Malta’s plans to sell passports for cash made it to The Guardian’s Shortcuts Blog on ‘trending topics’ yesterday. After it’s trended all over the continent, this week it began trending in Britain. I wondered how long it would take them to notice, given that the ultimate aim of the sort of people who will be buying our passports is not free movement in Schengen but free movement in Britain.
Didn’t Mrs Michelle Muscat say she wants her daughters to live a normal life? This has now gone beyond the ridiculous.
Those two irresponsible parents should stop using their small daughters as tools and stuffing them in our faces all the time.
Quite apart from the fact that the poor things haven’t a clue what’s going on and have clearly lost touch with normality already because of all the absurd and abnormal situations they are forced into, the strategy of winning approval by using their daughters is now backfiring badly.
Their daughters are being projected as the spoiled, over-petted and over-privileged products of their father’s elected position and their mother’s temporary insanity brought on by overnight exposure to a world of sweetshops.
They will not end up loved. They will end up despised, and no helpless child subject to parental whims deserves that.
Soleil’s and Etoile’s mother appears to have confused their situation with that of the British royal family in the 1930s, and herself with the Queen Consort.
She is not unusual, among women who have had children fairly late and with great difficulty, in making the mistake of thinking that because of the great difficulties in creating them, they are somehow special in themselves and in general, rather than just being special to her. The difference is that Mrs Michelle Muscat is in a particular position, so the obsessive, child-fixated behaviour so many of us find insufferable in those we can avoid is in her case projected onto the national stage.
Mrs Michelle Muscat doesn’t need encouragement to carry on behaving like this. She needs help to see that having children is normal and unexceptional, that children themselves are normal and unexceptional to all but their own immediate family.
Here’s another ridiculous invitation to add to the rapidly increasing collection of ‘Michellati’: an invitation to the inauguration of Sliema’s Christmas festivities “by the daughters of The Prime Minister” (no names). The event is tomorrow and the invitation was emailed out tonight.
Oh dear God. Now The Financial Times has dedicated its editorial to the subject of Joseph Muscat’s crazy, money-grabbing scheme
From The Financial Times editorial (leading article) this evening:
One EU state – Malta – is now undercutting the passport market like no other. It has declared that it will sell a Maltese passport to anyone who pays €650,000. Applicants will be tested to ensure, among other things, that they are not terrorists or money launderers. But if that test is passed, the passport is handed over immediately. It appears that no prior residency or connection to the island is needed.
Malta’s action should prompt disquiet across the EU. A Chinese or Russian national who gains a Maltese passport automatically acquires residency rights across the 28-nation bloc. The idea that this person need have no prior residence in, or connection, to Malta is unacceptable and is bound to raise security concerns.
Wouldn’t our liberal and progressive government just love to do something similar? But it has no state news agency to dissolve.
Putin dissolves news agency, tightens his grip on media
President Vladimir Putin tightened his control over Russia’s media yesterday by dissolving the main state news agency and replacing it with an organisation intended to promote Moscow’s image abroad.
These totalitarians just don’t seem able to understand that their image abroad is a direct consequence of their actions at home, and not something random that can be controlled independently of their actions.
What was that I was saying the other day about how middle-aged men of all stripes turn into idiots round a bit of ego-stroking skirt (and how the skirt maximises the manipulation factor)?
I think it was some exchange of words with H. P. Baxxter. But anyway, isn’t this the most incredible photograph taken at Mandela’s memorial service?
It’s like something from High School Musical – a scene played out the world over in countless different settings.
One girl plays the kookie cutie, her sole purpose being the exclusion of others by monopolizing the men, and the men immediately begin acting like idiots with their brains in their pants, thereby earning the contempt of all other women present, including the ones they live with.
Danish prime minister Helle Thorning Schmidt (blonde, pretty, Scandinavian), sitting between David Cameron and Barack Obama, brings out her phone for a selfie, and Cameron and Obama immediately oblige by leaning into her like teenage boys.
Just look at Cameron’s expression. But more pertinently, look at Mrs Obama’s. The president of the United States is going to be sleeping on the couch tonight.
