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MALTATODAY 13 November 2022

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 13 NOVEMBER 2022 COMMENT What are we skinning? The hunting lobby and government being shamed by the courts over what's confirmed to have been a legally flimsy guardi- anship agreement giving the gun-toting bird-botherers do- main over L-Ahrax and Mizieb. Why are we skinning it? Because it's the best possible illustration of how the ap- peasement of certain lobbies favoured by the government comes at the expense of even certain key legal considera- tions. All is fair in love and war. You could characterise it as such, actually, yes. The government's love for both the hunting and -- say -- the construction lobby is nothing short of a total infatu- ation, the kind whose intensity can become embarrassing on occasion. (And a war against the rest of us who just want to get on with life and enjoy our urban and rural landscapes in peace). But the agreement was based on some form of legal precedent, correct? There was a piece of paper signed back in the '80s apparently. But you know how things were done back then. Ah, the '80s. With Malta being 10-20 years behind at all times, it basically makes it the island's summer-of-love/ psychedelic 70s period. Yes, when life was looser all round, when edges where rounded, where we could smoke indoors without fear or favour, and when men were men prone to gentlemen's agreements even at the highest level. The hunters' commitment to that style of rugged masculini- ty is what's seen them through so far. I would agree with that. Because even among those who would otherwise be their environmental/ideological de- tractors, you'll find those who will romanticise the lifestyle and what they represent. The allure of the wild man is a tough one to beat. Nothing says true machismo like gunning down turtledove with impunity. Though they're rebranding themselves as 'researchers' these days. Hey, it's the perfect way to also reach out to the hipster niche. The Jordan Peterson crowd who's keen on the masculine hegemony but also likes to do a bit of Wikipe- da-skimming on the side and present it as research. Truly, FKNK and their cohort are entering the 21st century with a bang. A loud, feath- er-scattering bang. They've even invoked cancel culture after the newly-appointed PN MP Albert Buttigieg expressed bemusement at the ongoing popularity of their practice. Well, they did ostensibly lose a sizeable swathe of land that they'd otherwise be watching over with their eagerly-cocked rifles. The ostensibly is key here. But we all know how fragile masculine egos can be, and that anything short of total devotion will simply not do. Do say: "The discourse around this supposed guardianship agreement needs to mature into one that emphasises legal clarity. Anything else is an insult to all involved." Don't say: "Let's get real now: if I'm gonna be leered at by anyone while I'm trying to picnic with some semblance of serenity, I'd rather it be a hunter than some smelly hippie environmentalist." Is DeSantis Trump's heir apparent? OPINION PAGE 12 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down MICHAEL FALZON Too hot for comfort PAGE 7 No 165 - The Hunter-Guardian Letdown JOSANNE CASSAR We cannot just keep tallying up the number of fatalities PAGE 6 EDITORIAL On abortion, some sense at last PAGE 2 SAVIOUR BALZAN The other side of the media 'narrative' PAGE 5 Trump's grip on the Republican base is notoriously strong, and he remains the favourite to earn his party's nomination. But if DeSantis throws his hat in the ring for president in 2024, Republicans could soon be bracing for civil war

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