Absolution by the masses

I find myself regularly returning to the subject of the cross-fertilisation of the political and religious spheres on this island. In our daily political parlance, we often hear of absolution in the sense of forgiveness. The electorate is, for some reason or another, expected to don an ecclesiastical cap and absolve politicians of whatever peccadillos or sins they are guilty of.

That notion is taken to the extreme by the likes of pseudo-jurists such as Robert Musumeci. The architect with a University of Malta law degree likes to speak of electoral absolution particularly with reference to the last election. The people spoke, notwithstanding the mounting indications that the incumbent at that election had its hands mired in filth and corruption. The people still chose the same incumbent and Labour was confirmed at the helm.

For someone so keen to repeat the tired mantra of “let us leave the institutions work”, Musumeci is all too eager to thrust his skewed understanding of the functioning of a parliamentary democracy upon whoever manages to brave his insufferable argumentation to the end. When taken to one of its various corollaries we also find that this theory results in Joseph Muscat having paid “a high price” when he was forced/voluntarily submitted to an early retirement. 

The theory goes that Muscat had a sufficient mandate from the electorate to absolve him from both personal and collective responsibility for whatever is being alleged (remember: wait for the institutions to work, and in the meantime ignore all proof that points blatantly in one direction). Muscat did not need to go. 

Instead, Muscat did go. That same Muscat who in an interview had stated that he would never hold any consultancies with companies involved in large contracts with government. On Sunday we learnt that this (too) was a lie. We learnt that the disgraced former PM was involved in what in political jargon is called a ‘revolving door’. 

A revolving door happens when a person involved in legislation or regulation moves to the side of the industry affected by that legislation or regulation. For starters it is highly unethical and serious doubts on the legality arise if it should transpire that that person had exercised his duties as legislator while already forging allegiances with the industry in question. 

Politicians like Muscat count on the naïveté of the electorate in such cases. The line of defence would be that by the time he received payments as a consultant he had resigned form his duties as PM. Is the electorate willing to follow the stink? Will it accept the flimsy line of defence, or will it ask more questions of Muscat and the shady VGH Hospital dealings? 

This is where absolution comes into play. Many will think in terms of just deserts. Muscat, they will say, worked hard for Malta and brought much wealth. Should we blame him for skimming a bit on the side? Little does it matter that the supposed wealth that the disgraced ex-PM generated is built on the shaky foundations of corrupt deals. To a large part of the electorate that continues to lead at the polls what matters is the perception of affluence. 

All that is needed now is a further election where a landslide victory will reaffirm Musumeci’s sham interpretation of the workings of democracy. A plebiscite will nullify any need for institutions working or even trying to work. The people will have spoken and the Corrupt Man of the Year for 2019 will have been absolved (again).

Another one playing desperately to the theatre of absolution is Konrad Mizzi. The man’s lack of respect for anything institutional is by now common knowledge. His hysteric comportment at the Public Accounts Committee included various attestations of what good he claims to have brought to the people. Energy deals and the shortening of the list of unavailable medicines topped the list.

Mizzi played to the crowd outside watching the PAC. He cared only to remind them of all the good he has done and obviously he has more hope in the general absolution by public acclamation than in convincing the members of the PAC. Even as a supposed pariah from the Labour party he still counts on the plebiscite righting his wrongs.

The masses were never intended to replace the judicial and regulatory institutions. There is no such thing as absolution by the masses. The legal and constitutional heresy being perpetrated by the likes of Musumeci and Mizzi must stop. The most basic tenets that underpin a just society make this an absolute imperative. 

That too is what the Rule of Law is about.


Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
9 months ago

The last 2 paragraphs sum it up perfectly.

The big problem is that the “ untouchables “ have structured all the processes which in a normal democracy would result in the Rule of Law being upheld ensures that in Malta it can’t and won’t.

Just ask the MoneyVal and Venice Commissions, the Council of Europe, the FATF and the judges of the enquiry into the assassination of Daphne and bet they will fully endorse the content of Jacques’ article.

9 months ago

So we learnt that BOV still accepts as one of its clients, the most corrupt politician for 2019. Hello FIAU. Are you OK with that?

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
9 months ago

It didn’t work in 2017 when Joseph Muscat’s mandate was bigger. For his peers in Brussels he was toxic and no one trusted him so he had to side step. Even Keith Schembri. Chris Cardona, Konrad Mizzi and Edward Scicluna had to go. And the cherry on the cake, was the grey-listing by FATF. It made things only worse of course. With the latest scandals by Joseph Muscat, I am convinced we qualify for the black list. And then what?

8 months ago

And the worst of all this is that we are on the path that the PL may have a 2/3 majority, and be rest assured that the majority of voters from either side don’t have any idea what does this mean.

Related Stories

Muscat’s mob rule – Kevin Cassar
“Our voice is not one crying in the desert
Abela’s tax on information
Anything too stupid to say, said Voltaire, must be

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo