Not in our name
On a recent television programme the Prime Minister insinuated that those persons who voted for accession to EU are just as responsible as he is for the continuation of hunting in spring. According to him, we are all accomplices to the wholesale slaughter of birds during this season because we were aware that the government would be applying a derogation from the Birds Directive. According to the Prime Minister, our "yes" vote translated into a tacit acceptance of the hunting situation. This absurd interpretation would have us believe that a vote for Europe was a vote for spring hunting and that the government's mulish insistence on defending the indefensible is simply a manifestation of its willingness to honour commitments.
This is beyond irritating - it borders on the insulting. Many of the people who voted for EU accession did so because they were convinced that it would bring about improved environmental and conservation standards.
They thought that a "yes" vote would herald the dawn of a new era in enforcement. Those of them who studied the text of the Birds Directive knew that a derogation is only permitted in exceptional circumstances - when no other alternative to spring hunting exists. They are very well aware that hunting in autumn is an adequate alternative. It is only the Prime Minister and his Cabinet who refuse to consider this and who continue to block out any pleas not coming from the hunters' quarters.
Contrary to what Dr Gonzi maintains, the mandate given by the electorate in the EU referendum was not a blanket authorisation to defend spring hunting come what may. Voters did not give him the go-ahead to shoot down their European dream.
If he finds it politically expedient to pander to the hunting lobby he does it alone, but it would be wiser not to add insult to injury and claim that our vote authorised him to so.