THE SUNDAY TIMES: They promised meritocracy

2023-07-30T08:35:28+02:00Sun, 30th Jul '23, 08:35|

From my article in  The Sunday Times today: "These cronies, utterly bereft of talent, who smiled inanely at the men-only late-night dinner parties with Schembri or at Muscat’s over- the-top birthday parties in Girgenti, ran the branches of government. "They had the job of planning for our electricity needs, of keeping hospitals working, to make [...]

Two years of knowing

2023-07-29T07:02:28+02:00Sat, 29th Jul '23, 07:02|

Two years ago today, three judges published their report after hearing dozens of witnesses give their account of the circumstances in which Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed. Most of the evidence they heard was given in public and extensively reported in the press. That was an extraordinary achievement in itself. In the days after Daphne [...]

Administrative and legislative failures

2023-07-27T11:32:03+02:00Thu, 27th Jul '23, 11:32|

The Jean Paul Sofia magisterial inquiry makes the following observation: “This in genere inquiry did not and could not have had the direct objective of examining whether administrative and or legislative failures came into play. The evidence gathered by the undersigned indicates institutional, systemic, and legislative failures. This also emerged from the report by the [...]

Unhappy as can be

2023-07-25T18:27:15+02:00Tue, 25th Jul '23, 14:50|

After a few squats in the trenches ministers have disappeared. They found themselves announcing too prematurely that the faults that caused the power cuts had been solved. They hadn’t. Power cuts are still the order of the day. The story of Mount Carmel patients left in the heat and the dark for hours would have [...]

Will the PN make the date?

2023-07-24T14:17:29+02:00Mon, 24th Jul '23, 14:17|

The headlines of yesterday’s Sunday Times and Malta Today political surveys at face value appear contradictory. If you expect from polls what some expect from tarot cards you risk being misled. Polls are tools and one must learn to use them if they are to work for one. There’s much in the two studies which [...]

Rule by decree

2023-07-22T08:11:53+02:00Sat, 22nd Jul '23, 08:11|

I wrote a few days ago that the first reason by tyrannies flounder is that there’s no one to prevent political leaders from making stupid mistakes. Leaders of democracies have an equal potential to blunder but checks and balances along the way can slow them down. Insider reports on the days leading to Robert Abela’s [...]

Pear-shaped Robert

2023-07-22T07:30:08+02:00Sat, 22nd Jul '23, 07:30|

Napoleon died in exile in St Helena in 1821. In his will he asked to be buried in Paris but at the time of his death the British refused a French request to return his remains. In 1840 King Louis-Philippe’s popularity was waning and he thought it would be a good PR stunt to bring [...]


2023-07-21T13:35:23+02:00Fri, 21st Jul '23, 13:35|

My family has been exiled out of our home.  I am writing this at the height of an extended power outage.  It is now 34 hours since my home has not had the ‘luxury’ of being supplied with electricity.  Before that, we also had a couple of power outages.  We just woke up from a [...]

The cost of short-termism

2023-07-20T13:04:26+02:00Thu, 20th Jul '23, 12:58|

I’m not going to volunteer expertise in electricity generation or distribution, in urban planning, in meteorology, in climate science, and in all the trails of expert knowledge that go into understanding why some of us have run out of battery charge on their phone and have lost the ability to read this, never mind the [...]

Abela’s crumbling tyranny

2023-07-18T10:13:09+02:00Mon, 17th Jul '23, 22:33|

I’m just back from the vigil held in front of Castille calling for a public inquiry into the circumstances of the killing of Jean Paul Sofia. Everyone there knew on their way that the official mission of the vigil had already been accomplished. It looked throughout the day that Robert Abela was going to have [...]

THE SUNDAY TIMES: Abela’s storm

2023-07-16T08:10:42+02:00Sun, 16th Jul '23, 08:10|

From my article in The Sunday Times today: " The swell of anger in the public mood is palpable, perhaps even more obviously than the anger after Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed and the government insisted that the arrests of three hitmen were all the authorities needed to do. The fact is that the Sofia [...]

The prince and his sycophants

2023-07-17T10:42:51+02:00Sat, 15th Jul '23, 11:18|

If he was the king of an absolute monarchy, the optics would be bad. If he was an oil sheik who both owns and runs a country, a princeling of a tax-dodging microstate, a colonel of a tinpot junta in Central America, a drug lord holding court in downtown Medellin, Robert Abela’s behaviour this week [...]

Heed the call

2023-07-14T12:23:45+02:00Fri, 14th Jul '23, 07:36|

I’m not sure the family of Jean Paul Sofia had spent much time in Parliament’s Strangers Gallery before Wednesday. But that night they looked like they owned the place. I would normally feel queasy about people shouting down at Parliamentarians. It would make me think with some distaste of deadly episodes from the French Revolution. [...]

What’s this? No consequences for Alex Dalli?

2023-07-11T13:02:54+02:00Tue, 11th Jul '23, 13:02|

Cartoon by Ġorġ Mallia. First published in The Third Siege of Malta (2021). Alex Dalli, who ran the civil prisons like a gulag and resorted to psychological torture and intimidation as a matter of course while prisoners under his watch committed suicide in unprecedented numbers, has lost libel suits filed against journalists who [...]

Go ahead, underestimate your children

2023-07-11T12:26:03+02:00Tue, 11th Jul '23, 12:26|

There are tinges of culture-war polarisation in the internet battle over a drag act during pride week at a children’s event in Valletta. There’s blessing in disagreements but intolerance is a curse. Hard right conservatives – who are far more in number than their extremism might suggest – express concern that children seeing a man [...]

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