The PN? Not consulted? Jeepers...
Great. Utterly fantastic, I must say. So the United States of America gets Barack Obama as President, and at the same time we get... George Abela.
But back to the undisputed centre of the Universe, and of course everybody and his puppy dog is positively elated at the news that the next President of the Republic was chosen from the Opposition ranks for the first time ever. Yes indeed, folks: a Nationalist Prime Minister appointing a Labour President. Who on earth could possibly object to such unprecedented magnanimity? And who on earth would argue against the choice of a man who had opposed going for early elections in 1998, and who – had he been successful back then – would effectively have derailed any hope of Malta ever joining the European Union in the first place?
Ouch. OK, so let me see if I’ve understood correctly: Lawrence Gonzi actually gets something right for a change, and what do you know? He also succeeds in seriously (but seriously) pissing off his entire backbench, and arguably the entire Nationalist party grassroots to boot.
Equally incensed was a certain Jeffrey Orlando Furioso. No rivers of tears this time round, but he made a heck of a lot of noise on XFM... where he pointed out, among numerous other observations, that there was “consensus” within the parliamentary group that Gonzi should have consulted his minions, instead of letting them get to know his decision from the Sunday papers.
Gee. How sad. Nationalist MPs, presented with a fait accompli? Honestly, I can’t tell you how many pints of blood my heart is currently bleeding for the victims of this grave injustice. But while the PN backbenchers are busy wailing, gnashing their teeth and commiserating each other on this affront to their political sensitivities, they might consider looking on the bright side for a change.
You see, after this bitter experience, 100% of the PN parliamentary group suddenly finds itself uniquely positioned to understand what the rest of us – including all the people they supposedly represent in parliament – have been complaining about for decades.
Or how about the residents of Qui Si Sana? You know, the ones who last year were confronted with irrefutable evidence that Mepa had already quietly approved the controversial Fort Cambridge project... long before actually taking a vote during a “public consultation” exercise?
Then there are the Marsaskala residents, who were promised consultation after consultation over the Sant’ Antnin waste management plant, but instead got nothing more than a public briefing to inform them of an irreversible decision which had already been taken. And at a stretch, the same could also be said for the extensive “consultation” that took place before government decided to spend around €1 billion of taxpayers’ money to build Mater Dei Hospital... only to belatedly discover what some taxpayers would willingly have informed them for free, had they ever bothered to ask. I.E., that while the country might have afforded a one-off Lm300,000 construction bill – and even that is debatable – it simply can’t afford the Lm1 million a week required to keep the same hospital running. (As it happens, our Minister for Health – or was that Hell? – has just informed us that they can’t even afford to pay the €30 million owed to medicine suppliers. But more of this astonishing revelation some other time...)
And on it goes, until just last month: when the entire country awoke to the news that Prime Minister Gonzi, in yet another case of Divine Inspiration, had unilaterally decided to build a parliament on the site of the former opera house, slap bang at the entrance to Valletta... and, oh look: no public consultation; no discussion; no debate; no exhibition of designs (which, by the way, haven’t even been drawn up yet); no consideration of alternative proposals for the same site... and no acknowledgement whatsoever of the many, many objections to this ghastly fait accompli.
So coming back to the poor Nationalist parliamentary group, still beating its breast and bemoaning the grave injustice of having been left in the dark over the choice of next President, and... well... there is a question I just have to ask.
One last observation before leaving President George Abela to assume office, snug in the knowledge that his appointment has outraged an estimated 100% of the PN parliamentary group (way to go, George!)
Well, sorry to have point out the obvious, but... is the PN parliamentary group aware of the supremely ugly implications of the above objections? (Or at least, numbers 1 and 3)? Because, from where I’m standing, it looks for all the world as though Lawrence Gonzi has finally tried to deliver – albeit six years too late – on his original promise of a “new way of doing politics”; only to discover that his own party would much rather if he stuck to the old way instead.
All things told, then, it’s a pity Malta still lacks a divorce court. Otherwise, I suspect the first unhappy couple to file for a divorce would be none other than “GonziPN”... citing fundamental incompatibility as the main reason.