At last week’s Labour conference, Robert Abela behaved like a cornered rat. He spat and hissed arrogantly at his detractors while vowing to govern at all costs without heeding any criticism.
Much like his disgraced predecessor in his last days of power, Abela has taken to turning a stiff jaw of condescending obtuseness towards anyone intimating any form of criticism of his government and his own actions.
His last refuge of “letting the institutions work” now rings hollow and he does not even attempt to hide behind the smokescreen of institutional chaos, preferring to rely on the crude force of the parliamentary majority that he still, surprisingly, enjoys.
Many moons have passed since the ill-fated 2017 election that should have brought the corrupt to judgement. At the time a few of us had rung the alarm bells on the withering of the “rule of law”.
We had shone dim lights on the disastrous path that lay ahead if we allowed the backsliding to continue. Alas, the ‘rule of law’ had not become a mainstream buzzword yet.
Worse still, the ‘proof’ of corrupt practices, institutional meltdown and general moral decline was in the hands of the few “bloggers” who were belittled and berated for different reasons by the mainstream.
The Fourth Estate was still slumbering along having been knocked out by the brute force of Labour’s slick propaganda machine and having been duped by the confused state of the opposition.
Actually, we can rewind further back to the unsuspecting year of 2008. Lou Bondi would go on record on national TV describing bloggers as “peċluqa” (blabbermouths). The establishment never took kindly to the power of the new pen.
In 2008 and 2017 we did not need to have more proof. We did not need publications of tomes and volumes of documentation and WhatsApp chats to notice the state of the nation needed attention.
For many of us, the writing was on the wall. The rats in power feared the exposure of their system. They feared the bloggers who could point out the nakedness of the emperor.
They knew that their livelihoods would be in danger and that the game would be up if their supporters got to know the extent of their leeching off the state.
‘Kullħadd jitħanżer’ was not coined yesterday on a WhatsApp chat. It was the open secret nobody spoke about that gradually compromised every single element of the nation’s institutional setup.
Fast forward to 2023. The scales are falling off the public’s eyes. Or at least I hope so. Abuse of power is the order of the day. National projects are revealed to be monuments to corruption.
Meanwhile, the politocracy awards itself the last scraps of money left in the coffers with no future-proof planning for tomorrow.
Air Malta down. Hospitals down. Power station down. Environmental protection down.
And our Prime Minister openly declares he will proceed with any plans no matter what the criticism.
Little does it matter that the islands are being transformed into the cesspit of the Mediterranean. Little does it matter that the lie of working institutions no longer convinces even the greatest of fools.
What next? The bloggers must keep blogging. The new Fourth Estate must continue to pursue its mission of exposing the kleptocracy for what it is. Civil society must persevere in its struggle for justice and the rule of law. Most of all we are desperately in need of an opposition with a plan.
As those in power up the ante to shut down or eclipse dissidence and criticism, so too must the wider opposition gear up and raise its voice.
We no longer need to recall what happened when there was no rule of law. We are living those times.
The time for change has come.
“Little does it matter that the islands are being transformed into the cesspit of the Mediterranean”. what an apt description of Malta and Gozo today. The irony of it all is that once the politicians and building contractors have irremediably spoilt Malta and Gozo for good, they’ll pack their bags full of their ill-gotten revenue and leave the motherland for good. The rest of us that cannot afford to relocate will be left to clear up the mess of 10 years and counting of unadulterated greed.
The PL govt has reached the stage of ‘bunker mentality’ which is often taken as a sign for the final downfall.
That isn’t in sight yet, for all the reasons mentioned in this article. There is still the issue with getting those attracted to vote again who abstained from voting in the past GEs.
There is an opposition, within and outside parliament, but often it looks the way that both are rather operating separately from one another instead of combining and coordinating their efforts.
The penny finally seems to be gradually dropping for the Maltese electorate.
Joseph Muscat and Robert Abela clearly believed that with slick propaganda you really could fool all of the people all of the time.
Daphne started to chisel away at that and then it was only some of the people that you could fool all of the time.
By the time JM was deposed his anointed successor and previous legal advisor RA was shoe horned in promising continuity.
Now in 2023 it seems that most of the people can only be fooled some of the time and some of the people can no longer be fooled any of the time.
No wonder RA and his cohorts of blindfolded puppets are floundering when the blindfolds are being removed by the media and hopefully before too long all of the people will no longer be fooled any of the time.