We are rushing past the limits of bothering to be angry. Clayton Bartolo telling us that tourism will not be impacted by Malta’s downgrade to the red list of Covid danger destinations shows just how brazen these people are.

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. And tourists will opt for a covid-red holiday spot over a covid-green destination any day.

Truly if you’re prepared to accept this without slapping Clayton Bartolo with a big, wet fish, you have accepted there is nothing they can do wrong.

In the same vein, Alfred Camilleri spoke this morning about his ‘very ambitious’ plan to get Malta out of the FATF’s grey list inside of 18 months. Alfred Camilleri will complain that he’s being spoken of as a politician rather than as a civil servant. He’s earned it.

Isn’t it spectacularly convenient that however ambitious Alfred Camilleri’s plan is, it can only be delivered after the next general election which must be held before the 18 months are up? So by the time Robert Abela is confirmed as prime minister for the next 5 years, it won’t matter to anyone whether Alfred Camilleri’s plan, so cunning he could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel, actually materialised or not.

It won’t matter to Alfred Camilleri either. He’s fully expecting to survive the next election, having already survived the 2013 election and being one of only 3 permanent secretaries inherited by Joseph Muscat not to be fired on sight.

At the time that confirmation may have been because of his undoubted skills and knowledge of public administration. What’s his fucking excuse now?

In July 2018, I wrote this piece about Alfred Camilleri.

I wondered then what happened to the no-nonsense civil servant I knew from the Gonzi years that would stop Ministers in their tracks if they departed from his edicts of financial rigour. I asked how it could be that Alfred Camilleri was allowing the systematic corruption, the poor administration, and the regulatory misconduct we were learning about to happen under his watch.

He had taken offense at my article and called me up to meet me and express his displeasure. He boasted with me that his prime minister of the time Joseph Muscat had got in touch with him after my article to express his support and solidarity. He assured me that behind the scenes he was working hard to ensure proper governance. Alfred Camilleri implied, with his humming and hawing manner, that he was making up for Edward Scicluna’s oblivious superficiality, that on Alfred Camilleri’s strong shoulders stood Malta’s fate.

Well turn me over and baste my lower side. Here we are now grey-listed by the FATF because Alfred Camilleri’s sterling stewardship of the Finance Ministry (that I remind you was for many of the past years responsible for the intelligence, regulatory, and enforcement agencies of the financial services industry) was worth fuck all.

And now we’re supposed to take assurances from this faded mandarin that his “very ambitious” plan is going to fix in 18 months what he allowed over 8 years of wilful selective blindness to collapse around his clueless head.

Does this guy seriously still expect us to be impressed by him? Probably. He carries on his shoulders a government that assures us the best thing for tourism is to be red-listed as the covid equivalent of a leper’s colony. It’s not such a stretch to tell us that we are best placed to provide financial services to the rest of the world if we’re grey-listed to the financial services equivalent of a pirate’s bay.

1984 has come to pass. And Alfred Camilleri is O’Brien.