Electoral Moleskine No. 6 – Political Expediency & MEPA

Political Expediency & MEPA

From today’s editorial on the Sunday Times (regarding Cacopardo’s decision to publish a report):

“His former boss, Joe Falzon, who had staunchly defended Mr Cacopardo last year when Mepa refused to renew his contract as an investigating officer, has gone on record as saying that the architect should not use a document he acquired due to his position for the sake of political expediency.”

Let us forget for a moment that the report should not be published for political expediency but because if something stinks then the people should know it. Let us, but let us also think about this new principle that is being bandied around by the Times editorial. So politicians should not use information or documents acquired for the sake of political expediency. Bravo. Neither should they use money they manage or departments they run. Adverts for Smart Malta should not even be planned on the eve of an election. We should not have had to resort to the BA to stop that. See what I mean? This is a case of people in glasshouses. Especially since this useful principle only services when public information is used to show that something is wrong in the government.

PN find it easy to admonish the MLP accusers of corruption who fail to make reports to the police. They make fun of MLP’s supposed policy of zero-tolerance. And they are right. But then, that the same PN and its spin machine is so baffled when someone chooses to go public rather than wait any longer for the government to drag its feet or hide the dirt under the carpet… ahh then it’s political expediency. Never mind that the recent news regarding MEPA show us that this government itself admits that there is a huge need for reform. An admission during an election is tantamount to no admission at all. As Daphne says… not credible. Not when you spent ten years making fun of the treehuggers and protecting whatever was wrong in MEPA. No sir.

Politically expedient is announcing reform during elections only to give the same old thing after you are in government. That sirs, is politically expediency. Coming down like a ton of bricks on someone who is tantamount to a whistleblower is political expediency.

This too is what current politics is about. Yes, Patrick Tabone, voting for AD now has been rendered practically useless. Yes, it is easy to plead for reason and to vote for those who can switch from saint to bully on matters of political expediency and representation. Yes, probably many of us will reluctantly end up giving a number one vote to some PN nincompoop because no matter how much PN policy and strategy is in the shit, MLP policy is even for the worse (do you read me Victor Laiviera). We will give our number two vote of hope to AD. We are pissed off for being forced to do this. Pissed off at this mess. We are ungrateful freaks who cannot recognise what the previous generation fought for because their Holy Grail is more of the recycled old nonsense. They got locked up overnight by wicked policemen. We got called stupid for wanting to have a free vote not tied to Nationalist political expediency.

What we are busy doing now is forcing the admission that the system does not work. Diplomatically we can, like Patrick, say that the election is not the best time. We knew that. But for all the opposite reasons we knew that it would be the best (and only time) to give the establishment a run for its money. To get the so-called “apparatchicks” and “defensor fidei” to finally admit the obvious. That the system is only allowing two stagnant parties to continue to stagnate. That the choice ois no choice at all (not even Hobson had it so bad). And once the election is gone, if we all forget all this and go on with our lives… then it’s all going downhill from there.

Who’s up for the next stage?

Meanwhile. I had my firts lesson. My legs are killing me and I am now off for a hot chocolate and some warm food. Then a sauna. The joys of election in the land of Oz.


81 responses to “Electoral Moleskine No. 6 – Political Expediency & MEPA

  1. David Friggieri

    I’m absolutely with Jacques on this one. Absolute respect to the few – very few – folks who could have had it easy by kow-towing to PN or MLP but who have chosen to stick their necks out with all the risks that entails. For let us not forget that societies have not always waited for juggernauts like political parties to bring about change. AC Grayling’s absolutely wonderful book, Towards the Light, shows that a few hard-headed individuals armed with convincing ideas can be far more effective.

    I too share Jacques’s enthusiasm for the debate which his blog has finally (after 4 years!) provoked. For all our opinion columns, newspapers and talk shows, my feeling is that something far more productive, not to mention engaging, has come out of the j’accuse experiment. Incidentally, hats off to Daphne for being the first established journalist to get in the ring with us well and proper.

