The Malta Independent 22 August 2019, Thursday

TMID Editorial: Summer and political heat turned up - No silly season this year

Wednesday, 17 July 2019, 10:53 Last update: about 2 months ago

It seems there will be no silly season this year, that time of the year which we in the media usually know we will be bereft of stories and scoops as most of the nation goes into standby mode.

This season usually coincides with the rising of Parliament at the beginning of summer and tends to close around the time that it convenes again once the sweltering summer heat dissipates.

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Most people and businesses in Malta follow this unwritten schedule, but things have changed rather drastically of late.

The summer silly season is also usually a time for politicians to unwind, take a vacation, collect themselves for the coming autumn and to basically give themselves and the populace a break from it all.

It is a time not only for politicians but also for the public at large to let go of the politics that tend to define many of our everyday lives in this heavily polarised country.

That, it seems, is not going to happen this year given all that is happening under cover of the summer haze.

We have upon us a long-awaited public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia that needs to be instated by end September, as per that Council of Europe resolution that the government cannot ignore. Not only does it needed to instituted, but its terms of reference and the members of such an inquiry that are still to be stipulated, and this will no doubt lead to multiple political and social polemics.

On the same subject matter, the Attorney General has at long issued a bill of indictment against the three hit men accused of the murder.  There could very well be plea bargaining at this stage, which could completely change the Landscape of that case.  Should there be no plea bargain, a jury will be appointed, and there will be very little silly season in that context.

And just when the politicians and parliamentary reporters were eyeing their spots on the beach, the Opposition is now looking to extend the parliamentary season in the summer recess to debate details of the public inquiry to make sure it is done properly as the Opposition is demanding.

At the end of this very month, we will have a revealing, revealing irrespective of which way it goes, vote of confidence in the Leader of the Opposition, where his head is to be placed on the chopping block.  He may very well live through that vote to another day but should he fail, a new leadership campaign will be unleashed within the Opposition, which, it can be argued, is still to find its feet under its new leader.

And of course there is the pending lawsuit that the developers of that monstrosity in St George’s Bay have taken out against the Planning Authority because it had not properly vetted the people voting on the project.  This, too, could have serious repercussions on the Planning Authority’s very functioning.

And in the meantime there are a number of related magisterial inquiries underway, inquiries and court cases that could be concluded at any given time and rest assured that once that happens, everyone can forget any hope they may have harboured of a traditional escape from politics in these hot days of summer.

One thing is for certain, there will be no silly season this summer with not just the summer heat, but also the political heat having been turned up quite a few notches.

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