It’s probably a bad habit of many of my years (yeah, I know, ancient, enough already, I get it) that when my eyes open of a morning, instead of grunting and going back to sleep, I grab a screen-bearing device and look at the news.
This morning, consequently, the Times’ headline about possible action being taken against people who had publicised an Egrant/Muscat connection, jumped out at me.
Apparently, buried somewhere in the 1500-page tome produced by the Magistrate, made available to Dr Muscat and his band of brothers in Castille but not to anyone else thus far, there is, but thus far only according to said Dr Muscat, some sort of recommendation that investigation should follow and prosecution follow that, if the circumstances so warrant.
This recommendation did not form part of the conclusions of the Inquiry Report, to which we were – oh so kindly – made privy by the Attorney General, on the grounds of public interest. He’s dragging his feet about releasing the rest of the document on the grounds of public interest, which is an interesting position, but leave that aside.
Let’s for the moment take the Castille Crowd at their word that Magistrate Bugeja did make a recommendation in this sense, though I suspect that this may have been less explicit than Muscat and Co would have liked. You know, something on the lines of “and well, if there has been any criminal intent behind the whole farrago, the cops would do well to take a look” sort of thing.
This is the sort of comment that would in normal countries go without saying, though here, given the eagerness of our investigators to investigate (at least when the High Panjandra of the State are concerned) it’s probably the sort of comment that needs making.
I was not surprised that it was the Office of the Prime Minister that was quoted by the Times as being the source for this piece of news. And that’s not only because it is only the OPM that has the Report (apart from the AG, who is keeping shtum).
No, this particular sabre is one that is rattled with enormous vim and vigour whenever Labour is in power every time anyone dares to say anything about them.
I’m not talking only about the current incarnation of the “Left” (funny sort of Left, this bunch, with dodgy companies all over the place and oodles of dosh sloshing about, but anyway). From the PM down, everyone reaches for any tool available to try to bludgeon opposition into silence – back in the day, Mintoff used the police, tools if ever any existed, for the purposes of criminal libel (and more) to try to shut us up.
He failed, but his failure doesn’t seem to put his successors off from doing the same thing, time and again.
Labour supporters, commenting in the press or on social media, are forever and have forever and will forever shoot their mouths off and splutter vehemently “what do you mean, they criticise OUR GOVERNMENT, they should be stopped”.
This is a sentiment even I hear and feel very often directed towards me in the street, with assorted insults thrown in, and I’m just a common or garden loudmouth.
For a certain type of mentality, and today even elements within the Delia faction within the PN have it, the awesome majesty of the “Leader Supreme” is not subject to the rules of scrutiny, criticism or comment that operate in a country run under the Rule of Law.
If you raise your voice against the bosses when the totalitarians hold sway (the ones for whom the Party comes first, for example) you do so at your peril. Insult, scarcely-veiled threats of prosecution, every sort of intimidation under the sun, and, horrifically, lest we forget, worse awaits you.
And don’t run away with the idea that anyone out there is going to stick up for you, bar a few. Many of our fearless heroes in media will leap onto a powerful bandwagon in less time than it takes to tap out an “I told you it was all lies” opinion piece.
Donald Trump hates the free press, because it highlights his crass, downright dangerous, awfulness. Erdogan is equally tolerant of criticism. Are you surprised, now, at the Times’ headline?
I will cling to the hope that we still have a judiciary that will chuck intimidatory and vexatious proceedings into the rubbish bin of history, even if this means thwarting the breathless desires of the Office of the Prime Minister.
History allows me to do so.