    Let’s just hope that the engaging debate doesn’t evaporate into thin air when the electoral battle is over. Let’s also hope that individuals will increasingly feel that there’s nothing to be afraid of: it’s time to bury the legacy of ‘min mhux maghna kontra taghna’ – in my views the most paralysing mind-set we have to contend with – once and for all.

    PS: Complimenti alla Juve di Ranieri e Del Piero. And I mean that honestly. Watched the first half on a taxi driver’s mobile phone between Tiburtina and Via Veneto! (Il tassista era juventino)

    Fingers crossed for Tuesday. I think I’ll take the bus to the Olimpico. Daje’ Roma!

  2. Re your response to my previous post – respect, I hear you. And thanks to your blog others have too. Enjoy the skiing.

  3. I am surprised at the PN media lambasting the person who publishes a report revealing very questionable practices, instead of the person engaging in those questionable practices. A minister meeting planning officials constitutes political intervention in the planning process. This direct intervention in individual cases is damning. If this had to happen abroad, the minister in question would have resigned in shame. Instead we kill the messenger. Way to go Gonzipn. SO much for transparency, whistleblowing etc etc

  4. Victor Laiviera

    David, you use the term “journalist” very loosely.

  5. Victor, I’ve consciously avoided taking the bait with your comments so far, but it’s getting to be a bit much. These sorts of interventions are symbolic of everything that is wrong with the childish, tribal politics that have subsisted in Malta for several decades. Is it any wonder that my generation is sick of what your generation has bequeathed us?

  6. Victor Laiviera

    Could you be a bit more specific?

  7. Tackling the player and ignoring the ball. To be fair, you’re not the only person who does that. David congratulated Daphne for being the first mainstream media personality to engage with this medium, and that somehow provoked a facile remark about the quality of her journalistic skills. I’m quite sure she can stick up for herself, and will probably respond in kind. I hope that she won’t maintain that sort of debate. It is this mudslinging that prevents our political system from functioning to its full potential. We engage with colours rather than ideas. In the UK, Gordon Brown made a genuine effort to have ‘a government of all the talents’ notwithstanding opposition from within the ranks of his own party; in Malta we have a political party (not the one that you support) that panders to a spirit of harmony by saying that together everything is possible, but, as several people have pointed out here, the people involved in that spirit of togetherness must be true blue. Labour is equally guilty of this tribal attitude, although to Alfred Sant’s credit he did signal the way for some non-partisan appointments between 96 and 98.

  8. Jacques how can we get TMI to publish this… in toto? 🙂 It’s the best piece of commentary of the week.

  9. Victor Laiviera

    I was merely trying to point out that Daphne is not a journalist, A columnist, at best and a PN activist at worst.

    Calling her a journalist is an insult to real journalists who try to provide a service to their readers, rather that serve their own political interests.

    If that is hard to take – tough. But someone has to say it.

  10. Ah, my mistake – you were standing up for the integrity of the journalistic profession that David had inadvertently maligned in his comments about individuals with backbone forging a new path. My apologies.

  11. journalist

    • noun a person who writes for newspapers or magazines or prepares news or features to be broadcast on radio or television.

    — DERIVATIVES journalistic adjective.


    • noun a journalist who writes a column in a newspaper or magazine.

  12. I think I’ve said elsewhere that it’s important not to take seriously anything that Victor Laiviera says. This is a man who rooted for the corrupt, violent and downright dreadful governments of Dom Mintoff and Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, and who counts Alfred Sant as a ‘personal friend’, so there are credibility issues. I wouldn’t bother.

  13. Victor Laiviera

    How patronising. Mummy instructing her little brood what they should and should not read and watch.

    I hope they listen to her – she knows what’s best for them.

  14. Victor Laiviera

    Justin, isn’t “tackling the player and ingoring the ball” exactly what Daphne does in re Sant?

