There is one way in which Robert Abela has distinguished himself very well and it is with his utter and total contempt for free speech. The partial decriminalisation of marijuana was used by LAbour to portray itself as the progressive force in the country, but when it comes to fundamentals Labour is turning into an authoritarian, corrupt and populist political party. The attitude of the Labour ministers is changing on these lines too. Robert Abela is pushing ahead with a law that will fine people up to €30,000 and land them up to five years in jail for “bullying posts online”.
Ministers and powerful people are the first in line to use criminal laws to suppress speech addressed at them, and that was my main argument when I was lobbying to remove criminal libel a couple of years ago. Just recently, the Minister of Economy Silvio Schembri reported someone to the police for allegedly threatening him, when in reality the person literally told him that “a Labour government gives people bombs” in a direct allusion to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
So, now, we can’t highlight the fact that under a Labour government journalists are less safe? And we can’t do it mockingly? Bad taste is banned according to the economy minister who botched Blockchain Island and hasn’t created one single new economic niche since being in office. I would prefer to ban something else if you don’t mind. I would like to ban the Economy Ministers of my country investing their money in the American stock market when they should be putting their mouth is and putting their money in Maltese stocks based index funds. I wonder why the Economy Minister of Malta would prefer to go long the S&P500 through an ETF instead of buying stocks of Maltese banks. Can anyone ask him this question during a press conference? Maybe it will give him so much time to think that he may no longer need to waste his time by bullying other people with the police. Maybe putting your money where your mouth is when you come out and say that the Maltese economy is resilient may mean much more than empty talking points.