Ian Borg makes hay - Sandro Spiteri

Ian Borg makes hay - Sandro Spiteri

Mussolini, they say, made the trains run on time. And Minister Ian Borg is going to make our traffic go smoothly. No waiting at roundabouts. No tailbacks at Marsa. No trees – sorry, I meant no traffic going up to Rabat. Traffic will flow as easily as beer during a Marċ ta’ Filgħodu, and everyone will be just as happy, zipping along blissfully through a barren tarmacked wasteland from one ugly, concrete pustule-ridden town to another. 

Unfair comparison, you say? Let’s investigate. No one is saying that Borg aims to be a bloody dictator. I just cannot see Borg doing the bald black look. But he does epitomise the promise of Muscat’s Labour. Now that Konrad Mizzi is cowering in the shadows to hide his political leprosy, it is Borg who is the principal countertenor of Labour’s siren song.

The song goes like this: material well-being is all there is. Material well-being trumps ethics, good governance, personal integrity or the greater good. Make money, and let others make money. If you want it, take it. Live for today and to hell with tomorrow’s consequences.

Borg knows that people don’t want the self-discipline and discomfort of changing their driving habits of a lifetime. What they really, really want is to drive bigger, shinier cars faster and faster, with the wind in their hair (or skimming over their bald pates), over endless stretches of smooth tarmac.  Livin’ the dream.

He calculates that if he can deliver on this particular mirage of efficiency, he will be able to bedazzle enough PL delegates to hand him the ultimate seat of power. This mirage will be so lifelike, the siren song so beguiling, that they will ignore the fact that they will ultimately be condemning their children to more traffic and pollution.

But there are other, dirtier, inconvenient truths that Borg hopes will be ignored. Such as the minister in charge of the Planning Authority ‘asking’ it to break a raft of its own regulations and let him build a swimming pool on ODZ land.

I can just hear the retorts of the Laburisti sal-Mewt: didn’t PN’s Toni Bezzina try to do the same thing? (Yes, and he was crucified for it and had to sort-of-apologise). So now it’s our boy’s turn. And if you could just slip out of that moralistic għonnella, you can join in too. 

Borg must be thanking his lucky stars that the story of his swimming pool application was buried by the Egrant report

The tragedy is that Borg’s calculations might well be on the ball. I am not making any bets on his replacing Joseph Muscat. But I am willing to bet that his swimming pool application will cause hardly a ripple in Labour’s moral morass. 

Perhaps the greater tragedy is that there is hardly any sense of official outrage left. The PN is, once again, absent, absorbed with whether or not to split itself along its belly button. The body politic feels like a drunk after a prolonged bout of vomiting – there is nothing left to heave, no strength to get off the pool of sick. Through one half-closed eye it sees a cocky young hoodlum making off with its valuables, whistling the Innu Malti and nodding to a policeman who is looking the other way.

Borg must be thanking his lucky stars that the story of his swimming pool application was buried by the Egrant report. But if Daphne were here she would be telling us to keep our eyes on the target, not to let go of our outrage and expectation of rule of law.

Minister Borg may think that he can get away with making hay while we drive by on his shiny new highways. He may run for the highest office, but he cannot hide his swimming pool from the rest of us. 

Can we have the truth?

Reading both Magistrate Bugeja’s meticulous summary of his findings on the Egrant saga and the FIAU draft report on Konrad Mizzi was like finding myself in the middle of a heavyweight boxing bout.

Ms Efimova does not come out of the Egrant report smelling of roses. The ‘bulging bag of Pilatus documents’ story has been well and truly laid to rest. There is no proof of the alleged financial transactions, and if the forensic analysis is to believed it is because they simply were not there.

On the other side of the ring, there are the factual bombshells and cogent questions of the FAIU draft report. Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi and Nexia BT have a lot to answer for. But who will ask the questions? Commissioner Fenkata Cutajar?

Why did Muscat and co. go out of their way to act like they were guilty? Why keep on resisting further investigations into the Panama saga? Why tangle with shady banking practices and shadier regimes? Why not tell the truth in full and timely fashion, sowing doubt and suspicion when the lies were uncovered? The web of graft and deceit is still largely intact. We demand the truth.


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