Newsflash: David Casa discovers that his own medicine doesn’t taste all that great, after all…

David Casa cannot so easily distance himself from the (entirely predictable) consequences of his own actions

David Casa’s 2023 actions took place in a very different context, from that of 2010
David Casa’s 2023 actions took place in a very different context, from that of 2010

Tell you what, let’s play a little game. I’ll quote a few paragraphs from a random press article – with all the names blotted out, and no indication of when it was published (or even what it was about) – and you try to fill in all the missing details for yourselves.

Ready? Here goes:

“[An unidentified Maltese MEP] expressed outrage at [another MEP’s] comments that they had ‘voted in favour of abortion’ in the European parliament this week – arguing that the resolution approved by the EP was in fact about [other issues apart from abortion], and contained only a fleeting mention of abortion in one of its [many] clauses…”

Sounds familiar already, doesn’t it? But wait: there’s more.

It transpires that the first MEP had actually “voted AGAINST [my emphasis] the inclusion of a paragraph dealing with abortion rights”. But this didn’t stop the second MEP from “latching onto the fact that they had voted in favour of the ENTIRE report, to criticise them for ‘voting in favour of abortion.’"

Lastly, we were also told that: “In a front-page article the following day, [an unidentified Maltese news outlet] dismissed the same EP resolution as one that dealt only with ‘the killing of children before they are born’…”

Right: now it’s your turn to fill in all the missing bits. And because I said, at the beginning, that this is a ‘game’ – implying that there is probably some kind of ‘catch’– you may already have guessed (correctly) that the article was NOT about the events that occurred in Brussels, over the past few days.

That is to say: I am NOT quoting from yesterday’s report, in this newspaper, about Nationalist MEP David Casa’s response – to criticism coming from Labour MEPs Alfred Sant and Alex Agius Saliba, among others – that he had ‘voted in favour of abortion’, by endorsing a wide-ranging EU resolution about the rule of law in Malta… which just happened to include “one fleeting mention of abortion, in its [many] clauses.”

And yet… the cap sort of ‘fits’, doesn’t it? So before proceeding to the big reveal itself: let’s just go over what actually happened in the European parliament this week, shall we?

Last Monday, an overwhelming majority of MEPs – 437 to 14 – approved an umpteenth resolution on the state of rule of law in Malta: this time, marking the sixth anniversary of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, on 16 October 2017.

This resolution paid tribute to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s “essential work in exposing corruption”; it expressed concern on “limited progress” in ongoing judicial proceedings on the murder; it accused Prime Minister Robert Abela of “downplaying acts of institutionalised corruption”; it demanded “swift and independent investigations and prosecutions of all public officials allegedly embroiled in corruption”… and much, much more.

Inevitably, however, it also called on the Maltese government to "finally enshrine the right to safe and legal abortion”; and… this is where all the fun begins.

It turns out, you see, that the entire resolution had all along been piloted by David Casa himself. It was David Casa who originally insisted that the European Parliament even debate Malta’s rule of law situation, in the first place; it was David Casa who raised all the above arguments (except the abortion one, naturally) in his own parliamentary speeches; and it was David Casa who – along with 437 other MEPs – voted to approve the entire document (abortion reference, and all) last Monday.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then: it was Alfred Sant and Alex Agius Saliba – having so often been accused (by Casa, no less!) of ‘favouring abortion’, in similar circumstances – who immediately accused the Nationalist MEP of… well, ‘being in favour of abortion’, himself.

And oh, look! Later that very same evening, “[One News] dismissed the same EP resolution as one that dealt only with ‘the killing of children before they are born’ (specifically, under the headline: ‘The EP votes in favour of a resolution to introduce abortion to Malta…’)

Which brings us back to David Casa, who responded by:

a)    “expressing outrage at [Sant and Agius Saliba’s] comments that he had ‘voted in favour of abortion’”;

b)     “arguing that the resolution approved by the EP was in fact about [other issues apart from abortion]”;

c)    Reminding us that he had “voted AGAINST the inclusion of a paragraph dealing with abortion rights, which featured in [the same resolution]”. And lastly;

d)    Getting a good old fashioned ‘taste of his own medicine’ (and not liking it very much, by the look of things…)

Because yes, folks! As you will surely have worked out, by now: that other article I quoted earlier, also featured David Casa as one of its main protagonists. Only in a slightly different role, this time…

So let me fill in the details myself. The year was 2010. The European Parliament had just approved a wide-ranging report on the subject of ‘tackling global poverty’ – named the ‘Cashman report’, after the MEP who compiled it – which just so happened to include one clause, out of 67, calling on European governments to (inter alia) “support policies on voluntary family planning, safe abortion, treatment of sexually transmitted infections and the provision of [reproductive healthcare].”

