A Q&A (and Behind-The-Scenes) Guide on the Legal Reforms Regarding Artistic Censorship

Q. What shall the reform change and how?

The reform is essentially based on two documents

1.      Legal Notice entitled Criminal Code Amendment Act 2015; and
2.      Extreme Pornography Regulations 2015

The Criminal Code Amendment Act 2015 shall primarily amend the following:-

1.      Article 163 of the Criminal Code  (Vilification of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion) – REPEALED

2.      Article 164 of the Criminal Code (Vilification of other cults tolerated by law) – REPEALED

3.      Article 165 of the Criminal Code (Obstruction of religious services) – significantly amended by removing the distinction between the Roman Catholic Apostolic faith and “other religions tolerated by law” whilst considerably reducing criminal punishment to the level of a contravention (ammenda), save where the obstruction of religious functions are accompanied by violence;

4.      Article 208 of the Criminal Code (Offences relating to pornographic or obscene articles) – completely substituted by a new crime, largely modeled on the UK “Indecent Displays (Control) Act 1981”. The new article shall penalize the display of pornographic material in public places by means of a fine (contrary to UK law, imprisonment is excluded) not exceeding €1000. The display of such material, however, shall be permitted under certain circumstances or controls, namely where the display is against payment for persons over eighteen years of age and/or where the establishment gives adequate forewarning to the public by affixing a specific notice.

This article does not apply:

a.      To films and theatrical productions (because these are governed by their own specific laws and/or regulations);
b.      To displays in museums and art galleries (erotic art/sculpture, etc. exhibited in galleries and museums shall not constitute an offence under this article);
c.      To displays of the actual human body (so these reforms will not be regulating gentleman’s clubs or by any means permitting live nudity/sex shows – these will have to be regulated by other laws).

The new Article 208 shall be entitled Display of pornographic material in public places

5.      Pornography and Obscenity Regulations 1975 (Subsidiary Legislation 9.05) – REPEALED

6.      Sub-article (3) of Article 82 of the Customs Ordinance (Power to prohibit imports) – minor amendment whereby the words “pornographic or obscene character” have been deleted throughout and substituted with “extreme pornographic images”. This article currently empowers the Commissioner for Customs to prohibit and/or destroy imported material, which he suspects to be pornographic or obscene. 

Q. Will the reform be introducing new laws or regulations?

Yes, the reform is proposing to introduce two new articles in the Criminal Code and new regulations on extreme pornographic images:-

1.      Article 208D of the Criminal Code (Offences relating to extreme pornographic images)  - This law is modeled on the reforms introduced by the UK Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (Article 63 et seq thereof) and is structured on the existing article 208. It shall be a crime, punishable by a fine not less than €3000 but not exceeding €6000 or to imprisonment for a term not less than 18 months but not exceeding three years, or to both such fine or imprisonment, to produce, manufacture, distribute, trade, etc. in extreme pornographic images, so defined in specific regulations drawn up by the Minister for Justice.

The proposed law allows for certain defences to be put up by a person accused, such as that he can prove that such images were sent to him or where in his possession without his knowledge or consent; or that he did not see such images nor had he cause to suspect that material in his possession contained such images.

2.      Article 208E of the Criminal Code (Non-consensual disclosure of private sexual photographs and films) – it shall now be a crime, punishable by a fine of not less than €3000 but not exceeding €5000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years (or to both such fine and imprisonment) for a person to disclose (share with others) private sexual/intimate photographs or films of another person without that person’s consent. Such acts are colloquially referred to as revenge porn.

This crime is quite innovative in scope and substance as it seeks to prevent and condemn, perhaps for the first time in the history of Maltese legislation, the act of causing actual emotional or psychological harm caused to others. It is innovative also in the sense that such law is still the subject of debate in other European countries.

This article also provides certain defences for the accused.

3.      Extreme Pornographic Images Regulations, 2015 – These regulations seek to replace the now obsolete Pornography and Obscenity Regulations, 1975 and is mostly modelled on the Scottish equivalent of the English Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, i.e. the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010. The regulations define what is meant by “extreme pornographic image”, and particular offers a coherent and realistic definition of pornography: -

Pornographic – in essence, an image is deemed to be “pornographic” if it is of such a nature that it must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal. Under the present Pornography and Obscenity Regulations, pornography is primarily defined as the exploitation of, or undue emphasis on sex, crime violence, cruelty or horror (!?). Furthermore, in determining whether an image or series of images is pornographic, reference must be made to the context, narrative and sounds accompanying such image or series of images. If, when taken as a whole, that image or series of images provides a context that is not of a nature deemed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal that image or series of images shall not be pornographic.  In simpler terms, the prosecution may not pick on one scene, passage or word, if such scene, passage or word forms part of a larger narrative that is not primarily sexual – even if that scene, passage, or word – when taken by itself – would deemed to be, by any rational person, pornographic.

