Pay the piper
Whether they like it or not, and no matter how GonziPN tries to swerve round and round to live on borrowed time, they finally have to face the people’s judgment.
No matter how generous they are during their present mood of electoral bonanza, thankfully the vast majority of people are concerned about bread-and-butter issues: health services, job opportunities, education, the eroding standard of living... And they have the national interest at heart. Wherever you go, people keep expressing their distaste at the way that despite GonziPN does not enjoy parliamentary majority anymore, ignores this reality and persists to proceed as though it is all business as usual.
The Nationalist Party's (PN) parliamentary group has been disintegrating fast, especially over the past year, with constant crossfire and allegations of bullying, cliques, hostages, decadence and a closer circle of people who believe themselves to be greater than anyone and anything. Irrespective of the impression given by GonziPN, the vast majority believes that the situation is untenable and that government should call it a day and go to the polls.
Political dinosaurs that have been roaming the corridors of power for the past decades and who believe that their days will never end have now become a millstone around the Prime Minister’s neck and a liability to GonziPN. Fellow members within the same group who consider themselves as strange bedfellows can no longer endure the fact that unconditionally by their vote they have to support the arrogance and howlers done by particular ministers.
Whoever is close to the people knows quite well that they frankly express their resentment towards arrogance and feel that ultimately they are the ones who are paying the price for incompetence and controversial decisions.
It is becoming clearer day after day that particular elements feel untouchable and roughshod over others and it is as if they presume that no one can stop them. This has become a pattern and through the present legislature, there were ample examples of such brashness. The controversial BWSC heavy fuel power station, the Public Transport reform fiasco, scandals at Transport Malta, the SmartCity Project, the Harbour regeneration project, the €500 weekly honoraria increase and the controversial St John's Co-Cathedral project are but a few.
Within the last year, Parliament has been reduced to a chat show, averting from taking any votes on bills. After the super-extended Easter and summer recesses, Deputy Prime Minister Tonio Borg now has the cheek to lambast the Opposition for hindering the process to discuss long-awaited bills that should be treated with urgency. These bills had been promised a long time ago and now all of a sudden, dictated by convenience, they are pushing these bills forward with urgency. What cheek!
It is worth remembering that Minister Tonio Borg is the same person who earlier on this year requested a ruling by the Speaker to block an amendment moved by the Opposition on its own motion. According to him, this amendment changed the substance of the motion and should therefore be rejected as it goes against House rules and practice.
Eventually, Mr Speaker Michael Frendo ruled that the Opposition could move the amendment. While GonziPN and loyal media gurus keep endlessly claiming that the Opposition has no concrete proposals, at the same time, contradicting this standpoint, they pompously claim that most bills pass unanimously after valid and active contribution of most Opposition members sitting on various parliamentary committees. This is just a soap bubble repeatedly transmitted by GonziPN and its loudspeakers as scaremongers to frighten the electorate into believing that the Opposition has no plans to run the country. Please stop offending people’s intelligence!
A future that unites us
Over the past few years, the Labour Party took the task to earnestly embark on an exercise to formulate concrete proposals to alleviate the standard of living of the Maltese and lay the basis for solid social and economic revival that brings about the prosperity that the whole nation desperately aims at. This is the future that unites us.
No matter how hard they try to prolong this legislature, even on shaky ground and by clinging to power, it is certain that sooner or later they will have to face the test. Then it will be time for them to pay the piper!
Roderick Galdes is the Labour Party Spokesman for Housing, Planning, Urban Development and Construction.