Yet another Labour Minister conflates government with parliament. Michael Farrugia today claims he is protected by parliamentary privilege from the criticism of a family that has lost their wife and mother to political assassination six weeks ago and have seen nothing from the government except signs of an orchestrated attempt to cover up what really happened. He thinks parliamentary privilege is some medieval exemption from the idle talk of us common folk. These people do not even understand the basics.
While I was in traffic, driving home, George Farrugia Calleja wrote this reaction:
The Caruana Galizia family has made it clear to Minister Michael Farrugia that he should be very, very careful before shooting his mouth off in Parliament about the state of police investigations and about what evidence the Magistrate has in hand.
The point made to the Hon. Minister was that – while he was eager to show off in the building Piano hasn’t even been paid for yet – he was not as eager to answer questions put to him or his minions in the corp privately. He was also warned in very clear terms that his leaky mouth should have a muzzle put on it, or he might find himself falling foul of all sorts of laws.
Predictably, given that they’re a bunch of smug barrack-room lawyers, Farrugia’s response was that this sort of letter was an interference with Ministerial duties and might even, horror of horrors, constitute a breach of privilege.
This is not the place to analyse the evidence, that is in the good hands of the Magistrate and the less good hands of Minister Caruana’s husband.
But it is probably a good place to talk about Parliamentary Privilege.
In a real democracy, like this was before this bunch turned the situation desperate, the only privilege connected with Parliamentary work was in the sense that it was each and every parliamentarian’s privilege to be a member, to serve the people who elected him.
He did not gain privileges by becoming an MP, except insofar as he needed them to be able to function.
In other words, an MP gets to be able to say what he likes without the fear of the monarch slapping him down. He doesn’t get many more privileges than that, he certainly doesn’t have the privilege that allows him to say or do what he likes and not expect a reaction from ‘we the people’.
Berlusconi and his like behave as if their parliamentary status makes them untouchables, and not in the Indian caste sense, either.
So Minister Farrugia can take his parliamentary privilege and stick it where the monkey sticks the nuts. He and his Ministerial colleagues should take the hint and give the House, and through it, the electorate, the respect it deserves and not act like spoilt brats whenever what passes for their dignity is remotely threatened.
After all, his privilege to work for us is paid for by us and he’d do well to remember it.