Opinion: It’s a sick government, and what does that say about us?

“The party begins!” yelled Jan-Erik Olsson while firing a submachine gun at the ceiling of the Kreditbank in Stockholm shortly after it opened on 23 August 1973.

He went on to take four hostages, who, over the course of a six-day hijack, took the side of their captors and protected them from the police, even accepting to get shot in the foot (though this did not actually transpire) and later refusing to give evidence against the perpetrators in court.

Hostages of abuse and kidnapping sometimes develop a psychological bond with their captors and abusers. This bond results from the power imbalance created by the captors and abusers and the ensuing coping mechanism of the persons captured or abused.

Criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot coined the term Stockholm Syndrome to describe this phenomenon.

Fast forward 40 years, and a similarly bizarre situation began to unfold locally.

The Labour Party in opposition promised us accountability, transparency, meritocracy and zero tolerance for corruption. It promised a country that belonged to everyone, wherein one would be allowed to work irrespective of political views.

It spoke of an unexplained roadmap and that once elected to power, the Labour Party would hit the ground running trying to achieve it.

The message convinced an enormous majority. The Labour Party enjoyed landslide victories, which gave it immense power and created a power imbalance.

Working towards that infamous unexplained roadmap, the Labour Party started bombarding the people with superlative slogans, aggrandised catchphrases and colourful terminology, which created a feel-good factor.

In conjunction with those empty slogans, the Labour Party and its army of online trolls started convincing the nation that the opposition was negative, past its expiry date, and that it was the enemy of the state because it had the audacity to expose scandals and corruption and dared to speak out when the government failed to act legally and democratically.

Echo chambers on social media turned into fierce vortices, newsrooms were given government direct orders, and the national broadcaster morphed into a propaganda machine.

Government members started avoiding journalists like the plague, appearing only on programmes where every word was choreographed to the last letter.

Objective achieved: spontaneous debate was murdered. Independent journalism was rendered toothless, hard-line critics became obsolete.

Now that the party was gaining momentum, the abuser and the abused having cosied up and become quite intimate, the Labour Party in government could now push forward its agenda to become a nanny state.

It failed to invest in education. It rewarded silence with phantom jobs, direct orders, and the occasional development permit.

It did not encourage individuals to achieve their full potential by working hard and trying their best, but instead sought to pander to their perceived entitlement, justified or otherwise. Free thought and free speech became a thing of the past.

The Labour Party discarded the principles in its statute in favour of populism, which promises everything to everyone, irrespective of merit. When people started to complain, they were treated to financial rewards.

Those magnanimous tax refund cheques that conveniently hit the post at every infrastructural collapse and before every election effectively neutered public dissent and discontent.

The Labour government strategically re-centralised most of the powers delegated to local councils and authorities.

Meritocratic systems instituted by Nationalist governments were deliberately and surreptitiously dismantled, putting ministers back on their almighty pedestal and dishing out pies and crumbs as and to whom they deemed fit.

Most seem to have lost the ability to feel shocked when corruption was exposed. For some, desensitisation even extended to instances which resulted in the abominable deaths of innocent people: Daphne Caruana Galizia, Miriam Pace, Bernice Cassar, Jean Paul Sofia and many other anonymous (nameless and stateless) construction workers.

Could it be that the Labour Party’s level of mental and financial manipulation in government, the nation’s total dependence on the handouts of the government and its entities, the great power imbalance created by self-appointed deities, and the hijacking of the institutions have left many of us under the grasp of the Stockholm Syndrome?

The time to shake ourselves out of this stupor, out of this preordained, defeatist mindset, is now. Deep down, everyone knows that things are not right, that this is a sick government.

Louise Anne Pulis is an MEP candidate. She is a lawyer with a Masters Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation.

                           

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Mick
Mick
18 days ago

Louise you are absolutely right, this is not an elected government but a collection of Mafia installed line managers. Although they are badged under the MLP insignia, they have little or no credentials that reflect true LP politics, however it is a convenient way of mustering support for their hysterical “policies” with the assistance of occasional cheques when there is trouble brewing on the horizon. A collection of Mafioso who will endorse any type of criminality to remain in power, murder, theft, blackmail, are run of the mill crimes used to maintain that power. Gerrymandering, false addresses, use of gov departments, threats, pardons for criminals, mickey mouse driving licences, abuse of the judiciary on a daily basis, all have been used up to this point.
These are not normal people, and they walk amongst us, the ballot box is now no longer the safe place to eliminate them as control of the voting system is compromised and they have ensured that regardless of actual votes they will retain power. They will only be taken down when the money runs out, which isn’t too far away given the national debt and the interest payments that they are struggling to make. just dreading the Greek style austerity measure that will surely follow from the IMF et al when the bubble bursts. L’Aqwa Zmien as they say!

