Sociologist from Malta

Monday, May 14, 2018

Watch: Two weights, two measures at V18



In my fortnightly vlog in the Malta Independent I discuss free speech and the politics of V18. Its chairman Jason Micallef can say whatever he likes but its artists and curators are not allowed to speak on matters pertaining to V18.

You can watch the vlog here:

Passing the buck - Michael Briguglio

Image result for konrad mizzi 2013 energy press conference

Times of Malta, 14th May 2018

If there ever was a case of putting party before country, this was when Joseph Muscat disallowed Konrad Mizzi from being Labour deputy leader but deemed him fit to remain a minister despite the Panama Papers scandal. The Maltese citizen had to accept what the Labour Party rejected.

Mizzi was protected by Muscat in subsequent controversies involving controversial privatisation deals in which the former was directly involved. Indeed, they were subsequently handed over to other ministers who had to face public scrutiny: Chris Fearne in the case of the sale of public hospitals to Vitals and Joe Mizzi in the case of the ARMS energy bills controversy.

In reality, ARMS is a state-owned company, however, its operations are directly related to Enemalta, which has been privatised and which buys its energy supply from Azerbaijan.


Consumers are realising that they are incurring high rates because of the billing system by ARMS. There is even a court case about this. Actual bills are being issued every two months and ARMS is rationing the quota, thus resulting in higher bills.


In practice, this means that if, for example, one uses a heater or an air conditioner in certain months but does not use them in subsequent months during a year, the lower consumption in certain months does not compensate for the higher consumption in others.

During a two-month period one easily runs out of quotas and cheap rates, which have been apportioned by ARMS: if your consumption exceeds the quota in two months you will incur very high rates but if you under-consume your quota in the subsequent two months you will lose it. I never heard Mizzi promise this system.

The public was therefore given a false political promise. Instead of cheaper utility bills, many are experiencing lack of price clarity and price hikes in certain months. In turn, this is resulting in illicit revenues for a state monopoly.

The matter gets worse. The Daphne Project has confirmed what was written by Maltese journalists in the past years, namely that Malta is subsidising Azerbaijan in the consumption of gas, which fuels the new Electrogas power station.

The Labour government had signed a €1 billion, 10-year deal to import all liquefied natural gas (LNG) needed to supply the power station from Azerbaijan’s state-owned Socar company.

Between 2015 and March 2018, Malta paid at least €131 million for the gas – almost double the price of open market rates. Hardly surprising, when a monopoly owned by a government facing corruption allegations buys energy from a company owned by another government also accused of corruption.

In the first year of the deal, Socar paid Shell, from which it buys the gas, $40 million less than what it had charged Malta for the same fuel. Baku enjoyed this bargain at the expense of energy consumers in Malta who are now wondering why the energy bills are not as cheap as promised.

In practice, therefore, Enemalta is passing the buck of higher energy costs to Maltese consumers and Mizzi has passed the political buck of this controversy to a new energy minister. The latter looked bewildered when asked by the press about this and he has the unenviable position of dealing with a mess concocted by the triumvirate in power.

Fearne is in a similar situation with regard to the hospital privatisation mess.

Who will the buck be passed on to if Mizzi creates another mess at Air Malta?

Let us break this down in pieces. In Malta, the purchase, distribution and sale of energy are dominated by state monopolies. The lack of transparency on energy bills indicates abuse of monopolistic position to the detriment of consumers.

By now, many consumers are noticing that their energy bills are a far cry from what was promised by Mizzi prior to the 2013 and 2017 general elections.




Sunday, May 13, 2018

Diskors - Kunsill Generali PN - Michael Briguglio


Sinjura President, Kap, Kunsilliera

Grazzi talli lqajtuni fostkom.

Qieghed hawn ghax nemmen li l-politika ghandha tkun dinjituza u gusta, u mhux wahda li lesta li tbiegh jew tikkorrompi kollox.

Minghajr principji, gvern jisfa bla ruh, 'a soulless state', bhal m'hu l-Gvern Laburista. Gvern li lest li jbiegh kollox l-aqwa li jirbah il-voti: ic-cittadinanza, l-ambjent, l-ODZ, l-isptarijiet pubblici,  gisem il-mara, il-wirt komuni, 'you name it'.

Ghandna Gvern li jippremja lill-korrotti u li jipprova jisseduci lill-votanti biex isiru korrotti ukoll.

Ghandna Gvern li ma jinteressahx mil-konsegwenzi socjali, ambjentali u ekonomici ta' politika ta' xejn m'hu xejn.

