Published: December 20, 2009 at 10:59pm
Franco Debono tells us that he wished to pass on a message from his constituents when he left parliament in a huff. He doesn’t tell us what that message is.
Nor does he tell us whether his constituents are the sort of persons whose preferred method of communication is to sulk, stamp their feet and storm out in protest before a parliamentary vote, to return only after some heavy persuasion.
Perhaps he realises now just how badly he behaved, how he embarrassed his political colleagues, how he played right into the hands of his political adversaries who are salivating on the Opposition benches, and how he made himself look like a temperamental and egocentric person of doubtful integrity.
Let’s put it this way: I wouldn’t want to have to cooperate with Franco Debono if our plane goes down on some remote mountain-top and we survive.
Is he going to blame the media now? I certainly hope not. He appears to have done something to try and make amends, in an interview with The Sunday Times today, if yesterday’s promotional story was anything to go by.
Perhaps what we are seeing now is a pattern setting in: first a shameful scene and then a sort of apologia pro vita sua in the form of a newspaper interview. It has happened twice already, in fewer than as many months.
One pattern that is certainly clear is that of politicians who appear to believe that it is all about them: what they want, what they didn’t get, what they believe they are entitled to, and how best they can blackmail the prime minister or use leverage on him to cause the maximum amount of trouble if their needs are not met.
The jaw-dropper is that they fail to understand how they come across to the rest of us: as half-men. They think it is all about their honour, when what many people really want to say to them is “For God’s sake, act like a man.”
They make me cringe.
There is something distinctly unmasculine about the way these politicians carp, whine and sulk, and it’s quite astonishing that they think the opposite is true: that they are safeguarding their male honour. Perhaps they think it is possible to maintain their dignity by behaving in some of the most undignified ways possible.
It is patently obvious that they egg each other on, that they withdraw into a cabal to kvetch and bitch and complain and bolster each other.
They are not so much a kitchen cabinet as a kitchen coven, though with their self-described ‘father confessor’ removed from the equation and comfortably ensconced in an EU Commissioner’s chair in Brussels, they are going to have to sniff around for a successor to listen to their moaning for the next three years.
Then, thankfully, we shall have the opportunity of depriving them of the parliamentary seat for which they have demonstrated themselves to be most unfit.
Where they are most lacking in dignity (and commonsense) is in their apparent willingness to delight their political enemies and give them pleasure.
Let’s put it this way: if I were an MP on the government benches and I were really and truly annoyed because ‘Lawrence’ didn’t give me what I want, or ‘Lawrence’ had sent a text message to let me know that I wasn’t about to get my Christmas stocking, then over my dead body would the Opposition ever find out.
On the contrary, I would be at great pains to let the Opposition know that I think the sun shines out of the seat of the prime minister’s pants, because thinking straight, I know that the people to whom I should be giving a really hard time are those sitting opposite me in parliament, and not those sitting near me.
And if I want to work things out, then I’ll find some way of working them out that doesn’t involve playing into the Opposition’s hands or giving the newspapers a story to crow about.
There are some people who say that ‘Lawrence’ should demonstrate better leadership by keeping these individuals under control, but there is only so much you can do with those who are in possession of the single seat that makes for the government’s majority and who are determined to grab as much as they can for themselves before the ship goes down in 2013.
But I’m beginning to think that it’s been a long while since the MPs in question did any straight thinking. If they think we voted for them, rather than for a Nationalist government with Lawrence Gonzi as prime minister, they need a short, sharp prod in the backside to remind them fast.
They appear to believe that those who voted for Lawrence Gonzi to become prime minister are on their side as they throw themselves around in fits of temper and do their level best to distract him from the business of running the country rather than pandering to their silly whims.
How wrong they are. The only ones giving them any encouragement are those who voted against this government or who didn’t vote at all. In short, they are ignoring the express wishes of their constituents so as to serve the interests of those who didn’t vote for them. Boy, that’s smart.
They are truly insufferable.
This article is published in The Malta Independent on Sunday today.