Friday, 1 December 2017

These government actions rub me on the wrong side

This government is continuously unfairly criticised by Opposition and opposition friendly quarters for stupid things based on arguments of convenience by those who do not seem to understand that they are no longer in government and that they have no God given right to obstruct a government legitimately elected through a fair democratic process.

There is however very little or no criticism of the real constructive type and this does not help an executive to take better and more informed decisions.

There are two policy matters  which  are currently rubbing me on the wrong side.
Freedom of the press is essential to the preservation of a democracy; but there is a difference between freedom and license. Editorialists who tell downright lies in order to advance their own agendas do more to discredit the press than all the censors in the world.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

The first is the proposed liberalisation of the rights for the media to act without risk of punishment through criminal libel proceedings and garnishee orders by those who feel offended and damaged by media publications.   The only remedy for victims of unfair media exploits is civil libel with maximum compensation of just over ten thousand euro and through a process which in the best of circumstances could take two years and often much longer.

I am all in favour of progressive liberalisation of the space that the media need to operate in but such liberalisation must bring with it increased protection for the rights of individual against gutter media who prefer populism to factual reporting and fair comment.

At a time when government is protecting the rights of minorities and helping them to live as normal citizens in this peace loving nation, we must be wary not to oppress a new minority by exposing them to ill-intended allegations by media who can take risks in the knowledge that at most they will be found guilty under civil libel proceedings several years down the road. 

If we allow such a state of affairs to flourish, knowing how easily the anti government media calls for resignations on the slightest perception of infringements, we will see many careers destroyed, many valid people distancing themselves from politics and and families hurt and damaged as the balance of power shifts towards the media and against the individual.   I can of course speak from personal experience but I am not here to defend my personal case.   I am defending the rights of several individuals who like me have been hurt by irresponsible pseudo journalism and are still working through the several years it takes for civil libel proceedings in court to come to a final conclusion.

I am NOT suggesting for government to walk back on the proposed liberties for the media.   What I am proposing is the setting up of an Arbiter for the media on the same lines as the Arbiter for Financial Services where libel cases can be heard in an informal setting and brought to a conclusion in a matter of months not years, with full right of appeal for those who feel aggrieved by the Arbiter's decision. 

If we have created a mechanism for easy despatch of financial grievance that may involve a mere few hundred euros against payment of a token fee, how much more we need such mechanism for libel cases that may ruin careers, families and lives!!  Civil libel proceedings currently cost an arm and limb even to file let alone to follow through all the way to appeal if necessary.

What is also rubbing me the odd way is yet another Air Malta restructuring.  As an honest taxpayer I am afraid nobody is representing my real interest in the negotiations going on at KM hoping to give it a sustainable future.

Before conducting another half baked restructuring at Air Malta I suggest people concerned read what I had written about previous restructurings in 2010/2012.  See links below.

Image result for air malta
A serious restructuring cannot but start with identifying the number of people and related skills needed to run an efficient operation .  All the rest are a load on Air Malta's finances which will not allow the Company to fly into profitability. 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Understanding why

Image result for self destruction
PN should stop pressing the button
I muse how is it possible that the PN continue so obstinately to destroy themselves;  how is it possible that the PN continue in their mission to damage Malta's international reputation when they have tangible evidence that such manoeuvres are backfiring in terms of loss of electoral popularity; what pleasure or benefits do they get by magnifying our weaknesses ( of which we have just as much as anybody) to the delight of foreign interests who are eager to pull away business from our shores to theirs.

After much meditation I came to the conclusion that the root of this pitiful situation that the PN find themselves in can be found to the events of summer 1998 when the PN after losing, unexpectedly, the  October 1996 elections to newcomer like Alfred Sant, unbelievably found themselves back in government in September 1998.

The 1998 event has imbued in the PN leadership a sense of false superiority and they started firmly believing that:

  • PN has a God given eternal mandate to govern this country
  • PL have no right or skills to ever be in charge of governing this country
  • Anybody with Labour sympathies must be deficient on their intelligence quotient and cannot be trusted in any executive positions so that all promotions and appointments should be reserved for intelligent PNers. 
  • If for any reason the electorate were to trust the PL to govern, than the search for a higher order national priority to have the PN in government justifies the PN sabotaging a PL government even if in the process some 'temporary' harm is inflicted on our country.   To the PNers, the end of having a PN government according to God's will as shown in 1998, justifies the means to harm the country.
The blog of Daphne Caruana Galizia (DCG - God bless her soul) is the most obvious example of such frame of mind that Labourites are children of a lesser God, and that PNers have a natural superiority in terms of intelligence, skills and abilities. 

