Dear Joseph and Simon, there must be another way than this diehard rule, all or nothing, winner takes all, style of politics. People are exhausted by the news and the gladiatorial style of combat, which never seems to let up.
Here are four suggestions that you can both easily agree on and which are needed to ensure we do not lose the positive democratic development we have experienced since Independence.
The first suggestion is to nurture critics within political parties or movements as well as independent commentators. Where are the vocal auto critics within political parties today? It is staggering that the PL has nobody criticising it from within and the same is true of the PN.
These critics who say what people are really saying help you to stay in power, or in opposition with dignity. Nobody believes a party is in a healthy democratic state if everyone continually agrees with what the leader says. Those who are currently critical should be viewed constructively. It is clear they are not.
The second suggestion in view of the current battle on corruption is simpler to achieve. All instructions which involve the disposal or acquisition of public sector land or public sector money must be in writing and not removable so that the NAO or others will find the true trail of events. There may even be a case for recording such deal making.
This applies to all, from ministers who instruct a chairman or a head of department or any manager to his clerks. This should apply to the whole civil service, to Malta’s in reality non-independent authorities, as well as entities where governments have so much influence and which have been in the news of late.
Cowards and corrupt “collusionists” have, since the 1970s at least, hidden behind the system to get what they want. Civil servants and others feel they have to obey. This has to stop by whoever is in government. Unions should back this too.
For the Gaffarena case and all past cases not to happen again requires more than Robert Musumeci working out a formula to value government land. Or a political leader promising to do things differently. We are promised change at every election and really not enough changes. Those who know how to use the system beat us and leaders with good intentions every time.
PL people who have never had it so good are riding roughshod over genuine PL and PN and independent people
We are still not clear even after the NAO report who ordered who to do what. What is certain is that these forms of collusion require many people to follow verbal orders. People will not go along with dubious verbal orders if they know they have the right to receive instructions in writing.
I am sure I am not the only chairperson to have asked for an instruction which bothered me in writing, only for that verbal instruction to disappear, and then of course for me to be paid back for refusing to do the wrong thing in another way by some politicians who are expert in the abuse of power.
Now Beppe Fenech Adami was the first to say this is the most corrupt government ever. I don’t possess his particular partisan corruption weighing scales, but we all know that both sides have been racked by corruption, proven in our courts or not.People are not fools and both political parties need to respect our intelligence far more.
Which brings me to the third suggestion if we truly want some credibility restored to our political system. Stop taking money from businesses who then demand their pound of flesh post-election.
Both leaders must meet and find another way to fund political parties and keep it honest and simple. We absolutely do not want parties to be supermarkets where businesses shop from you. Let businesses conduct their business honestly and with integrity and give them all a level playing field. The better elements of Malta and Gozo’s business class do not want to waste their money on political parties, or individuals with the right contacts in certain departments, and they will stop building these supermarkets cum political parties pretty quick.
The ones who want to bribe to get what they want are not worth either of the political parties knowing. Cut them off.
Fourthly and most importantly, political parties are there to serve us and not bully us into submission. Too many good people keep well away, or resign from certain boards and other positions either because they do not wish to be bullied or because the price you have to pay if you are not a dumb partisan gladiator is really too much to bear.
The PN was partly destroyed by PN people harming other PN people. It has not yet apologised for this. Now too some PL people who have never had it so good are riding roughshod over genuine PL and PN and independent people. Sharks whether blue or red as we all know well have exactly the same bite. Malta’s future may be rosy or it may be tested in the years to come. Whatever the case we need to be united on truly good governance to have the best chance of withstanding the forces of evil now uncomfortably close to Europe’s shores.
The forces of evil thrive where corruption thrives, make no mistake.
Marisa Micallef was Malta’s former ambassador to the US and high commissioner to Canada.
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