Labour MEPs are pathetic. It isn’t a necessary consequence of them being Labour. It’s a consequence of their perpetual isolation, their immanent minority status, their complete and utter failure at talking reality into submission and replacing it with the prevalent myths that work so well when they’re back in Malta.
Consider how Alfred Sant at the European Parliament yesterday described the resolution about Malta being debated and which will be voted on in the next few days as echoing the messages of right-wing splinter groups which disparaged the Malta government on all fronts.
Let’s unpack that, shall we? First the reference to “right-wing splinter groups”. He means, I think there’s no denying, Repubblika, Occupy Justice and yours truly. Given the content of the resolution Alfred Sant must also be describing the Institute of Maltese Journalists and over a hundred intellectuals including the editors of all Maltese media houses apart from TVM and One but including the General Workers’ Union publications and anything but right-wing Malta Today, Illum, and, frankly, Times of Malta, as a ‘right-wing splinter group’. I’m sure they like that.
I can’t speak for the IĠM, though I’ve never heard them utter anything that earns them the description “right-wing”. I will challenge Alfred Sant however to find anything ever said or done by Repubblika, by Occupy Justice, or by myself that can be described in any shape or form to have been “right-wing”.
What makes us “right-wing”? Would that be our campaign for justice for a murdered journalist? Or would it be our open resistance to the influence of monied tycoons on the political process? Or would it be our insistence for the enforcement of the laws on corruption? Was it our proposals to remove the influence of money on political candidates? Or did we sound fascist when we spoke on behalf migrants left to drown or die of thirst at sea?
Were our proposals to include the voices of people not born in Malta on public broadcasting particularly fascist? Or did we look like we were stabbing the air when we proposed that people who live here, no matter their origins, should be put on the path to citizenship and that anyone born here should be recognised as a citizen no matter the status of their parents? Was it when we said it was unfair that people not born here but who have made this country their home are denied basic rights while billionaires who never step on this country get to be Maltese citizens just because they’re very rich? Were our objections to unbridled speculation in property reminiscent of Mussolini?
I totally reject the slur that anything we have said or done can be described as “right-wing”. Not to mention the odd detail that we have splintered from something. Splintered from what? Does he mean the PN? The PN, last I checked, contests elections which makes it a political party. We don’t contest elections which means we’re not. The notion that we have splintered off the PN is like suggesting the masseur down in the changing rooms has splintered off the football team. We’re just something else. But comprehending the distinction requires a basic understanding of how democracy work. Which Alfred Sant does not.
But it’s one thing to accuse Repubblika of being a right-wing splinter group to the ears of an audience unfamiliar with the nuances of Maltese political discourse. It’s another thing altogether to accuse European Parliamentarians of all hues, including Socialists from Alfred Sant’s party, that they are echoing right-wing splinter groups they haven’t heard of.
I have been looking at the resolution and if I were to judge it, I find it in parts naively keen to praise what its authors believe to be successes of the Robert Abela government. Consider the line where they welcome the amendments to the Whistleblower Protection Act while missing the fact that the law was a mess and remains an unusable mess because it’s still for a puppet of the prime minister to decide who gets recognised as deserving of protection as a whistleblower.
I don’t think Alfred Sant is concerned with the bits of the resolution that optimistically, though without justification, express appreciation to the workings of the government. Certainly, those bits do not echo what Repubblika, or any other so-called right wing splinter group, have ever said.
He’s concerned with the bits in the resolution we have also spoken about.
It pays tribute to Daphne Caruana Galizia. It expresses concern that the recommendations of the public inquiry into her death have not been implemented. It is concerned that this country takes so long to investigate corruption. It is alarmed that so little has been done about the Pilatus Bank scandal and how nothing has been done about the Electrogas scandal.
It complains the Maltese justice system appears to be getting slower rather than faster. It complains Malta does not cooperate with the EU prosecution service. It is concerned that Joseph Muscat’s friends continue to enjoy impunity. It is concerned about obstacles to media freedom and wants the government to stop appealing against freedom of information decisions secured by The Shift News.
The resolution is concerned about the government not consulting properly about media reforms and wants progress on transparency in state advertising and restricting hate speech on social media. It wants a solution to the apparently paralysing challenge of replacing the Ombudsman and wants a permanent answer to the question of what happens when the two sides of Malta’s Parliament can’t agree to fill a post. And, unsurprisingly, it wants Malta to stop selling passports.
If these are the laments of “right-wing splinter groups” and the European Parliament resolution echoes them, then Alfred Sant is charging the European Parliament, including people form his own party, with being right-wing. The authors of the resolution can ask the same question I did. Which bit of this is right-wing?
Labour MEPs are pathetic.