Desmond Zammit Marmarà opens his preposterous blog on Newsbook by saying that he is “a Labour Party supporter and therefore one of those who have absolutely no wish to see Dr Adrian Delia as Prime Minister of Malta.” He concludes by reaffirming that he is “one of those who will continue doing my utmost to see that Labour continues in power and that the PN under Dr Adrian Delia remains in Opposition.”

If this was meant to reassure us that he has no ulterior motive in defending Dr Delia, it has failed miserably.

It is precisely because Desmond Zammit Marmarà is a Labour Party supporter that he writes the way he does. Having Dr Delia as Opposition leader is the most effective way to ensure that the PN remains in Opposition. This is why, for the first time in recent history we have people from the Labour party, including Labour’s leader, defending the leader of the Opposition. Democracy is not threatened by having credible leaders. The only thing under threat if Dr Delia were to do the decent thing and resign, is Labour’s stay in power.

One can dismiss the baggage that Dr Delia carries as mere allegations. The fact remains that these same allegations are effectively silencing the Opposition. For how can the Opposition criticise the government’s behaviour when the leader of the Opposition is reputed to behave in the same manner?

I am not a member of the PN and although I have voted for the PN several times in past, I did so because the PN was the party that most reflected the principles that I hold dear not out of some sort of blind, unconditional loyalty. 

Nor am I a member of some “Anti-Delia Faction.” I have nothing against Delia as a private individual and I certainly have no aspirations to power. The parties that I voted for in the last election form the Opposition and I am one of those people who expect our leaders to have high standards and lead by example. I definitely recognise the fact that having a strong opposition rather than a one party state is essential.

A leader is not the party and a political party is not a football team (albeit given Dr Delia’s mismanagement of Birkirkara FC, one can be forgiven for confusing the two).

Desmond Zammit Marmarà also has a lot to say about what he considers honourable and following one’s leader “through thick and thin.”

Honour does not demand that you follow a leader unquestioningly. Honour demands putting the party and the country before one’s personal gain. It demands choosing leaders that behave in a manner that earns our loyalty and respect. When we have retired PN politicians admitting that they “have never seen the party in such a state” we can safely say that Dr Delia’s new way of doing things deserves neither respect nor unwavering loyalty.

Desmond Zammit Marmarà does ask one important question.  He wonders about what kind of politics we are offering to young people who wish to offer their services to the public in the political field. It is precisely because we care about what kind legacy we are leaving to the younger generation that I and many others believe that we need a better leader of the Opposition.

I will conclude this article with the words of Luke Fowley, an Australian politician who was in the news last October after facing allegations of harassment.  He denied the allegations and said they were false. He also knew that while under investigation, stepping down from his position was the right thing to do. 

In his own words: “The first thing I’d like to say is that the allegations against me today made public by the ABC are false. I’ve retained solicitors and senior counsel to advise of immediate commencement of defamation proceedings in the federal court of Australia.

“However, I can’t fight to clear my name and fight an election at the same time. It’s just not possible to do both.

“Therefore I’m resigning the leadership of the Labor party effective today. This will enable the new leader to give their full attention to defeating the Liberal National government.”

That is what happens in a normal, democratic country. It is high time that we started putting into practice the democratic values that we profess cherish here in Malta too.