Chicken noodles, Franco Debono and breakfast at Harrods

I really don’t know where to start. It has been quite a week.

Well, the first thought goes out to octogenarian and business entrepreneur Bertie Mizzi. 

Sociologist and politician Michael Brigulio of the Greens argued he should not be offered any financial compensation for returning Manoel Island. 

Well, I am hardly one of Bertie’s ardent fans, but Briguglio’s ‘Communist’ manifesto for Malta is simply unacceptable. 

Since when should people who have made investments and spent money not be compensated?

This used to be Mintoff’s tradition. 

Bertie Mizzi may be a shrewd businessman but yes he should be compensated (as should anyone who has invested good money for good use).

I’m sure that a Manoel Island left in the hands of State will be an infinitely scruffier place than ever before.

And yes, Mizzi’s renovation and restoration work on the historical monuments Manoel Island are impressive to say the least and would have never happened if the area was still run and managed by the State. 

The power of the green lobby is definitely not to be underestimated, as the decision on the high quality apartments at Portomaso confirms.

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Tourism Minister Mario de Marco has bowed to the pressures of Astrid Vella and her green warriors. 

De Marco made a clear choice, though I believe he will be a persona non grata for the Fenech family from now on. But it is a positive development that the PN has moved toward environmental considerations and showed sensitivity.

On this issue they are turning out to be ideologically more sane and more left than the Labour party.

On migration and environment, the PN scores higher points.

The casting vote of the MEPA chairman Austin Walker in the Portomaso development says a lot about what government was thinking when it came to the Portomaso vote.

One must remember that Walker, apart from being a political appointee, is also a personal friend of the Prime Minister’s and does tend to take such ‘controversial’ decisions without any form of consultation.

Of course I could be wrong but then I would be very surprised.

I have no doubt that Walker’s actions reflected the mood at Castille.

The same can be said for Roderick Galdes, but Galdes who is the Labour representative on the MEPA board and  a MEPA employee voted for the development reflected the mood at Mile End, the Labour party HQ.

I find it very hard to believe that he was acting independently, but he must have sussed out the Leader’s point of view on the matter.

It was quite nice to see that MEPA is a feast for Labour Party candidates eyeing the same district. Strangely, we have Roderick Galdes as a MEPA employee and Dr Robert Abela and his wife on a shocking consultancy with MEPA. Coincidentally, both are vying for the same constituency under the same flag.

My thinking is that Joseph Muscat is too close to the development lobby.

He has done this consciously, believing that the only way he can rekindle this struggling economy is to open up to developers and speculators.

Hence the reason why the Labour party is awash with funds.

That, I’m afraid, is not a happy premonition of the future. 

If Muscat thinks that the environmental lobby will just recede, he is very much mistaken.

The developer’s dream scenario is to develop Ta’ Cenc and Comino, and I have the uncanny feeling that Muscat, if he ever becomes Prime Minister, will accommodate them.

Perhaps then it will be the time to return to real Green politics and take to the streets, and get out of journalism.

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Then we had Kmiec, the conservative, Catholic and American. Put that cocktail together and you are in for some trouble. He was invited by the President to speak about our constitution.

It was like returning to colonialism.

Dr Abela knew him as a friend so asked him to come along.

He did the same for Dominic Fenech, a friend and a former canvasser for Abela when he planned to become leader of the Labour Party.

The whole episode was underpinned by Kmiec’s suggestion that we should include a reference to the Creator in our Constitution.

It is bad enough that we have an overdose of religiosity overshadowing every nook and cranny of this island, now Kmiec wants to have the Creator in our Constitution –

just like Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The next thing you know, the President will be inviting Paul Vincenti to advise him on constitutional matters. The President needs to be a visionary not a missionary.  And we need to move away from religious zealots such as Vincenti and Kmiec, who are more worried about saving souls for their God than a modern, dynamic, changing and caring society.

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To describe Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi as tired and stressed would be an understatement. That maverick Franco Debono has tired him and cornered him would also be correct.

Prime Ministerial aides talk of Debono pestering the Prime Minister with endless SMSes and telephone calls.

We in the media all know what a pain in the ass Franco Debono can be.

But as time flies, it is abundantly clear that the Prime Minister is in an unfortunate position because of one parliamentarian’s political disloyalty and antics.

As everyone was wondering whether there would be an election or not, Franco Debono was having sweet and sour pork with Chris Said and David Casa.

As the three talked and gobbled Chinese noodles, I am sure they must have shared pleasantries about the future. Casa I am sure is a great delight to be with. He has always struck me as a deeply intellectual man with a grasp of what it means to a good politician.  It is a pity I do not remember him to be active with the PN before 1987.

The double-dealings of the man who was described as a ‘bicca deputat’ are turning out to be farcical, if not completely intolerable.

He wastes our time and that of the Prime Minister.

And yet, the Prime Minister is stupid enough to send his emissaries to try and seal a deal with this maverick and rebel.

This Prime Minister has no pride– he goes on negotiating with someone who simply wants more and more.

But what is clear is that all this instability and uncertainty is doing the country no good. The Prime Minister does not have the country at heart... nor the party. If he did, he would call an election now and get it over with.

The fact that he does not, proves beyond doubt that he is more concerned with staying in power and with savouring every little day of his time at Castille.

It is a tragedy, and a reflection on our political class, who lack the self-respect to look at the bigger picture.

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I have no problem with Lawrence Zammit. I think he is a very capable person.

But why is it that every time there is a chairmanship to fill in a government agency we appoint the same people?

Can it be that this country is brain dead and has no names to offer?

In many of the appointments I still see the hidden hand of Richard Cachia Caruana. Even when it comes to ambassadorial appointments, the Cardinal continues to have quite a bit of influence.

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Last Friday, Edgar Galea Curmi introduced the Courts to super witness Ray Abdilla, a former journalist at MaltaToday, whom I asked to leave because he was simply lazy and more interested in sleeping at his desk.

In 2008, Abdilla was employed as a journalist at In-Nazzjon, and revealed that Harry Vassallo had not paid his VAT, and that he was subsequently sentenced to prison.

This article was published a few days before the 2008 elections.

Galea Curmi’s lawyer Zammit Maempel asked Ray Abdilla if Galea Curmi was the source of the Harry Vassallo story.

What the hell does this have to do with the whole case?

Galea Curmi – a Maria Goretti political figurine who thinks that virginal politics starts in his office – sued me for libel after I wrote that he had visited my home in Naxxar to feed me a story about Vassallo’s tax evasion.

That is the story.

He had said in a comment reproduced on the blog of the Queen of bile, that he had visited my house late a night because of my late wife – giving the impression that he was family friend.

What a load of bullshit.

***

From a parliamentary question it transpires that a business breakfast organised at Harrods in London by the Office of the Prime Minister came up to €444,830. 

I’m sure the sausages were of Prime pork.

All the media was invited, including One TV and the union press (GWU-owned)… but not MediaToday.

I’m sure it was an oversight and not purposely designed by Galea Curmi and that other splendid character Alan Camilleri, who last week was building bridges with Lino Spiteri over a ‘fishy’ meal.

After Spiteri had written in his weekly column in The Times that: “Controversy arose, though, over the very handsome amount spent on rendering the space allocated to Malta Enterprise to fit the tastes of those who run it, starting with its executive chairman.”

Pity I was not invited too, I would have loved to smell the aroma of fish in that wonderful setting in the former Nurses Quarters at St Luke’s Hospital.

Strange to see a person who sadly will no longer be with us spend lavishly to please his guests, which also included Simon Busuttil, among others.

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