Extreme – an image is extreme if it portrays in an explicit and realistic manner acts that threaten a person’s life, grievous injury, rape, necrophilia and bestiality

Image – an image is defined as any image, whether still or moving as well as data stored electronically and which is capable of conversion into a still or moving image

The regulations do not apply to any images that form part of material, whether physical or electronic, that serve the public good on the grounds that it is in the interests of science, literature, art or learning (the public good defence).

Q. The proposed laws seem to revolve mainly around pornographic images and display of material. What about literature (words)? Will these be illegal?

Consider it this way. The law criminalizes certain images or the public display and disclosure of pornographic material (in violation of the conditions set out above). It does not, however, criminalize the written word that is normally found within the hard (or soft) covers of books and magazines. Indeed, the new article 208 excludes any material “which is not exposed to view”. Furthermore, literature generally tends to convey meanings and emotions that are not purely and solely sexual or otherwise primarily intended for sexual arousal. This would absolve the writer or publisher from disseminating pornographic material. Always remember the context: “when taken as a whole”.

Naturally, everything has to be considered according to the particular facts, and on a case-by-case basis, but whatever the case the reforms are a marked difference from the existing laws which criminalize any “obscene print, painting, photograph, film, book, card or writing, or any other pornographic or obscene article whatsoever”, arguably even the simple private possession thereof.

Q. What about the offence of obscene libel under the Press Act?

The original draft proposals sought to repeal the offence of obscene libel (Article 7 of the Press Act). The Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government has, however, decided not to include this under this particular reform but shall tackle it through a holistic and ambitious reform of the Press Act itself, particularly reforms to libel law. It is expected that the offence of obscene libel shall be completely repealed.

Q. What is the rationale for the reform? How does it compare to the reforms in theatre and film enacted in 2012?

The reforms proposed and ultimately enacted in 2012 went a long way in liberating theatrical performances and film (cinema) from the arbitrary clutches of the censor where a few men and/or women (perhaps just the one) decided for you what to see and not see – solely guided by what they, he or she, decided was morally acceptable. It can be said, therefore, that the purest form of censorship, or censorship a priori (before the fact, a.k.a. “prior restraint”) has been effectively abolished. Truth be told, and technically speaking, certain films may still be banned from public viewing (for example by not being classified; and therefore not fit for view) but since 2012 (when classification, rather than censorship, became the rule) this is hardly ever the case. Needless to say these reforms were an obvious and logical reaction to the infamous Stitching judgment.

Nonetheless certain laws, precisely the ones delineated above in this Q&A, could still be used – and have indeed been used – to punish artists, writers, satirists and so on for vilifying/mocking religion or for producing obscene content. To name a few examples:

  • ·        In 2010 a certain Alexander Baldacchino was was convicted under Article 208 for the exhibition of pornographic films in the City Lights Theatre (Valletta).
  • ·        A year prior, Mark Camilleri and Alex Vella Gera (the famous Li Tkisser Sewwi /Realta’ case) were accused under article 208 of the Criminal Code and article 7 of the Press Act for publishing and writing (respectively) an obscene short story. They were ultimately found not guilty but had to endure the ordeal of criminal prosecution for at least three to four years. In this case the Attorney General argued that it is the Court alone which should determine what is obscene, without reference to any expert testimony: meaning that forensic/expert evidence is not allowed in cases such as these.
  • ·        In bygone times (1960) the police had prosecuted a person for playing the song called “Nuda” by Domenico Modugno on a jukebox in a cafeteria in Sliema. Another for sharing nudist paintings with his friends (1954). They were both found guilty.

So it was felt, and strongly argued by us (Mark Camilleri and myself who worked on this reform) that on the basis of laws such as these, Maltese artists and writers rarely dared to challenge the status quo. Whilst one was technically free to write, to paint, to sing and to publish that painting, writing, or song, the artist could yet be ensnared “by the policeman’s intrusive thumb and the judge’s heavy hand” (Supreme Justice Potter Stewart, USA). With these laws, the artist risks going to jail dare he stray into the realm of "taboo", and this would lead him to censor himself: auto-censorship or censorship a posteriori (after the fact).

