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:
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- Judges should not be chosen by governments. What possessed Nationalist governments to assume their Labour successors would inherent their decency and desire for meritocracy?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.