How times and political parties change!
How far has the Nationalist Party fallen since Eddie Fenech Adami instituted dialogue in the 1980s?
Every single speech by Gonzi at the Granaries was full of bloated self-praise, evasiveness and pathological criticism towards the Labour Party, with the faithful clapping, cheering and booing someone like Gabi Calleja, chairperson of the Malta Gay and Lesbian Movement for suggesting the legalisation of gay marriage. What a contrast from the Labour Congress were she was given a standing ovation after her touching address, while the mere mention of gay marriage by the Prime Minister at the Independence activities was booed and hooted by a homophobic audience.
The contrast was apparent throughout the entire Labour Party Congress where the citizens aired their views freely, praising what was good and criticizing constructively what needed improvement, while the politicians for once, just listened.
There was an informal air at Ta’ Qali where all visitors were able to talk and discuss their ideas with Labour MPs and candidates. The key was listening to what the people want which directly opposes the way Gonzi was expounding his “achievements” day after day, trying to preach to the converted. The main gist of Gonzi’s speeches was that he and his party always knew what was good for the people!
As Dr. Muscat explained, if you want to know about the Education System ask the students and the teachers; if you want to know about the Health System, ask the patients and the doctors, if you want to know about the Economy, ask the buyers and retailers. The people involved need to be consulted continuously and that’s what the Labour Congress is all about, while the Nationalist activities were simply examples of ramming cheap propaganda down people’s throats.
The Labour Party Congress showed the Nationalist Party how dialogue is actually done and how the people’s ideas can be taken aboard to prepare for a future that really places the citizen in the centre.
The Labour Leaders have realised that times have changed and people are no longer ready to trust politicians blindly. They need to be consulted and although not everyone may provide valid contributions, such consultations help dispel the idea that the politician is always right; a myth the Nationalist Party has been reinforcing throughout the last four years and that was the main goal of the entire Independence Day celebrations. This was typified by standing ovations to people like Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici and Richard Cachia Caruana, people who have been discredited by members of their own party and removed from their respective jobs.
Gonzi’s speeches were replete with praise for people like Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, Austin Gatt, Joe Cassar, Dolores Cristina and Richard Cachia Caruana. He was basically reinforcing the message that notwithstanding serious gaffes by every one of the Ministers he mentioned and serious accusations against Richard Cachia Caruana, not by Labourite but Nationalist MPs, they still did a good job and to hell with the concepts of accountability and meritocracy. The arrogance of this message is the fruit of a party that has been in power for a quarter of a century and that has convinced itself that it has some sort of “Holy Right” to govern.
Not only is Gonzi and his Ministers far removed from the people, but the way the Independence festivities shaped up sent the message that Gonzi and his Ministers know what’s good for us and will continue repeating the same mistakes. This was proven by Lawrence Gonzi’s vote against the will of the people during the divorce referendum.
It is also very apparent with Gonzi’s emphasis that he still enjoys a majority and is not obliged to name an election date, conveniently forgetting that the parliament has a House of Representatives and that he is a member because he was voted by the people, so the people have a right to know?
Gonzi’s mindset overshadowed by a sense of denial that has rarely been displayed by a Maltese politician is shown clearly by his admission that a family consists of a man, woman and children, as if the definition of a family depends on his opinion. This ties in with Chris Said’s paternalistic comments that legal bills are fashioned according to what is acceptable by society and has been proven by the way he allowed the IVF Bill to be hijacked by conservatives. No wonder Franco Debono keeps insisting that Gonzi heads a conservatively evil clique that is ready to ride roughshod over everybody.
The contrast between the Labour Congress and the Independence Festivities has been so marked because every speech by Joseph Muscat was based on the optimistic premise of “hope for the future”. Muscat’s speeches were clean, uplifting and bereft of any insults or vicious personal attacks or criticism against Nationalist politicians. By Contrast, Gonzi’s speeches were surely not in the spirit of Christianity considering his supposedly “Christian Democratic” credentials. Gonzi criticized, insulted and disrespected his opponents just to score political points and instigate his audience towards partisan frenzy. The gist of all his speeches go well with the way Andrew Borg Cardona and Daphne Caruana Galizia demonise all those who disagree with him; and it is this attitude that will eventually lead to the Prime Ministers and the Nationalist Party’s downfall.
An unchristian attitude that surely does not deserve to be called Christian Democratic...