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    What will make them listen?

    The dust is settling after a week of collective acts of sympathy, solidarity and respect. Two years have passed since the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Where does it go from here? Daphne has not been forgotten. Her voice is louder now than before. It can be heard from Valletta to Sydney, London, Berlin […] More

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    Identity Malta and Hitchens’ Razor

    The late Christopher Hitchens, scourge of humbuggery, once formulated a principle he immodestly dubbed Hitchens’ Razor, designed to shave off nonsense: An assertion made without giving evidence can be dismissed without evidence. It’s tempting to wield the razor when faced with Identity Malta’s latest response to the news that yet another Maltese-passport buyer, Anatoly Hurgin, […] More

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    Cracks appear in the government’s piggy bank

    Who thought extending ‘‘interest-free’ property loans to people who don’t qualify for loans was a good idea? Elements of the 2020 Budget reminded me of the last election. I thought I’d fallen into an “Only in Malta” episode of the Twilight Zone as I watched members of parliament hand out hampers of cheap food: bottles […] More

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    The battle for our minds

    Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s strategy, from a position of electoral weakness, throws a spotlight on factors that are part of the populist playbook. And, despite the particular circumstances of post-Brexit Britain, that playbook helps us understand Maltese politics better. Hungary and Turkey today are textbook cases of how wannabe dictators build large majorities and […] More

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    Journalists should be pussycats not watchdogs

    The implications of last week’s court decision by Judge Giovanni Grixti, denying Repubblika’s request for a magisterial inquiry into whether corruption was involved in the VGH deal, go beyond the actual case itself. If the judge is right, the law is almost pointless and journalists are pussycats, not watchdogs. Grixti overturned the earlier decision by […] More

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    The future is female, wiping out the past

    Joseph Muscat gave a speech at the United Nations last week where he told a sparsely populated room that, “The future is female”. The Prime Minister was careful to focus his self-praise on his government’s efforts to get more women into the workforce, which he described as “a silent social revolution”, words happily repeated by […] More

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    A stillborn inquiry

    This week British members of parliament railed against their Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying that his incendiary and divisive language could embolden people, particularly extremists. They said that many of them already receive threats, including death threats, from members of the public angry about Brexit. Johnson’s language was taken to pose a threat, by charging […] More

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    It’s my turn to eat

    If you watched it, you’ll remember how you felt seeing the recording of the top men of Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates boast, to undercover French journalists, about how their political connections made them so good at obtaining golden passports for their clients. But have you spared a thought about how the partners of other firms, also […] More

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    Women on the way out

    Two of our very few, experienced women politicians are on their way out of the Maltese Parliament – Helena Dalli and Marlene Farrugia. Two seats might not sound like much, but Malta’s House of Representatives currently only has 10 women MPs in total. If Helena Dalli becomes EU Commissioner for Equality next month, which seems […] More

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    The inquiry of forking paths

    All eyes have been on the Board members of the public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. But the terms of reference call for a closer look, too. They pose several fundamental choices, a series of forking paths that can take the inquiry in one direction rather than another. Where […] More

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    Diverting public attention from the story that won’t die

    It isn’t enough to grudgingly stick to the deadline for an independent public inquiry only to launch another Egrant-style reputation washing where the subject of the inquiry controlled exactly what was investigated and what was released.

    In the make-belief land of Malta, perception matters more than reality, and the only concern is controlling the message. We’ve seen the pattern so many times before. The government makes a grandiose promise, and pledges spending in the Budget, generating a fanfare of publicity and self-congratulatory back patting by ministers. But when the praise has […] More

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