The Malta Independent 26 September 2018, Wednesday

Musings on a hot summer afternoon

Noel Grima Sunday, 8 July 2018, 09:34 Last update: about 4 months ago

So the hard-working Honorable Gentlemen and Ladies of the House of Representatives decided to award themselves a summer holiday lasting from 4 July to 1 October.

It must be awfully hard work sitting there three nights a week, giving and listening to speeches, with the occasional verbal battle and even more occasional vote.

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Time passes so quickly in the House – before you know it, all the three ground-breaking bills on blockchain technology have been passed and approved. It must be all those reporters, with their glazed eyes following interminable sittings with nothing memorable to report.

Laws are passed on the nod but we get long sittings on IVF and such, so it must be alright then.

The problem is that a country that learns to live without a parliament for three months at a go can easily learn to live without a parliament at all.

 

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Prime Minister Joseph Muscat returned from the European Council last week, telling a One reporter that Malta “did what the EU had never done.”

My dear prime minister, whoever gave you that idea?

First of all, the meeting was by no means a success. It was the new Italian prime minister alone who tried to brag about its success, but the only real success registered was that of forcing Italy to back down from its threat of a veto.

Secondly, if Prime Minister Muscat was referring to the small number of EU member states that agreed to take in refugees aboard the MV Lifeline — the ship callously left to float around on raging waters for days on end until Malta finally allowed it to enter the Grand Harbour — let’s just see what happens when a second (and then a third and a fourth…) ship takes on refugees and Italy’s interior minister, Salvini, refuses to take them in, to which Malta will respond in kind. Then we shall see how much of a breakthrough has been made.

At any rate, Malta has now decided to follow up its act of mercy by banning all NGO ships from entering or exiting its ports and grounding an NGO plane for good measure, thus outdoing Salvini himself, proving to strong with the weak and weak with the strong yet again.

To top it all off, the MV Lifeline’s captain has been charged with ship registration offences. After all, such despicable behavior from a man who saved and cared for more than 200 lives at sea while Italy and Malta bickered mustn’t go unpunished.

As Marco Cremona wrote yesterday (for which he was widely abused), “How can you swim for charity when you can be 10,000 times more effective by telling your husband to be charitable with those who do not want to swim (and drown)?

“Release those rescue boats and planes now”

 

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Yet another call has been made to declare Malta a potential Monaco of the Mediterranean.

Of all the harebrained ideas...

Malta can never be Monaco. First off, not all our garages house Ferraris. And there are at least 450,000 people living on this rock to Monaco’s 20,000.

It is not the high-rises and skyscrapers that define Monaco, but its low tax regime and banking institutions, where tax exiles hoard their money. In this regard, Malta may well be on its way to becoming a knock-off version of Monaco, but for the fact that it is, thank heavens, an EU member state, which Monaco is not, and the EU is there precisely to keep member states on the straight and the narrow — not that it is doing enough of this, mind you.

We might not know how the current situation in Monaco affects ordinary Monegasques, but we can already see how sudden affluence is hitting ordinary Maltese families on the minimum wage and pensioners. Perhaps there weren’t many Monegasques in the Grimaldi mini-state, but there are many, many Maltese people who will not accept being made to feel unwelcome in their own country.

When high-rise apartments are built for the high-worth IIP folk, will we have to ethnically cleanse people from the ghettoes and decrepit suburbs?

 

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I have found no report anywhere in the media of the speech given by David Stellini in the last sitting of Parliament before the summer recess.

In it, Mr Stellini warned that Malta may get 30 people less EU funding in the coming financial period than it got in the last.

Mr Stellini just asked if this was true but he did not explain why there may be this cut.

First of all, the EU will now have to make do without the UK’s contribution following its decision to leave the bloc.

And Malta was already moving up and out of the net receivers thanks to its economic growth.

Still, the matter should be given far greater prominence on the national agenda. There seems to be little chance of Prime Minister Muscat coming back with his predecessor’s billion-plus-euros in funding.

 

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Some rebrand!

The full-colour wrap-around for last Sunday’s Il-Mument included a list (on page three) of the programmes on Radio 101, which has recently been rebranded, and the people running those shows. They are all, with the rare exceptions, people who have been running the show since time immemorial and, therefore, who have long been associated with the radio’s dismal showing.

 

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