The Malta Independent 26 May 2024, Sunday
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Thug talk

Kevin Cassar Sunday, 12 May 2024, 08:03 Last update: about 15 days ago

“Who knows how much the establishment is still seeking retribution from those who stood by me and helped me,” Robert Abela incited at the launch of Labour’s European parliament campaign, “because the establishment is cruel, it does not forgive, it does not forget”.

“They pull the strings from the shadows, and when they were allowed to lead this country we saw how our people were oppressed,” Abela declared.


Robert Abela is at his most vicious, threatening, warning, inciting, intimidating.  He’s on an autocratic rampage, attacking the opposition, the chamber of advocates, the judiciary and everybody else.

Who is this establishment Abela is trying to scare us with? It’s everybody. He’s now waging open war against the judiciary accusing it of “political terrorism”. The Chamber of Advocates had to remind Robert Abela that he’s the prime minister, and should temper his language, tone down his hostile violent rhetoric. Instead Abela doubled down and launched a tirade against the Chamber itself.

“The Chamber of Advocates tilts towards the views of the Establishment, if not being part of it too…we have often seen the establishment, the Chamber of Advocates, the judiciary being insensitive to the people and the people suffered because of it,” Abela accused.

Abela had spent days persecuting the inquiring magistrate and impugning her integrity. He accused her of “interfering with the political time-line” and of using the judicial process “for purposes other than justice”. “This is no co-incidence, but it was a message,” Abela commented about the timing of the conclusion of her inquiry. He accused the magistrate that “the conclusions of the inquiry were going to be used not only to condition the political timeline but also the result of 8th June”. “

“No judicial process should interfere with any electoral result,” Abela warned.

Abela’s threats did not stop there. He warned the judiciary: “At the end of the day, the correct administration of justice does not belong to the magistrates and judges.  It belongs to the people”. We’ve seen it before.  Socialist thugs ransacked the court, burning documents in the streets and looting shops they’d broken into.

“We have the right, everybody has a right to speak up and protect the integrity of the judicial process….if you have these sorts of decisions, the people must give their verdict because nobody is bigger than the sovereignty of the people”. That’s a barely veiled threat that he might yet unleash “the power of the people” against the judiciary - and especially against the defenceless inquiring magistrate. That’s just pure thuggery.

Abela’s hostility, his frontal attack against the judiciary has no place in a European democracy.  Abela’s sheer thuggery is the default weapon of the autocrat. He needs an enemy to galvanise his base.  He must mobilise his voters to avoid the humiliation of losing his fourth MEP seat.  Abela knows he’ll be blamed for that defeat.  He’s acutely aware that his grassroots will pin the blame on him for blocking Joseph Muscat’s candidature.

At his disturbing press conference Muscat reminded Abela that only Labour’s enemies benefit from his absence from the ballot sheet.  Muscat echoed Abela’s vicious attacks - “this is a political vendetta”, “the institutions are working against Labour”.

In a stroke of genius Abela is using the conclusion of the Vitals inquiry to rally the troops. He knows nothing will get the vote out more effectively than fear, anxiety, panic, rage.  And he’s fuelling all of those. We must unite, we must act, they’re all against us - the magistrates, the courts, the lawyers, the establishment - “they are insensitive to the people”, they are cruel, “they want to stop Labour”, “the establishment does not forgive, does not forget”. They will oppress you.

In a bizarre rant he warned “The 8th of June is a crucial day - it now assumes another dimension, the dimension as to whether the people are ready to relinquish their sovereignty to the establishment, whether the people want the country to be led by those who believe they have a divine right to power”.

Abela is desperate to avoid humiliation. He’s ditched all semblance of responsibility. He’s dangerous.  These are dangerous times.  Our democracy is at a point of existential risk. It’s clear many don’t understand that risk - to themselves, to their children, to the nation.

This feels like July 1932, when the German people voted to make the National Socialist German Workers’ party the largest party in the Reichstag, paving the way for the destruction of the Weimar republic. One year later the Law against the Formation of Parties banned all existing political parties except the National Socialists, making Germany a one-party state.

When the Germans voted in 1932, they didn’t vote to destroy democracy.  They didn’t imagine, for one minute, that Germany would become a one-party state. They couldn’t have foreseen the scale of death and destruction that party would unleash on the entire world - but also on their cities, their homes, families and their own lives. By then it was too late.

Increasingly Abela is adopting the rhetoric of autocrats - the threats, the intimidation, the public attacks on the judiciary. His distortion of the basic principles of democracy are grotesque - “As head of the executive I have the constitutional role of acting as a check and balance (sic) on the other institutions”. His perverted view of “checks and balances” is that he has the power to dictate how the judiciary should act, control when investigations are concluded and what they conclude. When the course of justice damages his electoral prospects he usurps the power of the judiciary and pardons those whose votes he needs to retain his iron grip on power.

That’s another characteristic of autocrats - once they gain power they’ll never relinquish it.  They’ll do whatever it takes to remain in power - attacking the judiciary, mocking the chamber of advocates, riling up the masses, instilling fear of the “establishment”, wrecking democracy, sowing division, fomenting hate and endangering the safety of the inquiring magistrate by printing her photo on the party’s malicious propaganda.

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