The Malta Independent 21 January 2021, Thursday

Where do we begin?

Rachel Borg Saturday, 9 January 2021, 09:29 Last update: about 11 days ago

Where do we begin to make sense of the force for mis-management, for deliberate mis-appropriation of power and leadership that is wrecking so much harm and mis-trust amongst the people from both sides of the political spectrum?

We cannot start by seeing and analyzing what is going on in other democracies, most notably the USA because no matter how grave and serious the trend is around the world, our country and its defenders of freedom and democracy continue to behave with only one thought in mind, to win an election and to find ways to work the system.  Additionally, there is a blind view that somehow Malta is special and different and that whatever tragedy befalls our neighbours will not happen here.  It can be our natural religiosity transferred to our ego and enshrined in our chosen leader and their power to enable privilege and make decisions that supersede the mundane and lead to a life of ignorance and excuses.

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The only looking and comparing that is done in Malta and Gozo is by one political party to the other.  We are aware of moles, of loose-tongued double-crossers all the way up to the Prime Minister who jumped with mirth at the idea of dumping Nationalist Leader nominee at that time, Bernard Grech into the pit of the tax-man.  All this whilst Abela’s inbox is over-flowing with cases of ministers and parliamentary secretaries that have wandered way beyond any reasonable conduct.  We are left wondering what reality is being lived in the minds of those who should not only know better but are expected to do better.

We do know, however, that you cannot manage a nation successfully, democratically and peacefully when you build on the one concept of gaining and staying in power, entrenching false ideas and lies aimed to cause harm and division and losing track of what it means to be entrusted by the electorate to take over the management and leadership of the country.  We do not have a stop-clock that will record the hours spent as Prime Minister by one leader or another.  Actually, if that were the case, the outgoing and disgraced ex-Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat would certainly fail the mark because he never succeeded in completing a full term of office. 

The mission, in case it has been forgotten in the middle of all the point-scoring, is to ensure social and economic justice, order and prosperity and play a part in the international order of nations.  The government is answerable to Parliament and the representatives of the people.

As we face growing instability we see our freedoms and our values sliding out of our reach.  Satire is no more.  One can no longer have a bit of a laugh because you will be hauled up to court to answer before a magistrate for bruising the fragile egos of the insecure and the ignorant.  You cannot speak your mind if it goes against the ardour of the Labour party and its grandiose charlatans.  Unless you are a person of trust or appointed to some overpaid executive position.  Then you can say whatever you like, at whatever cost to others under the guise of freedom of speech.  Here too, it is permitted to turn every trick in the book and get away with daylight robbery. 

The scenes in Washington on Capitol Hill, the place where Congress meets in the United States of America, were not unexpected but still frightening.  The evidence of racism and double-standards added to the stench.  What is clear, though, is that words describe the mind of the Prime Minister or President, whatever the case may be, and feed directly into the imagination or lack of it, of the prejudices and insecurity of vulnerable people. These words can be used to inspire or they can be used to control power.  What type of person he or she may be away from the public role they possess is irrelevant.  The outcome is determined by the action and the rhetoric, especially when the party delegates fail to stand up, to defend and speak the truth and allow their egoistic ambitions to follow behind the mistaken judgements and decisions of a resentful leader.

One cannot even call them policies.  Policies are usually formulated by research, debate and responsible decisions in the interest of all, both majority and minority, and taken by the majority. To lead on individual instincts and personal interest is unaccountable.  This means that someone like the Prime Minister would be unaccountable when he or she is meant to be the first to be accountable, above all others.   But anything uncomfortable for the party and then for the government is brushed aside and manipulated.

These are usually tactics and styles used by failed states.  Britain appears to the rest of Europe and possibly the developed world to have regressed to a state of affairs that no longer exists in the global society that the world is in today.  It has left the EU to pursue a no-longer relevant strategy for trade and development and the common good.

The same can happen to our country if we do not focus on our achievements and instead swop them for populism.  We had achieved so much in such a short time but we lost sight of our reality and put our trust in those who would not demand anything of us except loyalty, whatever the price. 

The hopeless lack of leadership is evident to all.  Robert Abela continues to play a game and stand outside the line of fire.  Like so many who have been appointed to roles that they are unfit to occupy, he too was simply expedient to the Labour party and totally unscrutinised as a leader for the country.  The daily figures of the coronavirus amongst patients in Malta and Gozo and the grim deaths can testify to the mis-placement of his position.  He should never have been given the job of PM.  His past connections as advisor to Joseph Muscat.  The many contracts he was given with direct order and the way that he was more or less ordered into this job from powers behind the scene, without experience or conviction, mean that he answers only to his party’s interests.

Unless our national pride, our social fabric and our aspirations as a free and democratic country can urge us to rise above the banal and destructive mentality which has been prevailing around us for too long now, we had best take a look at where we are heading and change course as soon as possible.  We need to come together in unity and work for the common good by rejecting fear and discrimination and facing the reality of when good goes badly wrong.

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