The storm of scandals that has hit the Labour Party in the run-up to the next election does not give signs of abating any time soon. Robert Abela’s ship of continuity is leaking water from all over the place and the only steady part of the operation is the flow of newspeak and propaganda that manages to keep a potential wreck afloat.
In all this, Abela has puffed his chest and is attempting to act as a lightning rod that hopefully cushions the worst of the ‘attacks’ on his beleaguered Party.
“Got problems? Talk to me,” is what Abela tells us in essence. He has tried to market his government as a rejuvenated, repumped Labour and conjured up a claim of a clean track record of good governance, democratic excellence and accountability.
Abela is supposed to be the face, body and soul of this slick machine. There is no doubt that in Abela’s imagined, utopian world, corruption, nepotism and institutional backsliding did not happen on his watch.
“The Opposition wants Malta to be recognised as a ‘mafia state’,” he bellowed in reaction to the PN proposed Bills based on the recommendations of the public inquiry. He was one step away from absolute denial, “there is no mafia state”. Two steps away from, “the mafia does not exist”.
That same week, Rosianne Cutajar was returned to a position of parliamentary power as Chair of a parliamentary committee, with the approval of the prime minister. This is Rosianne Cutajar, the Labour MP who had no trouble admitting receiving €9,000 as a ‘birthday gift’ from the man charged with the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. There is no mafia state.
The great Giovanni Falcone once said that you cannot avoid talking about the State when you are talking about the mafia. Robert Abela wants you to talk about the State but to ignore the fact that the criminal world has the State and its supposed servants in its clutches.
It gets worse. Following the “raid” on the house of the disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, we have seen different reactions. As the last remnants of the functioning institutions try to grapple with the tentacled beast that suffocates the State, the reaction by the establishment is little less than astounding.
Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Labour propagandist and MP Glenn Bedingfield claimed that the raid constituted “persecution” while also launching a side tirade on the institutions of the Standards Commissioner and the Ombudsman. The tune of “let the institutions work” can only be brought out on the right occasions. In moments like these, the State that operates in a world where the mafia does not exist must find another song sheet.
The ‘persecuted’ ex-prime minister on whose watch the criminal underworld was allowed to infiltrate the corridors of power to unprecedented levels is still in provocation mode. He too is determined to reassert the non-existence of the Mafia State, to prove that all accusations levelled against him and his government’s dealings are pure conjecture.
Were it not for the constant, persistent work of investigative journalists from this news outlet and others like Matthew Caruana Galizia, the repeat propaganda mode of the current prime minister and his disgraced predecessor might even be successful. A ‘consultancy’ deal worth half a million might be sold off as a little side-gig worth not more than €60,000 and the possible links between lousy national deals and possible handsome pay offs would never get investigated.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he did not exist. Without the work of journalists to unearth what lies beneath the empty statements and words of our politicians we could easily have the wool pulled over our eyes once again. When we observe the sick State and point out the criminal and corrupt infiltration we serve to rebut the sorry denial, ‘the mafia state does not exist’.