The proof of the pudding
The pudding presented to us by Muscat and his Labour Party during the election campaign was an attractive one and appeared very tasty indeed. The vast majority of the electorate were enticed by it and wanted a bite. The pudding is now in place and we all have to eat it, having backed Labour or not. We have already taken a bite or two but, unfortunately, it already seems a little rancid.
The pudding came in the form of Malta Tagħna Lkoll but do we have evidence that it belongs to all of us during the first few weeks of Muscat’s premiership? That is for all to judge. And this reminds me of Dom Mintoff’s famous “kejk nazzjonali”; but not all were allowed to share that ‘national cake’. Many were left out of the tea party. But let’s be positive. I remember, way back in 1971 when Mintoff was elected and many of us youths were terrified, being told by some of our elders to give him a chance. I wasn’t prepared to do that but then I had no choice. In 1996, ironically it was I who was asking others to give Alfred Sant a chance (and he did seem to be implementing the slogan Malta Tagħna Lkoll). Look where Mintoff and Sant got us!
As we say, ‘third time lucky’ and I wish our new Government well, for selfish reasons, of course. Selfish in the sense that it is our Government (and if ever there was a mandate it is this time round) and my Government of course. If the Government is successful, then Malta is successful and you and I are successful. Good luck.
The Government has hit the ground running, as expected. But one slows down after a certain distance of running.
We speak of ‘the first 100 days’ or the ‘honeymoon period’. The honeymoon will be over long before one can imagine and the 100 days have been cut down by some 35 per cent.
Many decisions, particularly where it concerned official appointments, have been largely drastic, and I am sure there may be many such like yet to come.
Another thing. It is useless (though convenient) to blame the previous government for everything. Just get on with your own business.
And a piece of advice to the outgoing Government members. Do not react. Concentrate your efforts on reforming and rebuilding your party.
Which brings us to the PN leadership contest. There is an interesting mix of four candidates. Firstly, we have a deputy leader and formidable ex-MEP; secondly, we have a former minister, with a good track record in Government; we have a veteran politician, MP for some 25 years, I believe, and ex-minister with a myriad of portfolios.
We then have a businessman, who is new to politics but brings an interesting breath of fresh air to the race – a technocrat, shall we say.
It is a pity that we do not have a female contestant. I could think of a couple of women candidates, not least those who made it to Parliament and have served the PN in the highest of roles.
What has bothered me tremendously, however, and I had also written about this during the Labour Party leadership contest, is the fact that the ‘electorate’ is limited to members of the party’s general council, which are only some 900-odd. To me, this is truly undemocratic.
These councillors are members of the party’s sectional committees, where I was involved in St Julian’s many moons ago, until1982. Many of them, and I do not want to be offensive in any way, but this is the truth, are just stooges placed there or at least pushed in by particular MPs or candidates. This is parochialism not democracy.
I remember the times when the PN would hold a congress and, if I recall correctly, the last one was held at the then Plaza Cinema in Bisazza Street.
The congress comprised all paid-up party members. That is the democratic way to do things. But I think I have made my point and I hope that this will be seriously considered (not this time round, of course – it is too late now).
A final point. The Government has created loads of new portfolios, which may be discussed and debated.
I was so happy with the one specifically for animal welfare. I believe that was such a wise move.
I have been writing about cruelty to animals for many years. Unfortunately, we are a heartless race when it comes to animals.
But we have already improved tremendously. I must give credit to former minister George Pullicino and his team for doing a tremendous amount of work in favour of our animals.
I wish success to Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes in this regard.