The PLPN Bedfellow

A little visual reminder for Malta’s political parties busy washing their hands of any links to Gaddhafi. What follows is a list of the years Gaddhafi spent in power. Those marked blue were years of nationalist government and those marked red were years of labour government.

1969 . 1970 . 1971 . 1972 . 1973 . 1974 . 1975 . 1976 . 1977 . 1978 . 1979 . 1980 . 1981 . 1982 . 1983 . 1984 . 1985 . 1986 . 1987 . 1988 . 1989 . 1990 . 1991 . 1992 . 1993 . 1994 . 1995 . 1996. 1997 . 1998 . 1999 . 2000 . 2001 . 2002 . 2003 . 2004 . 2005 . 2006 . 2007 . 2008 . 2009. 2011

Here’s TIME in 1972 on Mintoff & Gaddhafi: Gaddafi to the rescue

Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi appears willing to support Mintoff financially. Gaddafi has already loaned Malta about $3,000,000 to replenish the government’s diminishing social security fund. Now he seems ready to do more. The end of 170 years of British use of the island would mean eliminating 22,000 full-or part-time jobs and losing a $54 million annual contribution to the economy. Gaddafi recently dispatched a plane to Malta to fly Mintoff to Tripoli.

Made honorary member of the “Xirka Gieh ir-Republika” in 1975.

Made honorary companion of the National Order of Merit in 2004.

12 Thoughts.

  1. Quite right Jacques, but is there not a lot more to it that can be encapsulated in ‘PLPN’? Surely you have to distinguish (a) the relationship between a political party and a dictator, from (b) that between a State and its neighbourhood dictatorships.

  2. Oh there is a lot more to it. Which does not make it any less of a link. As an example tale the two dates when the honorary titles were bestowed on the libyan leader. In 1975 it was the Maltese government doing the granting of the title. In 2004 it was also the Maltese government. In 1975 the party in power was Labour – nobody in Labour objected one bit to the granting of this honour. In 2004 the party in power was the Nationalist party – idem.

    State/party lines might exist but the end result is the same. None of the two parties ever considered a policy different from sucking up to the dictator.

    Measuring which of the two parties used up most saliva in the arse-licking process can only serve for the “lesser evil” formula – and I stopped being interested in that a while back.

  3. ‘None of the two parties ever considered a policy different from sucking up to the dictator.’

    That’s not quite true, is it? In 1987 the government revised the security and defence aspects of the Maltese-Libya treaty: This is significant and should alter any analysis of the relationship. Realpolitik can be despicable, but it is not the same as fraternal relations with despots.

    What is more, the Labour Party qua political party, rather than qua Maltese government from time to time, has/had a very close relationship with Gaddafi.

    As for ‘lesser evils’, there is no such thing as perfection in politics. If all evils are equal, we might as well all call it a day.

  4. A minor quibble. Labour formed a government in June 1971, and the PN in May 1987. I would say that 1971 should remain in red since the MLP was in power for over 50% of the year, but then the same should apply to 1987, where the PN assumed power in May. 1996 (red) and 1998 (blue) are correct since the general elections those years were held in October and September respectively, so one compensates for the other.

  5. Americans Canadians British Italians(esp) French etc all did well under Gaddafi rule. What I find disturbing is the inter party squabbling on policies that are really bread and butter issues for any Government. Are you suggesting that there was an aletnative? As an aside I find the suggestion that the Nats did business with Gaddafi when the guy was a goodie as opposed to Labour who did business when he was a baddy particularly awsome in so far as logic and spin are concerned.

  6. Realpolitik. Of course in the universal judgement the nationalist party could get off with a suspended sentence while the labour party merit a decent time behind the bars for cozying up to Muammar.

    On the other hand I have to repeat that although the realpolitik of the 21st century might have required a handshake with Gaddhafi here and an acknowledging nod there, the nationalist party still awarded the man an honorary title via it’s government in 2004. Would you be barking “realpolitik” if it was Idi Amin? Chavez? Stalin? Dunno.

    We needn’t go so far as fraternal relations with despots JBB. Our Commissioner in Brussels, a nationalist elected politician and nationalist party appointment has provided us with embarassing (and that’s a polite way of putting it) moments with regards to the dealings with Libya.

    You seem to question my linking PLPN with an ugly bedfellow. The fact remains that realpolitik or not we were in bed with a madman. We conducted business with a madman. ANY business in Libya was tainted with the blood of many. News has surfaced of a mass killing in 2006 (Nationalists in government, still dealing with Gaddhafi) when hundreds were rounded up and killed.

    Realpolitik is a polite way of saying that we diplomatically stomached the unpalatable in order to survive. When the parties start to point fingers at one another in order to claim that one has hands that are less dirty I can only watch in shame.

    So I don’t really get what point you are trying to make with regards to realpolitik. My point is simple (maybe too simple in today’s complicated world of calculations). Both PL & PN dealt with the madman. They amused him and whimpered along whenever he barked. They were not alone. The shame is on all the world and not just them – but they are unique in their petty blame game and name calling. Shame.

    Strange bedfellows indeed.

  7. For the record,it should be mentioned that the PN warmed up to Gaddafi only after the 1977 leadership change. However, once it did, it pulled out all the stops.
    I remember George Pullicino, then SDM chairman and a rising star in the PN firmament passionately backing Gaddafi at a forum at University following the US air strikes in 1986. Guido de Marco was also passionate about the ‘dimensjoni mediterranea’ which basically meant cosy-ing up to all the unsavoury characters in the region.
    The PN’s strategy of beating Labour at its own game worked in terms of short-term electoral and some economic successes, but the pigeons were bound to come home to roost.

  8. It’s PLPN because both gave him a medal.

    Labour signed a “security” agreement?

    So what, both gave him a medal.

    Arabic made a compulsory subject for no other reason than ideological?

    Well yes, let’s not forget that both Labour and Nats gave him a medal.

    The Green Book, the green copy books with intertwined flags (“Il-poplu Malti jsellem lill-poplu tal-Ġamaħirija Għarbija Libjana Popolari u Soċjalista”), “L-Għarbi għal kulħadd” on “Xandir Malta” prime time?

    Damn it, both gave him the damn medal.

    Targetting Libyan dissedents in/through Malta, Gaddafi addressing Labour meetings, blood brothers talk?

    It’s the medals, stupid!

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