Labour in labour

Re-inventing the Malta Labour Party (and Maltese politics): an unauthorised tazebao.

Managing the earthquake

Posted by fcb on September 1, 2008

In our last editorial before the Santa Marija break, An Administration to suit the vision and not a vision to suit the Administration, referring to Joseph’s announced ‘earthquake’ we wrote: 

“He never suggested it would be an easy task. We never expected a triumphal march. Restructuring an organisation (actually, we should speak of an institution) is a complex process. Institutions are complex clusters of diverse interests and alliances, rivalries and friendships, scores to settle and old debts to honour, noble ideas and miserable prejudices, habits and rituals, memories, lies and truths. You cannot hope to set out to ‘redo’ an institution (warning beforehand that you will cause nothing less than an ‘earthquake’) and not expect resistance. We expected resistance and we met resistance.”

Joseph has already indicated what sort of organisational changes and innovations he has in mind. The strategic aim is clear: a more effective organisation but not at the expense of popular participation, on the contrary the final expected outcome is a popular party that is open to a variety of progressive but moderate currents of thought that animate European civil societies today.

Note the antinomies: more effective (more centralised?) but more popular and open, progressive but moderate…yes, but that is typical of change and should not worry us unduly. But antinomies have to be managed. If the the Labour Party is not to resign itself to become the natural party of opposition (and then to extinction before the first quarter of this century, max.), it needs the change Joseph is dedicating his life to, but it also needs to survive the difficult surgery that this change implies. Let’s bear this in mind when our new Leader changes gears, brakes, pauses at the pit…the pace of change will require frequent maintenance, we certainly don’t want our car to fall apart in the process. Remember electorates don’t vote for divided parties. Joseph has the unenviable task of unleashing an earthquake whilst keeping the Party together. So, think twice before you lose patience. The guy’s got to manage an earthquake.


7 Responses to “Managing the earthquake”

  1. marie abdilla said

    Having read maltatoday’s poll this morning saying Joseph has 43.7% as mostly trusted as oppposed to Gonzi’s 30.5% I think that Joseph is doing pretty good!

    Marie Abdilla

  2. Toni Abela said

    Dear Caretaker .

    I have been folowing your blog from the very instance it made an appearance on the net . This blog and otner like it are providing the right right forum where healthy and sound debate about leftist issues can be entertained .

    As to what Joseph is p[ropoosing I have seen him working on this project with inspiring energy and firm thought . Every time that the subject of earthquakes reforms surfaces in our discussions , he strongly insists that these must be carried out with caution and at the same time with haste . Joseph is convinced that times are a changing and that the writing is on the wall .

    As to the present state of affairs in the Malta Labour , in this pre siesmic period we are allworking hard on making the party ticking from within . Through long hours of hardwork we are trying to instill in party members , councillors , party sections ,and so many others that the Malta Labour Party is but a poltical multi venture . That the Party for the coming years as going to be near it’s members and people fromm all walks of life , as much as a limpet is clad to rock .

    With this in mind , we have embarked on a number of projects which are near to completion and they will not takelong before they come to fruition . For Joseph and those that work along his sieds , deeds come before words . Let not others think that we are placidly waiting for the earthquake .

    Toni Abela

  3. marie abdilla said

    Hello Dr. Abela,

    What a pleasure to see you on our blog! Welcome!I for one have full faith in Joseph and you and am looking forward to seeing your projects fleshed out. As a Labour Party member I can’t wait for Joseph’s earthquake to draw me and the many members like me who have always been relegated to the peripheries, closer to the center of the Party.

    Keep up the good work.


  4. It appears that Joseph Muscat’s monumental task for internal and external political change within the MLP is making great strides. As Marie Abdilla pointed out, a recent survey conducted by MaltaToday serves as ample proof that Joseph is on the right track but I still maintain that Joseph and his team must never become complacent. The post-electoral ‘honeymoon’ must not be allowed to subsist, especially now that Joseph Muscat is about to take his seat as Leader of the Opposition in our parliament.

    I am personally extremely pleased with what Joseph and his team have done so far. To mention a few:-

    – Re-uniting many elements within the party
    – Keeping up with his promises to make the MLP a more dynamic and effective machine and taking heed of the shortcomings from past defeats
    – Kick-starting the divorce debate
    – Kick-starting a parliamentary committee in a bid to enhance our democracy
    – Giving far greater importance to environmental issues
    – Introducing a debate giving 16 year olds the right to vote
    – Establishing the MLP as positive and pro-active in Maltese and EU politics
    – Establishing a professional code of ethics for party journalism
    – Giving the people a greater say in formulating party policy

    All of these changes and innovative ideas are directing the MLP away from extreme party populism which many of us are sick and tired of and towards a progressive and moderate movement and I cannot help but think that this is already a great earthquake in itself. I am also rather intrigued with Evarist Bartolo’s courageous proposal of creating stronger ties with AD (see:, an idea which a number of us have already spoken about before. I am unsure whether a coalition should be formed as yet but the creation of an umberella movement with AD and other left-leaning NGO’s can be a great step towards overcoming 25 years of nothing but the same.

    The road has been bumpy and certain short-comings have also been met, yes it is an earthquake after all, but the direction is the correct one. Keep it up Joseph.

    Andrew Sciberras

  5. fabrizioellul said

    still managing the earthquake?

  6. J. Borg said

    Is this blog dead? :S

    The Nats must be dancing……

  7. Mark said


    Great website. Would be good if you could add the following links:


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