Opinion: We need to talk about Roberta Whatshername

In case you have not noticed, there is an election campaign going on. The European Parliament elections are not just an opportunity to elect our representatives to an institution that is increasingly important to the EU constellation; they are a litmus test for politicians in every country to feel the pulse of their electorate.

Malta is no exception, and the behaviour of the party in government these weeks shows that the European Parliament election fever has also been caught here.

There is absolutely no doubt that Labour has done its homework and concluded that the number one obstacle they face in these elections is not Bernard Grech’s (who?) PN but, rather, the indefatigable outgoing president of the European Parliament. This is why no day passes without an exercise in mud-slinging in the general direction of La Presidente.

Do you remember the last time the cannon of Labour spin was pointed in the direction of Grech or other members of his party? Of course, you do not.

Metsola, on the other hand, has become an automatic go-to for attack. Even at a moment of evident internal discord, Labour seems to be able to rally behind one objective – Roberta Metsola.

We have seen the spin of “genocide enabler” regurgitated and reiterated ad nauseam. It sticks, too, with a Labour base that swallowed the vitriol about Daphne Caruana Galizia without having once read a single article of hers.

It is only the Labour base and illogical conspiracy theorists who stuck to the story that Metsola backed the Israeli genocide that is taking place in Gaza.

As the genocide story continues to gather traction on message boards and WhatsApp groups, the corrupt ex-prime minister entered the fray while eclipsing an MEP candidate he was meant to be backing.

Standing on stage with his bullish attitude of “I fear no one”, he wilfully attributed a different surname to Roberta Metsola. It was the kind of ‘joke’ that gets the few diehards gathered for his sorry mess of an appearance, chuckling at its apparent wit and masterly subterfuge.

Alex Agius Saliba, the MEP candidate who invited the corrupt ex-prime minister to the party, knows a thing or two about surnames. He added the Agius part of his surname in a desperate attempt to win the donkey votes in Labour.

A ruse that worked and got him to the position of vice-president of the S&D formation in the European Parliament – that same formation that would have to decide whether to accept having a corrupt politician back on its ballots.

The latest mud slung in Metsola’s direction concerns the new rules of procedure for the European Parliament. They contain an exemption concerning the obligations for having Irish and Maltese interpreters.

It turns out that the European Parliament is having trouble finding enough of those, so it had to relax its obligation to interpret those languages.

The Maltese language is the kind of nationalistic fetish that Labour loves to fuel whenever it gets the chance.

We all remember the corrupt ex-PM yelling, “What the hack! (sic)” during his time at the European Parliament due to the lack of a Maltese interpreter.

Things do not seem to have changed much since then. Despite Metsola’s early warnings to Abela (unceremoniously ignored), the problem of the absence of interpreters remains.

Labour’s spin is to blame Metsola for what happened. Cyrus Engerer convened a press conference to explain that he voted against the rules of procedure simply because he could not accept this exemption. He added that Metsola had accepted these rules.

Engerer feigns ignorance of the fact that the European Parliament has voted the rules as they were, and Roberta Metsola had little choice but to underwrite them.

Prime Minister Robert Abela quickly joined the chorus and blamed Metsola for doing nothing. This government’s hypocrisy is profound. It claims to champion the Maltese cause while opting not to plead in Maltese, as is its right, before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Employing foreign lawyers and pleading in English when it is perfectly possible in Maltese is the same government crying foul because of a situation with a lack of interpreters, for which it is responsible.

No amount of logic will persuade the masses, though. Facebook was rife with comments from Labour supporters claiming that “Roberta had voted to ban Maltese from being used in the European Parliament”.

Misinformation will be a massive problem in the coming elections as Labour is counting on it to reduce the haemorrhage of votes it seems to be having. They are counting on it to draw the potential abstainers out to vote. 

                           

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13 Comments
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Philip Micallef
Philip Micallef
1 month ago

People have names and should be referred to with their names. Not referring to a person by name shows lack of manners, education and total arrogance and stupidity.

