Split Infinitives Baby!

( a lesson from Austin “Powers” Gatt)


Like J’accuse, Minister Gatt must be a fan of the Daily Mail crossword. Only last Friday one of the clues in the cryptic crossword involved the phrase “To Boldly Go” and the answer was of course “Split Infinitive”.  Come Monday and Minister G has promoted the split infinitive to head his tuppence of thoughts for the general population to attentively read and subsequently obediently digest.

I think the aim of the article began as a reminder to all the world that this government is busy putting into effect a plan. A cunning plan. It has a vision for the Grand Harbour. Hallelujah! Somewhere down the lines we do get an ugly snapshot of what this vision for the Grandest Harbour in Europe entails: cue the list “restaurants, wine bars, luxury apartments, yachts, casinos“. Lovely. A millionaire’s dream I would say. The city built for gentlemen by gentlemen will be surrounded with the Nationalist Party’s bling bling plan for the new millenium. Until aquatic golf is invented we will be faced once again with Hotels (private spaces for the rich), Restaurants (the race to the dumps continues), yachts (everyone has one of those) and casinos (where you spend the rest of your savings). And the biggest bonanza for the citizen – property that sells “like very expensive hotcakes“!

Gatt boasts that the PM has been busy closing down the useless ship building and ship repair – a laudable effort insofar as opening our eyes to what is competitive and what is not. His government deserves the applause for understanding that something has to be done with the area. Of course it has. We have been sitting on gems gifted to us by our forefathers (and fore-colonisers) while others have been embellishing and conserving their heritage and increasing its natural and historic value. If you doubt this for one second hop over to Luxembourg for an idea of giving historic sites their proper value. Until now we rank closer to Cuba than your average European city.

As for the “hotels & restaurants are the solution” song, maybe the PN Government must get busy and appoint a new ambassador to Dublin fast. A recent report in the Independent on Sunday about Dublin’s rejuvenation concluded that part of the success of the new attraction of Dublin was the keeping out of big brands and shops from the old areas. While the nationalist planners are busy planning opulence for the rich and spoilt they would do better involving the culturally minded and planning for the people.

Only yesterday I attended a light and water show in an Abbey in Luxembourg’s Grund. It was magnificent and made me wonder why we do not see more use of our historic areas for such activities. Anyone who had seen the show for Malta’s entry into the EU will know what I mean. We are surrounded by water and yet we busy ourselves shooting fire into the sky at every opportunity. But that is an aside… we’ll have to wait a bit longer for son et lumière to hit our shores. 

Back to the article. It’s not really about the plan, is it, Austin? It’s just an excuse for our Minister for Government Investments (and IT) to publicly call the leader of oppositition a baby.

Baby baby baby.

There. Austin Powers Yes, Alfred Moaner No. Elections are too close for rational discussion. What is politics without the name throwing? And then when you have such a feeble opponent who is content to announce that “He has a plan” even the most ridiculously opulent and non-popular plan will sound plausible.

While the politicians are busy calling each other baby we are lumped with the lesser of two non-plans. That’s democracy baby… wouldn’t you just love it if the electorate really chose to drag Maltese politics beyond the space age?… ah… if only we could boldly go to that ballot paper and start change…

Space: The final frontier
These are the voyages of the Starship, Enterprise
Its 5 year mission
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before

(opening words of Star Trek episodes – when first heard they re-opened the eternal debate of the propriety of using split infinitives)


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