Just let it be

The removal of the ‘three billboards’ was petty, considering that so many billboards, originally illegal, have now been ‘legalised’ and accepted

One can fully understand why people gather to pay homage to Daphne Caruana Galizia in spite of her having been a very divisive personality, perhaps more disliked than liked in this country. It is unthinkable that a person revered by a sizeable number of people, would not remain a reference point after having been brutally murdered. I can even understand that the need to create a monument or memorial to commemorate her life is more than justified.

This is already a nation that has a fetish for monuments as memorials; we have one for every politician and individual whether they were liked, despised, adored or hated. Personally I find monuments outlandish and anachronistic, but most people do not. 

We are a country so politically divided that we do not have one national day, but five. We have monuments for all our political leaders, personalities or political martyrs. To keep the peace, we embrace everyone and we try to keep everyone content with faux tolerance.

That people gather and participate in vigils is not up for discussion and should never be.

And although the suggestion that Daphne suffered the hatemongering of others is rich, we should accept this observation like any other. Even if we know that no one stooped as low as Caruana Galizia in her unnecessary depiction of class and her hitting out at the persona of so many private people, we must accept the fact that everyone has the right to moralise on her life or lionise her.

There is little doubt in my mind that she served as a font of opinionated ‘truth’ for those of her readers who felt they needed her style of reportage – even that which was based on unconfirmed evidence or simple gossip. She was a permanent thorn in the Labour Party’s side and that of its leadership. But it did not stop there. Unbeknown to many of her steadfast followers, she also chose her targets judiciously and there is quite enough evidence that she did this not because of some principled dictum.

I have my own convictions on the circumstances surrounding this brutal murder, which is probably a far cry from what some individuals have speculated about.

But what happened when Caruana Galizia was murdered was an abnormal episode in our history.  I disagreed with her and though I found her writings repulsive, I could live with her and chose to do what most sane people did: not read her. But her murder erases all that: it changes the way we look at things and it calls for some humility and tolerance for the anger that so many people feel.

It also calls for a change in our attitudes and from what I can see things are not going to change.

However we cannot stand in the way of public outrage at her death.

The removal of the ‘three billboards’ was petty, considering that so many billboards, originally illegal, have now been ‘legalised’ and accepted – including those that serve as a serious threat to safe driving and others that are a bloody eyesore on the few panoramic roads left on the Island.

***

In normal circumstances next March would mark the end of a five-year government. As everyone knows the election took place last year in June.

The word out there is that Muscat will leave after the European parliamentary election which will take place in 2019.

Last weekend Muscat said, for yet another time, that he would not contest the next election.  He said that he had made this very clear from the first days he started his political career. But what he did not say is that his idea of two legislatures will turn out to be six years not ten years.

Politics is not all about him, it is also about other things. As I see it, his departure could signal the demise of the New Labour that he conceived. Now at face value there is nothing exceptional about New Labour other than the very important aspect that no matter what his opponents say, New Labour has laid down an equal playing field for business, irrespective of the colour of one’s politics, and it has introduced reforms in the social field that the PN would never have dreamt of. Muscat’s New Labour also put an end to the stuffiness of 25 years of one government. In a normal democracy, alternating power is healthy.

On many other issues such as the PL’s stand on certain aspects of the economy, environment and transparency, Muscat is significantly right wing and not at all left wing. 

But the flipside to all this is the election of the garrulous Adrian Delia, a man who, let’s face it, does not stand for very much. If anything is to be made out of him, the clear point is that he wants to be a Joseph Muscat, in practically everything: glamour, smiles and style. 

But the problem is that Delia has little new to offer so far, other than a return to the hegemony of the Nationalist Party and an opportunity to dish out jobs for the boys like all political parties in power naturally do.

In normal circumstances, the Labour Party should govern for ten years and that would be a fair period against the 25 years of PN government.

This country deserves political leaders who have vision. However Delia offers no alternative as on so many issues he has similar stances to Muscat: high-rise buildings, hunting, business and politics, using subsidiary companies to finance political parties and the obsession with putting family before everything.

One could perhaps argue that he could be the front for checks and balances on the Muscat administration, on governance issues such as the Vitals scandal. Probably the media can do a better job.

I asked Delia last week whether he denied receiving funds from big business and his replies were evasive, to say the least. In another country he would be nailed for it is unclear how the salaries of his party are being financed. But here in Malta, no one gets nailed.

So, if the idea is that to rid Malta of Labour or Muscat, the solution is to elect a guy called Adrian Delia, the argument for that still has to be supported by some more convincing ideas.

More in Blogs