Editorial | Getting its act together

Grech has a tall order and very little time on his hands but we can only hope that the Opposition will finally get its act together for the good of the country


A democracy requires a strong parliamentary Opposition that functions as a watchdog on the executive and strives to be an alternative government.

Over the past three years, the ability of the Opposition to carry out its functions in an expedient and efficient manner was unfortunately hampered by infighting, open hostility by some MPs towards Adrian Delia and a lack of focus. Delia himself lacked leadership and faced issues of ethical concern that did not help the situation.

Irrespective of the reasons for the infighting – some of which may have been very valid – the general consensus was that the country could not afford having a divided Opposition.

The fragmentation gave rise to mixed messages that confused people. Stakeholders were sometimes left wondering what the Opposition’s official message was as a result of the different voices that had no common base.

Now, that a new Opposition leader has been installed we expect a measure of consolidation and focus to kick in. Stability has to be restored.

Admirably, Delia has not only accepted defeat but also pledged loyalty to Bernard Grech and this is an important first step. It will not be enough, though.

Grech has a long road ahead of him to foster unity in the Opposition and rein in the loose cannons that shoot from the hip on social media.

This does not mean that pluralism should be stifled but once a decision is taken, party officials and MPs must fall in line. Anything less will perpetuate the inertia.

The healing process will take its time and it must run its course. Truncating it prematurely will only serve to paper over the cracks, a recipe that will fail.

But this must not be the alpha and omega of Grech’s work.

The Opposition has to have a strong voice to act as a watchdog on government. It is something it has done well even if at times in an erratic fashion. However, it may need to develop a more elegant approach in its criticism of government policy and actions.

More importantly, the Opposition has to present itself as a government in waiting and this is where the raison d’etre of any political party lies.

Politics is all about ideas to move the country forward. A political party must have a vision of where it wants the country and society to go, and how it intends to achieve that.

This is something the Opposition has failed to do. It has to learn how to sit down and think. It has to learn how to understand people’s concerns and their aspirations. It has to learn how to translate those concerns and aspirations into opportunities by proposing concrete solutions.

This requires a lot of hard work and unfortunately time is not on the Opposition’s side.

For a democracy to remain healthy, people have to have a real choice at election time based on different visions for the country.

Strong, fair and focussed leadership is what Grech needs to get his MPs singing from the same hymn book. He will also need to stimulate discussion, be bold and forward looking.

Grech has a tall order and very little time on his hands but we can only hope that the Opposition will finally get its act together for the good of the country.

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