The Malta Independent 11 December 2017, Monday

San Martin did not make it to Strasbourg

Charles Flores Wednesday, 22 November 2017, 08:40 Last update: about 18 days ago

While people on these Islands enjoyed the pleasant annual San Martin tradition, with its sacksful of goodies for children and grandchildren, and the mild temperatures that prevailed on that mid-Autumn day, up there in super-substitute Strasbourg there were three Maltese stooges seeking to tarnish the Island’s reputation by a predictable resort to tactics and manoeuvrings that smell horribly of old-style politics in liaison with ventriloquist gigolos from several places, including of course, Italy where the mafia was first created, bred and packaged away to the rest of the world. It cannot have been just the sullen mood on the morrow of a World Cup apocalypse.

ADVERTISEMENT

At a time when tiny Malta has, in the matter of a mere four-plus years, forged remarkably ahead in the economic rat race that typifies the Western version of world capitalism, there are high and low political conspirators within and outside the EU seeking to undermine her and other small nations’ efforts in what is supposedly a free, globalised market. For what reason other than sheer political envy – borne out of a persistent severe bout of local bitterness – is beyond comprehension.

It must be extremely boring for the hundreds of pot-bellied MEPs from all over the European Union to have to sit, at least those few who bother to attend, and again go through yet another session of salvos and counter salvos as part of blaringly deceptive agendas originating from what is, for them, an insignificant little island-state immersed in its political humdrum routine work.

Fortunately for most Maltese, life at present is San Martin every weekend. Only last June during the general election campaign, one woman candidate coyly claimed it is Christmas practically every day for both consumers and businesses. It is why it irks most Maltese citizens to have to assist, at one of Europe’s high institutions, to the vicious character assassination of their thriving island nation. It is no wonder that last Tuesday’s sad spectacle also did not seem to go down too well with most of the moderating officials.

The heartless murder of an incisive, albeit notorious, journalist is certainly no source of enjoyment to anyone in his right mind. However, such horrendous acts have happened elsewhere within the EU (suffice to say 45 journalists were killed during the last 25 years) – foremost among them the Charlie Hebdo massacre in which 12 journalists were killed and 11 others injured during a terrorist attack on their offices in Paris. No one doubted France’s rule of law or chose to politicize the tragic event at EU level. The real members of French civil society came out in droves and united to show solidarity over the issue of the freedom of expression.

Europe’s Left and Right united and rightly came out in protest with the highly significant slogan “Je suis Charlie”. But the tragedy took place in France – big nation, founding member France. Her politicians knew this was a day of genuine national grief, and rather than exploiting it, they preferred to hit the terrorist with a resounding punch, smack between the eyes.

In Malta’s case, it was no surprise the spirit of San Martin did not make it to Strasbourg because of the pathetic machinations of a small band of resentful local politicians in concert with their European ideological henchmen, some of whom have backgrounds that go directly to extreme Right connections and, at least in the case of one high adjutant, even faded monarchist inclinations. That the EU should allow this non-stop charade against a nation whose only fault is economic success based on undoubted democratic principles and political stability, is a direct affront to most Maltese who, since gaining membership of the Union after a very divisive referendum, have ironically become increasingly pro-EU and committed to its ideals.

But it is still nothing new to Malta and the Maltese. Our history is, after all, replete with instances where the reality of being a small fish in a big pond is consistently and intentionally driven home. Some, however, would rather have it portrayed as a big fish in a small pond. That’s easily catchable, at least by their warped standards.

 

***

 

Thanks, but no thanks

It was with a sigh of relief that I welcomed the news that Malta is among a group of EU member states who have chosen to opt out of the Franco-German-inspired formation of a permanent  military command structure to oversee the creation of a joint pan-European armed force. The others are Denmark, Ireland, Portugal and the UK, with the latter historically having always opposed the introduction of just such military machine.

When addressing this issue, one has to bear in mind the fact that every European nation has its own army, while most, except for those nations with neutrality in their Constitution, are members of the much heftier NATO military organisation that has American muscles to flex whenever needed. In a funnier twist still, Austria, which has a neutrality clause in her Constitution, is not a member of NATO but agreed to join at the last moment.

Twenty-three out of the 28 member states signed the PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) agreement in Brussels, which will come into force next month. Good luck with that, just do not get us involved.

Malta’s experience of all things military – wars, weapons, permanent and temporary armed forces’ bases – from the time of the Punic Wars through two terrible sieges and right up to the Suez Canal crisis, has been a long, tragic trail of death, poverty and destruction. It is why it has, since 1979, chosen to never ever again host a foreign military base on its soil. Joining a permanent European military force would no doubt lead to the island again being used as a pawn, possibly even earmarked as first point of contact in the not-exactly-inconceivable event of hostilities.

 

***

 

Amen Corner

I could hardly resist the amusing adaptation of Robert Arrigo’s vision of his party’s headquarters being turned into an Amen Corner, i.e. a chapel-cum-cinema-hall should he surprisingly win yesterday’s PN deputy leadership contest.

The Welsh rock group from the Sixties, ‘Amen Corner’, had quite a hit with their single “Bend Me, Shape Me” (1968), the title of which could not be more apt when it comes to the proposed transition to a multi-purpose social centre. Inevitably, social media was full of droll pictorial and architectural readjustments of the PN headquarters in Pietà.

  • don't miss