Watching the Labour Party pretend to bristle with indignation at something is always a process which makes my skin crawl with unease.
Four days ago, one of the Labour Party’s candidates for European Parliament, Daniel Attard, asked the police to investigate Godfrey Leone Ganado over comments which Attard claims amount to hate speech. Leone Ganado’s comments were made on a post uploaded to social media by Repubblika president Robert Aquilina, who later clarified that he had immediately removed the comments upon being made aware of them, further distancing himself from Leone Ganado’s opinion and describing the comments as unacceptable.
Referring to disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat and prime minister Robert Abela, Leone Ganado wrote that he hoped “the unexplained wealth they accumulated off our backs will crumble to dust and bury them together with their families in a pit of smelly shit”. He then added: “when dealing with this trash you need to call a spade a spade, and after all, you need a spade to lift shit”. The same individual had also made the headlines following Rosianne Cutajar’s successful libel suit against him after he made comments comparing her with a prostitute. More about her recent blunder in court in her case against Mark Camilleri later.
As always, whenever one analyses a claim made by the Labour government, it is crucial to remember that you must work your way backwards from a strong assumption of disingenuous intent. Usually, the suspicion of disingenuous intent hardly ever gets dispelled. On the contrary, analysis usually unearths evidence of how this is the case, and this specific incident involving a curmudgeonly old man who is known to rattle off obscenities to anyone who has a functional pair of ears is no different.
One of the first details I highlighted in this column was the fact that Leone Ganado’s comment was made on Aquilina’s post. This was a conscious choice – specifically, because the Labour Party’s hate machine did its utmost to amplify this detail above all else. If I had the means to select a parallel universe and peer into it, I’d bet that if we were in another timeline in which Leone Ganado scribbled those comments on a prominent wall in a village square in broad daylight, the Labour Party wouldn’t have cared half as much.
Why? Because Robert Aquilina has been a veritable thorn in the Labour Party’s side ever since the former graced civil society’s battlefield with his presence, and Leone Ganado’s comment offered the perfect opportunity for them to claim that this is how “the extremist clique” of Repubblika operates. Never mind, of course, that when Leone Ganado had last hit the headlines for his comments about Cutajar, the former had resigned from his non-executive membership role before the organisation was about to inform him that he was going to be expelled regardless.
The Labour Party’s stunt takes on a doubly disingenuous tinge when you actually look at Article 82A of the Criminal Code, which is the law that Attard claims was breached when Leone Ganado posted his livid comments about Muscat and Abela’s wealth.
While Attard branded Leone Ganado’s comment as hate speech, the fact is that it isn’t, because there is no intent to incite violence or hatred. It is a comment that is dripping in contempt and one that expresses an evidently negative opinion of Muscat and Abela and their families, but unless we are considering the possibility that Leone Ganado has magically accelerated the demise of the Muscats and the Abelas by wishing them ill, then I do not see how the fundamental argument against him can hold any water.
Conveniently, the Labour Party has said absolutely nothing about the salient part of its own indignant tirade – the unexplained wealth itself. I’d be happy to hear what Attard thinks of how the top brass of his own party is swimming in money it shouldn’t have, or his own personal opinion about how his political party loves useful idiots like him who continue to waste the police’s time by clogging up our exhausted court system with frivolous actions which are always withdrawn when crucial evidence is about to be presented.
If you need an example of that, just ask Mark Camilleri, who I’m sure is dead set on proceeding with further mopping the floor with Rosianne Cutajar after the latter pathetically withdrew her libel case against him just before she was due to testify. While Cutajar should have been the equivalent of political roadkill in terms of her suitability as a member of Parliament the minute she publicly defended her intimate confidante, business partner, and alleged murderer Yorgen Fenech, the Labour Party is instead rolling out a red carpet for her grand return.
Oh, and if it’s not too much to ask, perhaps Attard could also let us know what he thinks of the fact that unexplained wealth laws and a robust justice system in this country would mean that every high-profile office holder in the last decade of his political party’s reign of terror would have to scramble to the nearest no-extradition jurisdiction to evade the consequences of their actions, or what he thinks of Cutajar’s abusive libel suit, a legal process which the Labour Party sees as the equivalent of a hidden pistol in the glove compartment that is to be waved about the minute someone is perceived as a threat.
When seen in this light, the disingenuous tinge in the Labour Party’s false indignation is obvious, and the intent becomes clear: the Labour Party couldn’t give less of a shit about what Leone Ganado actually said and whether it constitutes hate speech or not. The primary objective of that criminal complaint was, as it tends to be when it comes to dealing with the party’s critics, to silence dissent and to silence a sentiment which it knows is growing exponentially – pure, unfettered contempt of its very existence.
What you think of Godfrey Leone Ganado, Robert Aquilina, or anyone else who has ever said anything negative about the government is irrelevant – the fact is that directing contempt at contemptible behaviour is a sane, justified reaction. It is an ugly sentiment for an ugly situation: how else is one supposed to describe Robert Abela’s ludicrous wealth when he has avoided every possible obligation to present detailed insights into what his assets are and what the origin of his wealth is?
How else is one supposed to describe Joseph Muscat’s ludicrous wealth when, besides the fact that he had also failed to submit detailed asset declarations when in office, he and his family clearly have no issue with publicly flaunting it even when the entire country cannot move on from the aftermath of the crimes Muscat and his cronies committed when in government?
Try as it might to lump all of its critics in one basket before setting the whole thing on fire, the Labour Party is unable to adjust itself to the idea that, even with all the corrupt largesse they can muster, its popularity – and more importantly, its political longevity – continues to erode. It does not have the foresight or the talent required to present a credible vision for the future, and is forced instead to resort to pointing fingers at others to make its own relentless assault on critics seem justifiable, which is why Robert Abela now spends most of his time leveling broadsides at the judiciary like it’s 1987 all over again.
I’ve been an advocate for ongoing disruption actions (i.e.: when an activist group targets an authority by directly interfering in the day-to-day activities which the target is involved in) for years because, through experience and hard-earned insight, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to deal with an individual or an entity that is as belligerent as the Labour Party does is to use public opinion like a bludgeon, to hold the boot to their throats until the relevant concession is secured.
That same belligerent attitude is the same reason why I bear open contempt for the Labour Party, and no obvious abuse of hate speech provisions and/or libel laws will deter me from doing so.