Did we need to be told?

Did we need to be told?

The European Parliament’s mission’s interim report, available here (1143312EN), and summarised painstakingly by  The Times here is not a victory for anyone. It is a formalised humiliation; a collective indictment charging us for not knowing how to run our own affairs, for needing outsiders like those nasty royal commissions the British used to send here to make fun of the natives while playing bridge at San Anton pointing out what should be obvious.

I’ll limit myself to some of the recommendations Europarliamentarians made to Malta; to us, the ones with the power and responsibility to do something about our own problems:

  1. Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri should be out of office. No delay. No ifs. No buts. Out, now. Their affairs must be investigated and they must be tried before a court. Now. Should this country not have known this the moment these two men were named by the Panama Papers and then by FIAU reports? Why did we need to have outsiders to point the obvious to us?
  2. Political power must not control the media. This has been long in coming. When political parties opened their radios thirty years ago it was a step up from the iron curtain days of Mintoff and KMB. But should we ever have accepted the hell of Manwel Cuschieri’s ‘tajjeb li tkun taf’ and Joseph Muscat’s ‘Made in Brussels’ and Glen Bedingfield’s state sanctioned and state funded blogging and Reno Bugeja’s goebbelsisation of public broadcasting?
  3. You can’t have the lawyer paid to advise the government also be the lawyer that prosecutes its members if they commit a crime. This colonial legacy has been a matter of debate for decades. At the turn of the century we even got close to dealing with it. Why did we wait for a neutered puppet like Peter Grech to realise that this dichotomy can barely subsist in a person of courage, let alone a spineless wimp?
  4. Judges should not be chosen by governments. What possessed Nationalist governments to assume their Labour successors would inherent their decency and desire for meritocracy?
  5. The Whistleblower Protection Act should be revised to cover workers in the public sector. This takes the biscuit. Why did we allow our government to prevent its employees from being able to tell on them?
  6. Mr Ferris should be granted police protection and serious consideration should be given to his application for protection under the Whistleblower Protection Act. Really? Someone needed to tell us this when a journalist who knew a fraction of what he knows was blown up in broad daylight?
  7. The Maltese Government should separately publish the list of persons who bought Maltese passports. Well at least our conscience is serene on this one: everyone but the government itself has said this was supposed to happen from the very first day of this mad project.
  8. An investigation is needed over the alleged influence of elections through increased hirings in the public sector, issuance of construction permits and regularisations of irregular constructions, as well as pay increases and promotions in the military. This, ladies and gentlemen, is an indictment by a parliamentary body, no less, of our democratic process which is deemed vitiated and by inference undemocratic. Here we are, dear co-nationals, in the league of fake democracies like Egypt and Russia and Venezuela being told by international observers we’re allowing our politicians to right royally shaft us while we smile.

The fact that these matters do not come naturally to us is our collective guilt as a nation. Because here is the real philosophical blow.

We cannot blame our politicians and our leaders for these failings. Not without accepting that these are our choices as a country. Much is made of the argument that the majority chose Joseph Muscat twice over. Of course it did. Indeed it is that majority that must collectively assume responsibility for the madness we have put ourselves in.

Much is made of the argument that the PN presided over 25 years in government and never addressed the primitive methods of choosing judges or the Victorian schizophrenia in the attorney general’s job description and was the party that gave Labour the broadcasting licenses it used to pervert the truth and crap on our political discourse. That is all correct. But we must assume collective responsibility for assuming decent, rational, compassionate government would last forever and the day when Raymond Caruana lay face down in a pool of his own blood would never come back again.

And here we are living a hot day that scorches our faces from the moral flame that consumed Daphne Caruana Galizia in that car. And the rest of the world tut-tuts at us today for not seeing this coming.

  • Ruth Bonnici

    And if one thinks that our Priminister , the police commissioner,Madame president etc are going to take heed to this report …… Then one can live in hope and die in despair . I have given up on the lot of them and the majority of my fellow countrymen the day Simon Busuttil and Malta lost the last election. In my opinion we are doomed and till the majority of the Maltese people suffer money wise , unfortunately there will be no change.” There are crooks everywhere , the situation is desperate ” and the majority seem to be comfortably numb ,the rest of us have to brace ourselves and pray for sanity to hit the majority one day.

  • Herschel

    What strikes me in particular is Labour’s incompatibility with Europe. They see the European Project as some piggy bank building our roads. They do not understand European institutions, they do not assimilate to European values, they do not feel European.

    Joseph Muscat might have went through the political equivalent of a plastic surgery from head to toe when it comes to Europe but at the end of the day underneath the silicone remains the same Mintoffian isolationist that was on the verge of successfully condemning our country to mediocrity in 2003.

    • Tom Beckett

      The country remained mediocre anyway – irrespective of being in the EU. Please do not get me started as we will never end!

  • Beingpressed

    I made the right choice and firmly believe a lot of people did also.

    Our fault as a nation is that we’ve allowed these criminals ( most of them in suits) to fill the shoes of their colonial masters and take control this tiny little of ours like a game of FIFA.