  15. Yes she does do that, although when you run for office you are the ball as much as you are the player in some respects. For the sake of completeness, and bearing in mind that it is no excuse, Daphne’s style is scathing and that is part of the reason why people read her columns; by way of example Daphne tackles Tonio Borg (Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Leader of the PN) here: http://www.independent.com.mt/news.asp?newsitemid=46931

    I did not say that your comments are any worse than anyone else’s. What I said is that we are sick of people being deemed to be right or wrong on the basis of their political leanings. On that note, I refuse to consider your ideas to be baseless because of your friendship with Alfred Sant and I will continue to engage with anything substantive that you might say. For that matter, I refuse to consider Alfred Sant’s ideas to be baseless because I think he is a failed politician. I pointed out a positive aspect of his administration above, an aspect that incidentally PN followed up on limitedly through the appointment of people like Judge Sciberras. I said that we need to engage with ideas. No nation can afford to discard ideas, less so a small nation. I’ll even go so far as to bandy an idea proposed by that most despicable of politicians Norman Lowell: we might be too small a nation to completely exclude the possibility of having politicians from every party in government together (and yes I know that this is unrealistic in practice).

  16. I am not surprised at all at some of the reactions. It confirms that all talk by MLPN on transparency, accountability and whistleblowing is “doubleplus ducktalk”.

    Carmel Cacopardo

  17. Victor Laiviera

    Justin, I did not find any references to Tonio Borg’s family or any physical characteristics he may have in that link you provided. Nor the ay he dresses, acts, eats and drinks.

    You must living on cloud nine if you really think thatb the PN fololowed up on Sant’s initiative just becasue they appinted on lawys as judge.

    Have a look at the myriad boards and committees appointed by this Gov – you will not find the slightest speck of red or green to break the solid blue expanse.

    Have a look at the civil servants exiled to remote corners with nothing to do except twiddle their thumbs all day long- untill they get fed up and resign. Their only crime being known as Labour supporters

    Are you aware that, for the last few years all top civils service posts have been strictly reserved for persons who are:

    a) True blue, and

    b) if possible members of some religious organisation, preferably Opus Dei?

    I am sooooooo relieved that you “refuse to consider my ideas baseless because I am a friend of Alfred Sant”! The very fact that you felt the need to say that shows how Daphne and the PN demonisation of Sant has poisoned your mind.

  18. Victor Laiviera

    Mr Cacopardo, let me say congarutulations on your courage. You did what had to be done. I need hardly say that you will invitably be vilified by the peoplw who are prone to shoot the messenger whan they don’t like the message.

  19. Very true Victor. Its always two weights and two measures when it comes to our politicians. Apart from the demonisation of Sant the person and the glorification of Gonzi the family man, lets shift our attention to one aspect to this campaign. What would most of us on this blog have said if the MLP or better still Sant came up with the idea of SantMLP as the campaign logo? That would have been political suicide for the MLP but it seems to be totally acceptable for the GonziPN clan.

    What we really need in this country is not just electoral reform, we need a change of mentality. Shooting down whatever is red will get us nowhere.

  20. Victor, do you actually read what I write? I said that PN followed up limitedly. I repeat LIMITEDLY. Before 96 they did not even appoint one judge who was not nationalist.

    I said that I refuse to consider what you say to be baseless in response to Daphne’s suggestion that I should ignore everything that you say. I felt the need to say that because Daphne said something that I disagreed with, and my disagreement fits in with the wider issue that I was addressing. I am making the point that we need to move beyond the tribal politics that have poisoned our country. I illustrated that by invoking Norman Lowell, a politician that I despise. But that would be too hard to believe. You would much rather choose to believe that I am a colour than a person who forms opinions, or that I am somehow brainwashed by columnists who I take with more than a pinch of salt. These assumptions are part of what is wrong with our politics.

  21. Victor Laiviera

    Well at least we agree on one thing – Lowell. 🙂

  22. Victor Laiviera

    Justin, I have re-read my post and yours- and it turns out that you are the one making the assumptions.

    I simply replied to a remark you made and put forward a couple of ideas of my own -I did not assume anything about you.

