Enter Jean Claude Micallef, Nationalist reject now populist clown

Jean Claude Micallef is simply eager about being spoken about, driven by a belief that once you turn into a tannoy for populist spiel, you’re hitting a chord with the public

Free hugs, apparently one of Jean Claude Micallef's campaign promises. Ladies you have been warned...
Free hugs, apparently one of Jean Claude Micallef's campaign promises. Ladies you have been warned...

The other day, a one-time Nationalist aspirant for democratic representation, now a fully-fledged Labour MP Jean Claude Micallef posted on Facebook his views on abortion. His contribution was a copy-and-paste from the pro-life playbook to call for harsher, criminal steps against women who seek abortion services abroad. 

Incredible: why should we, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, desire to have a witch-hunt for those seeking abortion abroad given that this health service is not available in Malta? Espeically when most Maltese have been unable to travel in the first place, and therefore doubly denied that service. 

And what does Micallef the Labour MP hope to do? That if a Maltese citizen who travels to the UK, and avails herself of a healthcare service that happens to be criminalised in Malta, be tracked down and brought to justice in Malta for something committed legally in another country? If the answer to that is yes, the daytime-TV presenter is barmy. 

Abortion in Malta reains a highly emotive subject, derided by the majority as some sort of ‘anti-Maltese’ sentiment, and Jean Claude Micallef knows as much. Much as he curates his image of TV-sofa-dandy, Micallef is simply eager about being spoken about, driven by a belief that once you turn into a tannoy for populist spiel, you’re hitting a chord with the public. Just like Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba’s eulogy on hunting, with a heart-breaking plea to save the Maltese hunter as if they were the endangered Yanomami running from Amazon loggers. 

The reaction to Micallef on Facebook could not have been more explosive. The National Book Council chairman Mark Camilleri, a Labour activist, called him out plainly: “ignorant”. The pro choice voice smothered him. 

Imagine being a Labourite whose constituency is conservative, xenophobic, pro-hunting, perhaps homophobic... yet having to contend with the liberal streak injeccted into the party by its former leader Joseph Muscat. Help me out: what is the raison d’etre for people like Micallef and Ian Castaldi Paris, one-time Nationalists who were comfortable in their milieu, to become Labour MPs? I find it difficult to understand what makes them feel at home inside Labour. It is probably just a question of power and influence. Micallef after all was not allowed to stand with the PN, seen as unfit for the job. 

Which obviously raises the question as to whether Labour should really start reminding itself about what it really stands for. Recent events and our catastrophic handling of the migrant crisis has fuelled xenophobia, when traditionally anti-racism is a hallmark of social democratic values across all Europe. Instead of sending the right message, Labour MPs as well as Nationalist MPs are refusing to show courage and lead the way on the anti-racist and anti-fascist front, allowing the working class to be misrepresented by the far-right and pockets of anti-migrant sentiment. 

Clearly, we can see the signs that the reforms once meant to embody the now-troubled legacy of Muscat, are no longer part of this administration’s agenda. Certainly enough, there is no real interest at the top in the drive towards decriminalisation of cannabis, which I feel is being allowed to be placed on the backburner. 

Why? The simple truth is that this government lacks the will to keep up its civil liberties drive. It is simply too conservative. And to boot, with a conservative and disjointed opposition we must resign ourselves to the fact that these reforms will not happen for the forseeable future. 

I want to believe that the Labour party can find its roots, but sometimes I ask myself whether those roots have gone rotten forever. 

Being Labour is not only about getting the best for your business or jumping the queue or getting the best contacts. The need to change course is not only up to Robert Abela. It should be Labour’s outspoken and young minds who should speak up, set the agenda, make the right moves, and resist the popular streak. 

Melvin Theuma testimony

This comment should not go unnoticed, I am sure. But I need someone to explain to me why people who are being mentioned in the testimony given by the assassination middleman Melvin Theuma are still out and about. 

At least, an answer as to why they have not been interrogated. 

I cannot understand why the prosecutors are being so selective in the tapes being played out in court when it is clear that these tapes are revealing conversations implicating more people and more high-profile individivuals implicated in the Caruana Galizia murder. 

Beyond the veracity and the truthfullness of what is being declared by Theuma, there are some home truths here. Why has the police not interrogated the police officers mentioned, such as the inspector who was expected to arrest Theuma on money laundering? Or the bomb-makers being repeatedly mentioned in court? 

I am baffled. What am I missing here? What is the reason for the lack of drive in what should a blitzkrieg investigation by the CID?  

Beyond the respect for due process and the fact that everyone is innocent before proven guilty, I ask why free men out there seem comfortable enough with the police not calling anyone in for serious questioning. 

If this is not serious, what is? 

Chris Cardona and the decisions ahead  

Robert Abela this week said that Chris Cardona loved the Labour party too much not to appreciate the importance of his position in the party and the implications of staying on, after his name was mentioned in court as being dirtectly or indirectly implicated – at least by way of hearsay – in the Caruana Galizia assassination. 

He said this as a reaction to the media about the untenable nature of Cardona’s position as deputy leader of the Labour party after his name surfaced in the Yorgen Fenech compilation. 

Since Abela’s comments to the media, we have heard nothing from Cardona. In situations like this, it falls on the Prime Minister to take a decision. Just hoping that someone will see sense is wishful thinking.