We sought therefore to eliminate this form of post-censorship as far as possible. In so doing, we were guided by the following key principles (listed in no hierarchical order):

1.      The recognition that concepts/understanding of morality change with time (and space) and the law ought to reflect such societal changes. The law is, after all, a living instrument;

2.      The simple idea that the State ought not to keep acting as the moral custodian (custos morum) of society. Reasonable consenting adults should be at liberty to see, read or listen to whatever they desire provided that no actual harm is caused to others. Rather the State should ensure that the public is given prior information or knowledge as to the content of certain material – the choice is then up to the viewer/reader or listener;

3.      That criminal law should ultimately be based on objective, scientific, forensic evidence and not on mere value-judgments: subjective assumptions or suppositions of what is morally acceptable or unacceptable;

4.      That criminal law should seek to punish, as far as possible, actual harm, proven beyond all reasonable doubt. Thus, protecting the sexual innocence of minors and criminalizing content that is so (extremely and realistically so) violent, repugnant, degrading, humiliating as well as the freedom of religious expression and assembly are public goods that ought to be protected – and have indeed been protected. This is why we also sought to protect persons from actual psychological harm/distress caused by “revenge porn”: acts that may lead to depression and even suicide.

5.      The notion that any limitation of rights, such as free speech, ought to be proportional to the public good sought to be protected (protection of morals and so on).

6.      That subjecting certain material to criminal trial is ultimately self-defeating. To quote Geoffrey Robertson Q.C. “‘seek to suppress a book by legal action because it tends to corrupt...the publicity attendant on its trial will spread that assumed corruption far more effectively than its quiet distribution.’”

7.      The fundamental idea laid down by the European Court of Human Rights way back in 1976, namely that freedom of expression “is applicable not only to "information" or "ideas" that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population” (Handyside vs UK).

Q. How can one justify vilifying the Roman Catholic faith, the national majority religion, but punish hatred towards minorities?

To vilify and to incite hatred or violence are very different things. Vilify is generally defined as “to say or write very harsh and critical things about (someone or something)” (Merriam-Webster), whereas incite is defined as  “to cause (someone) to act in an angry, harmful, or violent way” or “to cause (an angry, harmful, or violent action or feeling)” (Merriam-Webster).

Under article 82A of the Criminal Code it is a crime to incite hatred or violence against other persons because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and so on. This has not been touched by the proposed reforms.

So once again, the notion of actual harm comes into play in the distinction of being criticized or offended (on the basis of your beliefs) and actually being intimidated/threatened or otherwise put into peril/manifest jeopardy (because of your beliefs).

It is therefore posited that by ridiculing your beliefs by words or depictions, usually to express an idea or message, such as anger at the Catholic Church’s dogmatism on condom-use, homosexuality, inaction/silence on paedophilia by the clergy – or,conversely, by ridiculing the atheist’s own dogmatism on the non-existence of God, Church-bashing or (what one may perceive and believe to be) lack of values, I am not placing you, nor your belief/disbelief in any harm.

For further insight into this subject see Guardian opinion piece here

Q. Is there a difference between blasphemy and vilification of religion?

The difference, if any, is very subtle. Blasphemy is typically defined, as “something said or done that is disrespectful to God or to something holy” (Merriam-Webster). Strictly speaking, therefore, to vilify a religion is akin to being disrespectful to that religion. Perhaps a simpler distinction can be made between doing or saying something disrespectful to God or something holy and rude/uncouth utterances of God/holiness said in vain (in Maltese: dagħa).

The act of uttering obscenities and performing lewd acts in public is still punishable as a contravention under article 338(bb) of the Criminal Code. Article 342 of the Criminal Code specifies further that where those obscene utterances consist in blasphemy (dagħa) the lowest punishment is an amenda of €11.65 and the maximum is imprisonment for three months.

However, that article (338(bb)) is qualified in the Maltese text by the phrase “għad li jkun xurban”. The English text is somewhat different and states “even though in a state of intoxication…”. It is to my mind unclear, therefore, whether such contravention is qualifying whether a person is to be intoxicated or not.

This article was not touched by the reform. I confess that it may be correct to say that it was missed by the undersigned and Mark and I therefore encourage the legislator to look into it, since it could still be used against the arts. I would advocate complete repeal save for the part concerning lewd acts in public.

