There has been at least one other article penned by yours truly and published in this medium which referred to one of Aesop’s most popular fables, namely the fable of the boy who cried wolf, and its juxtaposition within the context of the local political scene.
The fable dates from classical times and was translated from Greek into Latin in the 15th century. From it is derived the English idiom ‘to cry wolf’. The Oxford English dictionary defines it as to make false claims, with the result that subsequent true claims are disbelieved.
Unfortunately, the opposition has been caught up with this inexplicable urge to self-inflict political wounds and scars which come in myriad types, shades and sizes. The electorate’s repeated calls for the opposition to regenerate and rejuvenate itself and its ideals and practice have gone unheeded. The metaphoric cleaning of the stables of the old guard within the opposition which brought about the tragic reality of an unelectable and unpopular alternative to the government was also an exercise which was never implemented. Their internal squabbles and lack of a concerted direction is legend. The narcissistic and I’m-always-right attitude of some of their key front liners is also stuff made of lore.
Even the injection of supposed new blood and a purportedly welcome breath of fresh air by the appointments of the new kids on the block led by Lovin Malta’s Christian Peregin was immediately deflated by these same self-appointed strategists. During these last four weeks, the PN went on a spending spree – which continued to financially haemorrhage already depleted party coffers – of the most amateurish and irrelevant billboard campaign that I have ever witnessed in local party politics. This supposed rapid response billboard campaign to rebut the budget manna of the present government failed resoundingly and further diminished the PN’s electorate perception numbers in all the professional surveys carried out by all the newspapers and professional organisations conducting such an exercise.
The electorate’s repeated calls for the opposition to regenerate and rejuvenate itself and its ideals and practice have gone unheeded.
Come to think of it, Peregin’s first missive written on the Times of Malta as the PN’s campaign manager was aptly titled ‘It’s time to stop punishing the PN’. In this epistle, alas, he failed to mention and/or focus on the constant political self-harm which his Party has consistently inflicted on itself from 2009 onwards.
Not 2013 onwards. 2009 onwards. Those who are into politics will surely understand the year significance.
This reminds me of the medieval sect within Christianity which took self-harm to new levels. In the 14th century, a movement within Western Christianity known as Flagellantism became popular and adherents “began beating their flesh in a public penitential ritual in response to war, famine, plague and fear engendered by millenarianism.” Though this movement withered away, the practices of public repentance and promoting peace were adopted by the flagellants in Christian, especially Roman Catholic, confraternities of penitents that exist to the present-day. It certainly exists in Tal-Pieta!
Which brings us back to the Greek fable of the boy who cried wolf. When the opposition in any modern, Western democracy demands the resignation of anyone within the government, it is normally seen as an extreme measure for an extreme situation. We have now witnessed an opposition, led by three different leaders throughout the space of eight years, asking for the resignation of anyone remotely connected with Labour in government. If they knew the name of the tea lady servicing the office of the Prime Minister, they would have surely asked for her resignation as well. Even the President of the Republic was called out to resign. Every minister, parliamentary secretary, heads of government authorities, appointed Chairpersons, civil service heavyweights, top uniformed officers…everyone connected to the government was, at one point or another, asked to resign by the opposition. Or parts of the opposition. Or satellite ‘independent’ structures who control the opposition.
If they knew the name of the tea lady servicing the office of the Prime Minister, they would have surely asked for her resignation as well.
This week saw the Minister of Interior being the latest in a whole list of politicians which the opposition demanded their heads on a political platter. And this amuses me greatly. Since statistically speaking, the more such frenzied and uncalled for attacks are made on politicians from their opponents, the more their voting base increases by diehard party stalwarts who look at such attacks on ‘their’ politicians as a form of victimisation. And they close ranks to aid and assist the ‘beleaguered’ politician. Any political marketing guru worth his salt knows this. It is essentially basic politics 101.
Ironically, in the past, when the PN still had some bright guys manning the ship, they used precisely this victimisation tactic to actually steal an election. Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando will tell you all about it and how Labour’s attack on Pullicino Orlando was devastatingly self-harmful and how the mentioned Pullicino Orlando finished being elected from two districts due to the interpolated projection that he had been ‘victimised’ by Labour.
One cannot take seriously any political party which demands resignations left, right and centre. Especially when these resignations are demanded by exponents who have their own skeletons in their worn-out cupboards. And if that is so difficult for the PN to understand, then the country has a huge problem.
Because we are being regaled with no effective, clear headed opposition. An opposition which can be one day electable. Malta deserves better.