Muscat and the political expediency of changing his stance on migrants depending on the public mood

Published: August 20, 2017 at 5:57pm

In July 2013, Prime Minister Muscat tried to push migrants back to Libya in breach of the law, and was only stopped by a judicial protest signed by many Maltese lawyers calling on him to respect the rule of law, and by an injunction obtained by human rights lawyers, from the European Court of Human Rights.

When people protested that the individuals in question would be sent back to torture and death in Libya, Muscat’s government said that we shouldn’t worry, because they weren’t planning to send back the women and children, but only the “able-bodied men”.

Today, four years later, Prime Minister Muscat thinks it more politically expedient to pretend that he actually gives a damn about human rights and that’s the reason why he banned that ship of racists from putting in at Malta.

The real reason, of course, is that he understands he can no longer talk about how liberal Labour is on the basis of same-sex marriage while at the same time behaving abominably towards African immigrants and those who are vulnerable, desperate and destitute.

Besides which, it costs the government nothing to ban the ship from putting in to harbour, but quite a lot in terms of fall-out if it actually comes here.