Jekk fil-politika ma jkollkox principji, tkun bhal dak li ghamel patt max-xitan u eventwalment spicca hazin. Ghax min hu korrott ikun irid iktar korruzzjoni, f’bir bla qiegh li jhallas ghalih il-poplu. 

Fl-istess hin il-principji m’ghandhomx ikunu xi domma tat-taleban. Ghandhom ikunu valuri li jiggwidawna u li ghandhom jigu aggornati ma' zminijietna.

Fost ohrajn dawn jinkludu d-dinjita' umana. Il-bniedem ghandu jkun ic-centru tal-politika, u mhux ikun oggett, numru ghall-akwist tal-voti. Id-dicenza u l-onesta' ghandhom jigu qabel id-dahk fil-wicc. 

Ghandna nkunu ggwidati ukoll mis-solidarjeta'. Dan ifisser li minflok ma nipprovaw nisseducu l-votanti biex jippartecipaw fil-korruzzjoni u minflok ma nippremjaw l-isfruttar tan-nies, ghandna nkunu l-vuci ta' min qed jghix il-prekarjat, is-solitudni, l-ingustizzja, u min jixtieq jghix f'socjeta' li tivvalorizza l-gid komuni.

Ghandna nkunu l-vuci ta' l-integrazzjoni socjali, u mhux ta' l-egoizmu u gratifikazzjoni instantja.

Ejja nkunu bhal genitur li jaghti l-ahjar ezempju lit-tfal tieghu, u mhux bhall-genitur sakranazz li ma jghallem l-ebda sens ta' etika lit-tfal. 

Gvern alternattiv ghandu jshahhah is-sussidjarjeta'. Prezentament il-Gvern Laburista qed izarma l-kunsilli lokali u s-socjeta' civili u qed jiccentralizza l-poter f'idejn il-Ministri u l-klikkek taghhom.

Il-Labour iridna nsiru tallaba tal-Ministri. Il-Labour irid a big government, and a small society'. Ahna rridu 'small government and big society'.

Ghall kuntrarju, ahna ghandna nafdaw iktar poter f'idejn ic-cittadin, f'idejn il-kunsilli lokali u l-volontarjat. Ahna rridu partecipazzjoni dinjituza tac-cittadin fid-demokrazija, fejn nirrispettaw id-diversita’ u mhux naraw il-persuna bhala numru.  

U ghandna nkunu kburin li ahna cittadini Ewropej u li nitkellmu fil-fora Ewropej li ahna vvutajna biex nissiehbu fihom. 

Principju iehor hu dak tas-sostenibilita'. Il-Gvern Laburista sar dipendenti fuq il-bejgh tal-passaporti. Minghajr sens ta' dinjita', qed jorbot is-social housing mal-bejgh tac-cittadinanza taghna.

Qed jaghti permessi bl-addocc sahansitra fuq art ODZ, l-aqwa li jikseb il-voti ghall-elezzjoni ta' wara.  U biex igawdu l-ftit ser igib rovina ambjentali u ekonomika ghal kulhadd.  Ghax veru sirna l-aqwa fl-ewropa, izda l-aqwa fil-korruzzjoni u t-tniggiz.

Ghall-kuntrarju, politika sosentibbli tiddiversifika l-ekonomija bhal ma ghamlu Gvernijiet Nazzjonalisti fil-passat anke meta kien hemm il-maltemp ekonomiku. Tpoggi l-gid komuni fuq l-agenda nazzjonali. U tinvesti fl-edukazzjoni.

Ghax ha nghiduha kif inhi, l-edukazzjoni tiswa l-flus, izda l-injoranza tiswa ferm iktar.

Ghalhekk nappella biex inkunu tim wiehed maqghud ghar-rebhiet elettorali. 

Il-fatt li l-Partit Nazzjonalista qed jinkoragixxi d-dibitattu intern ifisser li jirrispetta l-intelligenza tan-nies. Mhux bhal Partit Laburista li jipprova jaghlaq halq is-socjeta’ civili u l-artisti tal-V18.

Tajjeb li fil-Partit Nazzjonalista hemm l-ghaqda fid-diversita'. Tajjeb li l-politika tigi ibbazata fuq l-evidenza u studji professjonali. Fuq kollox, tajjeb li l-partit ikun vicin in-nies u mhux maghluq f'xi torri ta' l-ivorju.

