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The loyalty of crooks

Vouchers. Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia is convinced that rather than take responsibility for a series of hapless decisions, she should be somehow lauded for having “pushed” for the Maltese people to be showered with vouchers.

In her world of misplaced vowels, there is an abyss where any sort of sense of responsibility should be. Instead, she appeals to the loyal section of the population – the same section who is still praising disgraced politicians such as Muscat, Mizzi and Schembri. Loyalty, that is, of the worst kind.

Farrugia tries hard to appeal to the partisan divide claiming that calls for her resignation are politically motivated attacks. In doing so she is sending out a distress call to the Party faithful whose blind loyalty allows them to forgive and forget quite quickly.

Even as the nation shot to the top of the worst COVID-19 tables and an impending economic disaster became more of a reality, the Stagno Navarra style stooges of the nation would applaud Farrugia for her role in the showering of taxpayers’ money to remedy her gross error.

Much of what is wrong and festering in our country boils down to the power system that our political class has developed. It is built on a blind loyalty fed by a mass of unquestioning minions.

This loyalty has been allowed to trickle into every level of our social hierarchies as politicians swagger around in power suits and much pomp and circumstance conscious of the fact that little or no substance is needed to convince the masses so long as they hold sway over their loyalty.

The old adage holds true: when an organisation wants you to do right, it asks for your integrity; when it wants you to do wrong, it demands your loyalty.

Prime Minister Abela relies on the loyalty of his Party faithful to prop him up in moments when he is evidently not coping with the decision making required of his office. His contradictory press conferences and appearances on Party TV betray an attempt to please conflicting interests.

His serenading to the faithful based on his being on the side of low-income people is immediately undone by his obvious pandering to the business lobbies. The choices Abela makes have all the characteristics of loyalty-driven politics while the integrity aspect is conspicuous in its absence.

Last week, Edward Scicluna’s performance before the inquiry board put Prince Andrew’s infamous BBC interview to shame. Like Bartolo before him, the Minister displayed the worst traits of blind loyalty – if not to his Party then to his purse – without once showing any signs of integrity.

Loyalty has us by the balls. There are no two ways about this. As story after story is revealed that exposes the extent of corruption in the administration, we can identify the soft underbelly that was wrought by Joseph Muscat in 2013 when he introduced his ‘meritocratic’ concept of governance.

The loyal were rewarded filling every post possible. As public contracts became a matter of distribution of wealth among the most loyal few, the nation was taken for a ride.

The blind loyalty of an Attorney General who never really fulfilled his constitutional role has resulted in uncalculated damage to the very foundations of our system. When, in 2017, as Advocates for the Rule of Law we warned of the dangers to the edifice, long before anyone else had even seen the wave that was coming, we were silenced by the same “loyal” crowds that prop up today’s administration.

Even the battle for leadership of the Nationalist Party risks becoming another fertile ground for the blindly loyal. Delia’s supporters insist that loyalty should trump any move for change. The danger of this kind of loyalty would, in other circumstances, be clear for all to see. Unfortunately, we live in times when the currency of loyalty has totally eclipsed the value of integrity.

I write this article on the 16th of the month, 1,035 days since Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination. Every month, we reiterate our calls for justice. With every day that passes it is becoming abundantly clear that the perverted forms of loyalty that prevail in our nation not only contributed to the atrocious assassination but also continue to serve as obstacles to the obtaining of real justice.

Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. Our class of charlatan exhibitionist politicians holidaying on yachts, Instagramming their gold and signature face masks, lapping the adulation of their loyal crowds on festa day would have absolutely no idea where to begin on that one.

As the lady would say…. bogans… the lot of them.

Follow Jacques René Zammit on his blog J’Accuse.

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