There’s no doubt that the man of the moment is Dr Simon Busuttil. Who else could it be? Love him or detest him, he has earned respect as a leader who, with his dogged determination and remarkable resilience, gave the kiss of life to the Nationalist Party (PN) and raised it from the dead.
Four years ago, nobody would have bet one cent on the PN’s chances of being returned to government any time soon. Not after that spectacular thrashing at the polls by the Labour Party (PL). Exit a humiliated Lawrence Gonzi who undeservedly absorbed the brunt of the resulting defeat and enter Simon Busuttil whose job it became to pick up the pieces of the broken PN and restore public confidence in the erstwhile glorious political party.
And pick up the pieces he did! Not only did he turn the PN into an electable party once again; he has, slowly but surely, convinced a significant part of the electorate that he is electable as prime minister. And now that he is in coalition with the Democratic Party, he has strengthened his party’s position as a government-in-waiting. We may even argue that the Panama Papers gave him a helping hand, but as they say, all’s fair in love and war and we have come to the point where politics is war.
Ever since he officially became Leader of the Opposition, the man has been tagged with all sorts of labels intended to place him in a negative light, the most popular one being that he is weak. Simon Busuttil is a genuinely modest and unassuming gentleman, devoid of arrogance and this is often mistaken for weakness. He inherited a party in total disarray after a thumping defeat and morale was at rock bottom. But he rolled up his sleeves, tackled the issues with resolute determination and pledged to make the PN the party of the people once again.
The man has high standards, great courage and strength of character. We may not agree with everything he says or does but we must give credit where credit is due. His political opponents soon learned that to underestimate him would be at their own peril. And, as recent opinion polls claim, he successfully shifted the bulk of the burden of those 36,000 votes showing that the PL’s lead over the PN has been in steady decline. So, how weak is that?
Not only has he gradually regained the trust of many decent people, he has also raised hopes among them to be sure to expect good governance if he becomes the next prime minister. And this at the time when many have lost faith in a political class that has brought us to a place where we helplessly watch as our ideals die around us because of a corrupt few whose only roadmap to power was designed with the sole objective of acquiring personal wealth at the expense of the electorate.
But are we doing enough to support Simon Busuttil in the war on corruption? Are we standing four-square behind him? Well, we should be! For at this moment in time, only he, like a beacon of hope, can lead us out of the frightfully dark tunnel that our country is trapped in. And if this sounds like an exaggeration, we only have to listen to the professionals in the financial services to get a good grip of how precarious the situation really is.
Mahatma Ghandi once said first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. These words draw on Simon Busuttil’s personal experience, except that he hasn’t won yet. He is now asking us for a clear mandate in this election to restore integrity to our country. To vote is not an option. It is a duty and we owe it to ourselves and to our children.
So let’s give Simon Busuttil a chance. Let’s help him finish what he started. Let’s choose Malta!