Keep your enemies close

With a government in office threatening to outdo the Sicilian Mafia in the extent and reach of its criminality, it seems outrageous to have to waste time examining the Opposition.

There has never been an easier administration to criticise. Every single member of the ruling Labour Party has been compromised in some way, either directly as a Party to some corrupt deal or scandalous nepotism or obliquely, by offering support to the blatantly corrupt and enabling the continuation of this criminal regime.

Any Opposition worth its salt would be expending every milligramme of its energy on ripping apart the vast web of crimes committed by this government’s representatives and establishing itself firmly as the side of light and right versus the dark, frightening side of wrong currently in office.

And yet, this being Malta, where lies, secrets, self-interest and greed have become acceptable currency, our Opposition is bogged down in internecine quarrels, totally hamstrung by the false ideology of populism that’s threatening, finally, to give the truth to that frustrating, cynical and destructive claim, “kollha l-istess”.

The latest spat between former PN leader Adrian Delia and his nemesis Jason Azzopardi is proving that while “kollha l-istess” may not have been true before 2017, in the years since, it has become true. The truce declared between the two on Thursday evening seems nothing more than an exercise in dishonesty and contempt towards voters. PN leader Bernard Grech’s “solution” only intensifies the conviction that he falls far, far short of expectations.

Delia must go. His closeness to the PL dictates that. His obvious puppet status, his lack of decent values, his attacks on assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, his attempts to pillory his predecessor Simon Busuttil, his efforts to militate his small coterie of supporters against their own Party, his seedy background littered with accusations of money laundering for, and stealing from, Soho pimps.

With everything we knew about Delia and his doings, the man should have been thrown out of the PN the day Grech took his place at the helm. But instead, he offered Delia a shadow ministry, instead he waxed lyrical about Delia’s “value” to the Party, insisting there was always a role waiting for Delia should he choose to take it.

Replacing Delia’s leadership with Grech’s was supposed to have drawn a line under the catastrophic performance of the PN since 2017, the attempt to mould a new Party in the shape of Muscat’s PL: cosying up to corrupt businessmen, taking cash from suspected murderers, begging cash, indeed, from anyone who would give it, despite the ever-tightening strings that came attached to it.

Instead, Grech has perpetuated the rot, by embracing characters such as Delia and his coven of familiars. His claim on Thursday evening that a resolution of the feud between Delia and Azzopardi had been reached was an insult to PN voters and supporters. The feud cannot be resolved without one or both being shown up to be liars. And pushing the feud underground doesn’t resolve it in any way, indeed, it probably makes it more dangerous.

Sadly, it’s beginning to look as though it’s already too late for Grech to save his reputation, both in terms of his response to crucial issues such as passport sales, dodgy contract awards and indebtedness to big business, as well as in terms of his management of the Party and its intricacies.

On Thursday evening, Delia and Azzopardi put out a joint statement declaring they’d reconciled their differences. The statement makes worrying reading, because if it’s genuine, it suggests, among other things, that Azzopardi was lying about Delia when he claimed he’d seen hundreds of messages proving the former PN leader had been paid €50,000 by accused murderer Yorgen Fenech and had pledged to ensure MEP David Casa was not re-elected.

While Delia’s unfitness to politics is perhaps more obvious and glaring, I’m not sure Azzopardi isn’t equally dubious. His supporters, who tear to shreds anyone who dares criticise him, are as full of vitriol and hate as are Adrian Delia’s. For having had the temerity to question certain of Azzopardi’s actions, I’ve been accused of “helping” to get him killed and of assisting Caruana Galizia’s murderers to get away with their hideous crime.

Azzopardi may be doing an excellent job as one of the Caruana Galizia family’s lawyers in the case against her assassins. However, that doesn’t mean he gets a free pass as a politician and nor should he, or his supporters, expect it. The only people who try to smother debate are those who are afraid of what that debate may reveal.

Looking solely at what the public knows, Azzopardi did everything in his power to block divorce legislation on religious grounds, yet left his wife and took up with another woman. He fought the 2017 election campaign on an anti-corruption ticket that targeted the Electrogas scandal as its main priority, yet in the midst of that battle, he rang up one of the shareholders of Electrogas to cadge a free stay in that shareholder’s Tel Aviv hotel.

That shareholder who, by the way, is the uncle, and fellow shareholder, of the man accused of being the mastermind behind the assassination of Caruana Galizia, who first exposed the corrupt Electrogas deal and was murdered just as she was about to publish further damning proof of the criminal intent behind it.

Delia may be “worse” and perhaps Azzopardi’s supporters are right and there’s no equivalence between Delia’s shortcomings and Azzopardi’s, but the fact that one may be “worse” than the other doesn’t in any way mean we should ignore the doings of the other.

The reaction of anointed PN insiders has been the equivalent of the crooks’ signal of a plot underfoot, the tapping of the side of the nose. Bernard Grech is “playing a long game” and those of us unblessed by inside knowledge should shut up and accept that others know more, and better, than we do.

This is not an acceptable attitude. Working in an underhand, secretive manner is despicable, whoever does it and whatever the situation. Did Azzopardi lie when he wrote publicly that Delia had taken money from Fenech in exchange for working against his own MEP, David Casa? Or did Delia actually take the unthinkable step of actively damaging the Party he was elected to lead?

