The Malta Independent 23 June 2024, Sunday
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Awaiting Tuesday’s judgement day

Noel Grima Sunday, 26 May 2024, 07:44 Last update: about 29 days ago

“My men let me down, unfortunately.”

The Head of the Police was speaking in the first years of the post-1987 PN administration after a Labour mob was allowed by the police to rampage all over Valletta to protest against the arraignment of Labour big-wigs, breaking shop windows and threatening passers-by.

The police knew the protest was going to be held, thought they could handle it, but then found out they couldn’t. Hence the abject apology by the head of the police.


But then those were the days when the head of the army, no less, was beaten up by his own sword and forced to jump into the sea.

Valletta, we might say, has three constituencies. The first one consists of the residents, the only ones with the right to vote.

Then comes the commercial community which used to be the best in Malta, subsequently overtaken by the commercial centres led by Sliema, and then Paola, Birkirkara, Mosta (strike that: this florid town has been hit by a tsunami of upheavals that has seriously affected its business community), etc.

In recent years this commercial supremacy has been taken over by the new, big, malls spread around the country. So Valletta as the commercial capital has lost ground.

The third constituency is the army of ordinary citizens who daily pour into the capital for various reasons, for instance the Courts of Justice.

This has been rendered more and more difficult in recent years as streets were pedestrianized, parking restricted and most people have to trudge back from the ditch outside the city, and then some, to park their car. Despite sporadic attempts the city remains without a sustainable mode of internal transport as all the other cities of the world have.

From time to time various protests are held in Valletta and most pass peacefully (which is not always the case across the world) and shops do not normally feel they have to shut and cover the glass windows.

But this time it’s a Labour crowd and people are angry that a former prime minister is about to be arraigned practically on the eve of a national poll (although not a general election).

Various voices from inside Labour have urged a protest on Tuesday, the day of the arraignment.

Then Robert Abela added something that could be said to inflame people more. He warned that the Nationalists could come up with a trick or two that could push the Labour crowd into ill-thought-out retaliation. And he doesn’t want people to call him a rabble rouser.

This was instantly seen as raising tempers all the more in this May heatwave. And in fact both Joseph Muscat and Robert Abela later urged people to remain calm.

Not everyone seemed to believe them and the journalists’ association even made an absolutely unprecedented plea for the police to protect the media people.

We are thus in this juncture – on all accounts Abela will win the June poll. People are comfortable with their lives and can get jobs relatively easily.

As for the many claims of corruption, which are not baseless at all, some are deeply affected but again others are not at all.

The Nationalist Opposition is hiding in plain sight. It could have made a killing with the rather stupid and ultimately harakiri choice of this government campaigning about health, of all things, when its record is of selling three principal hospitals for a song. But did you see any PN bill-board etc covering this absurd choice with ridicule, as it fully deserved?

Or else there are thousands of examples of the national health care not really serving the people.

PN does not really have to wait for the results to be in to sack those responsible for the coming defeat. From the leader down.

The downtrodden masses who will never join Abela’s glee club, despite the cheques raining down on any pretext will batten down and hope for better times.


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