Friday, 27 December 2013

Times: Case of double standards
Saturday, December 14, 2013, 00:01 by Andrew Borg-Cardona

Didn’t Joseph Muscat say that the child’s interests must be kept paramount? What the PN is saying on gay adoption is not a million miles away.

I.M. Beck seems to have been the Prime Minister’s inspiration on Wednesday, because he has drawn himself up regally and delivered himself of a portentous dictum, much to the Beck manner born, that with his principles, he shall brook no compromises.

I looked up to the sky, half expecting to find it blood red, with ominous flashes of lightning to the West, but it was actually quite normal, so Joseph Muscat’s pronouncement doesn’t seem to have perturbed the gods all that much. Looking further into his solemn statement, it seems he was talking about how nothing will divert him from pushing through a Bill concerning, among other things, adoptions by gay couples.

And there was I thinking that Muscat had had a Damascene moment and was about to take our passports off the market stall, where he had placed them for sale in the tender hands of Henley and whatever their name is, purveyors of fine merchandise to the gentry and to people of caliber. Just for the record, according to our Labour Finance Minister, “people of calibre” are people with a few hundred thousand euro to spare, which is about three times what it costs to join a certain golf club in California, just to put things into context. It’s interesting how when seen from the Left, access to cash is equivalent to being a person of intrinsic worth.

Muscat’s strength of purpose in ensuring that gays are not discriminated against is laudable. One hundred per cent, no quibbling.

But his riding on the wave of populism by putting up a strong image, while at the same time pointing fingers at the Opposition for raising some issues, is not, especially when what the PN are saying is not a million miles from what he himself has said.
If Labour say something it’s never a problem, but if the PN say pretty much the same thing, then all hell will break loose

Not long before the election, Muscat was interviewed by Malta Today and he had been a touch equivocal about gay couples adopting, putting in a caveat about having to ensure that the child’s interests are kept paramount. This is perfectly acceptable, and in fact it must have been at the time, because there was no weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth from the general direction the Gay Lobby.

Hold on, wait a minute, that means nothing: if Labour, and more specifically Joseph Muscat, say something it’s never a problem, but if the PN say pretty much the same thing, then all hell will break loose, hair will be loosened and oil brought (it’s a Maltese expression, loses something in the translation).

As always, the PN is held to a higher standard, perhaps because the populace at large knows, in its heart of hearts, that it’s useless holding Labour to the same standards.

It will be interesting, in this context, to gauge the reaction of the media and Labour’s Little Weasels to the news imparted by that Farrugia fellow to the House Public Accounts Committee that at the same time as, horror of horrors, three (we now learn) clocks worth the stupendous total of €1200 were given to various components of the Nationalist Party, a car, presumably worth more than just over a thousand euro, was given to the Labour Party.

The extent to which Farrugia should be believed is, of course, debatable, and I won’t go into that: suffice it to say that as soon as he says anything remotely negative for the PN, we get headlines and he is held to be a paragon of credibility. While on the subject of the ‘Oil Scandal’, isn’t it interesting that corruption, or allegations thereof, to be pernickety about it at this point, seem to cross party or political lines?

A good number of those mentioned seem to be well known Labourites, and this does rather tend to give the lie to Alfred Sant’s hoary old chestnuts about “friends of friends” and moral convictions.

Just so some Little Weasel doesn’t make an inane comment below this online, I’m not saying that just because the web of corruption doesn’t respect party-lines, that’s all right then, it’s not, I’m just making the point that before getting all shrieky about the corrupt Nats and so on, a look at the people concerned should be taken.

Many of them were stalwarts in Old Labour (pre-1987) and they seem to have gone right on with their nefarious activities.

On Tuesday, I had occasion to watch that clip of Edward Scicluna, Minister of Finance and hence one of the Big Beasts of Muscat’s Cabinet. First I watched a short version while taking part in on Net TV, and then I watched the whole thing in the comfort of my own home, as they say. I had watched it before, but sometimes it’s worth taking a second look, because the sheer disbelief that accompanied the first viewing, however many days ago it was, clouded the details of Scicluna’s performance to an extent.

There are no two ways about it: a Prime Minister with even rolled-up, damp, tissue paper for a spine would have asked this guy to pen a couple of words immediately if not sooner, said words being “resign” and “I”, though not in that order.

And if Scicluna refused to comply, Muscat should have pointed at the door and warned him to be careful about it not hitting him on the way out.

What other course of action should a PM with even a modicum of self-respect have taken? Scicluna was abysmal on so many counts; you just can’t blame the lady sitting next to him for the look of sheer disbelief that you could see growing on her face the more Scicluna floundered.

Where to begin? His body language? Sufficient unto the day to get him canned, but there was so much more, the clip is a gift that keeps on giving.

Blaming Henley and whoosit for running too fast, when he (Scicluna) was one of the people in Cabinet and the House who smartly and with alacrity voted “aye” every time the Bill was put to the question, ignoring every and all objections: that was pretty rich.

Giving the lie to his own PM’s line that this measure (flogging passports) was necessary to boost public finances, an alternative to more taxes, that by itself was a flogging offence in political terms.

And then when you add into the mix telling the MEPs that he would have felt the same as them had he been sitting where they were sitting, you just have to come to the conclusion that hanging, drawing and quartering would actually have been a humane way of putting an end to the man’s bumbling.

If someone wanted to be cruel, in the up-coming debate in the European Parliament about Muscat’s misbegotten scheme, all that needs to be done is to play Scicluna’s reply on a loop.

Last Sunday, we travelled South in the morning, which for anyone who knows me is an unusual phenomenon.

We first went to a showing of Bolibar one of the first films to be filmed in Malta, a silent film with live keyboard accompaniment, shown at Palazzo Falson, always a good place to visit. Great fun.

An excellent lunch was then had at Sharma, followed by Arsenal dropping two points, and then off to the Manoel for Teatru Unplugged, which many said was one of the best yet, and I have no reason to disagree. It would be invidious to single out any of the acts, there were too many good ones.

Obviously, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Jonathan Shaw took a few minutes to recall the memory of his late collaborator on this great venture, Nirvana Azzopardi, and the show was a moving tribute to this lady.

All in all, a great Sunday. It would have been a perfect one had Arsenal lost rather than drawn, and if Chelsea had won rather than got themselves whooped, but such is life, perfection is rarely, if ever, attained.

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