Roberta Metsola | Standing proud, but not alone

The upcoming elections provide us with a golden opportunity to send the strong message that we are not at all happy with the way the country is being run

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Sette Giugno and the events that led to the restoration of our Parliamentary system. Unlike Minister Konrad Mizzi, I do not claim to have first-hand memories of the 1919 riots, but history shows us that it was the Nationalist Party that was the prime mover then and was once again forty-five years later, when we achieved our Independence in 1964.

In 1974, the Nationalist Opposition, in its absolute majority, supported the setting-up of our Republic, and in more recent history, we steered the nation to its rightful place at the European Union table. Our current naysayer Prime Minister has acknowledged the correctness of our positions, albeit belatedly, and now pays tribute to the Sette Giugno uprisings, to our Independence and to our EU membership. It is a pity that his epiphanies always come with hindsight, and he only sees the light when he looks in the rear-view mirror of time, even though some might argue that it is better late than never.  

That could be the case were it not that his foresight, unlike his hindsight, is so crooked. We, on the other hand, look at the future, and always judge carefully what impact present actions may have on future generations. The goose is being sacrificed for all its golden eggs at one go, for the benefit of the few, at the expense of the many.

All this has become possible because the Labour Party in government has politicised national institutions. The role of these institutions was to provide a counter-balance to political power, and this was achieved by having appointees who were not controlled by party political strings. Unfortunately, and sadly, this policy was thrown out of the window, and the order of the day has become political lackeys being appointed to serve as a pretend check and balance on their political masters, while those who still do their job properly are often arrogantly ignored.   

One institution that is out of the control of Joseph Muscat’s Labour Party is the Opposition. The Opposition, which today is the Nationalist Party, has a crucial role to play. It has proven to be a thorn in the side of those who consider the country to be them and theirs, a far cry from the Tagħna Lkoll whitewash.  

The Opposition has to represent and defend the Maltese and Gozitan people against those who threaten their livelihood, their environment, their health and their future, even if these threats happen to come from those who are squatting in the seats of power. This defence needs to be carried out in all fora, and it is what is happening.

It comes as no surprise then that Joseph Muscat’s Labour, knowing that the Nationalist Party is an institution beyond their reach, spare no expense and effort in attacking, undermining and trying to subvert all of us in the Nationalist Party who have the gumption to stand up to them and to expose their wrong-doing for what it is. Take the big issue they kicked up over the misplacement of the għ on a billboard – it is almost as if they wanted to hide that we can definitely read proof of the corruption that has plagued our country since 2013. It is then without any shame that Labour, their exponents and their trolls keep pointing at any speck of dust in our eye, (our għ in Maltese), while conveniently ignoring the beam in their eye, which they flash in our face with impunity.  

And there we need to be careful not to fall prey to this Machiavellian strategy of deflecting away from the blatant wrongdoing at the Castille epicentre. We should always strive to be better, but we must never allow ourselves to think that bad is better than good, just because the good could be better proofread.

The Nationalist Opposition stands proud in the face of all this, but is not alone. We are supported and encouraged, even if not directly, by all those who are making their voices heard – against the lack of justice, against social injustice, against the rape of our countryside, against institutionalised corruption and corrupted institutions, and against so many other matters that impact negatively on the daily lives of our citizens.  

These voices, getting ever louder and more numerous, fuel our determination to be the one institution that truly represents the interests of the people wherever it is needed, domestically or abroad. You can only pull wool over people’s eyes for so long, but not for long.

The upcoming elections provide us with a golden opportunity to send the strong message that we are not at all happy with the way the country is being run. We need the right people in all local councils, and in both the Maltese and the European Parliaments, who will remain loyal to the people they represent and their principles, and not allow Joseph Muscat and his merry men to simply ride roughshod over us and what we stand for. The best way that we can show this is by voting for the Nationalist Party candidates of your choice at both local and European levels.

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