It’s no figure of speech to say that the Maltese political scenario has deformed into a colossal monstrosity, though the governing party and its acolytes and would dismiss such a statement, and its trolls on social media mock anyone making it.
The manner we react to this monstrosity and address it will define our — and the next generation’s — political and economic future.
The country is administered by a government which is the epitome and personification of blatant, brazen corruption and poor governance. The governing party commands a large majority of the electorate’s favour, allowing it to sustain an environment of unfettered impunity.
Its legacy is the transformation of Malta into a den of iniquity and corruption with Castille at its nexus, and the assassination of a journalist who exposed this cesspit of sleaze perpetrated by government ministers and high-ranking officials and executives.
We have an attorney general whose main purpose in life seems to be hindering justice.
We have a police commissioner who seems to be on permanent vacation, never achieving tangible results.
We have a parliament which is a rubber stamp for the government. Ditto the parliamentary committees, such as the Public Accounts Committee.
We have government agencies and departments led by pro-government cronies and lackeys who execute the governing party’s wishes and whims.
We have checks but no balances. Patronage, clientelism, nepotism and cronyism are the order of the day.
Holding power to account, we have an opposition party torn apart by infighting and turf wars, with its leader struggling to bring together what was once a strong and vibrant party.
We have handful of vociferous, highly active NGOs.
We have an independent media that exposes a never-ending torrent of corruption and crime on a daily basis.
And we have the public.
If all the elements holding power to account were to play their part, the synergy would perhaps be sufficient to rein in the arrogance and impunity with which this government acts. Synergy not collusion. The NGOs and the media have an obligation to hold the Opposition party to account, too.
Yet there is a deafening silence from the Nationalist Party on issues of governance and corruption. The noise it makes is not loud enough, not strong enough, not targeted enough.
Democracy cannot afford this silence. The Opposition Party needs to follow up on each and every scandal uncovered by the media vociferously and effectively. That is its constitutional role and duty: holding power to account.
Democracy cannot afford the indifference and silence of the public, either. Indifference and apathy from people of goodwill stems from a feeling that any attempt to influence the political system is futile and fruitless, but this reasoning is a slippery slope.
Democracy is not snuffed out by an apocalyptic event. It is eroded by attrition.
One day you find yourself moving from a democracy in which individual rights and freedoms are officially recognised and protected, and the exercise of political power is limited by the rule of law, to a government that ignores the constitutional limits of its power and deprives its citizens of the rule of law and basic human rights, making this process seem like a normal and justified turn of events.
The resilience of democracy cannot be taken for granted or treated with complacency. It has been said that democracies end not with a bang but a whimper.
It’s time for everyone to do his or her part, and show up and change the state of the nation to a better one. We deserve better. Our children deserve better.