Unphased by the deafening chorus of "are you nuts?" that greeted his notion that a boycott of the Gasan and Fenech commercial empires was on the cards as popular revenge for their monstrous constructions (I was going to use a different word, but the sensibilities of users of this portal must be respected) Martin Scicluna dedicated a whole page to promoting it.
Let's just get a few things into sharp focus, shall we?
Responsibility for protecting the overall national interest, including the environment, lies fully and squarely with the Government. At this time, this is the Government led by Premier Muscat.
It does not, except in a very secondary sense, lie with people like the members of the Gasan and Fenech clans, or any other set of business interests. In the real world, as distinct from the one inhabited by blinkered idealists, or diverters of attention, if your common or garden businessman sees an opportunity, he will grab it with both hands, massage it and garnish it and do all manner of other things to it and try to turn it into as many million €uros as he can.
You and I might not like it, we might in fact have a warm and fuzzy conviction that Joe Gasan, to take a name at random, should pass up a fetching wheeze and forego a tempting opportunity, because by not doing so, he will offend our finer sensibilities.
Forget it, it ain't gonna happen: that's why we have Planning Authorities and Environmental Authorities and Governments and all manner of checks and balances, to counter commercial rapaciousness with sensible and proper governance.
Even less does any responsibility for protecting the common good lie with the professionals engaged by the barons of commerce and business to promote their interests. I do take issue, and have done publicly, with people like Perit Demicoli and Perit Xuereb making what were reported to be pretty fatuous remarks about push-bikes and showers and Sliema getting what it deserves, but at the end of the day, they're doing their job, just as accountants do their job when they make ventures tax-efficient and lawyers when defend their clients' interests.
It is not excusable for commercial barons to turn themselves into "friends of friends" and ensconce themselves into smoke-filled rooms on the Fourth Floor
As long as they don't go beyond the pale, which these guys haven't, they're not the real target of our opprobrium.
It is not excusable for commercial barons to turn themselves into "friends of friends" and ensconce themselves into smoke-filled rooms on the Fourth Floor, if you'll allow me to evoke a couple of images used in days of future passed by colleagues of Premier Joe within his Labour Party.
But this is the real world, these things have happened, are happening (and how, if current perceptions have any grounding in reality) and will continue to happen.
It is, however, up to the people granted political power by us to resist these amorous advances and not flop onto their backs, stick their paws into the air and allow their tummies to be tickled. The popular perception is that these deals, and many others, were done and dusted way before wannabe-Prime Minister Muscat became Premier Muscat.
Far be it from me to give credence to the aforementioned popular perception, that's up to investigative journalists to prove or not. Before anyone pulls the "plague on both your houses" canard out of his hat and points fingers at the Nationalists in Government, though, I would invite him to look at the facts, inconvenient for his facile theory as they may be, even if it means having TV programmes cancelled or comfy positions wrested away.
I will not be falling in line with Martin Scicluna's call to arms, just as I didn't fall in with his rallying call to vote Muscat in March 2013. If Scicluna and his ilk are feeling betrayed and have a heavy conscience for helping, mightily or insignificantly, this bunch to get voted in, that's their look-out, they should direct their ire at the right targets.
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