    We’ve been divided since the French vacated but easily controlled buy the British and the masters after them. Did we ever gain independence, I sometimes wonder who really holds the reins of this country of ours.
    Let’s accept responsibility but let’s start somewhere. Let’s talk, let’s communicate.
    If we are as democratic as we say we are let’s look at our media and its role within society. A newspaper is supposed to be fearless, efficient a mirror of society. That is simply not happening here. Let’s accept this first. We want transparency and this is what the media should be insisting on. But how can they?

    Who and how, runs the Strickland Foundation and how did they acquire it. If these people won’t reveal their acquisition why the hell would you expect the Government to be transparent in its dealings.

    They have huge responsibility also.

    Truth has to be told

  • Inasmuch as the President of the Republic had called the PM and Leader of the Opposition last April to consult on the division of sentiment then arising in Malta, and precipitating an early election as a face-saving formula and the only feasible solution to the crisis, so it is the President’s duty today following this EU damning report to take action and see to its recommendations being implemented.

    It should be remembered that the President is Malta’s actual “monarch” and that Malta has not passed through Cromwellian times to keep her mouth shut on anything not provided for in the Constitution. It reminds me in St John’s Gospel conclusion in 21,25 that “there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written”. This applies very clearly to all laws and constitutions and there must be one single person of authority in a nation able to take its reins and not just gloriously sit in the carriage.

    It is incumbent on her to take the initiative where factual and legislative loopholes exist by setting the ball running hard and fast by all means within her powers and censure, including that of instructing and altering her government. She fills in this role as supreme and sovereign executrix of her monarchical / leadership position of a nation and Malta cannot be left in the hands of bickering government and opposition wings ever on the brink of leading us down to executive and political cataclysm.
    The State is hers in the name of the people at the moment and she is bound to provide, not just charitable runs and shows but to play the role of a true leader of the nation without emulating the British monarchical system which has given us a senseless cut-and-paste constitution in our circumstances which is, alas, very satisfactory to a spineless democracy bent on easy-money making even at a level of history-repeating piracy.

    • Ruth Bonnici

      Ermmm do you live in Malta? Do you know who the president is ? Although what you say is logical ….insa ruhi ,she would not dare upset the great leader of her beloved labour party and upset laqwa zmien Li qed nghixu fih go Malta taghna ilkoll Not.

  • quickmick408

    Yes we did need to be told, as the majority think that all of this was PN propaganda, not that I think that it will make a shred of difference, but at least it will sow doubt in some of their minds that this government they voted in, is in fact a Mafia business and democracy is propagated as they see fit. The fact that outside agencies from the EU recognise just what is going on and they have made recommendations helps, but none of it is enforceable (who cares). Business as usual. L’Aqwa Zmein.

  • thedirectone

    And now, what’s going to happen, or better said, what’s not going to happen.

    • Tom Beckett

      Nothing will happen unless the EU has some kind of authority to impose something on a member state rest assured nothing will happen… it is just a report that will be filed. Truth is if Malta applied to be a member of the EU now it would not be accepted so I am not sure how such a report can be issued without any sanctions/fines for non-action imposed.

  • T Borg

    How much more embarrassment and humiliation can this country afford to take? What does it take to get Muscat to do the right thing and get rid of politicians and officials implicated in corruption?

    • Ruth Bonnici

      Muscat will never do the the right thing ,forget it .Simple he cannot due to the fact that he is part and parcel and in collusion with them ! Don’t forget these “artful dodgers” never intended to get caught ,their perfect roadmap to becoming millionaires had just this one unforeseeable glitch …the panama papers scandal…..What right thing do,you want him to do? Go to the police and tell them “please arrest me ,I am,a crook”?? Haul ass and go into exile wouldn’t be a bad idea but dream on ….Magari 😌

  • Tom Beckett

    This report makes sense – finally the EU has shown its position clearly…. my question though is… what are the powers (if any) of the EU Commission if Joseph Muscat ignores these recommendations as I am sure he will. Could there be some kind of fine or sanction or something? If nothing else can be done from here then the EU we once thought was there to protect the interests of its Member States is useless really. Malta in the past 5 years is a case study of disgusting governance all around with huge clouds of corruption and money laundering claims surrounding the Govt and its top officials…. yet we are here still at the mercy of Joseph Muscat – the Prime Minister. My message to the EU is one – this is not a democracy…. Malta would not be admitted into the EU now if it applied. How can it possibly be allowed to remain in the EU if nothing is done by the present Government with respect to the advice received from the EU Commission? If this is where it stops then the EU, as a supposed “club” of democratic member states, is nothing more than a circus!

  • Rambo

    The EU has no legislative powers and will not interfere in local issues. albeit politicians’ misdemeanours impinge on the image of the EU as well. A lobby is a better description of what the MEP report is all about. Quite honestly nothing new was stated in this report & its recommendations will never see the light of day. The electorate had one chance to redress the course of events last June & quite frankly blew it. So long as our pockets are lined & our personal micro economies are blossoming, no amount of alleged or proven corruption will change anything. The institutions are paralyzed with puppets on a string in key positions. Alas the great unwashed will not see beyond their personal vested interests of retaining their lifestyles come what may. Unless an elite group of Maltese or Gozitan technocrats with visible leadership & communicative qualities come together to create a real movement for change towards good governance – the race to the bottom will continue unabated…..quo vadis Malta?!