Come off it, you’re both ‘the establishment’
‘The establishment’ seems to have become the catchphrase of the day in Malta, with both the country’s two main political parties having pointed accusatory fingers at each other and calling each other ‘the establishment’.
But in today’s post-truth, or shall we say post-Trump, politics, who is the real establishment?
‘The establishment’ is generally defined as a dominant group or elite that holds power or authority in a nation or organisation. And by that general definition, and the definitions do vary widely, the PN-PL duopoly are, together, the establishment.
The opposition Nationalist Party had been in power for a good 25 years, give or take a couple of years in between, before being ejected from the seat of power by the Labour Party’s and Joseph Muscat’s Movement.
The governing Labour Party, meanwhile, has been in power since 2013 and, by definition, it is the establishment of the day.
The truth of the matter is that neither of them is right. In actual fact they jointly form the establishment. They have both jointly controlled the country as a duopoly for decades upon decades on end. Together, they
form the ruling class and call it what you will - The Establishment, the Powers-That-Be, The Man – they are the ones who have pulled the strings and who have called the shots, many times irrespective of who is actually in power, since this country’s Independence.
They have both fought tooth and nail to keep any other party out of Parliament. They were once known collectively as the MLPN (Malta Labour Party + Nationalist Party) and while the acronym no longer applies after Labour’s change in nomenclature, the gist remains the same. It is a duopoly establishment.
But since the whirlwind election of Donald Trump a few weeks ago way over on the other side of the Atlantic, the ‘establishment’ buzzword has been reverberating across the Maltese political spectrum.
A simple review of press releases issued by both the Nationalist and Labour parties since Donald Trump’s election shows Labour accusing the PN of being ‘the establishment’ no less than nine times, and six times between July and Trump’s election, while the PN has labelled the PL ‘the establishment’ three times.
This, of course, goes without mentioning the dozens of times the buzzword has been used by assorted politicians and pundits alike on both sides of the political divide. Now in the wake of Donald Trump’s surprise electoral defeat of Hillary Clinton at the US polls, after his anti-political establishment campaign – in which he defied both the Democratic establishment and the Republican establishment (on whose ticket he ran), everyone appears to be jumping on the anti-establishment bandwagon.
The Sunday after Trump’s surprising victory, both the PN and PN leaders sought to quickly jump aboard that bandwagon, and labelled each other ‘the establishment’. And they have, to varying degrees been doing that ever since.
The truth of the matter is that they are fooling just about no one but their own dogged followers.
Riding on the coattails of Donald Trump’s staggering success in the US will do no one any good whatsoever, and both parties are, truth be told, doing nothing than shooting each themselves in the foot by accusing each other of being the establishment. They should both drop the charade and get on with their respective business of governing and opposing… as this country’s establishment.