Hospital and the two other facilities in Malta, why would people focus on ensuring change happens?

As for the poor ferry service, where are the ideas?  Let’s hear them.  Now the fast-ferry service has again been postponed, Gozitans are becoming more and more isolated and commuters from Malta will start to give up on the long and tiring journey, losing more than half a day to arrive and another afternoon to get back.

Therefore, Delia would be wise to set aside compromising the party and whilst keeping up good communication, work on unity amongst all the Executive and the Parliamentary Group.  Solutions begin with him.  The time is now to get himself trusted or to get off the bus. Becoming trusted cannot be achieved whilst he keeps up the cups and balls trick, hiding the coin under this cup and then having it re-emerge under that cup.

The allegations made by Daphne Caruana Galizia are still relevant and more urgent than ever to be addressed.  He will need to ask for forgiveness, or maybe he will need to stop denying to himself the seriousness of what they amount to.  The point is that the doubt still lingers and festers and the division amongst the Parliamentary Group is becoming worse instead of better.

Once he clears his history and apologises sincerely for words said – the “bicca blogger” which his hanger-ons got so aggravated about at the last protest in Valletta – and others, he can call a vote of confidence.  To win it, he will need to go deep into the reasons for the lack of support of his group and make amends.  A snake with two heads is worse than a snake with one.   If he does not have the political ability to see where he wants to go, he will continue to be impotent in the face of his enemies.  He should also show some humility and accept that the way he has seen himself elected and the company he keeps, is not all kosher.

If he can succeed and pull the Lords and make the right alliances, he will begin to get strong and whether for belief or for advantage, he will have created an Opposition party and a new way.  We do hope that ultimately he does have a plan and a method and the power to implement it.

To his advantage is the fact that Malta is sinking in corruption and crimes which have gone unpunished and it is crying out for justice and fresh leadership.  The people will come to tire of the stench coming from Castille and rally around a renewed opposition, even working with it and gathering around it in solidarity.  As it is, they are still not on board and such unity of purpose is far from happening.

Besides Delia’s own efforts, the whole of the party should support, even demand, an intervention that will clear the way for greater transparency.  If the statute changes that were made in the way the leader is elected have not helped to get us the right leader than it may be best to scrap them and start again or go back to the way it was but with better control, transparency and communication.  It is useless giving people a vote if there is still subterfuge and strategy at the top.  At least, as it was in the past, those who had a vote were probably aware of the clans and tribes and tried to effect change from inside.  This chance to effect change needs to be strengthened and made more transparent but creating popular contests may not be the way to do it.

Those who caused harm to the party over the past two elections also need to be held to account and resign or seek to make amends.  Having a good airing of grievances and a reconciliation mediator should also be considered and if possible, now, before the race for the MEP elections starts, see that no-one is allowed to rise about another and manipulate the game.  An equal and fair hearing is essential.  We hope that honesty and good intention can prevail.

Till then, Delia remains in denial. Though we have no quarrel, we are not at peace.  Bring it home and make it happen.  That is your first solution, without which the other solutions cannot follow.

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