It’s the talk of the town. Storm-struck Malta is also awe-struck at the power of Jesus (and George). As Easter get’s closer the Nationalist directed government has taken to whipping very religious bunnies out of its apologist (and dusty) christian-democrat hat in order to impress an ever-more baffled populace. The concept of lay government had already been feebly swaying as the ultra-catholic gales of majjistral have attacked it from all sides. No divorce, entrenchment of abortion, a hard life for unmarried couples and any other sneeze that the catholic lobby could conjure have reinforced the winds of Jesus-karma that presumably are the key to the next election victory according to the wise priests at Pieta’.
If that was not enough, now we have George to feed the ardent flames of sainthood. Preca I mean. He will be sanctified on June whatever and many faithful servants of the Lord will be travelling to the Caput Mundi in Rome for this monumentous occasion. This mass travel must have lit many panic buttons in the minds of the Gvernaturi tal-Pajjiz. Joe and Lawrence must have noticed that at some point in June quite a few planeloads of accolytes of George P will be heading onto a plane and paying the appropriate travel ticket + taxes treat that the government reserves for all those who try to call themselves frequent travels.
Then they noticed the big big hitch… most MUSEUM members do not normally travel much more than to the Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary in Gozo and had never been exposed to the exhorbitant taxes that Ceasar has deemed fit to charge the souls of this world whenever they decide to leave the island for a holiday. How would the government avoid the massively efficient MUSEUM network from suddenly discovering the multiplier effect on the hole in the pocket that is the Departure Tax? Easy. Exempt anyone travelling to Rome on or around those days (I am told that a Hamilton Travel Group missed the tax break because their return flight is timed for 20 minutes after midnight after the exemption).
That was not enough. Seeing that most MUSEUM people also double up as educators of this island, the Ministry for Education promptly announced that schools would be closed on the day following George’s official admission among the plethora of Saints much to the pleasure of all hagiographic enthusiasts. No taxes and no education for a day… the government was on a roll. I am told that the Curia was literally head over heels at this wonderful news.
It was then that the newly crowned Bishop of Gozo must have seen that this would be a perfect time to announce that he would be shooting off Down Under for a little session of prayers with the Youth of this World. Yahoo! – all the people say. All Latter Day Catholics who had begun to plan a tax-free skimper across three continents were slightly disappointed with the governmental measures this time round. In fact GonziCo announced that it had an available fund of LM5,000 (€12,500) in order to assist any young people who want to go to Australia with the Bishop of G. So – no tax break – but a virtual sponsorship for avid prayer machines. Time to revise your Hail Holy Queen.
No Mother of Mercy can probably explain this baffling behaviour by the Nationalists in Government. Their obtuseness in confusing what is lay with what is catholic is incredible. Christian Democracy is not really the problem. Real Christian Democracy is not about sucking up to the latest prelate but about a just society of equal values and respect of the human being. It is not about tax breaks for the men in black but about a value based society in which everyone feels included. I would not like to make a mountain out of this Golgotha, especially in this Easter period but I do find the backward summersaults that this government is prepared to perform for the sake of the Catholic Lobby is beginning to be more than suspicious.
Does this government really believe that this is the way to win voters over? Even if it is not a vote-catching campaign what does it really tell us? If this is really a sensitivity to the mass mobility needs of a choked population then why not a tax-holiday during such periods as Christmas, New Year, Easter and the Oktoberfest in Munich? The tax break for George’s graduation ceremony is also an implicit admission that the tax is wrong in the first place. If it was not so burdensome there would be nothing to have a break from on “extraordinary occasions”.
The nationalist party in government needs a few of those brush up internal seminars questioning what ever happened to the Christian Democratic inspiration that inspired the 80’s movement of peaceful resistance and was the initial beacon for the changing nineties before something went awfully wrong… and it all went up in Unholy Smoke.
George Does Not Save Much (Birds)
And while we are talking about saving, the above picture appeared in today’s Times on the same day that our earthly George was meeting Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas for an urgent meeting regarding the Spring Hunting issue. Pictured (Times photo) is a dead Pallid Harrier – shot out of the blue Maltese sky a week before the start of the Spring Hunting season. The last bit of information is actually superfluous since even if it were within the Hunting Season the shooting of this bird would still be illegal.
The government should be a little less concerned about saving our souls and more about saving those unprotected creatures who were unfortunate enough to opt to fly through the Maltese tax-laden skies.