Just because an internal PN election in 2004 made the providentially correct choice of Lawrence Gonzi over John Dalli, it does not mean that we have to continue to live dangerously hoping card-carrying party fans choose sensibly who should be prime minister.
And the Labour Party of 2020 is a million miles away from the Partit Nazzjonalista of 2004. The Labour Party that is choosing the next prime minister is the same Labour Party that is applauding the glorious exit of Joseph Muscat as if he was some national hero. Look at this pathetic post by Alfred Grixti who was moved to tears by this letter he got from Joseph Muscat and that is not because even to his very last day in office Joseph Muscat continues to use State funding for his personal and partisan propaganda.
The situation is different now because this election is happening in the same context of Joseph Muscat’s corrupt and murderous government. Consider just one point. Chris Fearne said he disagreed with the PN’s idea of abolishing party TV stations. His reason was that he said he saw through the PN’s talk of separation between political parties and the media. In Chris Fearne’s assessment, the PN is only really interested in this because it does not have the money to pay and finance its TV station.
Let’s just take that at face value, shall we? So what is Chris Fearne saying here? That the information and news we get as citizens should be a product and consequence of how rich a political party is? Isn’t this how we are guaranteed to only be provided with information from the political party that best serves the interests of big business who pay for these costs for the parties that let them do as they please?
And here again we go back to party elections and structures deciding national constitutional outcomes without any regulation. TVM is regulated by the Broadcasting Authority ensuring (at least in theory) its impartiality. But no one regulates the Labour Party’s TV. So who is to say that one candidate for the post of the next prime minister will not get advantageous coverage on One TV because the ‘journalists’ working there support him over the other candidate? Who will independently ensure impartiality? Certainly you can’t balance this out with NET TV, especially if its owner – the PN – can’t afford to even keep it open.
This is not how a democracy should work. It is how ours is not working though. In the election of the PN leadership we saw just such manipulation. One TV campaigned for Adrian Delia quite explicitly. ‘Journalists’ working for NET TV graduated after Adrian Delia’s election from the newsroom as employees to the party’s executive committee effectively becoming their own bosses.
And who checked how Adrian Delia and his rival candidates funded their election campaign? There’s no law that regulates where they get their money from and what debts they make with people giving them money.
Think of how perverse this is. Silvio Parnis has to account for the money he collects to fund his campaign to be elected as an MP for Paola. But Robert Abela owes no one any explanation for how he funded his campaign to be Malta’s prime minister next week.
Malta’s rules about political parties need updating. Except for a cursory reference to a matter which is unconnected to any of the arguments brought here, political parties are not even mentioned in the constitution. They operate in an unregulated way with less conditions on their business than your average village pharmacy. And yet, unlike the local village pharmacy, they get to choose who is your prime minister (for which read ‘kink’) without any reference to you whatsoever.
They owe you no explanation even as they accuse each other of fraud. Isn’t that nice?