The leadership of the Labour Party is convulsing in shock at the anger it is facing in the aftermath of a court’s decision that their much-vaunted privatisation of public hospitals was unlawful and grounded on fraud.
The court decision in and of itself does not appear to have surprised them much. They quickly moved to make it definitive by deciding not to appeal and, at first at least, they looked like they were switching sides and taking an antagonistic attitude to Steward Health Care.
But the implications of that switch was not lost on people, particularly supporters of the Labour Party. If the PN was right now that this deal was rotten then surely Simon Busuttil and Adrian Delia and Bernard Grech had been right to object to it, then surely Daphne Caruana Galizia was right about this. That can’t be, can it? Which is why Robert Abela incredibly and shockingly defended in Parliament last Thursday what the medical profession is calling “the indefensible”, Steward’s conduct while here.
The Labour Party media is making a big fuss about the anger expressed by the opposition during the debate on Thursday. Today’s Labour Party “newspaper” shows pictures of extremely irate opposition politicians. They are using the word “violent” because this, they hope, is an effective way of galvanising their own sceptical support, uniting them in pathological hatred of “the Nationalists”.
The key is context. Those pictures were taken just after Robert Abela accused Adrian Delia of “lying to the court” by claiming victory in the hospitals court case. That’s the ultimate gas lighting. If Adrian Delia had lost the hospitals case, why was it ever a question whether the government needed to appeal? It’s only the losers who appeal, and the loser was the government.
But those photos on KullĦadd’s front page are a reaction to something which barely appears on the Parliamentary record. Without a microphone and without having the floor, Labour Minister Anton Refalo shouted at the opposition benches saying they had only won the hospitals court case because they had bribed the judge.
In one fell swoop Anton Refalo had projected the corruption of the hospitals contract onto institutions that had nothing to do with it: the opposition and the judiciary.
Not being angry at that is a crime against democracy.
There’s a Lovin Malta interview with a freshman MP who says she was traumatised by the opposition’s anger. She’ll never forget it, she said. Shocking, isn’t it, finding yourself having to defend the corruption and the greed of MPs from your side. Grow up, snowflake, because for as long as your party continues to harbour fugitives from justice, for as long as it spins decisions of institutions and the evidence published in the press of and about the corruption of your colleagues, anger is inevitable. There’s more coming your way. We haven’t scratched the 17 Black/Electrogas surface yet and that’s bound to hurt.
What is perverse is that you, scaredy Labour backbench MP who thought politics was an affirmation of how it was your destiny to be right, haven’t seen this sort of anger in Parliament before now. What is perverse is that the bear across from you in Parliament has been mostly asleep until now. Hopefully that’s changing.
Speaking of snowflakes, Labour made a big fuss about a man whose manner of expressing anger was spitting in the general direction of a One TV cameraman. Spittle is inelegant and a little bit disgusting but the man who spewed it Guy Fawkes is not.
I have had a One TV camera trained on me like the telescope on a rifle many times and I have learnt to deal with that heat by expressing my anger with colourful invective and an ironic smile. But please let’s not confuse that camera with journalism. That camera is not seeking to report facts or even a general impression of them. It is looking to get details entirely out of their context to misrepresent the entirely justified anger of people at having their taxes siphoned off to corrupt businessmen and politicians as some act of violence.
That way it’s no longer about the way Joseph Muscat gave three hospitals to people who deposited money into his personal bank account but about a man who spits. The former we’re expected to forget while convulsing apoplectically with shock at the behaviour of the latter.
Consider this KullĦadd report today of a piece I wrote a few days ago criticising the government’s decision to extend a diplomatic passport to Joseph Muscat. I am showing a screenshot of the newspaper today because that doctored image of my blog is the dictionary definition of taking things out of context to make them look like what they’re not.
The article was not about Dom Mintoff being “mad and dirty”. It was about the mad notion of giving a former prime minister, particularly the amoral crook Joseph Muscat, a diplomatic status for the rest of their life.
I reminded the public that Dom Mintoff had been a former prime minister even when the infirmities of old age made him an entirely unsuitable diplomat. Even if I insulted Labour by pissing on this convenient taboo they still forgot to point out that when Mintoff had reached this stage in his life they had all abandoned him and he was supported in his last ungrateful years by Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, a handful of old time loyalists, and people in the Eddie Fenech Adami and Lawrence Gonzi governments dispatched to do the decent thing and help where they could.
I digress. The whole point here is that the One TV camera trained on a protester who took time out to exercise his fundamental right to express his disagreement with the government after a court ruled a major public contract they secured had been unlawful, is as unfair as that KullĦadd report that twists my writing to make it look like I’m a mindless hateful ageist.
He spat at them. And I wrote a 900-word piece to tell them to pretty please, with sugar on top, fuck off.
On one side that evening a man spat in protest and you’re perfectly entitled to disapprove. But I need to hear what you think of a prime minister who lied to Parliament about a court decision that ruled his government maintained a public contract against the public interest and based on possibly criminal fraud and about his cabinet colleague falsely accusing a judge of taking bribes because a decision he took put his party at a political disadvantage.
In that weighing scale a little bit of spittle is positively heroic.