Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri have found Owen Bonnici’s Achilles heel

Published: January 7, 2017 at 1:21pm

And whatever it is – some of us have a pretty clear idea – they are using it to control him, making him their newest malleable tool and mouthpiece. The first clue was when they took the Identity Malta portfolio away from the Home Affairs Ministry, where it reasonably belongs, and gave it to the Justice Ministry, where it most definitely does not.

This is because they want a controllable cabinet minister with a massive Achilles heel in charge of Identity Malta, so that they can do as they please – the same reason they’ve got Konrad Mizzi in charge of energy, had him in charge of health, and still have him in charge of Projects Malta, which signs off on all major government deals and contracts.

Now those corrupt fixers – desperate to stay in power for another five years not only because they want to keep wheeling and dealing but also because they’re terrified of the police and fiscal investigations into their affairs that are likely to follow the election of the Nationalists to power – are using Owen Bonnici as their mouthpiece to launch assaults on Jason Azzopardi, the shadow minister for justice.

If you monitor the media as closely as I do, you will have noticed that Azzopardi has been selected by the Labour Party machine as the focus of the latest series of character assassination attempts.

Seeing members of the government calling press conferences for the express purpose of attacking members of the Opposition is so unsavoury. I can’t recall the Nationalists, during any of the five terms they were in government in my adulthood, ever doing anything similar. Except for the last term, where focus was lost because of the chaos wrought by Franco Debono and Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando in league with Muscat, they were completely focussed on governing, on building and implementing policy, and when they called a press conference it was always about government policy and not to launch an assault on an individual member of the Opposition.

That we have come to accept such things and treat them as normal – cabinet ministers calling press conferences to fling dirt at Opposition rivals – shows how far we have internalised Labour’s ghastly propaganda and perverted sense of democracy. We have become twisted and perverted ourselves and no longer know right from wrong or up from down.

You would be forgiven for concluding that Owen Bonnici has been chosen to lie about Jason Azzopardi because Azzopardi is his justice counterpart. But the subject is not justice; it is lands. Azzopardi, in the previous government, was responsible for the lands portfolio. So it is Deborah Schembri, the parliamentary secretary for lands, or her boss the Prime Minister, who is Minister for Lands, who should be speaking about this subject. But they want to keep their hands ‘clean’.

It’s just going to get dirtier, and if the Nationalist Party knows the first thing about strategy, what it’s got to do now is get to grips with whatever it is that the corrupt triad is using to control him. It’s clear that he’s not being allowed a piece of the money action and that he’s not in it with them on the corrupt contracts. But they’re still pulling his strings, and there’s a reason for it.