For those of us who still believed in a renaissance of the Labour Party and trusted the goodwill of Prime Minister and Labour leader Robert Abela, recent developments in the Labour fold have been nothing less than a brutal slap in the face.

Rehabilitating politicians who have all seriously erred while in office is simply not on, in a democracy.

Abela seems to have forgotten that politicians holding public office should serve as role models for all, especially our younger generations.

The serious mistakes committed by Labour politicians Joseph Muscat, Rosianne Cutajar and Justyne Caruana while in office should have disqualified them from eligibility for public office for life. Instead, we have witnessed their total rehabilitation, with the politicians being given carte blanche by the prime minister to return to public life.

Abela has always boasted about the high ethical standards he has set for his team of politicians and that is why we have given him our confidence and trusted in his goodwill.

Now, suddenly, he has destroyed all this by bowing to the pressure of an electorally influential hardcore of supporters.

This begs the question: Who are these hardcore supporters and how large in number are they? Given the many years I served in the Labour Party, and, therefore, relying on my own political experience, I would estimate that their number today would not exceed 10,000 persons.

According to data provided by the Electoral Commission, there were 355,075 registered voters for the general election of 2022. This serves to put the political strength of the Labour hardcore in its proper perspective.

In other words, the hardcore constitutes a minority of Labour supporters given that, again according to the Electoral Commission, 162,707 voted Labour in 2022.

However, what is crucial in this argument is the fact that, with voter abstentions always increasing, Abela must have reasoned that he could not afford to risk losing a substantial number of hardcore votes at the European Parliament elections scheduled for June 8.

In other words, to appease a minority of hardcore Labour voters whose votes could be decisive on June 8, especially regarding the number of seats won by the contesting political parties, Abela has decided to politically rehabilitate the still-popular Muscat, Cutajar and Caruana in order not to lose the votes of hardcore supporters who used to vote for them.

In other words, Abela has put political expediency before good governance, ethical correctness and political accountability.

This is tragic for Malta because he is bowing to the pressure of a minority and totally ignoring how the majority of Labour supporters feel about such an important issue. Furthermore, one also must mention that hardcore supporters are the worst kind of political supporters imaginable. They are usually the least educated, most fanatical, most lacking in media literacy and the most easily influenced by biased political propaganda.

How can one, with a clear conscience, vote Labour?- Desmond Zammit Marmarà

“I cannot ignore the people,” Muscat is on record as saying. Excuse me, but who are the people Muscat is referring to?

The truth is that the vast majority of the Maltese people, including the majority of Labourites, do not want him back. It’s only the minority of Labour hardcore supporters who want him back. Abela is now staking the future of Malta on the wishes and desires of the most fanatical, most unreasoning faction of Labour supporters. God help our country.

I do hope that Abela realises what his misguided decision to welcome back errant politicians means for those of us who desire to see a more ethically correct system of governance under Labour.

He has dashed our last hopes that the Labour Party in government can change and eventually become the government we all yearn for: a government whose members adhere to the highest standards of ethical behaviour and who view public office as an opportunity to serve others and not an opportunity to make hay while the sun shines, not an opportunity for “pigging out”.

Finally, one word of friendly warning to the prime minister: after this disastrous decision on your part, have you stopped to consider the fact that you stand to definitely lose the votes of a substantial number of moderate Labourites come June 8, as well as those of many floating voters?

As things stand, I, for one, will find it impossible to vote Labour at the European Parliament and local council elections.

How can one, with a clear conscience, vote Labour when this has now come to mean accepting that unethical behaviour, as well as corruption on one’s watch, are minor issues for which one pays only a small political price and which can be conveniently forgiven and forgotten with the passage of a short period of time?

Not in my name.

Desmond Zammit Marmarà is a former Labour Party councillor and activist.

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