A blanket for Chris Fearne

2024-07-16T08:19:33+02:00Tue, 16th Jul '24, 08:19|

Chris Fearne demanded Parliament protect him. Parliament agreed. Let’s try to understand the meaning of this ritual, starting with the facts. Last June, Carmen Ciantar resigned from her top job at the agency that delivers government projects in the health sector. Carmen Ciantar was Chris Fearne's close political collaborator. He was the one to appoint [...]

The tiger that bit Fearne

2024-07-05T13:03:55+02:00Fri, 5th Jul '24, 13:03|

For years Chris Fearne climbed on the back of the tiger hoping it would carry him to the top. He is now amazed it turned on him and ate his legs. Corruption works like any other form of organised crime: it hurts two types of victims. There are people who try to be friendly with [...]

THE SUNDAY TIMES: The millionaire oompah bands

2024-07-01T12:53:59+02:00Mon, 1st Jul '24, 12:53|

From my article in yesterday's The Sunday Times. "Ministers quite literally purchased prime real estate, proper palaces in major town and village cores and – also quite literally – gifted that formerly private property to committees of associations of fans of a very specific genre of music. That’s very generous, no doubt. But is it [...]

First they robbed you, then they lied

2024-06-28T08:10:09+02:00Fri, 28th Jun '24, 08:10|

The severe disability pension fraud is not the greatest waste of public funds. Compared with the 400 million spent on 3 hospitals that 10 years later are a dump, 8 million in stolen pensions drop no jaws. Compared with what was discovered by the Panama Papers, this conspiracy does not reach great heights: we do [...]

The resilience of Maltese democracy, and the lack thereof

2024-06-24T12:01:36+02:00Mon, 24th Jun '24, 12:00|

I had the good fortune of participating in a Europe-wide research project measuring the resilience of democracy in the EU and its member states. It’s an important topic especially since it is clear that democracy is under threat nearly everywhere. The question this research asks is not whether it is true or not that democracy [...]

Sweat spraying

2024-06-17T13:33:26+02:00Mon, 17th Jun '24, 13:33|

Maybe it’s sour grapes. Going up to the counting hall after election day was something I did many times in different roles, to the point that it felt like it was the natural place for me to be. I started out as a cub reporter covering the first ever local elections in the early 1990s. [...]

Child politicians and how to cover them

2024-06-17T12:30:16+02:00Mon, 17th Jun '24, 12:30|

A 15-year-old lad contested local elections and was elected. He turns 16 around the time you’re reading this, in between his O level exams and just before he gets sworn in as councillor. He comes from a family of politicians. His grandfather and his mother are in politics. One can only think he’s very committed [...]

The PN’s long road

2024-06-17T11:31:56+02:00Mon, 17th Jun '24, 10:26|

Long is the road that lies ahead of the PN. The Local Election results paint a positive picture of the trends for the opposition party, but less positive than the picture painted by the European Parliament ballot. Two votes taken on the same day yielded different results. This means voters are casting their votes strategically. [...]

THE SUNDAY TIMES: Donalbain’s pronounced limp

2024-06-17T10:24:23+02:00Mon, 17th Jun '24, 10:24|

From my article in The Sunday Times yesterday: "Two weeks ago, the Labour Party thought of itself as a perpetually victorious machine. Its supporters and detractors are equally stunned by the fickleness of voter behaviour. And just as flummoxed on what to do about it. The Nationalist Party has found a new-found vigour, energised by a [...]

The maddening silent treatment

2024-06-14T09:08:11+02:00Fri, 14th Jun '24, 09:08|

This is not a misdirected discussion with a marriage counsellor. It’s a discussion about our weird relationship with our police force and our prosecution service. By ‘our’ I don’t mean mine, or Repubblika’s, or anyone specific even. I mean with the people of Malta, generally law-abiding citizens who pay these people their salaries to represent [...]

MONEY MAGAZINE: Fighting the ecomafia

2024-06-11T16:13:17+02:00Tue, 11th Jun '24, 16:13|

My article in the current edition of the Money Magazine. An e-copy of the magazine is available on this link.   You speak the word ‘mafia’ and it conjures up the quasi-glamorous images of American cinema. Frozen in the rackets of the 20th century, the iconography of those films of casinos and bootleg alcohol or [...]

How the people voted

2024-06-10T11:10:40+02:00Mon, 10th Jun '24, 08:30|

Let’s compare like with like. We need to compare the frame of mind of Maltese voters with when they last voted in a European Parliament election, because what they’re thinking when they’re voting in a general election is simply different. So, here’s the shift between 2019 and 2024. The ruling Labour Party in this election [...]

What it took to get here

2024-06-06T16:07:54+02:00Thu, 6th Jun '24, 16:07|

There’s some confusion about whether or when the Panama Papers inquiry was concluded. Jason Azzopardi said it was. The PN asked the Attorney General to publish it. The Attorney General said they hadn’t got it.  Perhaps the fact that we’re on the eve of an election might have dampened the enthusiasm of the Pony Express. [...]

What the Panama Papers inquiry should mean

2024-06-05T10:08:13+02:00Wed, 5th Jun '24, 10:08|

Justice of Daphne. And justice for Malta. That’s what the conclusion of the Panama Papers inquiry might mean. That’s what it should mean. Though many people will do all they can to prevent that from happening. I don’t have a clue what the inquiry contains. I heard it was finished like everybody else from social [...]

THE SUNDAY TIMES: So fair and foul a day

2024-06-03T08:54:05+02:00Mon, 3rd Jun '24, 08:54|

From my article yesterday in The Sunday Times: "We have clamoured for an anti-mafia law for years now, since we realised in the horror of the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia that this is the plague of our country. By now, we should have had an anti-mafia prosecution service, special anti-mafia trial procedures, an anti-mafia [...]

One time it will have been once too often

2024-06-03T08:49:59+02:00Mon, 3rd Jun '24, 08:49|

That fateful night when Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad was spotted though not recognised by a film crew sneaking out of the back door of his bank, there was a moment of national crisis for the country. At least it felt like there should have been. Joseph Muscat had been long the suspect of wrongdoing for [...]

Inconsistency abroad

2024-05-30T09:20:25+02:00Thu, 30th May '24, 09:20|

I wrote earlier about a speech Labour’s Randolph Debattista gave in Sofia extolling the virtues of a war against disinformation. Just three weeks ago Edward Zammit Lewis gave a speech in Luxembourg preaching about the sanctity of judicial independence to ensure the rule of law. That’s while his Labour Party leader was publicly assaulting a [...]

How times change

2024-05-30T09:10:59+02:00Thu, 30th May '24, 09:10|

Parliament issued a statement announcing that Malta has been admitted as an Associate Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO. Two Maltese MPs are in Sofia for Malta’s first time attending the Assembly. Randolph De Battista, Labour Party CEO, was one of them and he spoke about “concrete action to fight disinformation and to attack [...]


2024-05-29T15:28:39+02:00Wed, 29th May '24, 15:28|

Edward Scicluna may be a professor of economics. But his rare comments to the media, apparently thoroughly rehearsed, are completely unhindered by logic, reason, decency, and self-awareness. One would have hoped that his ‘famous last words’ would be how the FIAU reports about Konrad Mizzi’s shenanigans were merely “written to be leaked”. Alas, Edward Scicluna, [...]

On the side of the victims

2024-05-29T10:41:12+02:00Wed, 29th May '24, 09:32|

Photo: NEWZ The classical distinction between a civil case and a criminal case is that the parties to a civil case are private persons, individuals or corporate entities seeking to settle a dispute or obtain satisfaction, the one from the other. One of the parties in a criminal case is the state, the [...]

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