Simon Camilleri
Simon Camilleri
1 month ago

She abandoned us. The one person who could have helped free us from these pigs and she ignored Malta and the corruption here. The EU STILL gives this corrupt regime money which they share amongst themselves and use to ultimately buy votes for every election whilst raping our country and destroying our infrastructure. Shame.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

Hekk hu. She is bathing in the glamour of the role, and refuses to pull up her sleeves and take over the PN leadership to challenge Bobby because it’s easier and nicer to stay at Brussels. It’s time to give back to the PN and be the charismatic opposition leader the country needs unless we want another 20 years under labour

Rebecca Bonello Ghio
Rebecca Bonello Ghio
1 month ago

There’s really not much more she can do that what she’s doing. She’s not responsible for allocating funds to Malta, because she’s representative of the Parliament, which is just one out of the three institutions that have a say. The Commission and the Council also have a say on how EU funding is allocated. I agree it’s terrible that EU funding is used badly, but that’s more on the Commission than it is on Metsola – all she can do it use her platform to show what goes on in Malta, which she does.

Thomas
Thomas
1 month ago

Your comment isn’t just spot on, it also makes sense as it additionally refrains from the usual polemic of other commenters. Many thanks for that.

Therefore, I really appreciate comments like yours, that highlight the facts and point out the limits of power each office in the EU has.

Some are always repeating themselves, waiting for the ‘super-hero(in)’ to solve the corruption problems the PL is imposing on Malta on a daily basis. There is no such a single person who could achieve what people expect on his / her own, unless those who always complain are taking part in this by themselves and support those who stick out of the masses and take the risks and the trouble to take on the PL.

I don’t know who gave you the minus on your comment, I was giving you a plus and thus it neutralised the minus. Please consider this reply as the plus voting I would like to give you in addition, but isn’t possible for technical reasons.

Adrian Micallef
Adrian Micallef
1 month ago

“It is only the Labour base and illogical conspiracy theorists who stuck to the story that Metsola backed the Israeli genocide that is taking place in Gaza”……….No, in fact my circle of friends, including myself are neither labourites (I imagine that from on your high horse, you imagine that every labourite has the same logic or train of thought) or conspiracy theorists and we do stick to the fact, not a story as you called it, that Roberta backed the illegal occupation in attacking the people that it is illegally occupying. Even worse she did it in the name of the Europeans, when no one gave her the mandate to do it.

It would be no different to telling the Nazis that they had a right to self defence when the jews uprose against them.

It would be no different to telling the apartheid colonisers that they had the right to self defence when the South Africans rose up against them.

And it would be have been no different to the telling the English or the French that they had the right to self defence when the Maltese rose up to throw them out.

If you really think that an illegal occupation with one of the strongest armies in the world, has a right to carpet bomb a nation of unarmed people that they are illegally occupying and then call that self defense, your moral compass must really be twisted.

Thomas
Thomas
1 month ago

A very good clarification on your part, which I think wouldn’t had been necessary if people would read your articles properly before commenting with their own interpretations of your words.

I was never under the impression as the previous commenter you have been responding to.

I also refrained from commenting on the Gaza part in your article because the situation there is still developing from worse to worse on a daily basis.

Frankly, Israel with its present PM is only really listening to the USA and even in this, in recent days the influence of the Americans seem to be decreasing. It is therefore of a lesser concern for Netanyahu what representatives of the EU say. Apparently, he ignores it.

Joseph
Joseph
1 month ago

Here I regret I have to differ. METSOLA went to Israel and pledged complete solidarity with the Israeli government without ever mentioning the hardships Palestinians had been going through.
To this very day, she is not doing anything to help Palestine, except the weak marketing gimmick of a U turn pretending to support Pakistine after all the world riots.
To date, she has not spoken of war crimes , genocides, sanctions, words so commonly used when referring to Ukraine or Russia.
To me this person is simply a successful social climber but an incompetent politician

Mario
Mario
1 month ago

I hope you’re being paid for this absolutely pathetic level of defending the indefensible because doing it for free would be even worse. You sound akin to KSN scraping the bottom of the barrel to defend the dear leader at every turn. The Shift’s opinion section really has devolved into a partisan rag.

Thomas
Thomas
1 month ago

This article is once again pointing out that the PL in fact fears Ms Metsola and they know perfectly well why they have to.

If Ms Metsola would be the candidate for the office of the President of the EU Commission, the PL would ‘run berserk’ against her.

Either way, it is the usual way of the PL to operate in the same way as they always do. Keep their sheep fed with the usual propaganda and deflect from their own faults.

Apart from that, it is anticipated that in this year’s EU EP election, the far-right parties are set to gain more support. It remains to be seen how this trend, which is the result of observations and surveys across the EU, might affect the voting results in Malta.

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