House of (Dis)illusions

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You cannot call yourself a politician of principle when you make promises to “please the crowd”, gain a position of trust and then cannot actually fulfil those promises. There are other words to describe those willing to do anything for ego, power, sex or money; ‘honest’ is not one of them. In the past few weeks, we have seen a group of “Christians” take decidedly unchristian action within the Maltese church in order to persuade its leader, Paul, to “relinquish his post”. These same gentlemen, once their goal was achieved, are now praising him no end. Christ used a most eloquent expression for such leaders of the faith during his time on earth that would suit these modern-day counterparts perfectly. When the issue of Archbishop Paul found itself in the media, in a most humble gesture, Paul offered conciliatory talks with the instigators of this unrest. Finally, once he realised that he could no longer carry on steering his flock as his belief wanted him to, he took it upon himself to do the honourable thing and resign rather than cling to his office at all costs. I thank him for being there at the right time in very difficult situation and wish him much welldeserved peace and serenity. His gentlemanly behaviour and action reinforces my own beliefs: both my belief in the Lord and also my belief that there are still decent people who will do the right thing for the sake of their neighbours and fellow citizens and not just thinking about themselves.

 

Prime Minister’s refusal to resign

 

It has been a very long week for our Prime Minister and his trusted advisors: a week in which he has shown himself, in the eyes of many, to be a perfect counter-example to the Archbishop Paul. Much of the Prime Minister’s “great achievements” have suddenly been exposed as halftruths, or worse. The Prime Minister still has a chance to come clean in tomorrow’s Enemalta debate. I’m sure his mother taught him to tell truth from lies. He should listen to her voice and his inner voice instead of the advisors who often want him to be ‘economical’ with the truth. The Prime Minister can still surprise us by admitting the mistakes rather than smiling bleakly and pretending there have no errors and that everything is fine. The Prime Minister needs to admit that no contractual agreements were signed between the Maltese Government and the Chinese Government and that what were signed are nothing more than non-binding Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) rather than legally binding contracts. If this is the case then, surely, the decent thing to do will be to at least present these MOUs to Parliament tomorrow and finally correct what has so far been denied, even to his own cabinet. With the Chinese insisting that they will not sign any contract without government guarantees to purchase electricity, and the PL’s assurances that no guarantees of purchase of electricity have or will be given, the government needs to step in and clarify the situation. Unless this blockage is resolved, there will apparently be no Chinese investment. The Prime Minister’s colleagues keep insisting that the workers’ jobs and conditions are guaranteed, when at this stage there is no investment to back this claim. And the PM still claims to be able to reduce all our utility bills by 25 per cent without the need for extra funds or a new, cheaper power source or new taxes. If this is true – and quite feasible – then why bother spending many millions of our money on a new power station and gas tanks and giving away parts of our inheritance needlessly? The PM also needs to resolve the issue of what the real, longterm price of electricity will be to the Maltese citizens. The price reduction of 25 per cent will not be sustainable without the necessary funds from the Chinese. There will not be a new power station at any time (let alone March 2015) if the funds to be invested have been lost. And since the price reduction must be financed in the short term, further strain will now be placed on the government’s next budget – strain that will hurt the people, one way or another. Needless to say, the promise that the reduction in our electricity bills would not come from taxes will be broken without the Chinese funding. The people are becoming disillusioned with the promises of the political class. Both the Nationalist Party and the Progressive Liberals over-promise and under-deliver and then spin the truth to avoid getting caught out. They carry on spinning even when they are blatantly caught out, digging a deeper hole and throwing away even more faith in them by those who trusted them. Thankfully, there are people, such as Paul, who still wish to put their nation and people first, who want to work not at partisan party level but at national level. They agree with our point of view and are willing to roll up their sleeves regardless of the expected consequences. Finally, I’m taking part in a two-hour programme on Favourite TV tonight at 8:30 pm with Sandro Craus (PL) Gejtu Vella (PN) and Arnold Cassola (AN). In the programme, I will be asking the questions that I think the Maltese man-in-thestreet wants answering. No spin, just straight talk and honest questions requiring honest answers. The answers should be most interesting. Will there be more spin and relaxed smiles or will the viewer hear what he really wants to hear.

First published in The Malta Independent on 19/10/14