In his handling of the issue regarding remarks made by Joe Grima, PL Leader Joseph Muscat has once again set standards, which unfortunately are not followed by GonziPN. Joseph Muscat has given Lawrence Gonzi a lesson in political maturity. He has put the country and its morals before the party, unlike the prime minister who puts his PN and his obsession to cling to power at all costs, above all else.
Political maturity is hard to define, but it is mainly about politicians serving the country before themselves. This is the major difference between Joseph Muscat and Gonzi.
Joseph Muscat said, in no uncertain terms, that the remarks posted on Joe Grima’s facebook page, were unacceptable. The PL leader said that the Labour Party completely disassociated itself from the comments made by Joe Grima, even if Grima was not the face of the PL nor a party strategist. Mr. Grima, host of the programme ‘Inkontri’ aired on OneTV, took offence at the remarks posted by a priest, Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith on CatholicHerald.co.uk. Grima accused Fr. Lucie-Smith’s remarks of being detrimental to Malta and continued by insulting the priest, using language that is unacceptable to the Labour Party. His reply to the priest’s obituary of Dom Mintoff included ‘f___ off’ and a reference to paedophile priests. In a separate post, Joe Grima referred to Richard Cachia Caruana as ‘Rich il-Puff’.
The Labour Party through its Director of Communications, Kurt Farrugia, immediately showed its disapproval at this type of language. Joseph Muscat’s complete disassociation from the remarks made by Joe Grima led to the resignation of Grima from the programme.
However, this is in sharp contrast to the reactions of GonziPN on the Daphne Caruana Galizia blog. The association of DCG and also of Andrew Borg Cardona with the Nationalist Party is no secret. Her commentary on the death of ex-Prime Minister Dom Mintoff was brutal and disgusting. It was an article inciting hatred and it is too crass and rude to be reproduced. But Lawrence Gonzi does not feel that he should disassociate himself from such remarks. Neither did he disassociate himself from the base and ruthless attacks on Franco Debono and Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando. Andrew Borg Cardona, in a more veiled attack on the life and work of Dom Mintoff, was also disrespectful towards a prominent person who was, after all, given a state funeral, not as Borg Cardona implies a party funeral. The reactions of GonziPN towards these two persons are non-existent, unless one takes into consideration the consultancy fees paid to Andrew Borg Cardona and to his partnership with Daphne’s husband, Peter Caruana Galizia. Andrew Borg Cardona has held official roles within the Nationalist Party and Gonzi cannot distance himself from these two.
The Gonzi administration should be ashamed to back these blogs. Gonzi’s failure to disassociate his party from such writings, his failure to censure these persons and his reluctance to ask for their resignation is a clear proof that his party condones the remarks passed by these bloggers.
Joseph Muscat’s reaction was swift and honourable. Although Muscat acknowledged the voluntary work of Joe Grima, his acceptance of the resignation was taken in the interest of the image of the country. Joseph Muscat has taught Lawrence Gonzi a lesson in modern political maturity. Unfortunately, despite several instances of advice and warnings, Gonzi does not want to learn. He persists in living in the past and in clinging to his recent past as Prime Minister for as long as possible.
Political maturity is not a result of incumbency. The people can no longer accept Gonzi’s type of political behaviour.