We deserve to know the truth about the people who would seek to represent and govern us. Was Azzopardi “coerced” into signing that statement, and if so, how? What could possibly have been used to force him to sign, against his will, a statement that makes him look like a liar?

Grech’s insistence on public displays of unity does nothing to quell the great sense of unease around his leadership. He would do better to make a clean sweep and allow the Party to start again, shedding any and all of those individuals who’ve been tainted by accusations of deception and sleaze.

Politics may be renowned for being a dirty game, but we don’t have to accept it as such. If Party leaders surround themselves with mendacious backstabbers and disloyal villains, that’s how they’re destined to be perceived and remembered.

As the saying goes, “ma’ min rajtek xebbahtek”. It isn’t always the best policy to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

                           
                               
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Henry s Pace
Henry s Pace
1 month ago

‘ resolution of the feud between Delia and Azzopardi had been reached was an insult to PN ‘
This superficial signing is just a ‘ Modus Vivendi ‘ of the times.
U iva b’daqshekk ma gara xejn – tomorrow would be another day for low IQ people in this country.

Philip
Philip
1 month ago

What an excellent balanced post.
Well done, but who’s listening⁉️

Martin Said
Martin Said
1 month ago

I have commented before on this matter, this guy has only presented problems, no matter what PN comes up with, he has to GO.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
1 month ago

Very good and logical article, which also distinguishs between first class journalists doing their duty to what is right, while denouncing without reservations, what is wrong, and so-called journalists whose primary function is to feed on the filth given to them, to then nourish their readers/audiences with the by-product of their intake.
This situation reminds me of an international tv discussion programme on recycling, showing poo being treated and turned into edible biscuits.
Unfortunately, this, in my opinion, describes clearly, the prototype of our Government and its activities, not least their expectation of the functions of the Fourth Estate.
As regards the decision taken by the Leader of the Opposition, this is a blown up feud between two of its MP’s, one a long established elected representative who has faced thick and thin in the PN’s fight for democracy and against corruption, both in Parliament and in the Courts, and the other, an unelected representative, however, undeniably, a worthy successor to the title of the notorious Prime Minister Karmenu Zero, who embraced violence and defended corruption, and who awarded the perpetrators the collective title of ‘aristocracy of the workers’.
Dr Bernard Grech said recently in an interview, that the time is ripe for him to take decisions which will be unpopular. It seems that he now walked the talk, and in doing so, has not only taken an unpopular decision, but also a decision baed on a hard sack, full of, as yet,suspicious and questionable past and present credentials on one hand, and presumably, a small paperbag, half full of air and the other half filled with what we know not.
What Bernard Grech seems to have lacked in his promise, is to state that his decisions will not only be hard, but unequivocably equitable.
As regards the declaration they were made to sign, this reminds me of the declarations Dom Mintoff used to come up with, like the infamous Imnarja declaration he forced the workers to sign, with no opposition being raised by his bed mate the General Workers Union.
One thing I expected Bernard to include, is a declaration of apology by Adrian Delia to the Caruana Galizia family, for ferociously calling Daphne a ‘bicca blogger’ in his weekly pre-election district homilies.
Unfortunately, Bernard seems to be focusing more on the voters sympathetic to Adrian Delia, while taking foregranted, the numerous votes of what Adrian Delia had termed as ‘the Daphne Crowd’, as well as the votes of those who want to see the end of corruption and justice for corruption, irrespective as to which side it is coming from.

Michael
Michael
1 month ago

Exactly my thoughts. I was very sceptical of the coy Grech. Now we get more of the same sweeping under the carpet for the good of the party.

The party be damned, we need to focus on politics as a whole and not one side of it. I hope the next election trashing the PN will undoubtedly get will teach them that cosmetic changes will not eradicate the rot.

Evelyn Vella Clark
Evelyn Vella Clark
1 month ago

May be Jason is not lying, just waiting for the truth to come out in court. What would be next then??

Marc Sant
Marc Sant
1 month ago

The PN has morphed into a Labour Party 2.0 with worse marketing. The change started with Adrian Delia at the helm and is being perpetuated by Bernard Grech.

How the PN does not realise that this strategy is doomed to failure is beyond me? Labour has power of incumbency and can dispense favours to voters in return for votes. The PN does not have advantage.

All the PN has done is alienate voters like me who always voted for the party because the alternative was so much worse.

In the past, by now, the PN would have already published a manifesto clearly indicating how they intended to run the country if elected. Instead, all we have had was Bernard Grech making have level statements without substantiating how he intends to execute his policies if elected.

I just feel like throwing in the towel and leaving this godforsaken country.

Iain Morrison
Iain Morrison
1 month ago

Has anyone got any idea why the PN thinks Adrian Delia is an asset to the party? Answers on a postcard to WTF.com

Philip Grima
Philip Grima
1 month ago

Excellent piece. Simon Busuttil’s principled leadership came to an abrupt end. His hasty, if principled, decision to resign left the PN wide open to the incompetents, who he had painstakingly sought to marginalize, with devastating effects..

The party has to stop looking at the polls and cleanse itself from the undesirables whatever the short term consequences may be.

Which young honest, intelligent person would seriously consider offering his/her service to the party under the present unedifying circumstances. The party has to forget the next election and start afresh targeting the one after or the one after that if necessary.

It took close to 25 years for Labour to win an election choosing dishonesty and underhandedness to achieve its goal.. The PN should strive to be better than that and never abandon the principles of good governance.

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