I chose to write this piece, in reaction to a blog post written by John Baldacchino who said he refuses to jump onto the bandwagon criticising Joseph Muscat, given that so far the Egrant issue is still an unproven allegation.
Like Prof. Baldacchino my perspective too, is securely on what he calls the “Left of politics” and least, this is what I think about myself.
I have voted PN only once, in 2003, when Malta's membership of the EU was at stake. A train of thought, which has plagued leftist intellectuals like Prof. Baldacchino is the assertion that they can never vote Nationalist because "they are regarded as being on the opposite end of the political spectrum".
This assertion is borne only by prejudice, because today both major parties are ideologically very close to each other and Labour’s closeness to big business (for Malta read the construction industry) together with its more blasé (to say the least) attitude towards development planning makes it very difficult to decide who is to the left of whom.
The fact that a party calls itself the ‘Labour Party’ does not automatically mean it behaves as a leftist party and it make more sense to judge a party by its behaviour.
He chose to strike a parallel between Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment and Joseph Muscat and the Egrant allegations. This parallel, however, has one serious weakness; Rousseff was impeached by the Brazilian senate and was orchestrated by the opposition.
Normality comes at a price, and that price is voting Nationalist. It is admittedly a hefty price for me, however, I am prepared to pay it to rid the country of all this sleaze
Dr Muscat did not lose a confidence motion in parliament, on the contrary, he still enjoyed a comfortable majority, there was no coup orchestrated by the opposition, but it was he himself, who called for an early election within the shortest possible timeframe allowed by the constitution and as soon as it was known that the “whistleblower” intended to testify in front of the inquiring magistrate.
He could have serenely allowed the magistrate to conclude his inquiry, keep on governing and claim moral high ground. Once the inquiry shows there is absolutely no connection between Muscat and Egrant, probably this would have meant that we would have won the election in 2018, hands down.
Newspapers like The Guardian commented that in Rousseff's case, corruption allegations were more of a pretext and the real reasons for her impeachment were more political.
Dr Muscat’s four years in office were tarnished with an incredible succession of scandals which belie his progressive credentials. From the scandalous IIP scheme to the Gaffarena scandal to Panama Papers not to mention a number of public contracts still shrouded in absolute secrecy I would have to sift through probably more than 25 years of Nationalist governments to come up with an equivalent list of scandals.
When one looks at the deals signed with governments having absolutely no respect for human rights, to the looting of the natural environment to the collusion with big business one has to come to the conclusion that civil rights aside, there is absolutely nothing left-wing with Muscat's Labour Party.
Without jumping on any bandwagon, one has to vote Muscat out even if it means electing Busuttil. One should prepare to up the ante and mobilise to counteract any of Busuttil’s unsustainable policies, but for the time being, the country needs to get rid of a person who is unfit for office to gain some semblance of “normality”. Normality comes at a price, and that price is voting Nationalist. It is admittedly a hefty price for me, however, I am prepared to pay it to rid the country of all this sleaze.
Saturday’s election is a crucial juncture in our history, we are either going to try to ensure that the country works to reform itself and become a modern European, liberal democracy or else choosing not to “jump on the bandwagon” as Prof. Baldacchino put it, and as a consequence slide down the slippery slope of becoming a banana republic, with all the repercussions this entails.
Ultimately the electorate decides.