Opinion: Labour and mob rule

Author and Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck is best known for works such as ‘East of Eden’, ‘Grapes of Wrath’, and ‘Of Mice and Men’. Yet one of his most poignant works is ‘The Vigilante’, a short story about Mike, who’d just taken part in the lynching of a black man.

The mob stormed a local jail, taking a black prisoner and proceeding to hang him.  Steinbeck describes the mob’s attempts to burn the body still hanging from the tree. Even Mike, who helped pull the noose, is annoyed at the crowd’s efforts to burn the body: “That don’t do no good. He’s dead now”.

On his way home, Mike stops for a beer.  The bartender asks him, “Think the sheriff will arrest anybody?”

Mike knowingly replies: “’Course not.  What’s he want to start any trouble for? There was a lot of votes in that crowd tonight”.

Steinbeck displays, with intense clarity, the horrific insanity of mob rule and highlights the dangers of the collapse of the rule of law. Mike, like the rest, knows he’ll get away with it. The sheriff won’t act.

Steinbeck’s story seems to be from a distant past. But it feels disturbingly close to home.

Of course, we don’t have people being lynched. But we have Carmelo Abela, whose response to court testimony accusing him of involvement in a bank heist is: the people voted for me, but they didn’t vote for the man spreading ‘the lie’, he said, referring to Jason Azzopardi.

“Don’t you think you should carry some political responsibility?” the press asked former Labour minister Carmelo Abela.

His reply was straight out of the Jim Crow era: “Let me remind you that until March 2022, I was a minister in government, and there was no reason why I should not have remained minister. Let me also remind you that I was elected from the 3rd district, and somebody else who started this lie wasn’t. He was discredited by his own constituents.  I think that is a judgment in itself”.

Carmelo Abela believes he is exonerated of all guilt because he was elected to parliament. He thinks he’s innocent of all allegations against him because Jason Azzopardi wasn’t elected.

This is Labour’s concept of justice – a throwback to America’s deep south in the early 20th century.

Azzopardi didn’t invent the allegations.  They came from those directly involved in the HSBC heist.  The Degiorgio brothers testified under oath that former minister and current Labour MP Carmelo Abela was involved.

Abela worked at HSBC, one of a handful of people with access to the bank vaults. He knew his way around. Abela allegedly provided an access card and mobile phone footage of the HSBC vaults and stood to benefit from a €300,000 reward.

Abela didn’t sue the Degiorgio brothers. He chose to pick on Azzopardi and hold up his failure to make it to parliament as evidence of Azzopardi’s guilt and his own triumph at the polls as proof of his innocence.

Prime Minister Robert Abela did the same with MP Rosianne Cutajar. Despite the damning Standards Commissioner’s report about her, Abela decided the electorate would determine her fate.

But then he had to make a U-turn and kick her out after more of her indecent behaviour was exposed in those notorious chats with the man accused of commissioning journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, Yorgen Fenech.

Abela hasn’t learned. He’s planning a second rehabilitation for Cutajar. The mob decides.

Robert Abela didn’t invent mob rule. Joseph Muscat set the example in Malta.

After Konrad Mizzi’s secret financial structures were exposed in the Panama Papers, Muscat stood by him. He let Mizzi contest the 2017 general elections, and the people voted for him.

He got four times more votes than he did in 2013, only for Robert Abela to have to kick him out. Abela was compelled to terminate Mizzi’s obscene MTA €90,000 contract Joseph Muscat had set up for him as his last indecent abuse of power before stepping down.

Mizzi multiplied his vote in 2017. Yet, not even the shameless Robert Abela entertains the idea of bringing him back. Those thousands of votes didn’t stop the US State Department from banning Mizzi from entering the US for his “significant corruption”.

The mob always gets it wrong.  Labour supporters celebrated at Pilatus Bank premises after Labour’s 2017 landslide victory. But the bank’s chairman is lucky to be free.

His conviction in the US was quashed on technical grounds.  Otherwise, he’d be serving 117 years in prison.

Nobody is arguing to reinstate Pilatus’ licence. Nobody doubts the European Central Bank’s actions against Pilatus were entirely justified.

The bank was a front for money laundering. A leaked report by a world-renowned forensic auditor accused senior bank officials of serious financial crimes. Yet the AG issued a nolle prosequi to protect them from prosecution.

Konrad Mizzi was never charged. Keith Schembri is only being prosecuted for a fraction of his alleged crimes.

The country cannot trust its police commissioner. Like the sheriff in Steinbeck’s story “What’s he want to start any trouble for?There was a lot of votes in that crowd tonight”.

Gafa has let us down every time.  When Iosif Galea was a wanted man with a European Arrest Warrant on his head, Gafa allowed him to roam freely.  Galea was only arrested by Italian police while on holiday with Joseph Muscat and subsequently extradited to Germany.

Muscat, responsible for industrial-scale fraud and for protecting Mizzi and Schembri for years, hasn’t been prosecuted either.

Muscat should have been investigated years ago.  As the Vitals magisterial inquiry approaches its conclusion, Robert Abela is publicly intimidating the magistrate.

He is undermining the investigation before it’s even concluded. Labour threatens the country with mob rule.

Joseph Muscat “might” contest the European Parliament elections. Labour leaked its own survey showing that if Muscat contests, he’d win an unprecedented 100,000 votes. The people adore him – so he can’t possibly be guilty. This is Labour’s mob rule mentality.

Labour should be wary. Mob rule will come back to bite them—as it has with Konrad Mizzi, Pilatus Bank, and, inevitably, Joseph Muscat.


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1 month ago

His prison sentence is hanging there and he knows it. Any method he can employ to rid himself of this impending confinement he will use, mob violence, perjury, hate speech will all be utilised. A desperate criminal trying to avoid the penal conclusion that awaits him

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