Robert Abela is always right, and his critics are always wrong. Any questions?

Each and every single time Robert Abela is in any way criticised – be it over his (utterly disastrous) handling of the COVID-19 crisis; or his stance on immigration; or his decision to hand over large tracts of public land to hunters, etc; you can rest assured that his reaction will be to simply dig his heels and insist – over and over again – that he is right, while all the naysayers are wrong

Up to a point, I can more or less understand the Prime Minister’s frustration. I know, from my own personal experience, that ‘always being right about absolutely everything’ can get a little tiring in the long run…. especially when you are constantly contradicted by lesser mortals who always claim to know better than you (which is particularly annoying when they also happen to be world experts in their respective field: but one step at a time…)

This is, in fact, why I occasionally insert deliberate ‘mistakes’ into these articles: you know, just to create the false impression that I’m just another human being like everybody else… and therefore liable to sometimes getting things, um, WRONG.

Last week, for instance, I went out of my way to ‘erroneously’ suggest that the Nationalist Party had three representatives in the European Parliament, instead of only two. And I’m pleased to report that a few readers – including at least one Labour MEP – were alert enough to almost immediately identify the ‘mistake’, and contact me to point it out (little realising, of course, that it was all part of a stratagem to disguise my Divine Infallibility, and thereby come across as slightly less of a smart-arse than usual.)

So what can I say, folks? Five points to Griffindor. Next time, I’ll try and make my deliberate ‘mistakes’ a little harder to spot….

But in any case: this innate infallibility of mine also places me in an ideal position to recognise the same quality in others. Like Robert Abela, for instance… arguably the only other human being on this planet (apart from myself, Sir David Attenborough, and maybe Pope Francis) who is utterly incapable of making any form of mistake, under any circumstance whatsoever.

And if you won’t take my own word for it – perhaps because you think it’s another of my intentional inaccuracies – well… you can always take his. And I really do mean ‘always’, by the way. After all, it’s a point he’s been consistently making for almost a whole year now: as long as he’s been Prime Minister, in fact.

Each and every single time Robert Abela is in any way criticised – be it over his (utterly disastrous) handling of the COVID-19 crisis; or his stance on immigration; or his decision to hand over large tracts of public land to hunters, etc; you can rest assured that his reaction will be to simply dig his heels and insist – over and over again – that he is right, while all the naysayers are wrong.

And yes, I know what you’re probably thinking: but isn’t that just as true of all Malta’s past Prime Ministers (and Cabinet ministers… and MPs… and, indeed, politicians in general: not just in Malta, but the world over)?

Yes, it probably is: but with a significant difference. For unlike any of his predecessors, or contemporary international equivalents… Robert Abela really is ‘always right about absolutely everything’; just as his critics really are always wrong to criticize him.

And this is not merely my own opinion (in which case – being infallible, and all – I could almost stop right here); it is also an undeniable, self-evident and perfectly demonstrable TRUTH… so demonstrable, in fact, that I shall now proceed to demonstrate its veracity, right before your very eyes.

Any number of specific examples would suffice, but I’ll go with the most recent. A couple of days ago, the Malta Institute of Journalists came out with a statement lambasting the Prime Minister’s handling of a press conference: specifically, on the grounds that it disregarded all the government’s recent regulations to slow down the spread of COVID-19… including the proviso about maintaining “a minimum distance of two metres between individuals”.

Now: on a purely factual (and therefore entirely unimportant) level, the IGM was quite correct in its assertion: and this can very easily be verified, just by watching the video accompanying the news report.

In that footage – but more clearly, in the photograph – you will see that the Prime Minister is at the centre of a small crowd of around eight or nine individuals… all jostling to get as close to him as physically possible (presumably to show up in all the press photographs: more proof, if any were needed, that an early election really is on the cards…)

As a result, the physical distance between Robert Abela and, say, Transport Minister Ian Borg, couldn’t have been much more than two millimetres: in other words, around a thousand times less than the minimum required by law.