Q. Will these reforms permit live nudity or sex and/or sex shops?

Displays of the actual human body are not covered by the proposed reforms – to the contrary it is explicitly stated in the proposed (new) Article 208 that this article is not to be interpreted as permitting any show of live sexual activity involving the sexual organs made solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal. Gentleman’s clubs, therefore, are not strictly speaking subject to these laws and such establishments still require ad hoc regulation, which – I am informed – the Government is looking into.

Sex shops selling pornographic content or materials, on the other hand, will be permitted under the proposed reforms provided an adequate warning notice (the wording of which is specified in the law) is displayed and that nothing pornographic is publically displayed. Having said that, it stands to reason that such shops ought to be subject to special police licensing (regulating, for example, the locations where such shops may be opened). Moreover, the commercial viability of such shops is somewhat dubious when such content may be viewed, accessed or purchased in complete privacy at the click of a button. It is important to highlight that the main scope of these reforms was not the legalization of porn shops as some sections of the media regretfully highlighted. This is merely an ancillary consequence of the main objective(s) that have (hopefully) been highlighted above.


Dr. Andrew Sciberras

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Here's a couple of thoughts now that Election 2013 has come and gone. In droves, the people have spoken and voted for change. They gave a massive middle-finger and a righteous ass-kicking to the status-quo. To be honest with you, I was skeptical to the very last moment. When they were banging on the perspex 30 or 40 minutes past 11 on Sunday morning I still couldn't fathom who had won. But my distrust or pessimism was entirely misplaced. The electorate has not feared to change when change was needed. It did it before on several occasions, 1971 and 1987, 2011 (divorce referendum) to name a few. It was, beyond a shred of doubt, a historic result in a local context (any delusions of grandeur would be misplaced). 

The Victor

As a natural consequence of its campaign, the PL now faces a tall order and high expectations. In its first 100 days of government it must set in motion its energy plan, enact the Whistleblowers Act, party financing legislation, and the removal of time-bars on political corruption. In the first year it must embark on a thorough reform of justice and home affairs. Coupled with this would be a much needed (and anticipated) Constitutional reform. This is just the bare minimum that is being expected. Equally important would be to instill a culture of meritocracy and transparency in public appointments, but it would be foolish to assume that Muscat's government should be devoid of persons who enjoy his party's trust and vision. In all European democracies this is a sine qua non

A fundamental aspect of PL's campaign was its energy plan. Had it failed to be credible on this issue its entire edifice would have crumbled and I would assume that we would have had a possible 2008 repeat. But it is rather clear that it has been credible on its plans. Now it must transform that credibility into concrete action. In doing so, however, it will surely face fierce criticism on three crucial aspects: (1) the two-year time frame, (2) the public procurement aspect, and (3) the environmental impact assessments. It must be prepared to tackle these issues and give clear answers.  

One also expects crucial reforms on social issues such as gay rights. I also wish that PL will revise its position on IVF both on its social aspect by making it accessible to all persons and on its scientific aspect by allowing for the freezing of embryos. 

Most importantly, however, PL must be closer to the people. This, in realization of the most basic fact that it is there to serve them, and not the other way round. 

The Loser

I am elated that the PN lost the way it did for the simple reason that it taught them a much-needed lesson that the days of nepotism and political patronage are over. All that talk about "arrogance", "cliques" and "oligarchy" might've sounded absurd but there was a lot of truth in that absurdity. Now this is a golden opportunity for the PN to renew itself as a modern Christian Democrat/centre-right party. European Christian democrats might stand for conservative social policies (ideally mild or moderate) and liberal economic policies but they should never treat people as numbers or scum as that would be a gross betrayal of their supposedly Christian roots. 

In my opinion, Simon Busuttil should not even be considered as a contender for the PN leadership. His oratory my be calm and sharp but he sounds (and acts) like a patronizing priest preaching from the pulpit. He has proven to be sickeningly condescending as well as gaffe-prone and, therefore, a liability. More serious contenders for this post would be Mario Demarco or Chris Said who are (I hope) more amenable to collective/national interest rather than political/partisan interest.  

In essence, PN requires a thorough cleansing of its entire political structures. Rather than embarking upon the project of building a new parliament building it should have seriously invested in rebuilding itself. Yet, despite these much needed calls even from significant insiders the PN continued to pander to personal interests and never distanced itself from scum like DCG, il-Bocca (who has laughably taken credit for PL's victory) and the WE crew. 

