The Malta Independent 7 May 2021, Friday

Bernard’s rehab programme

Thursday, 15 April 2021, 09:22 Last update: about 21 days ago

Jonathan Attard

We have now become accustomed to a situation, created by consecutive PN leaders, whereby attempting to sell oneself to the electorate by portraying an image distant from the truth has become the norm.

As much as Bernard Grech will deny it when confronted with such an assertion, the fact that he, like his predecessors, has been wearing a mask, has become a universally known truth. But the desperate means by which Bernard Grech is now trying to prove himself to the PN voters, and now also the ex-PN voters, are allowing the arrogance behind that mask to emerge. Thus, one might say that Bernard Grech is at least doing very well in following in the footsteps of his predecessors.

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Bernard Grech’s mask is coming off, leaving exposed the true face which had been hidden underneath. Perhaps the best example of Bernard Grech’s mask coming off to date was last Sunday, when he showed that he is no different than the establishment of GonziPN, stubborn and arrogant.

In an interview, the Opposition Leader went on to boast that the PN will welcome its “rehabilitated” ex-members. ‘Rehabilitated’ ... the same term that by definition means that one was bad or unacceptable and has now taken the road to self-betterment. Perhaps the best example of when this term is applied is in relation to criminals who are punished through imprisonment so that they learn their lesson and emerge from prison a better person, respecting social norms. We would say that such person has been rehabilitated.

This is how those who have parted ways with the nationalist party are being perceived. The question as to why they have parted ways, is not asked. Instead, the requirement for this return to the Nationalist party is atonement. These past voters and supporters of the PN are expected to acknowledge that their past departure from the party is reproachable and unacceptable. Only then can they be accepted back by the PN establishment. 

This statement comes years after the PN had requested reports to better understand the reasons behind their loss in consecutive elections. And now, 10 lost elections later, the PN seems to still be stuck in the same place it was back then. Stagnant in the same situation because the same mindset remained – that the problem is the public, not the party.

As I heard this, one message echoed loud and clear – there is no interest in attempting to understand what has pushed these people away. There is no interest in making any changes. The interest continues to lie in apologies. But in apologies received, rather than those given.

When seeing all of this, one cannot but ask, who is truly in need of rehabilitation? Is it these individuals who have been categorised by a party that has become so detached from reality, or is it the party itself?

This is coming from the same person that for weeks on end has been preaching of having turned a new page for the PN. It is already blatantly clear that Bernard Grech cannot offer a new page that gives Malta a fresh start, one that, rather than focusing on the past, makes an inclusive future for all of the country its priority. His leadership is hijacked by the PN old guard who want to run the country with the same divisive tactics they have been adopting for decades.

What a difference in approach when comparing to that of the Prime Minister, who on the same day of the survey – a positive one for the Labour Party and the Prime Minister – did not try and judge any individuals, but instead humbly said that the Labour Party is obliged to listen to anyone who feels hurt.

Grech’s inconsistent style of leadership is contrasted by that of Prime Minister Robert Abela and his determination to lead this country forward – Who, in his first few months in office, was immediately faced with a global pandemic and set Malta as an exemplary country for others to follow in its footsteps, in terms of safe-guarding measures and vaccination roll-outs.

The Prime Minister under whose Government millions of Euros have been invested on schemes and benefits to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the public and in social benefits. All-the-while working on protecting jobs and reducing the dependency on these benefits.

In Robert Abela, we have a Prime Minister who is driven to continue improving Malta through public reforms, such as the Rent Reform for the pre ‘95 protected leases, and has the courage to address social justice issues such as the laws relating to the use of cannabis. A Prime Minister who has a clear plan for Malta and is working to achieve it.

The closer the election gets, the more Bernard Grech will continue shooting from the hip in order to try and score political points. That is what he has done with the pandemic and the statement regarding the promising of presidential pardons to the alleged killers of Daphne Caruana Galizia, just to mention two examples.

On the other hand, the Prime Minister is setting a clear vision for the future. One might not agree with everything he proposes, but the public knows where they stand with Robert Abela and also know that he delivers what he promises. Above all, he recognises where the government should have done better and addresses those situations. What is sure by now is that we won’t hear Robert Abela referring to ‘rehabilitated’ members of our society when referring to the electorate. This has never been the attitude of his predecessors and even here Roberta Abela has already shown that he is committed to having an open dialogue with society in general, regardless of their creed, colour or beliefs.

Dr Jonathan Attard is a PL candidate

 

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