Yet what was Robert Abela’s reaction, when confronted by such unequivocal, incontrovertible proof of that his own behaviour had openly flouted the newly-introduced health and safety regulations? Why, it was the same as his reaction to all previous criticism: he simply denied that the wrongdoing took place at all; and – true to type – he also blamed the journalists for breaching the same regulations he was accused of flouting himself.

And just to dispel any further doubt as to this point, these were the exact words: “although the government gave directions on the advice of the health authorities, it was the responsibility of individuals to take care of themselves and others. In this case, it was journalists who should keep a distance…”

OK, at this point you may well be thinking: hang on a second there. Didn’t you just tell us that the Prime Minister was right, and the IĠM wrong? And aren’t you now making the clean opposite argument…i.e., that Abela was the one at fault, and not the journalists who attended that approach?

Well… yes; and no. For you see, there is more to ‘being right’ than merely stating things that are, in themselves, factually correct; and there is certainly a whole lot more to ‘being right’ than occupying the moral high ground.

The IĠM may well have hit the bull’s eye with that statement… but there is still a level at which the Prime Minister’s response was also 100% accurate. Loosely translated from the gobbledegook I quoted above… what Robert Abela was really putting across, through that DOI statement, was nothing but a simple (and completely truthful) description of the actual state of affairs, from the ground up.

And it’s not applicable merely to the COVID-19 regulations: it is, quite frankly, how the Robert Abela administration tends to functions in all areas, and at all levels. In a nutshell: it is not the government’s job to enforce the rules and regulations it comes up with; on the contrary, it is everyone else’s responsibility to just comply… in the absence of any enforcement whatsoever.

And who in his right mind could possibly deny the factuality of that statement? Its truth is in evidence almost everywhere you look: from the way Abela’s government drew up plans to regulate unlicensed, illegal zoos… only to immediately shelve them, when an irate ‘zoo-keeper’ – who also happens to be a well-known Labour supporter – publicly objected… and we never heard another word about the new regulations again.

The result of that retraction is that owners of unlicensed, illegal zoos have been left to their own devices to ‘regulate’ their establishments… just as journalists at that press conference were told that that they had to observe those regulations of their own accord (and not, say, because there would be consequences for breaching them.)

And it’s the same almost literally everywhere else. I’ve already mentioned the Miżieb and L-Aħrax deals, so I may as well expand on that for my next example.

In signing over those two enormous swathes of land to the hunters’ federation, Robert Abela also divested his own government of any responsibility for the administration of the resulting hunting reserves. This was even written into the contract itself: which not only empowers the FKNK to draw up its own project plan delineating the site, and thus determine which areas are accessible to the public in both sites; but even, incredibly, to enforce hunting regulations themselves.

And to cap it all, the same contract even pre-emptively exonerates the hunters’ federation for any failure in that regard: for the FKNK has only been obliged to ensure that no illegalities take place “within [the FKNK’s] reasonable power”.

Going on the hunting lobby’s past track record in that department, the only foreseeable outcome of this agreement will be… more hunting illegalities, and less enforcement that there already is (in other words, practically none at all).

But what do you think will happen, the next time a flock of supposedly protected birds gets blasted out of the skies above L-Aħrax and Il-Mizieb? You don’t need to be infallible to accurately predict this one: Robert Abela will blame the law-breakers for breaking the law… but not himself, or his government, for diluting environmental protection laws to such a degree in the first place.

And of course, he would once again be perfectly ‘right’… as he always was in the past, and will always be in the future. Not in any moral sense of the word, of course; nor on any factual level, either.

No, he’d be ‘right’ because that is undeniably the way the cookie crumbles in this country right now: and this in undeniably because the Robert Abela administration has weakened the country’s enforcement sector so very much, that ‘rules and regulations’ have become practically unenforceable… with very visible, and very depressing results.