Malta is facing a serious political crisis and it seems to be progressively getting worse. The ability to decently and competently govern ourselves is in doubt. Citizens are starting to feel the negative effects of a devious and disastrous quick-fix economic model.
An already crowded island has been misled to accept, and depend on, thousands of third country nationals. Very harmful unsustainable construction activity has become a primary motor of the economy. Furthermore, these two phenomena, immigration and construction, have not been accompanied by adequate infrastructure investment.
We have a Labour Party immersed in corruption allegations vigorously engaging in a continuous exercise of democracy and rule of law bashing. Socially and economically, the Labour Party has placed Malta under a destructive siege. Is the extensive damage being caused beyond repair?
In the middle of this crisis the Nationalist Party is relatively dormant. Seemingly unable to move out of its lethargic state to start behaving as an effective opposition, the party is gravely failing Malta. In opposition it should also be projecting itself as a credible alternative clean and competent government. Somehow, up to now, it has not managed to do so. Many are not seeing a way out of this impasse.
The Labour Party has escalated corruption to unbelievable levels. Thousands of citizens are feeling lost and disoriented. Are we hopelessly corrupt, beyond redemption? In Malta, we have seen an incredible proliferation of a ‘votes/fake disability’ benefits racket, involving hundreds of citizens and running into millions of euros. In Gozo, we periodically get reminded that there are hundreds of ‘no work’ paid government jobs.
Apparently, the ‘votes/fake disability’ scam progressed and grew under the nose of a committee made up of supposedly professionally competent officials. Apparently, in Gozo no responsible person in authority can be bothered about ‘no work’ paid jobs.
It seems thousands of citizens refuse to accept that stealing government funds, honest taxpayer money, is a crime and a sin. Prevalently it is journalists who denounce and alert us to such crimes. There are occasions when prominent citizens of integrity do publicly condemn this widespread abuse.
Praise to the conscientious Gozo Bishop Anton Teuma who, unafraid, fulfills his pastoral duties and, among other issues, raises the matter of tax money being stolen through disgusting ‘no work’ government jobs. Unfortunately, there seems to be a social backlash against this bishop but I am sure Gozo’s Cardinal Mario Grech will forcefully come out in public to support him.
The next election might fatally and irrevocably seal Malta’s dire fate- Arthur Muscat
Is there a way out of this mess we are in? In a democracy, political parties rise, decline, evolve and change. To perhaps reform and redeem itself, the Labour Party desperately needs a long stay in opposition. Unavoidably, in the immediate short run, the only hope for Malta can solely come from a reformed and re-invigorated Nationalist Party. There does not seem to be any other viable option.
The Nationalist Party will progress were its leader to be bolder, backed by a united team of loyal, trustworthy and capable colleagues. The leader must turn internal contrasting views into constructive debates and not disloyal destructive divisions.
Dare we believe that the party’s financial meltdown is also due to a refusal by big business and developers to give donations? Should the Nationalists promise implementation of a plan for strict State funding of political parties? Should the party strive to attract a young, future-oriented generation by refreshing its image, changing its aged and obsolete emblem and anthem?
Decades ago, Italian Communists appeared set to overtake the worn out Christian Democrats, to become the leading political party with a right to form a government. Very alarmed, journalist Indro Montanelli pleaded with an ever-widening band of floating voters to pinch their nose and much reluctantly vote Christian Democrat.
The next election, whenever it will occur, might fatally and irrevocably seal Malta’s dire fate.
Should Montanelli’s advice be taken up by local objective floating voters? After all, such voters, although not necessarily convinced about the Nationalist Party’s ability to decently govern, must be absolutely disgusted with the condemnable misbehavior of Joseph Muscat’s and Robert Abela’s Labour Party.
Arthur Muscat is a human resources and industrial relations specialist.