Maltarightnow report the latest phase in the Spring Hunting saga. The Commission decides to request interim measures before the European Court of Justice against Malta’s Spring Hunting policy. The Nationalist government had remained adamant that it would keep spring hunting open for all the hunting enthusiasts. The nationalist media now feign surprise at the Commission decision to come down heavily on a government whose hands are tied.
“Il-Kummissjoni Ewropea qalet ukoll li se titlob lill-Qorti Ewropea biex, sakemm tinqata’ l-kawża, l-Qorti toħroġ mandat ta’ inibizzjoni biex il-Gvern Malti – lanqas jekk irid – ma jkunx jista’ jiftaħ l-istaġun tal-Kaċċa fir-Rebbiegħa li ġejja. Il-Qorti Ewropea mistennija tiddeċiedi jekk il-Gvern Malti jiftaħx l-istaġun tal-Kaċċa fir-Rebbiegħa qabel id-data tal-ftuħ ta’ l-istaġun li jmiss, jiġifieri sa Marzu.”
Should the European Court of Justice decide in the Commission’s favour (and I am precluded from commenting any further on the legal aspect of the issue) the decision would be a boon to the PN government (or so they think). Faced with the ire of thousands of hunters, the government can easily claim “It wasn’t me – it was the Commission”.
On the one hand I am happy I voted to get into the EU – without which we would still have Maghtab Mountain, many more bumpy roads, and possibly (depending on how this case goes) still more hunting (among other things of course). On the other it’s disgusting that the most europhile of parties needs to use this oldest of tactics within the multi-level governance system to shield itself from the anger of a part of the electorate it could never control.
The fact that such action will increase the hatred and mistrust of the EU among those groups that are not sufficiently informed on the issue is once again considered collateral damage that is worth paying for. Or at least so they think.
Incidentally in case you were wondering how much public opinion counts on this issue take a look at the current Times poll. Out of the 1979 persons who had voted by this morning, 91.4% believed the government should fall in line with EU insistence not to open the spring hunting season. Not exactly a proper survey but hey, 91.4%???
And is the government falling in line. Not of it’s own accord it isn’t? It will wait for the slap on the hand from the EU (if it comes) and then seem to be resigned to complying. And come the next election after this, when the storm has abated, they will be claiming to be the greenest of parties having stopped spring hunting.
I just hope the government doesn’t take to playing poker… bluffing is not exactly it’s game.
What kind of democracy is this when a government can be so confident to defy public opinion … and rest assured that the votes will still come its way come election time?
Ah well… it’s either us strong decision makers or waste your vote.