Citizen under siege

2020-12-31T07:23:56+01:00Thu, 31st Dec '20, 10:00|

The government is falling over itself to raise a memorial to Oliver Friggieri. There's something deeply perverse in that. Oliver Friggieri was not a vociferous critic of the Joseph Muscat/Robert Abela regime. Likely, that is because he had largely withdrawn from public life in his later years. But someone recently handed me this image from [...]

This was 2020

2020-12-30T11:46:07+01:00Wed, 30th Dec '20, 10:29|

Thank you for following Truth Be Told during 2020, now approaching the fourth year of its existence. This website has this year welcomed over 470,000 first-time visitors. The total visits to this website during this year grew by almost 13% over last year in spite of the fact that 2019 was a bumper year because [...]

Prime Minister, quite simply, the procedure is the issue

2020-12-30T10:45:13+01:00Tue, 29th Dec '20, 10:18|

Robert Abela admitted yesterday he had spoken to the commissioner for revenue about Bernard Grech’s personal tax record while Bernard Grech was contesting the leadership of the party in opposition. In seeking to justify himself he said it did not matter whether the procedure used was correct or not – that’s a WhatsApp conversation between [...]


2020-12-29T09:30:07+01:00Tue, 29th Dec '20, 09:30|

The fact that Simon Mercieca has now become a permanent feature of our public discourse is no cause for celebration. The intellectual calibre of political dialogue in this country wasn’t too great, to begin with. When this guy walked in, we all became a little more stupid as a result. And thanks to the protection [...]

GUEST POST: Twenty-twenty

2020-12-29T08:26:50+01:00Tue, 29th Dec '20, 08:26|

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts [...]

GUEST POST: 21 things I sorely want for 2021

2020-12-29T08:05:10+01:00Tue, 29th Dec '20, 08:05|

Vaccine. This is an obvious one. The less obvious part is that it needs to be effective and for this to happen it has to be taken by the vast majority of people. Fewer cars. Fewer roads. Less tarmac and, by the power of whatever deity there is, fewer flyovers. Add to this a good [...]

Background reading

2020-12-29T09:59:35+01:00Sun, 27th Dec '20, 10:11|

While you read in today's Sunday Times about the arrest of the chief tax-man over a 2014 conversation with Yorgen Fenech about a VAT return, and the mystery of why the police are not asking the inquiring magistrate to order the investigation of his mobile phone, waiting instead for the elusive permission from the prime [...]

Over-promoted imbecility

2020-12-22T22:44:04+01:00Tue, 22nd Dec '20, 15:41|

This is Clint Camilleri, a government minister, seen here on national television well within the recommended two metres of space around people he does not live with. The woman in the picture is a resident of a Gozo residential area and like dozens of others in her neighbourhood, she put a solar panel on her [...]

Another WTF moment brought to you by your dear government

2020-12-22T15:18:00+01:00Tue, 22nd Dec '20, 15:18|

I mean really, what the fuck is this? This piece of misguided cinematic-trailer-style propaganda porn is so bombastic it totters uncomfortably on the line between the grotesquely superficial and the plain ridiculous. It announces, like the glorious spurts out of Moby Dick's blowhole, that the covid-19 vaccine is coming to Malta. The advert speaks of [...]

Since brevity is the soul of wit

2020-12-29T09:32:18+01:00Tue, 22nd Dec '20, 14:46|

The Times ran an editorial this morning headlined "the yardstick in public life". The leader was commenting on Robert Abela's new habit of shelving decisions when his ministers get into trouble. Robert Abela said he preferred to wait for an appeal from a decision on a libel case to which Ian Borg is not a [...]

Helping out the helpers

2020-12-29T09:33:03+01:00Tue, 22nd Dec '20, 14:17|

Can the prime minister muster enough self-respect to avoid lending the name of his constitutional office to the PR campaigns of his former clients? It just looks so bloody crass. Here's Robert Abela on a tour of the Alberta Group facilities, restraining himself from stabbing his own throat to kill the boredom. Alberta speak as [...]