Kudos go to Dr. Lawrence Gonzi for being more than gracious in defeat although I do respectfully disagree with certain statements I've seen that Lawrence Gonzi's exit was a mistake. Lawrence Gonzi might have fared more than well on the economy but he was dethroned by major political and personal interests throughout these five years and had failed to do anything about it. If not direct acceptance it was a tacit one.  

The Minnow

AD was once again the minnow of the electoral result. But this time it got its best result yet with a respectable 1.8% of the national vote (roughly an increase of 38% - 40% over its 2008 result). Hand on heart, however, I truly believed that AD would fare better by making it to the 2% - 2.5% region as polls were showing. I think AD believed this too, or were at least highly optimistic about it. AD must take stock and do away with the profound belief that as a party it is infallible, rather it is the system and/or the electorate which is against it.  Blaming everything or everyone but itself would be a grave mistake. I also maintain that AD erred (big time) by ridiculing and generalsing about everyone who would not vote for it. Instead of ridiculing it must ask why. Blaming DCG and Lou Bondi for a swing in Labour's favour is feeble. AD must also accept that even though a mere 8 or 15 minute appearance on public broadcasting is undemocratic, it did get far more airtime, publicity and endorsements this time round. AD also ran an impeccable campaign in social networking. Furthermore, whereas Michael Briguglio's chairmanship might have garnered the respect of the radical left wing,  AD needs to stop relying on disgruntled Nationalists (which might explain the great disdain for Muscat) and move beyond the 10th District. 

However those 5,500 AD votes should not be forsaken. These votes exceed the national quota. I am delighted that Evarist Bartolo has already spoken up about this issue concerning electoral reform and hope that it is taken on board in this legislature. Bartolo extended the olive-branch before but unfortunately it was shot down by Cassola and (especially) Cacopardo who I respect and admire. Unfortunately an arrogant streak (i.e. a belief that progressive politics is the sole domain of AD) got the better of them at the time. I hope for AD's sake that this does not persist. 

I do not expect a co-option in this legislature but I do seriously hope for amendments to the 2007 electoral reforms through which parties or independents can be represented in parliament if they obtain a national quota. I also concur with Mark il-Biwwa that proposing an AD speaker would be a sign of good-will. 

*** Fin ***

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Vote 2013 Explained

The primary concern

The first thing that comes to mind is change from the status quo. This change must not be based on a mere transition of faces, colors and slogans but it must be deep-rooted; that is to say from the top-down, from the bottom-up and from side to side. It must reflect a change in political culture and ultimately socio-cultural mentality itself. It must therefore be a change that resists and overcomes the culture of patronage and individual interests. It must defeat divisions and destroy divide-and-rule. It must, at the very least, lay the groundwork to eradicate nepotism and cronyism which, in turn, give rise to abuses, clientelism and corruption. 

Secondary but (pretty much) equally important concerns

A - Social Equality and Liberties

Equality is a social issue that is closest to heart. It must be real and it must be felt. The underlying motif should always be that basic fundamental norm that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights. All distinctions based on race, sex and gender, creed, sexual orientation, political grouping and so on must be slowly destroyed. But I do not realistically expect that on the morrow of the election we will have a complete liberalization of all social constraints. Socia liberalisation, secularisation and europeanisation cannot be completely divorced from historical identity at the click of a finger. Prudence demands patience, mutual understanding and compromise and I am somewhat irked by the mentality of "all or none". The same reasoning applies to addressing immigration. I expect much more to be done to safeguard and enhance rights and dignity of asylum-seekers but won't go to the other extreme by claiming that greater efforts at EU-level on responsibility sharing is taboo or unjust, especially considering Malta's limited size and resources. 

B - Social Justice 

Social justice is equally as important. I am not against success and profit so long as it is shared prudently and fairly. I want to be able to be truly proud to pay taxes in the full knowledge that they are going to benefit those who are lesser off. Having said that, no one should simply live off social benefits for the simple reason that they couldn't be arsed to at least try. I am somewhat averse to means testing but I find nothing wrong with giving people the choice to opt out, voluntarily, from benefits such as stipends - guided by civic duty and social justice. Also, austerity politics should be overcome as it is short-sighted and self-defeating. Saving and spending should be wise and prudent. My basic economic compass tells me you should tighten the belt when the economy is strong and smooth - to spend when rainy days come (and not the other way round). Furthermore, spending should be made on things that matter and reap long-term benefits. 

