The Malta Independent 30 June 2022, Thursday

TMID Editorial: When politicians speak

Thursday, 13 January 2022, 09:42 Last update: about 7 months ago

It is good that politicians, in particular ministers, speak up when they see something wrong in matters not directly related to their responsibilities.

When they do, they would be going beyond what is required of them in their official capacity. As we know, politicians carry a stronger voice in the community. There are times when what they say is also picked up by the media, which therefore means that their message is spreading to a larger group of people.

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Mind you, what politicians say is not always reportable. Many of them believe that all their mutterings, even a short phrase on Facebook, should make headlines on news portals. This is not the case, but such is their ego. If we had to carry what all of them post, our portal and news pages would be full of what politicians are thinking. Needless to say, this behaviour increases each time an election is approaching. We are daily inundated with messages from politicians who expect to see their picture online.

More often than not, they find themselves on the national newspapers when they least like it – when something they say or do is questionable. Or when there is some scandal that hits them, either directly as individuals, or else on a subject that is under their responsibility.

Having said this, when politicians speak up on a matter that is beyond their remit is positive.  So when last week two ministers shared their feelings on what a priest had written on the social media, demanding that the police investigate his writings, they were doing a good thing.

Both Julia Farrugia Portelli and Owen Bonnici denounced what Fr David Muscat wrote, which led the Archbishop to publicly reprimand the priest and apologise to the LGBT community. They also asked the police commissioner to investigate and we now know that the priest is set to be charged in court with the offence.

That the police acted immediately on this is also a good thing. One would expect the police to also take immediate action on matters which are far more serious than this.

But, going back to politicians, what would really attract media attention is if they are more forthcoming on matters that pertain to their own party, or an individual within their own group who is involved in a scandal.

What would, for example, Farrugia Portelli and Bonnici think about Justyne Caruana, just to mention the latest Labour politician who quit in the wake of a report by the Standards Commissioner?

And what would, to give an example from the other side of the political fence, Nationalist politicians think about David Thake, who resigned from the shadow cabinet after reports that one of this companies did not pay VAT due?

If they had to do that, these politicians would definitely get a few front pages and top places on the news portals.

But don’t hold your breath.

They will not be doing it. 

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