No wonder Joseph Muscat was feeling put out and left out. The thing is, if he were part of the group, he wouldn’t be competing with Obama and Cameron for the Danish prime minister’s attention. He’d be competing with her for their attention. Funny, isn’t it, how we know this instinctively and can’t even begin to picture him competing with other men for a woman’s attention.
Tony Debono – li jrida ta’ Anthony de Bono – has been scuttling around the netherworld of Maltese politics, crawling to power-brokers of whatever party and occasionally raising his tail and releasing a pong, since the Golden Years of Labour.
He really is the most UNBELIEVABLE sleazy creep. It comes off him in waves, including the smarmy way he speaks in that horrid accent. I really can’t take the way people keep giving in to him and letting him take what he wants – maybe he sleazes them out. I can think of no other explanation.
Or maybe it’s because the man turns nasty and vicious when thwarted and most people assume it’s better to be on good terms with everyone.
He and I haven’t spoken for almost 14 years. We fell out when I was one of the organisers of the Malta Telecommunications Conference in 2000. Debono was supposed to be some kind of adviser or consultant but did jack except invite two of his useful friends (useful to him, that is) to speak.
The night before the conference, when we were all busy setting up, I left the hall for half an hour to grab a sandwich and when I returned I found hideously garish print-outs on every one of the 200 or so seats. It was an astonishingly vulgar promotional CV for Tony Debono, with ANTHONY DE BONO printed at the top in vile Gothic style lettering.
I rushed round the 200 seats gathering them all up and within the blink of an eye, the permanently disappearing Tony Debono magically appeared like a bottle genie of the nasty variety, demanding to know what I was doing.
“I’m clearing up your papers with a view to throwing them away,” I said. “Why don’t you give me a hand instead of just standing there?”
There was a moment when you could see that he couldn’t work out what to do next and was deliberating between these options.
1. Shall I hit her? Bad idea, because she’s taller than I am and might actually hit me back anyway.
2. Shall I try some gentle persuasion of the ‘you’d better do as I say or you’ll never work again’ variety?
3. Shall I threaten her with reference to higher authority?
He tried the last. “Really, who?” I said to him, “Because as you can’t have failed to notice, I’m in charge here, and if the rules are for no personal publicity for anyone, then you’ve got to follow the rules like everyone else. So if you wish to hang on to your papers for use elsewhere, gather them up quickly because those I get to first will end up in the bin.”
He ended up scuttling around picking them up, then fished out the ones I’d thrown in the bin.
The next morning I turned up to find the papers on the seats again. This time I not only picked them up, but I ripped them up before binning them. Ten minutes before it was all due to begin, Tony Debono swanned in smirking at me unpleasantly. “I spoke to X,” he said, mentioning the name of a man, “and he said that I can put out my CV on the chairs.”
Of course, that was guaranteed to bring out the worst in me – you know, reporting me to a man on the assumption that the man, by dint of being a man, could obviously lay down the law and second guess me, and I would obey, even though he was not my superior and had no say in the matter.
“Oh really?” I said. “Well, in that case you had better locate a roll of sticky-tape and get cracking.” Then I led him to the bin.
There has been no contact since.
And The Daily Mail didn’t pick up on who he is here, either. But then, thanks to a photograph released to Times of Malta, we find out that Muscat did get to speak to Clinton so all that hanging around paid off.
The photographs which show him waiting around to be noticed are, however, far more interesting from a media point of view. They’re certainly more interesting to readers.
I wrote in an earlier post that we should be grateful for small mercies: that the AFP camera caught Muscat pretending to take a passionate interest in the order of service not fiddling around with his phone.
But somebody has since emailed to say that he was watching the service on television when the camera suddenly homed in on John Major and Nick Clegg, with you know who sitting next to them, and Muscat was…yes, fiddling around with his phone, clearly sending a text message.
ARANI, MA! I’M SITTINK NEXT TO MAJOR AND CLEKK AT MANDELA’S MEMORIAL SERFISS!!!!!!!
The Daily Mail has listed all the dignitaries and VIPs at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Here is the list. I notice that they’ve left out John Major, too, even though he was there: @British Prime Minister David Cameron, deputy PM Nick Clegg and former Prime Minister Tony Blair”.
