Advocates shot the messenger

2017-07-31T19:24:30+02:00Mon, 31st Jul '17, 19:24|

I can understand the Chamber of Advocates’ stern reservations on Simon Busuttil’s request that Judge Antonio Mizzi should not be hearing Joseph Muscat’s appeal against a lower court’s decision to order an investigation into the Panama Papers. But I can understand Simon Busuttil as well. To coin a phrase, justice must be seen to be [...]

Marlene’s 18 Brumaire

2017-07-30T22:06:35+02:00Sun, 30th Jul '17, 22:06|

Marlene Farrugia has openly lamented she is ineligible to run for the leadership of the PN. This in spite of the fact she is the leader of her own party, which she has only very recently founded and on behalf of whom she has secured the first viable pre-electoral alliance in Maltese political history … [...]

Let’s be Frank

2017-07-29T17:57:08+02:00Sat, 29th Jul '17, 17:57|

The witty title is not original. Credit to Lou Bondi writing some time in 1997 on the same Frank Portelli who was being a prick at the time. Some things do not change. When a candidate for party leadership says idiotic things (see here a MaltaToday report of Frank Portelli's notions) the reaction is not [...]

Pakistan shows us how

2017-07-28T10:14:18+02:00Fri, 28th Jul '17, 10:14|

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has just disqualified the Prime Minister there, Nawaz Sharif, from holding public office because his children held secret accounts stashed abroad revealed by the Panama leaks of 2015. There are no fine points or subtle distinctions. What Sharif is accused of is identical to what Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi are accused [...]

Great police work there

2017-07-19T10:32:02+02:00Wed, 19th Jul '17, 10:32|

The reason why we have courts is they get to hear all sides of the story before deciding on someone’s guilt. So it is unwise, albeit very tempting, to reach conclusions from a newspaper report of a day in court. But this The Malta Independent report of the case against Khalen Ben Nasan who blew [...]

Inspiration wanted

2017-07-18T13:54:18+02:00Tue, 18th Jul '17, 13:48|

Party leadership elections are by definition introspective and bloody affairs. It is hard to imagine our political system surviving the harsh primaries of the American, and latterly the French system, were an open and unseemly battle is fought by hopefuls suffering wounds in the campaign to get their party’s nomination, which they’ll then have to [...]

Nineteen eighty-four

2017-07-17T10:51:18+02:00Mon, 17th Jul '17, 09:31|

When Alfred Sant prepared for the 1996 campaign his imported US advisors told him truth was what he made of it. If he repeated a lie often enough, no matter how fanciful, he could change that lie into truth. Sant’s most famous apprentice was Joseph Muscat, who spent a dozen years on TV conjuring all [...]

Dead Army

2017-07-15T10:11:13+02:00Sat, 15th Jul '17, 10:11|

This report of the goings on at the AFM in the days before the last general election makes grim reading. Superficially this is about the government abusing of its incumbency to secure its re-election. Certainly as back-dated promotions and big fat cheques for arrears were being dished out, foremost on the government’s mind was exactly [...]

Three line whip

2017-07-14T10:47:47+02:00Fri, 14th Jul '17, 10:47|

In Westminster whips hand out to their party colleagues the agenda of the following week’s parliamentary business highlighting the expected ‘divisions’ or votes expected that week. Not all votes are equally important. The ranking of the importance for the party is illustrated simply by how many times the agenda item is underlined. One line and [...]

SmartCity: Developers almost say it how it is

2017-07-13T15:45:13+02:00Thu, 13th Jul '17, 15:44|

See this report of the Developers’ Association’s statement on what’s going on in SmartCity. The gist of it is that it was ok for government to transfer land to a developer (the Emirati owners of SmartCity) to build a job-creating business park. It was even tolerable to accept that some of that land would be [...]

WATCH: Smart Labour

2017-07-14T14:52:23+02:00Wed, 12th Jul '17, 16:06|

My successor as government-appointed Director of SmartCity Malta is Keith Schembri, the man at the centre of this government and at the centre of its worst corrupt excesses. He took over from me as Director in 2013. The brief I was given when I was appointed Director by the Gonzi administration in 2008 was to [...]

Still Smart?

2017-07-12T09:06:12+02:00Wed, 12th Jul '17, 09:06|

The SmartCity developers are seeking approval to change the Master Plan approved in 2007 on which the whole development is supposed to be based. They are looking to get approval for denser residential development with taller buildings abutting the shoreline. I am not going to make an environmental argument. For one I should expect many [...]

A Clockwork Orange

2017-07-11T08:40:30+02:00Tue, 11th Jul '17, 08:40|

Read this report of yesterday’s question time in Parliament where opposition MPs pressed the government to explain why a clean criminal record was no longer a requirement to join the police corps and be promoted within it. Police Minister Michael Farrugia, not famous for his senatorial debating capabilities, stammered and spluttered in the vain attempt [...]

Uncharted waters

2017-07-10T15:56:57+02:00Mon, 10th Jul '17, 15:50|

The system of electing the new PN leader is a child of political optimism. The idea clearly is to broaden suffrage in order to create a bond between new leader and a wider community of the led. As of her first day at the job the leader is not only legitimised by the support of [...]

Crowd planting

2017-07-14T14:54:26+02:00Fri, 7th Jul '17, 09:55|

How many fresh switchers does it take to plant seedlings on the verge? This chain-gang scene from the 1930s dust-bowl was seen this morning in Ħal Luqa. It is becoming an increasingly common sight. It is comforting to know that as employers struggle to find productive labour without having to import it, they will have [...]

Another lawyer on poorly drafted laws

2017-07-09T21:50:03+02:00Thu, 6th Jul '17, 16:00|

Justin Borg Barthet a few days ago wrote a guest post on this website criticising the quality of the drafting of the Marriage Equality law approved through its second reading by Parliament yesterday.He did not discuss the merits of whether marriage equality was right or wrong. (Like me he is a supporter of the notion). He [...]

Politics of good sense

2017-07-14T14:55:13+02:00Thu, 6th Jul '17, 13:45|

Joseph Muscat lays traps because that is how he plays his games. But that doesn’t mean the PN will fall for them. It was a very disappointed prime minister yesterday who stood up to face an Opposition that proved to be not quite as gullible as he thought they would be. It is clear the [...]

Amateur Land

2017-07-09T21:49:54+02:00Tue, 4th Jul '17, 11:20|

Since 2013 I’ve been out of my original line of work – politics – and have done various jobs here and there trying to grow new feet in my dotage. For some time I taught history (under the contemporary guise of ‘European Studies’) in a secondary school. The experience was more rewarding for me than [...]

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