Gonzi oozing arrogance
There were somewhat contrasting descriptions of the EU funding deal secured for Malta (subject to EU parliamentary approval). The Prime Minister spoke in absolute terms and preened his tired wings once he left the negotiation table, the last one to do so, we were told rather dramatically.
In contrast, the official who heads Malta’s representation in the EU Commission, had a different nuance to describe the deal.
“It was not the budget we wanted,” he said more broadly. “We wanted more investment in economic growth initiatives, although several innovative proposals made it through,” he said (The Sunday Times, February 10).
There is also some uncertainty about what funds would be available for the Malta-Sicily gas pipeline during the underlying budget period, 2014-2200. More details will be unravelled in due course but give credit where credit is due.
The Prime Minister and his team, which included Richard Cachia Caruana in an advisory capacity, were faced with the strong threat of bringing home the news that the financial allocation had been drastically reduced below the current one to under €700 million. Instead, the amount agreed at this stage approximates €1.3 billion.
There will be political reconstruction in Malta about the meaning of the amount. But it is easy to understand why the Prime Minister was so pleased with his team’s handiwork.
The coming seven years are crucial to Malta in terms of overall spending and the chunk provided for a number of projects by the EU. That applies whoever will be in government, which might change by the time the European Parliament gets through mauling the deal struck by the heads of States and of government.
Yet, it will be Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi who fathered Malta’s deal.
Bully for him, even if not without a little help from his colleagues. That is where the positiveness stops. For, hardly back in Malta, Gonzi once again demonstrated how arrogance seems to have taken over his whole psyche. It simply consumes him.
The Labour Party would make a mess of the €1.28 billion of EU funds, which Malta secured until 2020, and cannot be trusted with managing the amount, he said on Saturday. Whom will you trust to manage these funds? “They (Labour) will surely make a mess of the EU funds,” stressed Gonzi during an interview on his party’s radio.
This is an obnoxious attitude which goes way beyond the usual cut and trust of politics. It shows a Gonzi piling himself under a mountain of hubris, forgetting that self praise is no recommendation and that pride precedes the fall.
Worse than that, he displays disturbing psychological traits with his growing me-ism, so steadfast in his belief that he is the irreplaceable salt of the earth.
To be proud of one’s achievement is natural enough. To insist that they are beyond anybody else’s reach is sheer uppity, which does not become a man who, in addition to leading his partisans, also leads the nation.
This attitude is spreading through the top echelons of the Nationalist Party and will reach a crescendo by the election date in a few weeks’ time. It demonstrates that too long a time in office leads to ugly arrogance and kills the degree of humility that all leaders must possess if they are to lead well.
Gonzi, with ‘arrogance’ blazoned on his body, no longer knows what basic humility means. He would do well to remember that no man achieves without becoming perfect.
His record, which includes a lot of pluses, also contains enough negatives to demonstrate that. To be confident is one thing. To ooze arrogance is something else.