The Malta Independent 18 July 2024, Thursday
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Safeguarding Malta’s reputation through the vote

Sunday, 2 June 2024, 07:47 Last update: about 3 months ago

Alexander Mangion

We teach our children that reputation is a bit like a balloon. You spend considerable time building it up, breath by breath. Then you must be very careful with it, because one tiny little move, and it can be gone (sometimes with a loud bang).

Unfortunately, our Prime Minister must have missed that lesson as a kid, because he is having an exceptionally hard time understanding this basic concept. In fact, he manifestly prefers to gain cheap political points, for quick electoral gains, rather than do the right thing, and behave like an actual Prime Minister.

This week, we saw Joseph Muscat and many others being taken to court, while being given a hero’s welcome. The scene was surreal to say the least, but it did not give the ideal image of a modern European country in 2024.

The Prime Minister’s irresponsible behaviour, his attacking the judiciary, leading a party machine which has systematically identified and singled-out and bullied the Magistrate in question, leaving ample and comfortable space for the type of individuals like Jason Micallef and Manuel Cuschieri to organise and mobilise a rent-a-mob to send some sort of message – all ingredients in the disaster we saw unfolding last week in front of the Law courts.

It is the middle-of-the-road, fear-of-losing-votes, fear-of-offending-someone, tight rope walking of the Prime Minister that has landed us in this situation.

His absolute lack of determination to call out wrong from right is mind-baffling. Yes, we get it, we are in the middle of an electoral process, which result will set the tone for the next electoral test. Politicians need to be very careful with their strategic decisions, in order not to alienate chunks of their support, and in this particular area, the Labour Party has time and time again proven to be a masterful player.

But history will not be kind to politicians like Robert Abela. He will be seen as weak, and possibly the damage that is being done to Malta’s reputation in these days will not be something we will be able to rebuild so quickly.

The UK didn’t think twice to issue a travel warning against Malta, with specific reference to the demonstrations in Valletta.

We have heard it before, and we don’t need to harp too much on it. Our reputation as a country is all we have.  Our political stability, competitiveness, and human resources are the only selling points we have to offer on the great international commercial stage. If we start chipping away at these blocks, we will soon discover great cracks that can render them unusable in the long run.

History will not be kind to politicians like Robert Abela.

I was not impressed by the crowd on Tuesday. Sure, it was a very loud and colourful one, but it is obvious that gone are the days that Joseph Muscat would pack the old Hal Far runway. The man is up against the wall, and every Labourite who has two braincells to rub against each other, can see that.

It is now time for the Labourites of good faith to stand up to be counted like they did in 2019, when they ousted him from office. Perhaps, five years ago they shouldn’t have allowed him the hero’s farewell, and a stronger message ought to have been sent out immediately to strip him of the support he enjoys. But what’s done is done. Now it is time to do the right thing, where the leaders are failing.

At the same time, it is crucial to send a strong message on Saturday 8 June, that these antics are no longer acceptable. What we saw in front of the law courts on Tuesday is not the Malta we believe in, not the Malta we aspire to be, not the Malta we want.

On Saturday 8 June, we need to send a very strong message in favour of Malta’s reputation.

 

Alexander Mangion is Deputy Mayor of Attard

 

 

 

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