The Easter period seems to have brought with it a conscience to some of the outer fringes of a Labour Party in denial. Former President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca called for the PL to apologise “to all those who genuinely believed in its moral credentials and supported it, and to all the people of these islands”. A question one might genuinely ask is what moral credentials did the Labour Party still have.
Labour’s problem, it would seem, is a tendency to be “mesmerised by any business that comes along”, which would be quite par for the course given recent revelations about Robert Abela’s motley crew. Still. The reasons given by the ex-President as to why Labour should apologise are rather vague. When we look at the farcical posts of one Evarist Bartolo, for example, and his attempts to pin the ills of a government on freemasonry we can tell that we are far off target.
It is unfair to speak of Bartolo since he inhabits a world of his own. On the one hand he admits that he has been smelling the stink around him for years, on the other he will obfuscate with his enigmatic mental masturbations that lead to nowhere other than a litany of “Prosit Ministru” posts by the sycophants that inhabit the nether parts of the ether.
Abela himself lives in absolute denial. His repetition of broken mantras must be convincing nobody other than himself. “The institutions are working” is the Potemkin Village slogan he adopts most readily. As more dirt is piled on each member of his Cabinet, the more he swims into the territory of the surreal. The continuity mantra exploded under his seat as he now tries to create as much distance as possible between himself and disgraced Muscat’s team.
Historic triumphs are coming back to haunt the Labour crowd. A video is doing the rounds of the current justice minister defending Keith Schembri through his teeth at the time when Simon Busuttil requested the inquiries on the nefarious dealings of Muscat’s right-hand man. For people like Edward Zammit Lewis and Edward Scicluna, the ghost of the recent past is not going to return gently.
Zammit Lewis is the minister who has been cocksure in his assertions that the rule of law is all well and good in this land of ours. Only this week a draft law was submitted to the Venice Commission for review following a barrage of criticism from the more learned quarters of our legal world. The Venice Commission would not, under normal circumstances, be functioning as a Constitutional Court vetting laws that are still to be. If this is Zammit Lewis’ idea of a functioning system of rule of law, then we have a long way to go.
But back to the question of apologies. The multiple ramifications of the Labour Party’s actions during its term in government include corruption and an erosion of the State. We are also slowly learning that the assassination of a journalist is a direct consequence of this erosion – no doubt something a public inquiry will tell us more about.
The point is that there is not one linear story but many strands and many loose ends. Each will need its point of closure, its conclusion. Every corrupt deal, every underhand project, will need its own investigation. There is also the inherent danger that much will end up being swept under the carpet in yet another clumsy attempt to ensure some form of continuity.
The system has proven to have a survival instinct time and time again. Apologies might be a sneaky way out of taking responsibility. What are we to do with an apology should one be forthcoming?
In moral terms, an apology should be part of a process that involves an awareness of having done wrong, accompanied by sincere regret and an act of contrition leading possibly to pardon. In moral terms, there is repentance, there is atonement and there is forgiveness. In moral terms.
Beyond the moral though there is one thing that no number of apologies and no amount of forgiveness should lead to avoiding, and that is justice.