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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Spinning away an award

    Had Caroline Muscat won the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Award for Independence in 2012, instead of this month, one Malta headline could have blared, ‘Anti-Gonzi blogger wins RSF Award’. For she did used to write a blog that focussed mainly on the then administration’s shortcomings, sometimes using the rhetorical device of addressing the Prime Minister […] More

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  • Ending the siege mentality

    One of the dominant ways in which we think about our history is to think of it as a series of sieges. Don’t be surprised if you come across it again today, as the State commemorates the Great Siege of 1565. An island of strategic military importance is bound to be defined by the attempts […] More

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  • In favour of development

    Moviment Graffitti has a great slogan – Iż-żejjed kollu żejjed (too much is too much) – for Saturday’s national protest against reckless development. It’s not just the idiomatic flavour. In Maltese, so many Żs in a short space come packed with furious, defiant exclamation. In American English, Zs are associated with snooze and pizzazz. In […] More

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  • Freedom stuck in the middle seat

    If I had to compare the fate of liberty in today’s Malta, I’d say that more of us are feeling as though we’re confined to the middle seat of a passenger plane. Think of a world where, no matter how early we turn up at check-in, or whether we pay extra to choose our seats […] More

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  • The Jekyll and Hyde of equality

    Several times in the early part of his premiership, Joseph Muscat declared that it was his government’s ambition to create a new middle class. In some quarters he was suspected as meaning that he wanted to destroy the current middle class and replace it with another. However, his policies and messaging show that all he […] More

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  • It’s about injustice, not only trees

    We knew it already but the government’s actions underline it: the mass removal of trees at Santa Luċija and Attard raises important issues of justice. The government’s spin can’t help reveal the stakes. When the spin says that wider roads in Attard mean less air pollution, the aim is to paint the protesting residents as […] More

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  • Yes, the Attard protests are political

    Of all the lessons that history teaches us about successful popular movements, arguably this is the most important: people join the movement for one reason, but they stick with it for another. If a movement is pushing back against the power of politicians and commercial interests, then its project has to be long-term. Otherwise, the […] More

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  • If Adrian Delia is the answer, what is the question?

    Adrian Delia obtained 67% of the confidence vote held yesterday by the Nationalist Party’s General Council. Back in 2003, after losing two general elections in a row, Alfred Sant obtained the same result in a three-way leadership race. That contest settled the leadership question within the Labour Party but not the electability question with the […] More

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