FULL LIST OF FOREIGN DIGNITARIES AT MANDELA’S MEMORIAL
– Afghan President Hamid Karzai
– Angolan Vice President Manuel Vincent
– Argentinian Acting President Amado Boudou
– Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
– Bahamas’ Prime Minister Perry Christie
– Bangladesh’s President Abdul Hamid
– Belgian Prime Minister Elio di Rupo and King Philippe
– Benin’s President Boni Yayi
– Botswana’s President Seretse Ian Khama
– Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and three predecessors, including Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
– British Prime Minister David Cameron, deputy PM Nick Clegg and former Prime Minister Tony Blair
– Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza
– Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and three of his predecessors
– Chadian President Idriss Deby
– Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao
– Comoros’ President Ikiliou Dhoinine
– Congo’s President Joseph Kabila
– Croatian President Ivo Josipovic
– Cuban President Raul Castro
– Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout
– Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Prince Frederik
– Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh
– East Timor’s Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao
– El Salvador’s Foreign Minister Jaime Miranda
– Equatorial Guinea’s President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
– Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
– European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso
– European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy
– Finnish President Sauli Niinisto
– French President Francois Hollande and his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy
– Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba
– Gambian President Yahya Jammeh
– German President Joachim Gauck
– Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama
– Guinean President Alpha Conde
– Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar
– Haitian President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe
– Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi
– Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
– Irish President Michael Higgins
– Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta
– Ivory Coast’s President Allasane Ouattara
– Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller
– Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito and former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
– Jordanian Queen Rania and Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour
– Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta
– Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati
– Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane
– Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
– Malawi’s President Joyce Banda
– Malaysian Energy Minister Maximus Ongkili
– Mauritius’ Prime Minister Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
– Mexican President Pena Nieto
– Morocco’s Prince Moulay Rachid
– Mozambique’s President Armando Emilio Guebuza
– Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba
– Nepalese Foreign Minister Madhav Prassad Ghimire
- The Netherlands’ Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans and King Willem-Alexander
– Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou
– Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan
– Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Crown Prince Haakon
– Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain
– Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
– Philippines’ Vice President Jejomar Binay
– Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski and former President Lech Walesa
– Portuguese President Cavaco Silva.
– Saudi-Arabia’s Deputy Prime Minister Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
– Senegalese President Macky Sall
– Serbian President Tomislav Nicolic
– Seychelles President James Michel
– Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak
– Slovenia’s President Borut Pahor
– South Korean Prime Minister Hongwon Chung
– South Sudan’s President Salva Kir Mayardi
– Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Prince Felipe
– Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa
– Sudanese Vice President Bakri Hassan Salih
– Suriname’s President Desire Delan Bouterse
– Swaziland’s Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini
– Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Princess Victoria
– Swiss President Ulrich Maurer
– Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete
– Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
– Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki
– Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
– U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay
– U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his predecessor Kofi Annan
– U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as well as former presidents George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary
– Uruguay’s Foreign Minister Luis Almagro
– Vatican official Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana
– Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro
– Zambia’s President Michael Sata
– Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Photographer Rene Rossignaud has described on Facebook his experience at the general hospital in Gozo today. You can read it in the image shown here (left click to enlarge it). It is self-explanatory, but so unbelievable that I had to ring Rene to make triply sure and ask him some questions (below). I also rang Dr Abela on her personal mobile phone number for her side of the story, but there was no reply so I sent a message.
What is this doctor’s first name?
Did he hear her shout this, or was it speech reported to him?
Rene and his girlfriend heard her themselves. Rene was in a hospital bed, his girlfriend sitting by him, and this doctor was speaking to a nurse just outside the ward door.
Did she say all that in English, including the words ‘fuck’ and ‘fucking’, or did he translate from Maltese, and if so, what words did she actually use?
She said all that in English, including ‘fuck’ and ‘fucking’ and ‘I don’t care about him and his problems’ and ‘now I’m going to leave him to last’.
All this came about because Rene Rossignaud has a condition which makes it problematic to go without food for long, and he had already been fasting from the previous day as required in advance of general anaesthetic. He merely asked the nurse, who had given him a comprehensive check and set of questions, to point this out to the doctor.
The nurse seemed frightened or reluctant to do so, and after this scene took place, he told Rene, “Rajt? Issa se nispicca naqla xi charge jiena! M’ghidtlekx jien?”
