National reconciliation, anyone?

Blaming the voters is one thing a political party should never do. Calling them insulting names is even worse

Adrian Delia at the Occupy Justice rally  in Valletta, on April 30
Adrian Delia at the Occupy Justice rally in Valletta, on April 30

The reaction to Adrian Delia’s presence in the most recent protest organised last Sunday by two pressure groups ‘Occupy Justice” and ‘Awturi’ was an incredible eye-opener.

Apart from being a reflection of the currently fragmented political Opposition, it shows that many of those who are protesting against Joseph Muscat’s government have not grasped the most basic and obvious strategies that could end Muscat’s hold on the majority of the Maltese electorate.

Instead they keep protesting, as they have every right to do. This is a strategy that is simply sterile: it will not produce the desired results with Muscat playing the game of ignoring it or just passing some vague reference to it solely with regards to the Egrant allegation that he keeps on vehemently denying.

The protestors have been dishing out a hotchpotch of negative perceptions, unproved allegations, outright lies and real hard serious facts as if the difference between them does not matter.

It matters.

They should stick to the true hard facts. It is only charlatans who play prosecutor, judge and jury and condemn people just on the basis of negative perceptions and unproved allegations.

It had to be James Debono who, in last Wednesday’s edition of this newspaper, sifted the chaff from the wheat and pointed out the five new facts that have been revealed by the Daphne Project. Again, regurgitated already known stories have been mixed with new revelations: a ploy designed to inflate grieviances that also gives the chance for the Labour media to dismiss all as nothing new.

Labour stalwarts keep on saying that there is no proof of corruption, stupidly believing (or being led to believe) that politicians should resign only if found guilty by some Court of law; without making a difference between poltical responsibility carried by politicians in power and the legal responsibility of every citizen.

The two are completely different.

Unfortunately, seeking justice by using methods that serve only to divide the citizens of this small but proud country has become the order of the day

If this is correct, Charles Mangion should not have resigned from Cabinet in 1997 at the behest of then Prime Minister Alfred Sant. Nor should Michael Falzon have been forced to resign by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat over the Gaffarena-Old Mint Street property scandal. Those were correct political decisions and not legal ones.

Using the same yardstick, Joseph Muscat should have dismissed Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri ages ago; and it is this lack of action on his part that should be a real issue. Muscat has repeatedly failed to justify his lack of action and he is therefore poltically accountable for the resulting current state of things.

Again, there is no perceptible reliable connection between Muscat’s inexcusable and deplorable lack of action in this case and the horrible murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Mixing things up does not help to achieve anything except raising the anger of those in the protesting crowd… until they return home and continue on with their normal everyday life, of course.

The strategy of the protestors does not coincide with the strategy of the party in Opposition, because their aims are different. Ostensibly the five or more protest groups, which have developed from thin air since Daphne’s murder, want justice. The PN wants justice as well, but as a political party it has an overriding aim – that of winning back the support of the majority of the electorate.

Insulting Labour supporters as morons and idiots does not help any poltical party to win their votes. Insulting the PN, or part of the PN, as part of the noble mission of seeking justice, is not on, either. More so, when justice is being sought because of something that did not happen under the PN’s watch.

It is the electorate that has elected Joseph Muscat. It is the majority of the PN’s card carrying members that have elected Adrian Delia. One cannot be all in favour of democracy and the rule of law except when the systems based on these tenets do not give the desired results.

Blaming the voters is one thing a political party should never do. Calling them insulting names is even worse. Acting as if one is part of some restricted super intelligent elite – while the rest are the great unwashed – goes against all notions of democracy, where everyone has the same rights.

This does not mean that voters never make mistakes or are never hoodwinked – ‘vox populi, vox dei’ is not one of my favourite Roman adages.

Seeking justice is a noble ideal. Seeking national reconciliation in these most troubled of times should also be a noble ideal, but no one seems to be working on this one.

Unfortunately, seeking justice by using methods that serve only to divide the citizens of this small but proud country has become the order of the day.

National reconciliation, anyone?

Housing… ah housing!

Speaking during the traditional Labour Party Meeting on May 1, the Prime Minister last Tuesday announced a €50 million social housing project. This is to be financed from the fund created by the proceeds of The Individual Investor Programme, otherwise known as the passport sale scheme.

In Malta housing has been an issue since time immemorial.

We are still suffering the effects of the housing crisis after World War II that led to a law that completely disregarded the rights of owners. This law is no longer in the statute book, but its effects are still being felt, especially in cases where rents were established when it was in force.

Different governments have spent millions on housing units, but the need for social housing has remained with us. Some attribute this to the situation where the notion that supply is for free creates an infinite demand. There is some truth in this, but the reality is far more complex.

I felt the Prime Minister struck the right note when he spoke about housing. He touched on the points to be tackled: regulating – but not controlling – the private housing market; providing social housing for those who really need it; curbing abuses in social housing; as well as ensuring that when people move socially upwards, their subsidised rent is reviewed.

All good intentions of course…

…until an election comes around and housing becomes again part of the political favours (‘pjaciri’) circus.


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