Two Labour MEPs – John Attard Montalto and Louis Grech – voted in favour of the report, IN ITS ENTIRETY (despite having earlier objected to the ‘abortion’ reference)… and, my-oh-my, who was it who immediately ‘latched onto that fact’, to publicly accuse them of ‘trying to introduce abortion to Malta’?

Why… David Casa, of course!

And which ‘unidentified Maltese media outlet’ had reduced the entire Cashman report to one ‘only about ‘killing children before they are born?’

Why… In-Nazzjon, of course! (You know: the Nationalist equivalent of ‘One News’…)

Honestly, though. You can’t make this shit up, if you spent an entire lifetime trying. But wait: there’s more.

When various other MEPs (including Michael Cashman himself) berated Casa, for his ‘narrow-minded’ reaction… the Nationalist MEP stuck to his guns: telling this newspaper that ‘“all Maltese MEPs should maintain a clear and unequivocal position against abortion. I stand by this declaration.” (23 June 2010)

Got that, folks? So David Casa first accused two Labour MEPs of… erm… doing EXACTLY what he himself has only just done, this very week.  Later, he reaffirmed his position, which can be roughly summarised as: “voting against individual ‘abortion clauses’ doesn’t count, if you go on to approve the document IN ITS ENTIRETY.”

So… um… doesn’t that also mean – by Casa’s own argument, please note – that he himself has likewise just ‘voted to introduce abortion to Mata’: by ‘approving an EP resolution IN ITS ENTIRETY (despite his earlier vote against the individual abortion clause: which he himself argues ‘doesn’t count’)?

Speaking only for myself: I don’t see any other way of interpreting it, really. But never mind that, for now; because – as always – there is a little more to the equation, this time round.

Let’s go back to our comparison between those two EP resolutions – 2010, and 2023 – and this time, focus on the DIFFERENCES between them.

I’ve already mentioned one: unlike the Cashman report (which was piloted by… erm… ‘Cashman’), the rule of law resolution was the brainchild of none other than David Casa himself. And granted: he probably didn’t foresee – though he should have, really – that the Liberals, Greens, and Socialists would try to ‘ensnare’ him (and the EPP, as a whole) by including an abortion clause, in a motion he was already committed to supporting…

The fact remains, however, that it was David Casa himself, who set the ball in motion for that clause to be included. (And he also knew full well - when voting in favour of the entire resolution – that his earlier vote against the abortion clause, would not exactly ‘stop it from passing’.)

Another difference is that while the Cashman report had urged ALL European governments, to take women’s reproductive health seriously…. the 2023 resolution very specifically targets Malta - and ONLY Malta – with its calls to “finally enshrine the right to safe and legal abortion”.

So it could very easily be argued that - by approving that resolution, as a whole - David Casa took what he himself described as a “clear and unequivocal position” IN FAVOUR OF abortion (and specifically: ‘abortion IN MALTA’).

Lastly, it must be noted that David Casa’s 2023 actions took place in a very different context, from that of 2010. Two years before finding himself accused (using his own methods) of ‘being in favour of abortion’… Casa’s colleague Roberta Metsola had similarly outraged Malta’s pro-life community, by pledging to sign the notorious ‘Simone Veil Pact’ (which defines abortion as a ‘human right’.)

And this also means that - regardless of Casa’s actual intentions, when approving that resolution – his vote chimes in with what appears to be a gradual movement (on the part of the PN, as a whole) towards a more ‘liberal’, and less ‘fanatically pro-life’ position, that the one we are generally more accustomed to.

For all these reasons, David Casa cannot so easily distance himself from the (entirely predictable) consequences of his own actions. So when I said, earlier that ‘the cap sort of fits’… well, I now find I have to correct myself, on the score.

The cap actually ‘fits’ David Casa, a heck of a lot more than it ever ‘fit’ anyone else (and it shouldn’t really surprise us, either, because – let’s face it – he designed it himself!)