The anti-Muscat: Edwin Vassallo versus ‘the Marxists’

Why Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo is so up in arms over what he calls Joseph Muscat’s ‘abortion, gender-neutral agenda’

Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo
Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is “a fake”, imposes “Marxist beliefs”, and is leading the country down “a disastrous path”. Meet Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo, one-time minister for small business, now the PN’s last bastion of unrepentant conservatism.

“Muscat and his crony supporters and pseudo-activists preach equality but what they seek to impose is uniformity and homogeneity,” Vassallo told MaltaToday in a sit-down where the MP – who voted against same-sex marriages in open defiance of the party whip – vented against the Labour PM’s unstoppable secularist drive.

“Now that he has realised that I am on to him, Muscat is lashing back and trying to ridicule me.”

Vassallo has faced the heavy criticism since he voted amendments to the Domestic Violence Bill which he claims, could legalise abortion. Vassallo wanted the Bill, now approved in its second reading, to condemn “every form of abortion” with or without the mother’s consent.

But he dismissed claims that he condoned domestic violence, insisting that his vote was against the government’s “dishonesty and subterfuge”.

If some activists are comfortable being baby-killers, I can understand why they would resort to attacking me

Vassallo’s arguments have to be placed within the context of the Istanbul Convention on combatting violence against women and domestic violence, the provisions of which will be directly implemented through the Bill currently being discussed in parliament. Article 39 of the Istanbul Convention prohibits forced abortion, specifically that without the woman’s consent.

“If the government does not amend this part of the Convention when implementing it through the Bill, and specify that it was against any form of abortion, then it would be opening a window to abortion in Malta.

“Let me be absolutely clear that this is not about religion,” he said. “But, yes, I do believe strongly in certain values, including protecting the unborn child from conception.”

Vassallo said the changes would remove any reference in the law to the “child yet unborn”, although he admitted that, as has always been the case, abortion is illegal in Malta.

He also acknowledged that the law itself does not lead directly to abortion, but insisted it would “definitely result in a state of affairs where everything goes and where values will no longer count for anything.”

“I, and many others like me, still believe that killing someone and terminating a life is a grievous and ugly thing,” he said. “But if some activists are comfortable being baby-killers, I can understand why they would resort to attacking me.”

Vassallo obviously cuts a lonely figure: in his positioning as a conservative bulwark against an unstoppable secularist drive, he accused “so-called liberals” of being intolerant to people like him expressing different views from theirs.

But his opposition to the domestic violence Bill goes beyond his abortion fears.

Vassallo argues against the insistence on gender equality and gender neutrality included in the same amendments, once again dubbing it “further proof of Muscat imposing his Marxist vision upon an unwitting society.”

The MP said that, even before the election, Muscat had already planned to mix the regime of the Istanbul Convention with gender-based violence. “He won the election, fair enough, but it’s how he’s doing these things that irks me,” he said. “The way they did it, the law does not leave any way for people who do not agree with the thinking that Muscat wants to impose on everyone.”

Muscat and his crony supporters and pseudo-activists preach equality but what they seek to impose is uniformity and homogeneity

Vassallo said even the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižniek, had warned Muscat that his intent to amend the domestic violence legislation and make it gender-neutral would not reflect the Istanbul Convention, which was specifically drawn up to primarily protect women.

“The government has been dishonest in all civil rights legislation that had been introduced, including those on civil unions and same sex marriage.

“It’s no surprise that Muscat had taken to social media to insult him after his speech in parliament. Muscat reacted like that because he does not like it when anyone opposes him, let alone expose his deceit,” he said.

Vassallo warned against the proposed amendments, which he said would lead to widespread gender fluidity, even in schools.

“If unchecked, the government will force teachers in schools to impose gender neutrality, confusing and scaring children, without the parents having any say in what their children are taught.

“This is unacceptable and yet these so-called liberals, buoyed by the support they’re getting from the government, keep pushing us into this genderless future,” he said. “This notion does not only go against decent morals, it also goes against nature, since this is purely ideological and not science-based.”

Vassallo said it was obvious why Muscat and his government were being so underhanded, since parents would never accept such teaching to be imposed on them and their children.

“If parents knew exactly what was planned, they would start mobilising in defiance, as is happening in other countries like Italy, where gender-neutral doctrine was already being forced on children.”

Vassallo is planning a public meeting to inform parents on what he views as the changes that the Labour government will bring about.

“People should be made aware how the proposed legislation would threaten and stifle individual liberty and freedom of conscience, how it will introduce mainstream gender-neutral sex education, undermine parental authority and give the state the authority to determine gender.”

As to whether he expected more support from his own party, Vassallo said he has not tried to convert others to his way of thinking. “I felt vindicated by PN leader Adrian Delia’s decision, having met him personally to discuss the issue, to allow me the liberty to vote as he did. If need be, I will continue to fight against Muscat and this dishonesty single-handedly,” he said.

“But we are already seeing signs of people waking up to the stark reality and I do not think I will be alone in my fight for long.”