C - Social Corporatism 

I am not anti-capitalist and have faith in the private sector but I expect employers and laborers to have equal seats at the table. I also believe that the state has a role to play in guiding and regulating economic practice when necessary. This is no taboo and should never be treated as such. 

D - Transparency and Accountability in Governance

Transparency and accountability are pretty much tied up with my primary concern. It goes without saying that  enacting transparency and accountability requires a holistic approach and not 1 or 2 pieces of legislation. Nonetheless a Whistleblower's Act, party-financing legislation, appointments on public authorities and boards, and stronger action against political corruption should be mandatory for a new government (although I do agree that with respect to political corruption  - the same measures should apply to the corrupter whoever he or she or it may be - and not just the politician). 

E - Justice (Law & Order)

Justice is also close to heart especially now that I work in the field. The judiciary and organisation of the courts require urgent reform ranging from the way appointments are made to increasing court facilities and staff. There are many issues that need to be addressed which I have briefly touched upon here (paras 18 to 24) and here

F - Other issues

Several other important issues that must be addressed such as ending moral paternalism,  sustainable development and planning, constitutional revision, child-care, employment, energy poverty, electoral reform and so on. 

The Choice


I confess that, being a social democrat firmly on the side of the liberal left, the most obvious choice would be to choose AD in these elections. However, you would be mistaken to think that it is so straight-forward. AD has made grave errors in this election and it is not infallible or beyond reproach. AD is right to claim that is has been consistent and progressive. Yet, in claiming the mantle of "the voice of reason" it has zealously overstepped limits of even basic courtesy and manners by dubbing anyone who votes otherwise as "tribalist", "sheep" or unable to "think freely". This is insulting to say the least and betrays its progressivism and inclusiveness by giving way to quasi-unbridled arrogance which really puts me off. It seems that AD has become an exclusive club that measures intelligence and free-thinking on the basis of your vote. I am also completely against the "PNPL-dichotomy" label because it is a historical falsity. It is PN which has been in power for the last 25 years and not PL. There is no wrong in differentiating oneself from other parties (actually this is a sine-qua-non in politics) but to lump all the country's faults as "PLPN" is misleading.


The only thing that PN has going for it is the relative economic stability in a turbulent economic climate. Of course this has to be qualified by conservative and prudent banking policies. And to be fair, one must conduct a thorough audit of all public authorities and corporations to be able to get a better picture of the state's finances. Other than that PN represents the status-quo defined in my opening paragraph. No chance.


This leaves PL. The thing that put me off most about PL throughout this entire campaign was Muscat's answer to push-backs on asylum-seekers, even if he has qualified this insofar as Libya is a "safe country". Secondly, the hunting issue will cost more votes than gained; that is a certainty. I don't appreciate hunting and  have difficulty appreciating law-breaking hunters even more than hunting itself. But the portrayal of Muscat as a reckless gun-toting-bird-killing redneck  irks me when you consider that he has been very clear: hunting strictly within EU-law framework and increase in enforcement. If you are truly against hunting then criticize the law that allows it to happen in the first place including the judgement that allowed for a spring-hunting derogation under strict supervision. Furthermore, if you are truly against hunting you should call for it to be banned outright. In my opinion, Muscat's true mistake on this issue was not inviting ENGO's such as Bird-Life to also have a seat at the table of discussion. Because of this omission, ENGO anger is merited.

Whilst there are clear red-lines for me on immigration, I will not base my entire vote on spring hunting as the major issue of this campaign. One has to also acknowledge the fact that it is simply not possible to agree with absolutely everything. If I want a party with which I can agree with 100% I'll just go and become a candidate myself. Indeed, Michael Briguglio himself had disagreements in 2008 with AD. Unlike Briguglio, however, I do not think that either-all-or-none is a valid approach to take. I will not abandon ship (as I've done before) but do my damnedest to vocally-crticise and sway opinion, and I do believe that Muscat is not averse to changing his opinion.

These issues aside, PL has opened up. It has been firm and consistent on the need for change from the status-quo, as it has been firm on equality, transparency and accountability.


Sorry to disappoint, but my "very limited cognitive faculties-cum-tribal instinct" tells me to vote for PL candidates best placed to bring about change. Don't worry though, insults aside, AD will still get my cross-vote, with a higher preference than you may think. 

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