The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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A deserved prize for Robert Abela

Kevin Cassar Sunday, 19 November 2023, 08:15 Last update: about 8 months ago

The Louis XVI prize is awarded by the Economist to the Leader who seems most out of touch with his people.  The prize is named in honour of the French king who on 14 July 1789, the day the Bastille was stormed, wrote in his diary “Rien” - “nothing”.  Surely this year that prize must go to Robert Abela.

Ian Borg was just doing his job,” Abela cynically commented when his foreign minister was caught feeding Transport Malta officials names of candidates sitting their driving test. Now a survey has revealed that just 12% of the Maltese population agree with Robert Abela’s cynical comments.


“This is the way the political system works - if anyone is saying this should not apply to our country, I disagree,” Abela stated soon after the massive scandal was exposed. He must disagree with the absolute majority of Maltese.  “That is how the Minister is expected to operate, this is one of the main functions that a politician has in the Maltese political system,” he added.

600 citizens were asked that direct question “Is referring driving test candidates to Transport Malta officials a normal part of a politician’s functions?” Less than one person in every eight replied “Yes”. The overwhelming majority disagreed.

Members of the European Parliament also found the opportunity to express their revulsion at Abela’s shamelessness. They voted overwhelmingly to condemn Robert Abela.  97% voted in favour of a resolution declaring: “The European Parliament is appalled by the Prime Minister’s statement of 3 October 2023 downplaying acts of institutionalised corruption, considers that such statements continue to entrench the culture of impunity”.  They’re appalled. Not merely disappointed or dismayed. A mere 2.7% of MEPs opposed the resolution. Practically all of the MEPs in Labour’s own group, the European Socialists, with their vote declared they were appalled by Robert Abela’s statements.

Even amongst Labour voters a mere 20% agree with their leader. That’s just one in five Labour voters who were willing to stick their necks out and support Abela’s nonsense. The vast majority, even amongst those who watch Labour’s ONE, think this is gross - pure filth coming out of Abela’s mouth. Amongst non-voters just 8% agreed with Abela.  Amongst PN voters it was less than 3%.

Not even his own voters were willing to declare that cronyism is just the way things should be in Malta. Even Labour’s diehards recoiled in disgust at the thought of accepting such a perversion of morality.  That massive slap in Robert Abela’s face is a ray of hope for Malta.  It shows our people are not half as corrupt as their Prime minister is. It goes to show that the absolute majority of Labour voters will not cross that line into depravity where their own Leader wants to take them.  They too recognised that Abela’s pathetic attempt at justifying the reprehensible abuse of power was devious.  His own voters disowned him. That is an even more humiliating reprimand for Abela than the European parliament’s scathing resolution.

Does Abela, at some level, believe his own distortion? Maybe Abela had no option but to insist that Ian Borg’s Whatsapp messages were benevolent and commendable. Because to acknowledge that they were criminal would require him to sack his minister.  It would oblige him to kick out his loyal army of customer care officers. And that would risk turning them against him. It would expose him to the real possibility that one or more of them would spill the beans. It would heighten the chance that they would reveal that it was the Minister himself, or possibly even the Prime Minister who had orchestrated the rotten scheme. They might reveal who was pushing the “OPM vvip client”.

Abela had no choice but to fabricate laughable excuses “downplaying acts of institutionalised corruption”.  His policy of denial of wrongdoing is becoming increasingly dangerous, for him and his party. Practically the entire European parliament expressed its derision at Abela’s puerile antics.

That recent survey is living proof of the growing contempt voters feel towards Abela’s moral perversion. His response to the most revolting abuse of power is simply to insist that it was the right thing to do and to deny that anything wrong occurred. That should be deeply troubling for Labour.  If the idea spreads that its leader is living in la-la-land, Labour may find it increasingly difficult to stem the hemorrhage of voters.

Abela is trying every trick in the book to save his own skin and that of his colleagues. And he’s doing it by attacking the nation’s core values. He’s doing it by lying, by deceiving, distorting and cheating at everything. He’s even trying to cheat his own people. By trundling out the bizarre explanation that the systemic rot in his administration is just a saintly public mission Abela attempts to hoodwink the country. In so doing he’s committing fraud.  He’s come up with a confidence trick to convince the nation that an utterly rotten scam was in fact wholesome and healthy.  We were just trying to help the people, he bluffed.

Abela thought he could pull it off. The European parliament called his bluff.  And that damning survey has now shown that back home not many suckers are swallowing Abela’s fiction. It shows Abela is increasingly isolated, steadily more detached from the real sentiments of the people. One thing is certain - nobody more than Robert Abela deserves that Louis XVI prize.



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