The Malta Independent 25 May 2024, Saturday
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Turning an island to a ghetto

Rachel Borg Saturday, 17 June 2017, 08:53 Last update: about 8 years ago

The result of this election has prompted many to question who the real Nationalist Party followers are and what are their traits? 

Undeniably, and one that most frustrates the Panama gang and their co-creators, the most enduring trait of the Nationalist Party is that its followers are democratic, free-minded individuals who will not be restricted to the ghetto of the mind, form and place.

The message of ownership and control of assets by state, both personal and public, does not attract the blue vote and completely flies over their head.  This is a source of great irritation for the Malta taghna lkoll posse, armed to their teeth with promises of new status, wealth, jobs and social mobility.  They simply cannot stomach the independence and strength that comes from the PN opening doors to self- realization instead of sub-servience and indebtedness.

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Instinctively and practically, during the campaign, the opposition began to sound alarms about the financial services, gaming industry and betting companies and their contingent of foreign employees, being threatened by the corruption that was the hallmark of Joseph Muscat’s legislature.  The reason is that the two concepts cannot abide together – being open within a legitimate environment against being closed in a society that has made impotent the power of the law and to an extent, of the judiciary.  Now Dr Muscat has taken this sector into his own portfolio so that he can show a different face to the foreign investors than he does to the electorate.

A PN voter can sense the regression taking place.  The first feeling on hearing the result of the significant loss, was a sense of flight, something telling you to get out of here fast.  Not out of shame but out of fear of being locked into a ghetto of thought that excludes free-thinking people and completely disregards inclusion. 

They, the Moviment or Labour party of Joseph Muscat, tried to overcome this perception by presenting themselves as the inclusive party, the one that promoted and defended civil rights to a level never imagined before for our island.  They said that we could hold different political views but still work with them and they looked up every single letter of the gender and sexual politics to appear as inclusive as possible. 

The truth is that more exclusion has taken place over these past four years than has ever before under any PN government which always sought to deliver the means to self-realisation through believing in your abilities to succeed and defending your choices and with extending education.  Practical systems were also put in place to promote growth, such as the starter bank loans at reduced interest.

 

With a Labour government, the opposition is a constant reminder that the legitimate source of power is outside them and outside their control.  The reason the PN are always accused of inciting anarchy at the EU and abroad is precisely because they do not put out their begging bowl and sanction envy as their business card. 

The mind-ghetto assumes that people do things for reward and for no other reason.  Therefore it focuses on designing tasks and reward structures.  Bigger and bigger cabinets to symbolise this premise.  Popular beliefs emphasise this model of leadership where more and more people are becoming so morally dis-empowered that they seek empowerment from reward and by exclusion of those who think differently to them.

Everyone and that includes every labour supporter, knows that nothing of the sort of charade that took place at the voting booth, with people pretending to be illiterate and having their voting preferences witnessed by officials, would ever need to take place or have a place under a Nationalist leadership.  It is simply the complete opposite of what nationalists aspire to do for people and for their country.

But down deep in the psyche of the Maltese average person there must be a nagging belief that you cannot get anywhere without a Panama hat.  That assumes a negative belief and pessimism in its purest form. Hence Muscat’s insistence that the opposition are negative.  A good way to deflect the pessimism of his own followers from themselves to Dr Busuttil and the party.

And it is this they are made to hate most about the PN, its leader and its representatives - Their spirit of optimism. 

Because that is the truth.  No matter that our leader didn’t change the fat number of 35,000 votes in favour of Panama gang.  No matter that we made some gaffes about pastizzi and PN faces and had to dig deep into our pockets to cover the expenses of an electoral campaign and to keep the party running.  No matter that journalists who shared unpalatable views are up to their neck in libel cases against them.  Their’s may not have had the best bill boards and Valentino and Armani were not the dress of the crowd – rather a pair of flip flops, a loose T-shirt and a beautifully composed flag being waved above the mass of people.  But there were smiles and genuine warmth and gratitude at the mass meetings and people celebrated their optimism, never more as well represented to them as by Simon Busuttil who knew where he had started from and dared to believe, not just in the Maltese people but in the strength of honest politics.

Nothing has been taken from those who believed in rejecting dishonest politics and corruption.  The real losers are those who have dug deeper into their pessimistic view that they will only grow by patronage, nepotism and clientelism.  They have turned their back on all that has been achieved since Independence and even on what Dom Mintoff sought to create, by continuing to rely on hand-outs as opposed to legitimate rights and entitlement and an equal playing field.

The PN will go on to find a new leader, sooner or later.  It is irrelevant to their cause.  True, they would do well to re-discover the spirit of unity, innovation and courage, the faithful supporter as an inspiration and the true Maduma.  Last week, I had the good fortune to meet an 86 year old man who is still in the service of the party, doing his bit.  He spoke about how, when under Lorry Sant, he was so discriminated against in his job with the civil service, that they did not even provide anyone to clean his office.  He didn’t mind. He got a bucket and a mop and washed it himself.   Labour can never understand that and how it showed what a gentleman he was.

Joseph Muscat may like to think he has produced economic surplus and triple A ratings but in truth he created moral bankruptcy and the least diverse society.  It is hard to see how the best years are still to come.  The best years of what?  The best years of labour in government?  The biggest decline in democracy perhaps, making people secure in the knowledge that the system is alive and well and a phone-call will always come, even if only on the eve of an election.  How can we help you?  Sign here please.  We promise to uphold the party in the years to come.

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