The Malta Independent 15 June 2024, Saturday
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TMID Editorial: Abela’s establishment contradictions

Friday, 24 May 2024, 10:44 Last update: about 22 days ago

Robert Abela has made the term ‘establishment’ his rallying cry for the currently ongoing electoral campaign, alleging that this establishment is doing everything from declaring war on Labourites, to taking over the country’s courts and to potentially even instigating violence.

Abela was initially rather evasive when it came to naming specifically who this establishment is – for a while, and even now, it seemed that the so-called establishment was basically anyone and everyone who happens to oppose the government.

But in more recent weeks he has been a bit more specific, even if somewhat indirectly.  While civil society – as evidenced by Abela’s speech last Sunday where he said that the two protests in the previous week had been organised by this establishment… including the one organised by a coalition of NGOs – still appears to be deemed part of the establishment, it is clear that in Abela’s mind it is the people from the pre-2013 era PN-government who are the leaders of this elusive group.

Several statements back this up: he told supporters in a rally in Zabbar that “the people in the south know who the establishment is” because it built a heavy-fuel-oil power station and a recycling plant there; likewise he more recently alluded to long-serving PN MEPs Roberta Metsola and David Casa of being part of this establishment and being led by another separate establishment in Brussels.

Abela has blamed this establishment for many things in recent weeks, chief amongst them being that it is responsible for the timing of the conclusion of the hospitals magisterial inquiry – timing which the Prime Minister alleges was purposely done to influence the electoral campaign. 

Never mind, of course, the cheques and grants that the government is conveniently giving out to voters during the electoral campaign as if there aren’t 11 other months in the year… but we digress.

“I will certainly not allow them to use a judicial process to destabilise the country,” Abela said during a political event earlier this month, referring to this establishment.

He repeated the inference a couple of days later: “What is certain is that I will not let the establishment destabilise this country.”

It is quite clear that Abela believes that this establishment has somehow organised a coup to take over the country through the courts and the country’s judicial processes. 

What Abela is saying is ludicrous.

Now let’s understand the contradiction here.  Abela has time and time again alluded that the leaders of the establishment are a certain sect of the Nationalist Party which existed in the pre-2013 government.  It is a group which he has, time and time again, also said controls the Nationalist Party.

At the same time, Abela and the Labour Party as a whole have time and time again been at pains to make people think that the PN is wholly and utterly incompetent when it comes to doing pretty much anything under the sun.

Frequently even during this campaign, Abela states that the PN has no plan, no vision, and no direction.

The more substantive facts show that the PN has failed to make any headway with voters since losing power in 2013, despite everything that the party has tried.

Yet Abela now wants us to believe that the faction which is apparently controlling the PN is suddenly organised enough to launch a power move over the government through the courts and through the Attorney General’s office and the Police – because let’s not forget, an inquiring magistrate cannot charge anybody… that’s up to the Attorney General, who Abela had described as a woman of great integrity and competence.

There is a clear contradiction in narratives: either the PN are incompetent, or they are somehow organised and powerful enough to be controlling the country’s law courts and prosecutorial institutions.

It’s all part of the political game of course, but narratives have rarely been as convoluted as this. Abela needs to stop playing politics with an extremely serious situation, allow the courts to do their work serenely, and stop indirectly defending those who stand charged.

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