Mintoff and Burgess: a pig-headed, recalcitrant pair

Dom Mintoff has died aged 96. During Anthony Burgess’s time in Malta, Mintoff was leader of the Labour party and from 1971 back in office as prime minister. An obituary in the UK newspaper the Financial Times says that Mintoff

too often felt obliged to assert himself by quarrelsome behaviour. This made him many enemies.

That is rather like Burgess, in fact — not to mention his wife Lynne. The couple were notorious for their bolshiness, especially in Brunei, for instance during the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh. And in Kuala Kangsar, Burgess quarrelled with the headmaster of the Malay College, the rugger enthusiast Jimmy Howell. As we know also, Burgess conducted himself deplorably as a soldier on Gibraltar.

Burgess conducted a kind of vendetta against the authorities in Valletta. He stormed into government buildings to raise hell about censored copies of books sent to him for review. His house was temporarily confiscated, but he soon got it back.

Did their truculence do Burgess and Mintoff any harm? I think not.

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