Gonzi getting HIGH and mighty over cannabis is a tactical error par excellence

The Skinny | No 118 – Gonzi vs Ganja

The sun does take long to set sometimes, does it not?
The sun does take long to set sometimes, does it not?

What are we skinning? Former prime minister and PN leader Lawrence Gonzi coming out of the political woodwork to state that the PN should repeal the freshly-minted cannabis law should it ever come back into power.

Why are we skinning it? Gonzi breaking his political silence to comment on cannabis, of all things, feels like a very telling usage of his prime ministerial legacy.

He is allowed to say whatever he likes, surely? Well, Gonzi was at the helm of the PN when that party was clutching hard onto Malta’s then still-extant censorship and obscenity laws, so the ‘freedom of speech’ metric is a bit jarring on the face of it… but yes, Lawrence Gonzi is certainly free to express his opinion on whatever subject he deems fit.

That includes the cannabis law. Yes.

So? Out of all the things he could have cast his hat back in the ring over – rampant overdevelopment, corruption and favouritism, Ian Borg’s tree-massacre and pointless road-opening launch event fetish – he chooses to stick his neck out over a law whose ultimate aim would be to spare people prison time and a compromised professional future over the possession and consumption of a few grams of weed.

Fair, but weren’t all of the other things you’ve mentioned a staple of the PN government? That’s true, in a sense. But hypocritical sanctimoniousness was also always part and parcel of the PN brand. So a fresh dash of hypocrisy would hardly have made all that huge a dent at this point.

Why do you think it’s weed that’s triggered Gonzi in the first place? Far be it from me to psychoanalyse the man at a distance: I don’t know the man, and I’m hardly an expert in the field…

Hmph. That hasn’t stopped you - or any of your journalist colleagues – from doing exactly the same thing in the past… I’ll admit that you’re right on that one. So, to answer your question–

I mean I don’t feel THAT strongly about knowing the inner recesses of Gonzi’s consciousness, but if you DO want to take a stab at it… It would be awkward for me not to, at this point. But tell me, what’s YOUR take?

I just think he doesn’t like drugs very much because he’s a good boy and he always does what he’s told and reacts on the basis of what he’s been taught. That’s pretty much where I’m coming from, too, but I’d qualify it further by digging into the ideological undercurrents and implications of what you’re saying.

Do go on… Well, Gonzi is one of the many scions of Catholic Malta. The mystical belief that all wrongs will be righted, and that the country will be put on the path to righteousness, if we maintain Catholicism as our True North at all times.

Worked really well for him during the divorce campaign. Yes, it really didn’t. But old habits die hard, it seems.

This puts Bernard in quite the pickle. Like all monotheistic religions, Catholicism gets plenty of mileage out of the patriarchal order and its assertion of a masculine Big Daddy to run the show.

So you expect some drama to unfold out of all of this? Sadly, the PN is in such a state at the moment that even inter-generational leader drama appears to be off the menu. Bernard’s been appeasing when we could have had a clash of the titans…

Damn, I feel robbed of an early Christmas gift. Same here, man, same here.

Do say: “While Lawrence Gonzi is certainly free to speak at liberty against whichever law or political development he deems fit, picking on cannabis now recalls his disastrous opposition of the divorce law, reminding us of the PN’s propensity to valorise sanctimonious ideological positions over concrete realities.”

Don’t say: “Gonzi getting HIGH and mighty over this is a tactical error par excellence. Chances are that the PN would have remained in power if half the population was even mildly stoned during the 2013 election period.”