While not renowned for having a sweet silver tongue and probably as notorious as heavy-weight Austin Gatt for being vehemently out-spoken and lacking diplomacy, Franco Debono is well-known as a sincere person and one who does not beat around the bush. That’s what irked Lawrence Gonzi and his circle of faithfuls, and I don’t blame them.
No political party likes having its dirty linen paraded in public. It hurts much more when done by a member of their own.
Few, if any, know for how long Franco Debono had been working and finding opposition/unappreciation for his ideas and suggestions before ‘the volcano erupted’.
What’s pretty sure is that incidents like this one do not happen overnight. The pot had been boiling for months.
Not the best analogy, but taking the scenario of husband and wife they wouldn’t go filing for divorce upon their first disagreement would they?
On 3rd November I wrote about Lawrence Gonzi calling a general election being the best way to get the his party back in order. That was more than two months ago, and even months before that general disagreements between cabinet and the back-benchers were already being leaked out to the general public.
I don’t think Franco is alone but not everyone has the guts or can afford to go all the way out like he did. They don’t want to ruin their political future, and ultimately no one can blame them.
The PN is shooting itself in the foot by insisting that Franco’s actions are all “for his personal gain”.
– First of all, he insisted not once, not twice and more than thrice that he never expected to be promoted to minister.
– Secondly had his sole aim been that of getting higher up in the party’s ranks (as he’s been accused of) he’d just have played along the rules of the game pleasing the bosses all the way.
– Thirdly, he clarified more than once that he had informed the PM on his position before the cabinet reshuffle was announced.
If you still feel Franco Debono’s aim is only his own personal gain, forget points one and three above and let’s focus on point two: imagine the scenario of a company employee who’s suspecting that some of his work-mates are getting preferential treatment. He loves his job and he wants wage increases and promotions like his peers. Let’s even for argument’s sake say that his dream is to climb so high up in the ladder to become a company manager, and perhaps one day he might even become director. Let’s imagine that he’s only after personal gain/promotion/money and nothing else, similar to the accusations currently brought by the PN against Franco Debono. Do you think he’d go all out in public accusing his boss of preferential treatments? Do you think that this employee, who wants a higher pay, a managerial position and who ultimately dreams of being one of the directors himself would be reporting his boss to his trade union or to the regulatory agencies? No because by doing so even his current position would be compromised!
Franco did what he did because being a sincere and out-spoken person he just couldn’t bear the hypocrisy, the closed-clique manoeuvres, any longer. He did not do so to overthrow the government and neither because he wanted to become a minister. He spoke up because his interests in the country and the way it is being governed have a much larger priority for him than his own political future!
Franco would have done the same had the government enjoyed a 3 or 5 seat majority. He’d have made himself heard just the same, but probably little or no panic would have arisen.
It’s nobody’s fault (except that of the PN itself) that the PN managed to garner only a single seat majority by barely winning the last election with slightly more than a thousand votes, secured by not updating the electoral register and hence leaving more than three thousand young people unable to exercise their voting rights. But let’s not digress.
The instability Malta is facing is solely the PN’s fault, brought upon themselves through maladministration and incorrect practice. It’s very rare that a politician, whether a budding or an established one, finds the guts to risk his political future in order to protest and make his voice heard against the ingrained maladministration of his superiors.
Browsing the internet, one finds conflicting attempts at explaining what is happening. Yesterday on maltarightnow.com – headlines about the opposition leader Joseph Muscat ‘helping’ Franco Debono.
Other blogs of similar political affiliation say that Franco’s actions are just to spite Joseph Muscat because they were in the same class at school twenty-five years ago. Who to believe?
Even if you’re seeing Franco as the devil incarnate at this moment for spoiling the PN out of its last 15 months of governance, I’m sure the large majority of PN supporters do not condone the dragging into the discussion of Franco’s family members, girlfriend, and last but not least the continuous allegations of insanity against him. This really hit rock bottom and only helps to illustrate the absence of real and constructive arguments available to counteract what Franco is saying.
Intelligent people fight arguments with arguments. They shouldn’t stoop so low as to resort to personal attacks: “you’re insane and should be locked up”, or “your girlfriend should leave you”, or “your mother’s hairstyle makes her look like a chav”.
What’s sad here is that for the PN media, the absence of good arguments to counteract those of Franco’s, apparently justify hitting hard below the belt. It was either that, or losing their last 15 months in power. And they concluded that it’s better to try to destroy a person’s reputation and inflict as much hatred as possible by directly bullying him and the ones close to him, rather than risk losing their last 15 months of fun.
And it’s not me who said this first:
Inevitably, some might accuse me of writing this blog because I don’t sympathise with the PN. That’s not the point. The country needs stability. The country needs democracy. It’s not democratic to try to shut someone up through bullying him and members of his family. I was still very young then but looking in retrospect Alfred Sant did the right thing in 1998 albeit the situation (it was over the Cottonera Marina development wasn’t it?) wasn’t as serious as this one (in fact then a PN government got elected and the Cottonera project continued as if nothing had happened). For the sake of democracy and stability, for the sake of jobs and investment, not only we but also the rest of the world needs to know where this country is heading. We can’t afford to have a caretaker “non-“government impotent for 15 months insisting on clutching frantically to the last straw for power till the end.