Charmaine Magro
Charmaine Magro
17 days ago

Let us say it all. Please note that I am a non voter – so definitely no party at heart. But let’s state things exactly as they are, and how they happened. The PN had a habit of sweeping ‘problems’ and ‘ problem people (sic)’ under the carpet. They never gave the LGBTQ community any rights – minhabba l knisja!! They didnt even push to put divorce through – lets remember that Gonzi voted against it in Parliament, even though the referendum showed that the majority wanted it -minhabba l kuxxjenza he said. Sorry, you are elected in government to represent the people, not the church – and not your conscience!! Then the pensioners.. especially those born prior to 1962 – were left with a pitiful pension which hardly left them with enough to live. The PL was WISE unlike the PN. They did their calculations better… and SOOO wisely lol. For example, there are over 100k pensioners in Malta – 25% of the registered voters basically. By keeping them happy with substantial increases in their pension, they are GUARANTEEING a huge electoral win every time. Didn’t you realise this?? Dishing out a few hundreds, while they are gobbling away millions 🙂 And the Gahans are happy …and they have a RIGHT to be so, as they saw huge pension increases and they can live better now. So who is the Gahan here?? With all the wisdom one expects of PN, they never saw this coming. And unless they change their capo, and come up with something truly innovative, I am sorry to say that they will be in opposition for long, long years to come. Alas, it DOES NOT pay to sweep people under the carpet…cos everyone has a vote – just like you! The PN have got to learn to get off their very high horse, and really get down to basics, and truly empathise with people – they never did. I really wish there was a decent opposition to give us hope, but alas, there is none. Thirteen years in opposition, and no lessons learnt. Unreal. I personally am angry with the government about things going on, and ANGRIER at the opposition at how they got simply nowhere in all these years in opposition. Shame on all of you.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
17 days ago

A rather opaque view of reality – expressed by a fence-sitter!

Paul Bonello
Paul Bonello
16 days ago

Not so opaque; rather quite realistic. Charmaine is expounding on Bill Clinton’s expression to explain a majority vote when he said “It’s the economy, stupid” and he addressed the expression “stupid” to his listener and not to the voters.

Paul Borg
Paul Borg
16 days ago

The PN may have bought a vote or two but NEVER on the scale of what the LP Govt is doing. The same comparisons can be made about many other sectors of life during both Administrations. The PN committed petty misdemeanors whilst the PL have committed, dare I say, heinous crimes resulting in murder, besides all the other felonies imaginable, which have effectively, thrown Malta to the pits.
”The PL was wise unlike the PN”. You are abusing the word ‘wise’ in this case, you should replace it with the words cunning and deceptive.
The current Opposition’s ability to do things can never be compared to what a powerful Govt can do, particularly when there is daily abuse of the power of incumbency.
Your fickle advice to the Opposition is the usual bla,bla,bla. You criticise but offered no real solution DIFFERENT to what the Opposition is doing.
It is easy to be an armchair critic!
BTW being a non-voter would be giving your vote to the PL. Not the way to go!

Alfred Z.
Alfred Z.
17 days ago

Sorry Ms.Pulis.
It may already be too late to wake up the remaining few that have not been submitted to indifference.

wenzu
wenzu
17 days ago
Reply to  Alfred Z.

My “in difference” applies ONLY to the PN and PL. They will NEVER see my support!

C Portelli
C Portelli
17 days ago

Il-Ġaħan Malti doesn’t like rules.
If he wants to occupy public land for his kiosk, Ġaħan speaks to “Il-Ministru” and voila… he can do whatever he wants.
Ġaħan couldn’t care less about what is right and what is wrong, as long as Bobby & co send him “iċ-ċekk”.

Makes Ġaħan feel Europe is too stringent for his likes.
Ġaħan feels we should be part of a community of nations alongside the likes of North Korea and Zimbabwe. That’s more akin to Ġaħan’s way of doing things.

Joseph Markham
Joseph Markham
16 days ago

Excellent article… You analyse half the situation well…

However, there is the other half…the dismal failure of the opposition to provide a vision of a better future to improve the lot for ( as far as possible ) everyone…

Once there is a coherent vision, then a proper strategy and communications to spread the message that yes, we can be successful and do it ethically and in a proper manner…

p.s. and stop treating people as imbeciles by saying that a vote for independent candidates is a vote for the party in government…

adriang
adriang
15 days ago

I disagree. Stockholm Syndrome is when the victim actually feels for the perpetrators, and feels the need to support them and protect them – similar to trauma binding. Here in Malta, it is very different indeed. We simply feel helpless, because we know that many of the institutions have been highjacked, the police and the prosection carefully selected to protect the government, and the opposition toothless or worse. The weekly scandals only render the populus immune to further scandal through exposure.

A significant difference though is that although we might feel helpless and do little, given half the chance, we will rise again, expose the government and the Labour Party for what it is, together with all of it’s inglorious hideiousness. And all those responsible, directly or indirectly even if only through through inaction, they will be exposed. The future generations will know they were a not so merry band of crooks. History will record that during these sad times, criminals were everywhere, and the situation was indeed desperate. History will destroy them even if justice fails to reach them all.

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