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  • Joseph Muscat’s Haiku

    Most European political leaders campaign in poetry, then govern in prose. Not so Joseph Muscat. He campaigns in prose – permits, promotions, jobs, giveaways – and then governs in poetry. Take, for example, a widely reported remark he made at the mini-summit of south EU leaders a few days ago. Protestors outside Castille had been […] More

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  • If you’re consistent, you’re not credible

    Every so often, we get an arresting view of what a government reigning supreme over constitutional principles might do to rights we still take for granted. One such view was offered when Minister Konrad Mizzi’s lawyer argued in court that Daphne Caruana Galizia’s sources were not protected by the press law since her blog did […] More

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  • Mirror, mirror, on the wall

    These days, it seems the Maltese public is doing the equivalent of driving and texting. It just can’t take away its attention from the entertaining series of texts reporting on the Nationalist Party’s meltdown. But reading these texts is taking attention away from the road, where a truck is approaching head-on. Pieter Omtzigt has a […] More

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  • The skill behind the billboards

    Electoral results matter more than billboards, which in any case are only one minor part of a campaign. But billboards reveal more than just the message a political party wants to give. Behind the billboards lie the human resources of a Party: the collective ability to strategise and articulate a raison d’être; the capacity to […] More

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  • The vote as a message

    Many people are wondering how to vote on Saturday. They are clear in their mind about which MEP candidates they prefer. But they would also like their vote to be an additional message, an unambiguous statement of their disillusionment with the current state of Maltese politics and the leadership in both main political parties. In […] More

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  • How to fail as a State

    It is easy to trip up over the details of Grand Theft Europe – this website’s probe (as part of a network of 35 European media partners) into massive cross-border tax fraud in which Malta plays a recurring role. But underlying everything is a simple point. The criminals involved don’t take Malta seriously. The details […] More

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  • The real choices in the European Parliament election

    The first leaders’ debate on TVM didn’t matter. We knew that. So did Joseph Muscat and Saviour Balzan, the moderator. Perhaps even Adrian Delia knew. So why discuss it? Because it helps highlight what the real choices are for that segment of the electorate that wishes a plague on both leaders’ houses. We know Muscat […] More

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  • The judges go marching in

    When the President swore in the three new judges and three magistrates last week, he urged the government to implement the recommendations of the Venice Commission as soon as possible. On my reading, George Vella was saying he wouldn’t like to have to swear in another lot of judicial appointees chosen under the current flawed […] More

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  • How to prove the Press Freedom Index wrong

    So, this year’s World Press Freedom Index reports that Malta has registered another vertiginous drop in its rankings, and the Ministry of Justice and Culture retorts that press freedom is actually improving. Let’s take both sides seriously. There are four main questions to ask the government. They demand real answers rather than a retreat behind […] More

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  • Circus without nets

    A unfortunate misunderstanding is haunting Europe. It just doesn’t understand Malta. A mental block has afflicted some of its prestigious bodies – like the Venice Commission; GRECO, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body; and of course the European Parliament. Time after time, over the past weeks, they have asserted that Malta has grave problems with […] More

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  • A darkening horizon

    Liberal critics of the current state of Maltese politics spend a lot of time finding similarities between populism here and elsewhere. It’s time we focus on a key difference, since it could shape the future. Finding similarities is no trivial matter. It pays to know that populists can emerge from the left as well as […] More

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  • Politics of angry triumphalism

    Should you today pay brief attention (I’d recommend it) to the State celebrations of the 40th anniversary of Freedom Day, remember to be surprised. It’s not what you’ll hear or see that will surprise you. It’s what lies in the background. Today’s rhetoric of gravitas, forward-looking sense of destiny, of prosperity with freedom-lovin’ purpose rides […] More

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