The Malta Independent 5 March 2024, Tuesday
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Do we need a political messiah?

Victor Calleja Sunday, 11 February 2024, 08:50 Last update: about 24 days ago

In this world of ours, I must be careful and make it clear that the word messiah in the title is only meant metaphorically. I don't wish to see  some zealot fulminating against me for  thinking that I'm claiming we need a new messiah in a religious sense.

You never know with this nation. Sometimes it seems we've been hit by some cosmic rays which fried our brains. Or have we always been this bad?

These last few days have approached the grotesque. Franco Debono seems to be resurrecting from the political wilderness to start dictating the national - or at least the PN's - agenda. I'm sure Franco Debono has it in him to think that the word messiah fits him perfectly. That he has a god-like ego is beyond doubt, but unlike Bernard Grech who would welcome him back, I tend to think that Debono should remain on the sidelines or preferably in the wilderness.

On the religious side we have had a priest lose his temper during mass and all hell has broken loose. One man in a funny dress is irritated by his passive congregation and the Maltese rise up and scream about the horror. Interesting that these same people screaming and fulminating hardly make themselves heard when journalists are attacked, a journalist is murdered, a prime minister attacks the judiciary, and they definitely stay mum even if the police commissioner never follows up on anything related to the people in power and their abuse of this same power.

Robert Abela doesn't just fulminate against a member of the judiciary. Now he has also ditched his mantra of saying let the authorities work, and that all is proceeding wonderfully.

In more astonishing news, Robert Abela seemed to heartily welcome - as most of his Labour band did - the possible return to the fold of Joseph Muscat.

Muscat is another man hailed - and not so deep down I'm sure he quite agreed with the idea - as Malta's own messiah come to free us from our moral, material and reputational misery. When Muscat resigned as PM he was rather far from messianic; he even topped the charts as the world's most crooked man in politics.

Even if you are totally blind to all the ills Muscat was a part of, the fact that he fronted a government during whose tenure there were innumerable corruption cases, fraud, a murder of a journalist, scandals and much worse, should make him anathema.

Yet Robert Abela is tied to Muscat because of his past proximity. Abela has defended, never mind denounced, Muscat's past.

Abela, to his credit, is not alone in wanting Muscat back. His party seem to be quite happy with the former prime minister making a comeback. And the country will - at least a majority of it - sing his praises and vote him in as a representative of Malta in the EU parliament. Which would prove that we fully deserve our reputation as a country of low standards, a country which endorses anything that stinks of corruption. It would also prove that we as a country suffer from chronic amnesia and masochism.

With the country in this horrendous state, what must happen for us to find a new way? Can someone be found from wherever to lead us back to sanity, good governance and a bright, or at least a less shady, future?

There has to be someone able to galvanise the people, make them see some light, and have a vision to turn the country round.

Maybe this is asking a bit much and maybe only a quasi-messianic figure can even start coming close to what we need for a thorough overhaul of Malta. An overhaul which must not just be a quick rebranding and a quick fix. It has to be complete and long-term.

The man or woman who must be found - as leader or catalyst for change - has to have an immaculate past, good presence, good organisational skills and have a team around them that can give advice and challenge the leader at any time. This leader must be someone who listens, who builds on realistic goals yet remains tied to good governance and a blind belief in justice.

Whether this potential leader takes over the PN and changes it dramatically and drastically or creates a new organisation is not important. What matters is that this person, or group, needs to be a force which opposes this government properly. It must be totally different from what the PN has become, a party bankrupt in thought, deed and money. It has to be an opposition which can be, and can be seen to be, an alternative government.

Till this is done, till we let our country keep ever sliding down the scales, we will remain stuck in a present with no future. Whether the new leader is a true messiah or not is not important. All we need is a person with vision and people to follow their vision.


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