We come from Kinnie, You come from Mars

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I apologise for the tardivity of this reply to Vlad�s comment. I have had this post in mind for quite some time but a work overdrive at the Cour de Justice has prevented me from writing it earlier. I needed to write a post about Vlad�s comment because of the nature as well as the content of the comment itself. I feel that Vlad is nit-picking for the sake of nit-picking… the kind of criticism that is said because �you have to say something� and not because �you have something to say�.I think it was very evident that the distinction between Old and New Politics in my earlier post was meant to draw a line between the faulted politics that is leading to a democratic deficit (as wolverine puts it) and real politics as it should be. It is New as opposed to the Old way of doing things. Of itself, the New Politics is not New as in novel. What most of us intend (and what Vlad in fact concludes) is that we need real politics the way it is meant to be. Yes. Politics full stop. This is why I do not see Vlad�s comment adding anything to the argument. It is just a preference on phrasing the issue that ignores the need to distinguish between politics past and politics to be.

And the Kinnie Generation. This is where I really felt the �you have to say something� really showed. No, it is not a curiously vague and inaccurate term.No we are not the generation of the Mars bar. We are the generation of closed schools when Mars bars were just a dream, we are the generation of one TV when Mars adverts were unheard of, we are the generation whose childhood was spent in the age of no choice. We are the generation for whom Kinnie, the only good Maltese product, represented a dazzling star in a cloud-covered night of national monopolies. The Mars generation comes later, it comes armed with cable tv, loss of multi-lingual capability and the spoiled brats that are the product of indiscriminate choice and suddenly enroll in ANR. We are not the Mars generation… they are alien to us (forgive the pun).

We are the ones who can see the need of the break in mentality (who says paradigm shift nowadays?… Joe Pirotta in International Relations maybe… but not the man in the street!). We see it because we know what it means to harbour a dream of a better Malta… as we did throughout our childhood.

As for paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 in Vlad�s comment…. to me it is one great non sequitur after the other. As the great philosopher once said: �What is your problem? What is your point?�

The liberal elite (and others like me) have got to the point of analysing the roots of the need for change. We will shortly move on to analysing the kind of change we need. Kinnie or Mars… whatever your generation, you are still welcome to join. What we need is not pedants… but persons ready to discuss. Full Stop.

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3 responses to “We come from Kinnie, You come from Mars

  1. Smashing bit of writing Jacques these are political allegories of the finest quality that you make.

    I will not allude to which generation I belong (fans of the Xmen should know how old the wolverine is) but I wish to elaborate a little further.

    Back when the generation of Kinnie dreamt of Mars bars there was enthusiasm for a better future among the rational segment of the population which includes the likes of Jacques (and a few irascible characters like myself).

    But where did it all go wrong? Easy: sheer and crass capitalism overcame Christian democracy. (without wishing to sound holier than thou although I am Wolverine and knows what it means to have been crucified).

    What do you get when capitalism overcomes Christian democracy with a prime minister in its clutches that is more socialist than the leader of opposition and who keeps bums in a job?

    A democratic deficit.

    Boy am I a repetitive bore these days!

  2. It is a pity the tardiness of this reply did nothing to temper the tetchiness of the content, but so be it. In actual fact there is little to add to the exchange, except to clarify that my original issue was with the fuzziness with which we (and I happily include myself) set about scratching our chins and stroking our beards in contemplation of the future of political discourse and action.

    The unintentionally comic contorted logic set forth here being a prime example: �New Politics � is New as opposed to the Old way of doing things. Of itself, the New Politics is not New as in novel.� Reluctant to be hoisted with the fatal pedant petard who just speaks for the sake of reading his own writing (1), I will nonetheless venture to describe this as meaningless hogwash. I am also stumped, as in I do not wholly understand, by �Vlad�s Comment � is just a preference on phrasing the issue that ignores the need to distinguish between politics past and politics to be.�

    I will therefore repeat in more straightforward terms what I am arguing, hoping it is an improvement of my previously long-winded endeavour. As the modern voter wanders in the desert in search of values that properly validate his social existence, they might do no worse than to draw inspiration and ideological sustenance from an earlier age, when collective wellbeing actually meant something, be it socialism, compassionate conservatism, or third-way social democracy. If we are actually saying the same thing, then let this be a call for clarity and the advocation of some specific principle; to me as well, I should add. A non-sequitir this may be but anyway, if we carry on like this then we end up like Russia, where the �Against Everybody� candidate marked on the ballot sheet has started giving the politicians a run for their money. At a later stage, I would, if these interventions (as Austin Gatt would say) aren�t getting too self-indulgent, like to express some ideas of my actual opinions.

    My personal perspective on the current situation is that the only democratic deficit there is now is between those who vote out of habit or out of some petty clientilistic motivation, and those who those who don�t vote because they don�t need to. The day may well come when most Maltese citizens urgently feel the need to vote, but find they have nobody worthwhile to do this for. Will the electorate only finds its voice once it has been to the front gate of the abattoir?

    As for the Kinnie Generation, I should let it go as it seems to have touched a sore nerve. I suppose you can scold your children, but you don�t want perfect strangers doing it, if you follow. Ok, have your Kinnie (which I found in a supermarket in Moscow last summer, incidentally) but I still think the Mars generation is a closer match, and I have vivid memories of why this is so. I was ten years old at the time of the �87 elections, but I still remember the poisonous and ridiculous atmosphere of times running up to them; Vote Lorry Sant painted on walls; looking agog everyday as the school bus drove past the Gudja PN club wondering just what happened there; crowds turned away from Zejtun and the resulting violence, which meant I had to walk to my school�s annual bazaar via Marsascala; the fun of studying at classmates� houses (especially when they had cool toys, which did exist then) and all that stuff. But I also recall that one of the things that excited us so much was the prospect of legally available Mars bars. And it wasn�t just us. Grown men could proudly vote PN in 1992 with the warm thought that never again would they have to eat Rimus Riley, Catch or Huskie, all of which I actually quite liked. The Mars generation is the generation with no concept of priorities, the generation that is patiently told about the goose that laid the golden egg but goes hacking regardless, that thoughtlessly stuffs its face and then complains about not feeling well. Certainly, Kinnie is a nicer thing to think about when you�re away from home, like Hobz biz-Zejt, Blue Label and Twisties, but have any of those have brought governments tumbling.

    (1) If this were so I�d have my own blog. Not that it would last any longer than a couple of days.

  3. I remember the time, walking down Hamrun after an election and actually seeing blood and dead rabbits in St.Joseph High Road. And going back home to hear the Run Rabbit Run jingle being played over and over again on television…..the real kinnie generation remember the beginning of the Pupil worker scheme and the Student worker scheme, where only the well connected got the good jobs. The real kinnie generation remember when nearly all courses at university were closed because according to the mintoffian government, there was no need for graduates in such courses. I am quite confident that with all the problems this government inflicts upon us, the younger generation have a better future than i ever had.

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