A dangerous game

The interview from jail made to George Degiorgio, one of the two brothers accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia, seems to me part of a dangerous game that is being played by the Degiorgio Brothers or their lawyers

George Degiorgio led to court
George Degiorgio led to court

The interview from jail that Reuters’ Stephen Grey made to George Degiorgio, one of the two brothers accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia, seems to me part of a dangerous game that is being played by the Degiorgio Brothers or their lawyers.

George Degiorgio even said that had he known more about Daphne Caruana Galizia, he would have asked for more money to carry out the assassination.

That puts the Degiorgio brothers in a box: they are just hired killers and they were paid to do the job by others, amongst whom there is allegedly Yorgen Fenech. But most probably it was not just him. Other names have not been revealed and the Degiorgio brothers seem to believe that it is only they who can help nail them. They have been saying that they were ready to spill all the beans about the infamous assassination, even uncovering politicians – or former politicians – that allegedly somehow had a finger in the pie, so long as they are given a presidential pardon.

This request for a pardon has already been refused at least twice. In fact, the issue is politically explosive and giving a pardon to the assassins will not only be a very unpopular move, but it would also put Robert Abela’s Cabinet in a serious situation – a veritable mess that they will never be able to shake off.

To me it seems that Degiorgio’s acceptance to be interviewed and what he said in this interview were intended to add pressure on the Government to give the pardon that the two brothers have been pushing for unsuccessfully for a long time.

The game seems to me that of putting pressure on the current administration to give the requested pardon as otherwise it may appear that it is complicit in the covering up of the Labour politicians that are allegedly involved in the horrendous crime.

Whoever is advising the Degiorgio brothers must think that the administration’s need to overcome this problem will in fact be the key for them to be given some sort of pardon, even if it is in the way of a light sentence.

It also seems that there was another plot to murder Daphne – a plot that was never carried out – and the people behind that plot are not necessarily the same as the ones behind the actual assassination. By giving information just about the previous plot, rather on the more important second one, the Degiorgios will make the administration look stupid – another risk that Robert Abela can hardly afford.

The trials by jury that are already lined up in this case cannot lead to closure if it is public knowledge that there were others involved, others who might have escaped scot-free.

Yet the country needs complete closure. Risking not uncovering the whole truth is the dangerous game the administration must face, but accepting the Degiorgios’ requests could create more questions than answers to the current spate of questions.

I suspect that the less risky choice for Robert Abela is to stick to his guns and refuse to give any more pardons while pressuring the Police to investigate who were the people who shared Yorgen Fenech’s itch to push the assassins.

I suspect, therefore, that Robert Abela’s administration will sit tight with mouth shut on this one.

What will be the next move of the Degiorgios’ lawyers?

From Brexit to exit

Boris Johnson last Thursday resigned as leader of the Conservative Party as he finally had to bow to the pressure of swathes of government resignations. A new Tory leader is set to be in place by the party’s conference in October. As The Sun put it, it was a case of ‘from Brexit to exit’!

The mass rebellion began on Tuesday after Downing Street admitted the PM knew about allegations of inappropriate behaviour against disgraced former Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher in 2019, but still appointed him last February. Before the admission, government ministers had been sent out to defend Johnson on the airwaves, and told to say their boss was unaware of ‘specific’ allegations.

Minutes after Johnson apologised, saying appointing Pincher was a ‘mistake’, Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced his resignation, followed swiftly by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

But speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, he dismissed calls to quit, insisting that there is a sufficient wealth of talent to ensure he can replace the 33 ministers who had resigned. He looked truly exhausted and deflated but he also looked like someone who hadn’t yet accepted the game was up. Senior Conservative MPs realised that he was not psychologically ready to accept what his party was noisily and continually telling him: that the government cannot function with him in charge.

Michael Gove is reported to have told him this privately, and other cabinet ministers including Therese Coffey appear to be staying merely so the business of government doesn’t collapse entirely – and there is someone to turn off the lights. His allies hoped that someone close to him, such as deputy chief of staff David Canzini, might lay a hand on his shoulder and tell him that he needs to stop.

The UK Conservative MPs lost complete confidence in their leader and Boris Johnson had no option but to leave.

Lord Heseltine – who served as a Conservative MP from 1966 to 2001, and was a prominent figure in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and served as Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State under Major – was reported as saying that “if Boris goes, Brexit goes” and he urged the next Conservative Party leader to bolster the UK’s ties with Brussels. Heseltine became a vocal critic of Thatcher, mostly because of her Eurosceptic views and confrontational approach in Parliament.

In 1990, Heseltine had challenged Thatcher for the leadership of the Conservative Party, a challenge that eventually led to her resignation.

He told Sky News: “The critical thing here is that Boris is associated with one major policy, and that is Brexit. I coined the phrase ‘if Boris goes, Brexit goes’.”

He said the next PM should establish a “more positive relationship with Europe”.

He also warned that “extreme anti-Europeanism and right-wingism” would be a “suicide course” for the party.

Will the Brexiteers within the Conservative Party take any notice of this warning?