Neville Chamberlain was Britain’s prime minister from the 28th May 1937 to 10th May 1940. He is mostly remembered, pejoratively, for his policy of appeasement, previously espoused by his successors Ramsay MacDonald and Stanley Baldwin.
Faced by the inexorable rise of the ugly soul of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, Britain’s prime ministers, notably Chamberlain, adopted the diplomatic policy of conceding to aggressive powers in order to avoid conflict: the policy of ‘appeasement’, avoiding confrontation with Nazi Germany to avert war.
In order to silence opponents and as alarm grew with the rise of the far-right in Europe, Chamberlain resorted to news censorship to control public opinion.
In March 1938 Hitler had invaded and annexed Austria. Chamberlain returned from Germany on 30th September 1938 waving a worthless piece of paper known as the Munich Agreement. The agreement surrendered to Hitler’s land-grab, formally the “cessation to Germany of the Sudeten German territory” belonging to Czechoslovakia. Clueless Chamberlain celebrated the success of Hitler’s “last territorial claim in Europe”, and the choice seemed then to be between war and appeasement. Chamberlain confidently announced that he had secured “peace for our time”.
Appeasement at the time was strongly supported by big business and media leaders.
World War II broke out a year later and we all know how that ended. Far from the Sudetenland being Hitler’s “last territorial claim in Europe”, he subsequently invaded Albania, Danzig, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Norway, the Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Monaco, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, San Marino, Saar Basin, and the USSR, reaching as far out as Jersey and Guernsey in the British Isles.
Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination was parked whilst Joseph Muscat rammed through his second landslide coup in 2017. Faced by the inexorable rise of the ugly soul of the corrupt and criminal Labour government, the Nationalist party’s new leader, Adrian Delia, adopted the diplomatic policy of conceding to a progressively more aggressively corrupt Labour ‘movement’ in order to avoid conflict. Delia’s new party policy was to avoid talking about government corruption. This was Malta’s Nationalist party policy of ‘appeasement’. Talking about government corruption lost votes, Delia said.
Conservative prime minister Neville Chamberlain faced dissent in his own party from Winston Churchill, Duff Cooper and Anthony Eden. Delia faced dissent from a considerable number of Nationalist MPs led by Simon Busuttil and Jason Azzopardi. Churchill was called a traitor by his own party in 1938 – so were Simon Busuttil and his allies. Malta’s anti-corruption warrior, Daphne Caruana Galizia, an investigative journalist, was reduced to a “mere blogger” (“bicca blogger”) by the clueless (?) Adrian Delia.
The choice seemed to be between waging a war on corruption or espousing appeasement: Delia’s roadmap for winning more votes and closing the lead on Joseph Muscat. Delia confidently announced that the Nationalist party was no longer the ‘negative party’ and he had secured ‘future electoral success’.
Delia’s pitiful position was strongly supported by big business, the Labour party, and media leaders, who blindingly saw a new Moses in Joseph Muscat. With the economy on steroids and the select many happily cashing in hand over fist, this was Delia’s new way: appeasement.
Anti-corruption war broke out two years later and we all know what is taking place right now. Far from Simon Busuttil being Joseph Muscat’s “last claim on negativity”, ‘negative’ Daphne Caruana Galizia was brutally and mercilessly assassinated and the complete invasion of the judiciary, the civil service and the security forces, including the police, the army and the secret service took place.
Appeasement did not work in 1938, has not worked since 1938 and does not work now. Appeasement is the sycophantic obeisance to the altar of iniquity and impunity. It gives latitude to the criminally corrupt and gnaws at freedom.
Appeasement takes form in many ways.
Appeasement is when the corrupt, the amoral and the narcissistic are not challenged in order to maintain serenity and unity. It is analogical to not reporting burglaries in order to make a country appear safe by keeping crime statistics down. In the end burglars act with impunity. They know they can get away with it.
Appeasement is when talking about an investigative journalist’s assassination and couching your language by saying “I did not agree with everything she wrote” or “I did not always see eye to eye with her”. Logic holds that if you only value someone’s life or work by always agreeing with everything they do, say and do not do, then you value no one as there is no one exactly precisely like you with your same characteristics and precise same beliefs and values.
Appeasement is not outing wrong.
Appeasement is saying that you have no constitutional function or personal ability to act in the face of corruption, cronyism, crime, nepotism and political cynicism and hypocrisy.
Appeasement is staying silent.
Appeasement is not calling a spade a blooming shovel.
Appeasers bear the same weight of personal responsibility as the corrupt, the criminals, and hypocritical and cynical politicians.