Another example is the pretensions of ex-shareholders of the National Bank of Malta who expect courts to award them  hundred of millions of euros in compensation for what they believe that a Labour Government in 1973/74 expropriated from them without fair compensation.   Little do they heed the facts that a Labour government had to intervene to save the Bank from evident bankruptcy and at least protect depositors, creditors, borrowers and the general economy from  disaster while wiping out shareholders who carried the risk and allowed their bank to be mismanaged.    This happens all the time in Europe where not only shareholders have to carry the load but also in a priority order, subordinated and senior bondholders, creditors and in the end also uninsured deposits. 

The main challenge for Adrian Delia, as new way (?) leader, is to extract the PN from this sense of false superiority and accept once and for all that we are all Maltese with same rights and obligations.  Those who will not accept this reality have no place to be in politics.

Malta needs a strong and constructive opposition, that can be viewed as an alternative government thus keeping the executive on its toes.   There is no space in Maltese politics for attitudes as those exposed by the PN MEPs.   There is ample space for genuine PNers who really want to save their party from financial and political destruction.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Not in my name

Can someone explain to me by what authority the Civil Society Network (CSN) championed by the likes of Michael Brigulio, Andrew Borg Cardona and Manuel Delia are speaking in the name of Civil Society.

I am a law abiding member of civil society and did not authorise anyone of these guys to speak in my name.   The only bodies that sought my endorsement were the political parties at last general elections in June and the only body that can speak in my name and in the name of the vast majority of the electorate is the government led by Joseph Muscat.

Image result for peter grech attorney generalBrigulio, Borg Cardona and Delia and their vanishing flock of followers have every right to protest and hold demonstrations but only in their name not in the name of civil society.  They have every right to continue making fools of themselves protesting that government is not upholding the rule of law when in fact they have been given all liberty and facilities to protest as they wish and themselves urge for total disrespect of the rule of law.

In using mob rule methods to demand resignation of senior executives in the Administration i.e. the Police Commissioner and the Attorney General, they are betraying the very cause they are supposedly fighting for.    The removal of the Police Commissioner is a decision which belongs solely to the Executive and if pressure has to be made on the Executive for such a step than it is only Parliament that can bring such pressure.   In case of the Attorney General his removal can only be taken for causes which are currently not obtainable and only with a 2/3rd parliamentary majority.

However the most laughable is the suggestion that their replacement has to be made by parliament with a 2/3rd majority.  Hell would have to freeze over before such a wide consensus can be reached and the proposal is meant only to render the country ungovernable without an Attorney General and without a Police Commissioner at this delicate time when we need to find out who murdered DCG and caused so much grief and disrespect to the family, to the profession of journalism and to the whole country.

History shows that Police Commissioners work at the pleasure of the government and they tend to come and go quite easily upon change of administration or even during the same legislature if they are judged to be under-performing.   Clearly we have had a series of underperforming Commissioners under this government in its 2013-2017 version.  Finally in the person of Lawrence Cutajar there seems to be stability in evolving the role of the police force to be of service to society.  Fair  criticism about the length of time police take to prosecute in cases where clear suspicion exists is more than reasonable.  However police do not trade in suspicion, they trade in evidence that can stand up in a court of law.   Prosecuting suspects without a reasonable degree of evidence will be clearly counter-productive and wasteful of resources.

However Attorneys General do not work at the pleasure of the government.  The Constitution gives them security of tenure similar to that of the judiciary.   We have had ample record of Attorneys General who were appointed by a party in government and then continued to serve when another party eventually acceded to  government.   The most notable is probably Dr Edgar Mizzi appointed by Borg Oliver and served well and for long under Mintoff.

I have been searching for a reason why all this animosity towards Dr Peter Grech, Attorney General, who was appointed by a PN government and has continued in position under a PL government.  As the saying goes 'Malta zghira u n-nies maghrufa'.   Dr Grech until a few months back was extremely respected by one and all whatever the political colour or the profession.   Not a single murmur, complaint or negative speculation about his integrity was ever vented.   He is a true professional with a highly dedicated sense of service.  

What on earth has brought this change of attitude against Dr Grech without even bothering to explain clearly on what grounds he is being demanded to resign or get fired?

There is no logical answer to this question and to attempt some possible answer one would have to enter into the realm of speculation.  But in the absence of logic,  speculation becomes a second best alternative especially if can be corroborated by certain unconnected events and if it respects some elements of logic.

My elements of logic rests on the following:

  • The removal of Dr Peter Grech must serve some particular cause which is still not evident.
  • The said cause must have a substantial monetary value
  • Dr Peter Grech is considered as a stumbling block for achieving the much aspired prize.
I will continue searching to find the true reason for the astonishing change of attitude towards Dr Peter Grech.  I may have an idea about a particular case that ticks all these boxes.