The Malta Independent 15 October 2021, Friday

Labour’s liberalism

Kevin Cassar Monday, 20 September 2021, 09:21 Last update: about 25 days ago

“Muscat built a movement of liberals”. This was Labour Party’s tribute to Joseph Muscat on stepping down.

Liberalism is a political philosophy built on equality, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, respect for the rule-of-law, a free market economy and dissemination of power. Muscat’s  actions were diametrically opposed to all this. Labour ruthlessly undermined, with considerable success, all of the fundamental values of liberalism. Labour’s claims that Muscat built a movement of liberals couldn’t be more absurd.

Labour’s pseudo-liberalism is how we ended up economically unequal and consumed by populism, low brow popular culture and totally helpless against rampant state looting and state capture.

Malta’s vote to join the European Union was driven by two dominant aspirations.  Many voted to join the EU to cement respect for the rule of law, entrench basic freedoms and protect against future Labour governments seeking to thwart their aspirations, as Alfred Sant and Joseph Muscat did right up to and even beyond the referendum. Sant bizarrely claimed that his proposed pie-in-the-sky partnership had won. Labour irresponsibly called its supporters onto the streets deceiving them into believing “partnership” won, even after the result for membership was announced.

Probably a far greater number voted to join the Union to secure economic improvement, greater opportunities and a guaranteed free market.

Irrespective of the motivation for voting to join, that vote was cast to put Malta firmly and irreversibly on the path of true democracy and economic growth. It was meant to definitively bury the flagrant human rights abuses and injustices, the denial of basic freedoms and the rampant cronyism of the past.

After two decades and eight years of Labour government, many of those who voted to join the EU lament the failure of Malta’s membership to protect against Labour’s ravages. Depressingly, what was meant to guarantee our freedoms and fair opportunities for all, allowed Labour to create the conditions that led to the brutal murder of a journalist. Labour’s “liberalism” has caused the relentless targeting, harassment and dehumanisation of all dissenting voices.  It is the source of intimidation and fear amongst those harbouring unfavorable views of the country’s leadership.  The supposed guarantor of equal opportunities allowed Labour to distort the market through massive state contracts awarded unfairly and illegally, as multiple NAO reports have concluded. It allowed Labour to loot millions of euro through the SOCAR, Vitals, Electrogas and DB SVPR deals. It permitted Labour to exploit EU membership to sell passports with dodgy due diligence at the expense of its fellow member states.

Labour has divided the country into two classes. The first-class citizens are those favoured by the ruling elite. They include those who worked to put individual MPs and Ministers in power and who now enjoy their rewards; those who contributed within party structures, particularly ONE productions, to secure election victory and who now populate positions of trust, directorships, CEO posts and even ambassadorial positions; those who provided funds to the party and who now reap the benefits of millions in direct orders;  those who allowed their organisations to disseminate Labour’s propaganda, like Saviour Balzan, now rewarded with government contracts, national TV programmes and a disproportionate allocation of government advertising; those accountants and their organisations who set up secret financial structures for Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi, Chen Cheng, Adrian Hillman and others and who raked in millions of government direct orders; those who illegally backdated sensitive documents to let Ministers off the hook and sat on selection boards; those who were ready to enter into dodgy secretive agreements and secret Memoranda of understanding to win massive national contracts they were not even eligible for.

And then there are the rest: the second-class citizens, excluded from even submitting offers because Labour awards direct contracts without issuing tenders or extends concessions secretly.  Those second class citizens who dreamed of fair competition are faced with a real Labour nightmare. They recognise that the only way to win a contract is to prostrate themselves before the Minister or his driver while pledging allegiance and monetary support for his/her campaign. Or maybe by spending thousands if not hundreds of thousands in advertising with One productions. Or by offering services to the ruling party - speakers, lighting, printing, jobs, contracts for friends.  The second class citizens are those who live in areas not represented by a Minister. 85 million euro were allocated to embellish public schools - 35 million (41%) went to Gozitan schools, even though Gozo makes up less than 8% of the country. Marsa, within Minister Herrera’s district, was nominated Malta’s city of culture. Chris Fearne awarded 23.5 million euro in direct orders to friends, helpers and party donors in just 6 months. PM Abela’s business partner, Gilbert Bonnici has been awarded five direct orders worth 1.2 million in 6 months. Carden, the son of Robert Abela’s canvasser, Ray Mizzi set up a company in April 2021 and was immediately awarded a 138,000 euro direct order. Billions of euro contracts were given to Electrogas, Vitals and DB. Labour not only savagely distorts the market, it dismantles democracy to cling on to power.

Labour’s “liberalism” produced a small cadre of mega-winners and a massive army of losers. The attitude of the dodgy salesman invaded the grit of the national psyche. Labour’s message couldn’t be clearer: The European Union can’t tell us what to do, we do what we like. And what we really like is getting rich and powerful. For Labour, the only value of citizens is how they can contribute to enrich the elite and keep them in power. Labour destroyed public spiritedness, conscience, entrepreneurship or the longing for justice. Its winning formula is rewarding loyalty not competence. Labour’s “liberalism” is a grotesque betrayal of principle, an abandonment of its traditional commitments to workers in favour of a glorified business elite and the self-serving policies that enriched them. It has rendered citizens profit and loss calculations and not bearers of inalienable rights and dignity.

 

 

 

 

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