Rene discharged himself immediately, rang St James Hospital, drove from Gozo to Sliema, and found the medical team there waiting to operate on him. He has already been operated on and discharged.
The Daily Mail is running an interesting piece right now: a collation of photographs from different international news agencies, at and around Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in South Africa.
It includes an AFP photograph of three men seated in a row, but the AFP caption identifies only John Major and Nick Clegg, and The Daily Mail hasn’t had much luck either with identifying the turd – apologies, third. Being Maltese I lost my ‘th’ there for a moment.
It’s fascinating to see that Muscat has found himself so short of small-talk while sitting there waiting for the service to being that he has resorted to that awkward device of scrutinising the programme. Be thankful for small mercies: at least it isn’t his phone.
He could always have broken the obviously very cold ice by turning to the British deputy prime minister and saying, “I hear there was a good story on the Financial Times front page this morning about how you’re under pressure to object to my government’s plans to sell EU passports. And by the way, where’s David Cameron? I’d much rather be sitting hip to hip with him.”
Even energy ministers (Malaysia) and foreign ministers (Czech Republic, El Salvador, Iran, Nepal, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Uruguay) made it to the list of those who were identified by the press agencies and The Daily Mail, but it looks like Muscat needs to wear one of those Paddington Bear tags that our mothers used to safety-pin to our chests on the first day of kindergarten: ‘My name is Joseph Muscat and I am the prime minister of Malta.’
The chairman of Valletta 2018 doesn’t understand that the project has involved all local councils from the start
The insufferably stupid Jason Micallef – so stupid and poorly educated that he doesn’t even know he’s stupid (yes, there are some people with that spectacular lack of self-awareness) – has pronounced himself on the subject of New Year’s Eve celebrations in the capital.
Valletta and Floriana, he said, will this year hold separate New Year’s Eve celebrations despite the years-long practice of holding a single big bash and cooperating on it.
Micallef gave as his reason the fact that the Valletta celebrations will be organised by the V18 foundation which he was so irresponsibly allowed to pole-vault himself into and take over because he has the prime minister by the short-and-curlies.
He is doing this, Micallef said, together with the Valletta Local Council, giving this as the reason why Floriana can’t be included.
The man is a know-nothing. Valletta 2018 has from the start been built on involvement with all of Malta’s local councils and the whole of the island. The European Capital of Culture does not involve only the actual capital but its surrounding area, and in the case of Valletta, with Malta being so tiny, the surrounding area was taken to mean the entire island.
And now here comes that besuited cabbage – a horticultural reference he might appreciate – Jason Micallef, putting up territorial walls around ‘his’ project and refusing to cooperate with Floriana even on the celebration of the New Year.
The man is going to be catastrophic for Valletta 2018.
Not to be mean or anything, but that Poison Dwarf who’s in charge of government communications really doesn’t have what it takes to deal with all this flak.
If he had what it takes, he would have:
1. advised the government of what to expect if it went ahead with Plan A and that it should go for Plan B instead or scrap the whole thing altogether;
2. prepared for the onslaught regardless;
3. been dealing with the onslaught right now instead of preparing ridiculous ‘speech to the nation on the death of Nelson Mandela’ YouTube videos for his boss.
British edition of The Financial Times today has an even more worrying front page headline: HOME OFFICE PRESSED TO OPPOSE MALTESE PLAN TO SELL EU PASSPORTS
The Financial Times publishes different editions every day for each region of the world. You have today’s ‘Malta passports’ headlines, front page and inside page stories for the European edition in earlier posts.
This is the front page of today’s UK edition.
Of course, what this means is that the government of Malta is going to find itself with Britain, France, Germany and Italy aligned against it on the matter of selling passports. The fall-out in other areas is going to be considerable, so our irresponsible government is going to have to work out whether it’s really worth gaining something on the swings to lose a hell of a lot more on the roundabout.
That’s the international relations perspective. The media perspective is this: now that this story has made it to the front page of the UK edition of The Financial Times, the impact is going to enormous, the implications vast and negative, and put simply, it’s going to run, and run, and run.
And the 101 communications consultants and international relations experts (mere common sense would have sufficed) working for the government couldn’t see this coming like a Panzer tank painted Barbie pink with neon green disco-lights wrapped round it.