Tajjeb li jkun hemm politika tal-perzwazzjoni, u mhux it-tisbit u x-xiri tal-voti.

 Ghax hbieb tieghi, l-uniku pjan ta' Joseph  Muscat hu kif jirbah il-voti biex il-klikka tieghu issir miljunarja


Il-pjan taghna huwa li ntejbu l-kwalita' tal-hajja ta' kulhadd: taghna u tat-tfal taghna.

Jien qieghed hawn biex nikkontribwixxi ghal partit maghqud u gvern alternattiv. Lest li nikkontribwixxi fit-tim li qed ifassal futur flimkien.

Ghalhekk, ejja nkomplu nirrigeneraw irwiehna, nikkonvincu iktar nies u nkunu preparati ghall-Gvern meta jasal il-mument.

Kunsill Generali - Infasslu l-Futur Flimkien - Partit Nazzjonalista, 13 ta' Mejju 2018

Moro u Camus - Michael Briguglio


Ftit granet ilu d-dinja politika fakkret l-erbghin anniversarju mill-mewt ta’ Aldo Moro: politiku Taljan li inqatel mit-terroristi tal-Brigate Rosse minhabba l-impenn tieghu favur il-kunsens, il-kompromess u l-integrazzjoni politika.

Moro kien jappartjeni ghall-klassi ta’ politici-intelletwali li kkarraterizzaw il-politika Taljana tul is-snin. Kien jappartjeni ghall-Partit tad-Demokrazija Kristjana (DC) u serva kemm bhala Prim Ministru kif ukoll Ministru.

Fuq kollox kien medjatur pazjenti u fis-snin sebghin ippropona li fl-Italja ikun hemm ‘kompromess storiku’ bejn l-istess DC u x-xellug parlamentari, li skond hu kienet iggib l-istabilita’ politika fil-pajjiz. B’hekk id-DC tkun fic-centru ta’ koalizzjoni wiesgha u rapprezentattiva.

Kien hemm bosta li qablu ma’ din il-proposta, izda kien hemm ohrajn li opponew bil-qawwa. Dawn kienu jinkludu l-Istati Uniti u anke xellugin estremi bhall-Brigate Rosse.

Moro inhataf minn dawn ta’ l-ahhar f’Marzu tal-1978, u qatluh wara li zammewh ostagg ghall-55 gurnata.

Erbghin sena wara, Moro ghandu jservi ta’ inspirazzjoni ghal dawk fostna li nemmnu li fil-politika id-djalogu ghandu jigi qabel l-assolutizmu u t-tisbit tas-saqajn. Dawn ta’ l-ahhar igibu l-firda u jistghu iwasslu ghal politika tat-tiranijja.

Hawnhekk, l-istil ta’ Moro ifakkarni fil-kitbiet tal-hassieb Franciz Albert Camus. F’kitbiet bhar-Ribell u l-Assassini Gusti, Camus juri kemm tista’ tkun perikoluza l-politika assolutista ta’ ‘kollox jew xejn’. Dan ghaliex twebbes rasha u ma tismax ilhna ohra. Tiggustifika kull ma taghmel f’isem il-missjoni ‘storika’ taghha, u fl-ahhar twassal ghat-tiranijja. Hekk gara fil-kaz ta’ bosta revoluzzjonarji tul is-snin, li sahansitra immassakraw lil min ikkunsidraw bhala ghadu sempliciment ghax kellu opinjoni differenti.

Camus jghidilna li ribelljoni genwina hi dik moderata. Dan ghaliex taccetta li jista’ jkun hemm vucijiet differenti minn dik tar-ribell u mhux twassal ghal sistema totalitarja ta’ ‘kollox jew xejn’.

F’dan il-kuntest, hsieb assolutist li jassumi li ghandu l-monopolju tal-verita’, ghandu jqajjem suspetti kbar, ghax joqtol kull forma ta’ djalogu.



Camus kien jemmen fl-idea ta’ Ewropa maqghuda, Ewropa ibbazata fuq il-progress ekonomiku, id-demokrazija u l-paci.  Xtaq li l-Algerija – art twelidu – tibqa’ parti minn Franza, u l-istess bhal Moro, serva ta’ inspirazzjoni ghal min jemmen fil-politika tad-djalogu u l-kunsens.



Personalment nemmen f’politika ta’ djalogu u kunsens li tirrispetta d-differenzi u li tirrispetta l-processi, ir-regoli u decizzjonijiet demokratici.


Dan l-artiklu deher fil-Mument, 13 ta' Mejju 2018