Spiegel: The passports business made of fool’s gold

2020-12-22T10:57:15+01:00Tue, 22nd Dec '20, 10:57|

Frank Hornig for German news magazine Spiegel published this article headlined "The billion-dollar business with the golden passports". Here's a link to the original piece. For his article, Hornig interviewed me in view of my reporting on Malta's passport scheme: "When Manuel Delia wanted to visit his new fellow citizens in Malta, he experienced one [...]

GUEST POST: The biggest lie

2020-12-22T10:09:59+01:00Tue, 22nd Dec '20, 10:09|

  No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar. - Abraham Lincoln As someone wittier said of another prime minister, for Joseph Muscat lying is not second nature: it is nature. He lied to get to power and kept on lying throughout his short tenure. The damage he inflicted in our country, [...]

The measure of change

2020-12-22T22:18:59+01:00Tue, 22nd Dec '20, 09:02|

Can we at least agree on the targets here? Few would disagree that our justice system is in a desperate need for reform. Trying to argue that the problems we have, are created by the Labour Party is childish and silly. And for the Labour government to wash its hands of the problem because they [...]

GUEST POST: Revisiting representative democracy

2020-12-22T08:24:34+01:00Tue, 22nd Dec '20, 08:24|

Here are my reflections on how participatory and deliberative measures across political society could complement a revisited representative democracy in our country. Modern democracy could be termed as a “government by discussion” when public speaking and voting for representatives are the only direct formal rights adult citizens are entitled to. Paradoxically, the only moment the [...]

Rosianne Resign Rosianne Resign Rosianne Resign and so on

2020-12-20T10:34:08+01:00Sun, 20th Dec '20, 08:30|

So Rosianne Cutajar conducted private business while serving as a quasi-minister, breaching her conduct rules. That's a dismissible offence. She took payments in tens of thousands of euro in cash. That's a dismissible offence. She used her official car and driver for private business. That's a dismissible offence. She did not disclose her income in [...]

New art book in tribute to Daphne

2020-12-20T08:10:12+01:00Sun, 20th Dec '20, 08:10|

In bookshops tomorrow Justice for Daphne is Justice for Your Right to Know, a book curated by Repubblika president-elect and #occupyjustice activist Alessandra Dee Crespo. The book pays tribute to Daphne Caruana Galizia and records in paintings, poems, photographs and cartoons the rise of Malta's civil society demanding justice, that remains elusive. Buy it from the [...]

The Sunday Times: Whipped by Auntie Justyne

2020-12-20T08:12:34+01:00Sun, 20th Dec '20, 08:02|

From my article in The Sunday Times today: "The government never minded having senior government officials indulge in a bit of critic-bashing that would be popular with the rank and file. "Consider Tony Zarb, paid advisor on Konrad Mizzi’s staff, calling Occupy Justice activists whores more fitting in Strait Street than Castille Place. Consider Jason [...]

Murder on the Malta Express wins the National Book Prize

2020-12-18T19:31:25+01:00Fri, 18th Dec '20, 19:32|

It is with pride and gratitude that my co-authors, John Sweeney and Carlo Bonini, and I receive tonight the National Book Prize for literary non-fiction awarded by Malta's National Book Council. Murder on the Malta Express: Who Killed Daphne Caruana Galizia was first published in Malta by Midsea Books and was then released worldwide by [...]

Does Mario Cutajar fear his staff forget what he looks like?

2020-12-18T08:33:10+01:00Fri, 18th Dec '20, 08:33|

"Ittraħbar" is circulated to civil servants with news from the principal permanent secretary's office. The name of the publication is a literal riff on 'newsletter'. Geddit? My daughter would palm her face round about now. So the newsletter is all of 8 full-colour pages. And apart from the fact that Mario Cutajar is the cover [...]

Go to Top