There’s a headline from Bernard Grech’s interview with Times of Malta which quotes the Opposition Leader say “Daphne will have died in vain if PL win with larger majority.” I think I know what Bernard Grech meant to say and none of it is bad, but that specific quote is not how I would have put it.
After all, the quote could logically be flipped to mean that if Labour win with a reduced majority there would have been a point to Daphne’s killing. Daphne died in vain in any case. No election outcome, even the political humiliation of the Labour Party, would give meaning to the terrorist act of executing her outside her home.
In any case, anyone’s killing in pursuit of some electoral outcome in a democracy is entirely unjustified, wasteful, and undesirable.
I know Bernard Grech never meant to suggest he’d think it was worth killing Daphne if that meant Labour lose some votes.
I do want to refine the argument to lift it out of the mire of unwarranted implications. And to do that I would start by eliminating the passive voice, the idea that the election result, including the size of Labour’s majority, happens spontaneously or independently of a sentient, wilful actor.
It doesn’t. The election result is the product of the conscious decision taken by someone. That someone is the Maltese electorate.
In Bernard Grech’s business one must avoid being openly critical of the boss: the people of Malta. Any suggestion that the people could decide wrongly or even maliciously creates a hostility that may result in a punishment the people impose on the politician. On the other hand, criticising too harshly the electorate risks discrediting all their decisions, including favourable ones.
Since I’m not a politician, in spite of all fabricated evidence to the contrary plastered on Labour Party billboards, I have no such qualms.
At the next general election, the Maltese electorate are being asked to pass judgement on a government found by 3 judges to be responsible for the killing of a journalist who had been their critic. There’s no gun pointed to the head of the Maltese electorate, though there is a lot to be said for the claim that this is a grossly manipulated electorate that has been disarmed of the tools needed by a people voting in free and fair elections. But for the moment let’s park all that.
In the polling both, pencil in hand, each voter takes a sovereign decision in secret, without fear of consequence. Everyone who votes Labour in spite of the findings of those 3 judges consciously rewards Labour for allowing a journalist to be killed. It is a dead certainty that a large majority of the country will vote in that manner.
Even if it were not so, Daphne died in vain. She shouldn’t have had to. She shouldn’t have been. A majority in this country will not merely fail to give meaning to her killing, because no such meaning can ever exist. Rather, a majority in this country will this Saturday, in secret, pencil in hand, declare by placing their first preference in a red box that given the opportunity to stand next to the man with the trigger they would do nothing to stop him killing Daphne again.
Labour’s great majority is not merely a failure of the Maltese people to give political justice to Daphne. Labour’s great majority is in and of itself a renewal of the injustice that caused her life to end.