All the symptoms of hubris

Hubris often means extreme pride or arrogance. It dates back to ancient Greece, particularly when in Sophocles’s Antigone, Creon refused to bury Polynices.

... the Nationalist Party... has long been dead in its traditional form
- Leo Brincat

But in the majority of cases it also indicates a loss of contact with reality and an over estimation of one or an administration’s own competence or capabilities, especially when the person/s exhibiting it is in a position of power.

While GonziPN struggles hard to get real, begin to smell the coffee and face the inevitable that everyone happens to be talking about, there can be no more appropriate and fitting word for the present administration.

It says much about its style of governing ever since elected in 2008.

The argument that regardless of any internal strife and self-inflicted injuries, this government has a mandate to govern for five whole years and should thus push on regardless, is facile and over simplistic. It is also self-centered and egoistic.

It continues to show a total disregard for public opinion – even of elements in its own ranks.

It is not an everyday occurrence that practically all editorialists – except for the customary bloggers – have been in unison as they were in the past weeks, sighing with almost relief, that at long last, an election is in sight. Particularly since, to quote a non-PL leaning newspaper’s editorial, “the issue has been festering under the nation’s collective skin for over six months now.”

Not only were many government strategic decisions taken wrongly but they were evidently solely poll driven. They were decisions taken in the hope of political rather than economic recovery or survival.

If the recession has not hit us as hard as it might have done in other eurozone countries, this is even more reason why the government should have long grabbed the bull by the horns, to ensure that a bad economic situation will not get worse as a result of the political stalemate that GonziPN could have easily long avoided.

GonziPN’s biggest mistake was that it always tried to tackle what was basically a parliamentary group problem as a purely internal party issue. The shambolic antics we have recently experienced are a consequence of, rather than a hindrance to GonziPN’s style of governing. Most of the injuries sustained by the Administration have been self-inflicted.

With the benefit of hindsight it is easy to establish that all that has been brewing has distant roots. If GonziPN realised this and chose to push ahead regardless, then this showed sheer political insensitivity. If, on the other hand, it genuinely failed to read the writing on the wall, then the situation was even worse, since it meant only one thing: that its detachment from reality was far more alarming than our worst suspicions.

Notwithstanding much of the lip service that it has paid to such worthy causes as the IVF issue, the Whistleblower Act, the Freedom of Information Act, political party funding, gay rights, digital rights, etc., the fact that the government has repeatedly kept them on the back burner until the very end of this legislature says much about its wrong priorities and its state of limbo.

GonziPN’s inherent political weakness was betrayed further by statements and stances that veered from the arrogant and the aggressive to what can best be described as sheepish, almost conciliatory retractions. This was an embodiment of the paralysis that has long been afflicting the government at all levels and reinforces the view that the main problem lies neither with the media nor the Opposition but rather with the government itself.

I have often been critical of the administrations of Eddie Fenech Adami but I am more than convinced that the Nationalist Party would have never ended up in this mess during his various terms of office.

The problem is that although I am writing at a time when GonziPN is virtually dead (politically), the Nationalist Party many cherished, supported and militated in over the years has long been dead in its traditional form. I has been “killed” and buried by GonziPN itself, as one was coerced into morphing into the other.

History has a tendency of repeating itself and any government that shows an inability to resolve its own internal feuds automatically loses its right to govern. People are reluctant to hedge their bets on a government in meltdown.

I can understand that GonziPN must have felt very frustrated these past months. But I am sure the electorate itself has felt far, far more frustrated than it did, regardless of its political hues and orientation.

We have been arguing against the grain that the entire country has been hamstrung since before the end of last year. Proof of how right we were was given by Parliament’s avoidance of taking any votes that mattered at all.

The country urgently needs the power of positive thinking and a forward looking administration unless it intends to keep on courting defeat and political logjam.

It is ironic that while the PL has continued to grow from a political party into a Movement, GonziPN continues to shrink into a tribal clan where clinging to power at all costs remains the order of the day. Meanwhile the whole of Malta continues to suffer.

We seem to have reached a fever pitch far stronger than that experienced through the recent Euro 2012 finals or the heat wave that took southern Europe (and Malta itself) by storm.

This article was written prior to yesterday’s crucial PN executive meeting.

[email protected]

The author is opposition spokesman for the environment, sustainable development and climate change.


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