I have never had time for turncoats. I rate those who can manage to switch allegiance with the deft nonchalance of changing underpants, as people for whom the concept of integrity is an alien idea. Consequently, in my book, their credibility is close to zilch. In 1987, as a first-time voter, I had the misfortune of encountering many such creatures, who with the imminent change in government and like the proverbial rats, quickly jumped the sinking ship. Still, as the saying goes, turncoats come in many colours…
Decades later, I still have to come to grips with this phenomenon which has seen prominent personalities from the opposing camp, people who were known to vociferously share their disdain for the Labour Party, simply cross the divide as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do. That said, I have much less sympathy for those who conveniently sit on the fence until they determine which side of the divide would be most beneficial and then pledge allegiance accordingly. But anyway, I digress.
Franco Debono, him of the ‘diva’ histrionics, has just had an epiphany. In his blog he is now adamant that according to his warped logic, Egrant ‘must’ belong to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat or someone who is close to him. This notwithstanding a magisterial inquiry which crept on for months on end, interviews with more than four hundred people, and a dent in public coffers which amounted to more than one million Euro.
In his rant, Dr Debono reminds us also that back in his schooldays, in Form2C, to be exact, the Prime Minister was not a particularly ‘brilliant’ student. Oh, how Dr Debono’s heart must bleed! Imagine the ‘not-so-brilliant’ Joseph Muscat going on to become leader of a political party, a Prime Minister, and win two landslide electoral victories in a row. Imagine the ‘not-so-brilliant’ Form 2C pupil going on to lead a country which is one of the EU’s success stories to date. All this while Dr Debono, who by his own admission in the past got excellent exam results (he got a 100 in Religious Knowledge when in Form 2C) goes on to have a mediocre political career, which is fast careening towards oblivion. Now if this does not reek of sour grapes, I don’t know what does!
But more to the point he also claimed that “Daphne had enough evidence to destroy Labour”. No shit, Sherlock! But of course she had ‘evidence’! Evidence which has been proven time and again as false and fabricated. The irony is that Debono speaks with reverence of the same Daphne who through her virulent blog, managed to humiliate and ridicule him on countless occasions.
What has changed for Franco Debono? You can call Dr Debono many things, but an opportunist seems to be the most appropriate one. With an almost defunct political career, which Debono now seeks to resurrect, he has launched a none too subtle strategy to ingratiate himself once again with PN supporters. In all fairness, with a party as in chaotic disarray as the PN right now, supporters have little choice except to clutch at straws, now in the form of the newly-converted Franco Debono, who will undoubtedly strike while the iron is hot.
With Adrian Delia whose stab at political statesmanship extends to live weather commentary and Simon Busuttil’s faction which has cost the PN two thundering electoral defeats through its delusional rhetoric, PN supporters have found themselves between a rock and a very hard place indeed, and even more significantly, there seems to be no end in sight. Now, with the PN in self-destruct mode and plenty of warring factions, Debono might seem like a Messiah who will at least keep the flame of a functioning party alive.
But that’s the trouble with turncoats and those for whom political allegiance is simply a transaction; you can never, ever trust someone whose interpretation of ideology is dependent on circumstance, their circumstance. But there are lessons to be learnt here, especially for the Labour Party. Instances like this beg the questions – is the idea of inclusiveness such a great concept, after all? Is the strategy of keeping your friends close and your enemies even closer, so fruitful? There is very little certainty in life and even less so in politics, but it is and has always been the case that for one to sup with the devil, one would need a long spoon…