Do­ing the right thing

For all in­tents and pur­poses, Par­tit Demokratiku sub­mit­ted its sec­ond mo­tion for a vote of no con­fi­dence in Kon­rad Mizzi, the first one hav­ing been tabled by Mar­lene Farrugia in 2016.

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS - Ti­mothy Alden

Mr Alden is Deputy Leader of Par­tit Demokratiku

It has be­come clear to both sides that Kon­rad Mizzi has be­come an an­chor drag­ging the coun­try down. On the most ba­sic imag­in­able level, the re­port re­leased by the Na­tional Au­dit Of­fice leaves no am­bi­gu­ity that Kon­rad Mizzi should re­sign. Con­sid­er­ing the con­tents of the re­port, he is ei­ther cor­rupt or in­com­pe­tent: it has to be one or the other. Ei­ther of these pos­si­bil­i­ties oblige him to lose a vote of no con­fi­dence.

Many in the Labour Party have be­come com­pletely fed with of their work, rep­u­ta­tion and as­pi­ra­tions be­ing un­der­mined by Kon­rad Mizzi and Keith Schem­bri. While they may not have bro­ken rank in a vote of no con­fi­dence, in any case, let us re­mem­ber that both God­frey Farrugia and Mar­lene Farrugia were Labour MPs. I find it very strange that peo­ple ex­pect Labour MPs to speak up at this late stage, yet these same peo­ple will at­tack both Par­tit Demokratiku MPs for not fit­ting their nar­ra­tive well enough.

If one ex­pects Labour MPs to stand up and be counted, do not for­get that it has al­ready hap­pened. If they are treated with dis­re­spect for their sacri- fice, then do not ex­pect MPs in ei­ther the Na­tion­al­ist Party or the Labour Party to feel com­fort­able do­ing the right thing. To date, only the Par­tit Demokratiku MPs have con­sis­tently cham­pi­oned good gov­er­nance in this leg­is­la­ture, in con­stant con­sul­ta­tion with experts on the rule of law. Un­for­tu­nately, the Na­tion­al­ist Party could not af­ford to let Par­tit Demokratiku take the lead this week and, with no prior warn­ing, tanked the mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in Par­lia­ment, de­spite grow­ing dis­com­fort in­side the Labour Party.

Let me there­fore ad­dress the ac­tions of the Na­tion­al­ist Party lead­er­ship this week. This week, it at­tempted to win back anti-cor­rup­tion votes by sub­mit­ting a bill fo­cused on the mur­der of Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia. This ac­tion did not serve to un­der­mine the gov­ern­ment or put pres­sure on Kon­rad Mizzi. The very same day that the Na­tion­al­ist Party ig­nored the mo­tion for a vote of no con­fi­dence, the Na­tional Au­dit Of­fice re­leased its re­port, which fur­ther damns Kon­rad Mizzi. Through its strate­gic de­ci­sions, the Na­tion­al­ist Party has strength­ened the gov­ern­ment’s hand. If noth­ing else, the vote of no con­fi­dence was serv­ing as a plat­form to fur­ther pres­sure the gov­ern­ment.

When Par­tit Demokratiku pointed out that this was a poor strate­gic move, tak­ing pres­sure away from the gov­ern­ment, some per­son­al­i­ties chose to bite back by try­ing to un­der­mine the in­tegrity of God­frey Farrugia. They point to his vote in 2016. Yet, if God­frey Farrugia felt he had any­thing to hide in his track record, he would not have sub­mit­ted this mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in the first place. God­frey Farrugia is con­fi­dent be­cause he at­tempted to change the Labour Party from the in­side, while call­ing for the res­ig­na­tion of Kon­rad Mizzi.

When at­tempts to re­form the Labour Party from within failed, he did not cross the floor to a com­fort­able al­ter­na­tive in the Na­tion­al­ist Party. In­stead, he chose the hard­est pos­si­ble route, and the one most cru­cial for the health of the coun­try, and cham­pi­oned a third party. He walked away from com­fort and power into the un­known, be­cause it was the right thing to do.

The eas­i­est thing that God­frey Farrugia could have done would have been to stay silent, like other MPs, and rake in the good­ies that come with loy­alty. How­ever, that is not some­thing that the crit­ics on ei­ther side of the house will pause to con­sider. Crit­ics will not con­sider that their own MPs, on both sides, refuse to speak up about the cor­rup­tion in their own par­ties and pre­fer to close blind eyes. In­stead, they look to take slices of a story in iso­la­tion, and out of con­text.

To date, only God­frey Farrugia and Mar­lene Farrugia have had the courage to do the im­pos­si­ble – to fight as the first third party in Par­lia­ment since In­de­pen­dence for the sake of a health­ier democ­racy. God­frey Farrugia is proof, through the story of the past years, that try­ing to fix a party from the in­side is not as ef­fec­tive as join­ing a fresh, clean, na­tional move­ment. If the goal is to cre­ate a safer, more dy­namic and more demo­cratic Malta, then one is not go­ing to get there in­side the ex­ist­ing sys­tem. We need a fresh start and that is why Par­tit Demokratiku will con­tinue to cham­pion a peo­ple’s con­ven­tion for any amend­ments to our Con­sti­tu­tion.

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