The devil used to be in the detail. That was before the Labour government imploded. It’s a bit like what they tell us about some of the stars that we see at night. In truth they are not there, they vanished in a huge explosion a long, long time ago but since it takes light a great amount of time to reach us we still see the stars that are not there.
The Labour government has exploded on all counts. There is barely a ministry or minister who has not got it wrong – and by “it” I mean the whole business of politics. The explosion was gradual, a series of petards that began to hoist Muscat’s roadshow bit by bit. The damage containment was crucially successful at first with the “tu quoque” gambit lasting as long as the dupes who swallowed it allowed. What we are seeing now are the shards and splinters of the explosion flying past our eyes as we look on in disbelief at a government run by a PM who hails from a fireworks importing family get hoist by its own petard. Or petards.
The detail that is not so much a detail now lies in the daily exhibition of denials and weak counterarguments being doctored by government spokespersons, ministers and media. Requests for information turn quickly into denials of the shallowest kind. More often than not “public safety” or “economic sensitivity” are invoked to cover up evident blunders. And the lie is running thin.
Take Michael Falzon’s charade in parliament. The question put to him was clear – has anyone ever benefited from the same ad hoc arrangement that he has. An early retirement that is not really a retirement since he can return back to work with the company whenever he wants (or at least in 2018). Falzon chose to focus on the sum for early retirement (and thereby distract from the crucial answer).
There were nationalists who got more. Indeed. Possibly. Setting aside the violation of privacy, Falzon failed to explain whether any of these nationalists had the right to return to the bank and get their job back notwithstanding the fact that they had obtained a retirement package. Ad hoc he said, much like the faffing in the last answer he gave before going mum – claiming that he would have to pay the retirement package back “pro rate’. How does that work exactly? Pro rata to what?
Ah the BOV. Good old BOV. The same BOV that is used by the government as a doormat at every opportunity. There it goes making good for 88 million euros out of the hundred something million that the beleaguered Electrogas is supposed to pump into the utopic power station (as promised by Shame On You Wife on Government Payroll). That’s the kind of guarantee no ordinary citizen in Taghna Lkoll Land will ever get. Basically what the bank is saying is that if something goes wrong and Electrogas cannot pay then it is the taxpayers money that will be used to make good. Do you think the government has justified this intervention? You guessed it. Another denial.
Electrogas and BOV that leads us straight to the Chris Cardona farce of a rental contract. If ever anything was evidently drafted ad hoc it is not Michael Falzon’s retirement package but rather Chris Cardona’s hastily drafted rental contract. Should it matter that this contract is signed with someone closely tied to the Electrogas business and that the contract swings excessively in favour of the tenant like no rental contract drafted in recent years has ever done before? Of course it should. We would not care if the implausible rental conditions (practically a gift given the circumstances) were between two normal citizens. But the Economy Minister accepting what is virtually a handout from a person linked to Electrogas. The alarm bells should be ringing. WHat we’ll get is more denials.
Owen Bonnici can wax lyrical about the supposed good the new party financing law will bring but so long as farces as Cardona’s can be carried out in full view then it is all exposed for what it is. A farce. A farce is what went on when Sai Mizzi Liang joined the PM to launch the ever so incredible charade that is being officially referred to as an investment by Huwawei.
The emptiness of this “investment” has been investigated at length elsewhere. We only need comment here that Mizzi Liang’s performance on this and the previous conference where she declared that “Finally we have found her” is below pathetic. Even from the little we could see, the behaviour, the gestures, the little words we got, we could tell that this was someone launched into a position that was far beyond the depth that she could cater for. It might have taken Simon Busuttil a trip to China to gauge that Sai is not fit for purpose but in truth a few minutes of a press conference gave us a glimpse of her absolute incompetence.
The Supernova in the middle of all this explosion is the hapless PM who either lives in denial or who has decided to just live out the next three years as some kind of perilous joyride. While all forms of protocol and institutional balance are thrown to the wind he persists in denying any accusation that his government and its pie in the sky projects (from Sadeen Unis to Medical Schools to Power Stations) is in absolute meltdown. He runs the most expensive cabinet ever that is proving to be the hugest bunch of incompetents ever to have (dis)graced the rooms of government.
It is a mess, in denial.