Rebels and sacred cows

Tuesday, 24 Jul 2012, 04:36


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It’s going to be a long hot summer all right, meteorologically and politically too.  Under normal circumstances the political arena enters summer recess, while most people are basking in the sun, enjoying a long cold drink by the seaside or having a siesta away from the unbearable heat of the Maltese summer afternoon.  Not this year folks.  The regular Sunday gatherings are still on and very well attended too.  The political volume is on the rise, party machines are gearing up for action and candidates are sweating it out knocking on doors.  

An autumn election is highly probable and practically all Sunday paper editorials are now clearly calling on the PM to exert his prerogative as soon as possible.  The current uncertainty is tiring and irritating.  The PN has managed to prolong the agony and should presumably be now better prepare to face an election.  

The PM had been warned by various quarters of a worsening scenario.  Since January the rebels have become three, potentially there could be others.  A prospective candidate on the PN ticket has surprisingly (or perhaps not) revealed his intention not to vote at the next general election.  Dr Gonzi hangs on but the picture gets gloomier by the day.  It is known that he is under internal pressure to call an election sooner rather than later.  Once again his indecisive nature emerges quite clearly, which is probably why he is in such a mess.  The PN’s decision to chastise the rebel trio leaves Gonzi without a majority in parliament.  I cannot recall a Nationalist Party in such a tattered state.   What went wrong?  Has the PN run out of luck?

 It is undoubtedly a question of weak leadership characterised by a lack to hold a united front.  A leadership enshrined in the Fenech Adami legacy epitomised by the manoeuvring of the apparently untouchable guru Richard Cachia Caruana.   Yes, Cachia Caruana the subject of the current dispute within the PN and probably the concluding act of this turbulent legislature.  Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando is determined to bring him down.  It is either Pullicino Orlando or Cachia Caruana, either way one head will roll.  I can’t recon why the PM is hell bent on defending the latter.  Why defend an illustrious ‘civil servant’ and turn your back on one of your MPs? 

 In a democracy, it is unacceptable that an unelected figure should have the upper hand of any MP.   From where does the ex-EU ambassador draw all this power?  He has been lurking within the PN for decades enjoying the full support of president emeritus Fenech Adami.  Probably his stature and hold on the PN grew enormously following his stabbing and lucky escape, a murder attempt that remains unsolved.  New revelations are emerging and perhaps we shall finally know the real motives behind this notorious case.

 We all hope, for the sake of our country, that the next government will be stronger and work in a far more serene scenario.  A real strong pair of hands is required in the present worsening economic climate, a PM focused on the country’s priorities.  A new brand of leadership capable of valuing the talents of people from all walks of live.  A strong united team is achieved by true leadership, one that does not tolerate cliques where a handful of people control everything and exclude everyone else.  Problems are not avoided by obliging candidates to be unconditionally loyal to their party or to sign any declaration in such regard as Carlo Bonnici suggested. 

An MP’s loyalty lies with the people who have elected him or her.  Loyalty is not bought or forced on anyone, it must be earned day by day.  Nor should a government be secured a confortable majority to avoid problems in parliament irrespective of the vote majority obtained.  This would be tantamount to throwing out of the window the principle of proportionality; a party should have the parliamentary majority it deserves.   The shenanigans we have witness during this Gonzi administration are the result of a faulty style of leadership.  Labour would do well to learn the lessons and avoid the route taken by Gonzi.  I am confident that Joseph Muscat is wise enough to handle his team diligently.  The Labour Party and the Maltese people deserve nothing less.     

Edward Mifsud


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