The Labour Party is a magnet for those who are attracted to authoritarianism and dictators

Published: February 1, 2015 at 2:59pm

ian castaldi paris

Ian Castaldi Paris has joined the Labour Party.

I hear you ask, who’s Ian Castaldi Paris?

And well might you ask, because the first and last time most of us had ever heard of him was when he had some kind of altercation with Magistrate Consuelo Herrera when she turned up at his Lija council office – he was PN mayor at the time, I believe – in representation of some kind of block of flats that was being built in Transfiguration Avenue.

That must have marked some kind of turning point for him, because ever since then he’s been busy converting to the Labour cause, and though I have nothing to bear this out, instinct and experience tell me that Robert Musumeci might well have been instrumental in this less-than-Damascene conversion.

But that’s irrelevant anyway, because conversions, whether political or religious, only occur in those who were so inclined to begin with. And given what I have read of Castaldi Paris more recently, he is most definitely so inclined.

As a personality, he fits into the profile box of Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando (but without the loose-screw viciousness) and Franco Debono (practically identical). In other words, it’s not about politics, political organisation, politicians or policy. It is about egomania: ‘I will go wherever I feel most loved and where my immense gifts are best appreciated.’

Individuals like these are also attracted by authoritarianism and autocratic leaders. They despise anything other than that as weakness and react by going in for the kill. Even as they insulted Lawrence Gonzi by calling him a dictator (what a joke), they despised him for what they saw as his weakness with them. The more he tried to pacify them, the more they despised him.

This is also the reason they are attracted to Joseph Muscat. They like the ‘strongman’ image, even though this image is generally cultivated by male leaders who fear an innate effeminacy in themselves. Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando and Franco Debono would have been magnetised by somebody like Benito Mussolini as a character. So would Ian Castaldi Paris. They would also have been fatally attracted to Dom Mintoff before the 1980s; after that, support for him came to be considered a complete embarrassment.

When Castaldi Paris spoke at a Labour Party meeting this morning to say that he has joined Labour, surprise and astonishment were expressed by those present, presumably because – despite being party delegates – they don’t keep abreast of political goings-on and so failed to notice that Castaldi Paris has been speaking against the Nationalist Party for quite a long while now. They also failed to notice that, for quite a while now, Castaldi Paris has shared an office with Labour Party electoral candidate Chris Cilia.

And what did Castaldi Paris, a middle-aged man, say in his speech?

“It is a beautiful thing to have a Prime Minister who can listen, guide you and offer your help. That is what Dr Muscat is like: a father-like figure who really has changed this country.”

That’s called paternalism, Mr Castaldi Paris. It is a quality associated with dictators and not with leaders in the free world. It is also linked to Far Right and Extreme Left politics in general, and certainly not with liberalism, because it is the precise opposite of that.

I’m not a psychiatrist or even a psychologist, but I don’t think you need to be one to see that if a grown man of Castaldi Paris’s age, supposed education and intelligence, and position in life, wants a leader who feels and behaves like a father, something is badly wrong. Middle-aged men still looking for daddy? What a worry.

More worrying still: Castaldi Paris and his ‘father figure’ are the same age.