Cutting parliament short  – Jacques René Zammit

I happened to come across a random OneTV clip that appeared on my social media wall. It was taken from one of those programs that disguises propaganda as current affairs conducted by the sans pareil of local journalism, Karl Stagno Navarra. Edward Zammit Lewis was spitting invectives angrily at Beppe Fenech Adami while reminding the masses undoubtedly assembled before the box that the Nationalist only made it into parliament because he was the son of a former PM.

Unlike Edward of course, who barely scraped through on whatever millionth count and is still thanking his lucky stars that there still are a few Labour voters who have not heard of his decorative descriptions of their like. Ġaħan aside, Edward was all worked up because ‘his’ reforms were under attack. 

Zammit Lewis still labours under the illusion that his stint as justice minister made him a latter-day Adrian Dingli. It is only on propaganda programs hosted by Malta’s Lord Haw Haw that politicians like Zammit Lewis can get away with the lie that the general state of our democracy is much better than it ever was.

They would have us believe that the package of reforms shoved down parliament’s throat without a whiff of consultation has transformed our democracy into the bee’s knees. The signs point to anything but a functioning democratic state. 

Cue Mr Speaker and his new ideas for the highest of our representative institutions. Anglu Farrugia suggests that our MPs should speak less and be paid more. Not in that order of course. First there was the pitch for better paid MPs – something that, executed in the right manner, could do more good than harm. Then there was the whole spiel (sorry) about how MP’s interventions should not be too long.

Farrugia’s ideas embody the watering down of the institution he so badly chairs. In the nine years Labour has been in government parliament has taken quite a battering. We already have a bloated institution thanks to the farcical maquillage that was the result of representational reform gone bizarre. As if that were not enough, the primary functions of parliament as a debating arena, a legislative forum and a monitor of other institutions are being progressively devalued.

Parliament becomes little more than a rubber stamp for “packages” of legislative squalor ushered through with utmost haste. If, and when, the opposition tries to object to this treatment, it is bullied into acquiescence by those who run the show. If parliamentary questions are filibustered into oblivion, if parliamentary committees are dispensed with and if recently created institutions such as the Standards Commissioner are ignored, then the dilution of the depositary of people’s power is complete.

Ours is a parliamentary democracy. The people’s power, mandated to its representatives, resides in Parliament not elsewhere. Defending the parliament means defending the Republic. It means defending the institution that belongs to the citizens and preventing it from being usurped by the majority, for the benefit of the few.

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Francis Said
Francis Said
15 hours ago

Very well said. In short, less theatrics, spin, half truths and lies. More open and intelligent discussion based on facts and knowledge is sorely needed.
The Independent Institutions should be strengthened and their reports discussed openly.
Finally, the Government is their to administer properly taxpers’ funds. Any Government must understand it is our funds that they spend.

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