  23. I had just woken up when I read what you wrote (I study/teach in Scotland) – I’m a tad sensitive in the morning so apologies (sincerely this time) for the knee-jerk reaction. I’m sure we agree about a lot more than Lowell. By way of example, you’re quite right that PN is very suspicious of people that are not true blue and there is a world of difference between Sant 96-98 and PN governments in respect of appointment of political opponents.

  24. Rupert, I do not think that it is two weights two measures to the extent that you seem to. I just think that MLP needs to get someone to its hit jobs too. For example, I think that it would not be wrong for the media to expose the homosexuality of certain PN candidates given PN’s homophobic record. It would not quite elevate discussion of the substance, but it would certainly ridicule their hypocrisy.

  25. Rupert. A bit of martyr complex there. I don’t think we have spared the GonziPN idea any criticism. And I do not think it was criticism for the sake of it either… much of our arguments about the lack of quality in the party begin with the proof that pN can only push one man as a solution. Having said that here is my bit of bias which I am sure will give Mr Laiviera much to assume: Give me GonziPN any day over SantMLP… but boy wouldn’t HarryPNAD be something?

    Victor: I am very bad with people and names. For a while I thought you were a uni student … is there a relation of yours who writes on the Times blogs in the student section?

    David: Un tassista Juventino a Roma… and to think we lost 14 million supporters after Moggiopoli.

    Patrick: Respect… word up and all that. Let’s keep this going… the discussion cannot die.

  26. “much of our arguments about the lack of quality in the party begin with the proof that pN can only push one man as a solution. ” – exactly my point Jacques, had it been the MLP with a SantMLP the criticism would have been about the fears of a possible dictatorship and not about the lack of quality.

  27. Jacques, just to make myself clear, the comment above are not directed towards this blog but towards our so called independent media

  28. “I think that it would not be wrong for the media to expose the homosexuality of certain PN candidates given PN’s homophobic record. It would not quite elevate discussion of the substance, but it would certainly ridicule their hypocrisy.”

    Ahhh the hypocrisy of the PN lies deeper than that. Not only are there gay people contesting political elections, but it also makes use of them to deliver its msg (e.g. media, party anthems etc…). Then, a motion against homophobia … not gay unions or adoption … homophobia, something which in present day society should be an absolute wrong … is voted against. Either some people have no pride or I don’t know …

  29. A belated reply to Patrick Tabone re pressuring a re-elected PN government to revise the electoral system. Forget it, Patrick, it will never happen. The PN has consistently derailed any attempt at electoral reform, just as it scuttled the party financing debate in the mid-1990s. Also there seems to be this naive view, no doubt dating back to the 1980s, that somehow, everything will turn out just fine under the Nationalists. This is at best wishful thinking. And to believe that Gonzi would reform the electoral system under pressure by an obviously Green lobby group is little short of ridiculous. Over the past four years we have seen the Prime Minister blatantly ignoring any lobby/special interest group which wasn;t there merely to sing his own praises. One example was the RSPB, which he left waiting on the steps of Castile… twice. So why on earth should we be hopeful that a re-elected Super GonziPN will be any different when it comes to a lobby group seeking to undermine his own party’s undying grip on power?
    Of course, other lobby groups were given red carpet treatment at the same Palace… but only because their demands could later be used for purely political purposes: something which we will no doubt see with greater clarity in the coming fortnight.
    Patrick, if I were you I would abandon your hopes that the Nationalists will ever bring about the necessary changes. They will not. They have proved time and again that they are incapable of putting aside their own partisan interests for the common good. The most I can say for them is that – unlike Mintoff – they will at least compromise slightly so as to give the impression of fairness, while retaining maximum advantage for themselves. The fact that this the most we can aspire to should really tell us everything we need to know about the current, sorry state of play.
    But my real worry is this: if the PN wins this election after its Hugo Chavez-style campaign, power will go so far to GonziPN’s head that he will not listen to anyone at all. He will simply (and in a sense rightly) take the vote as a blanket approval of ALL his policies, with no exceptions. You will notice that electoral reform is not among those policies. And the pressure group you envisage will left on the steps of Castile with all the other junk.

  30. Victor Laiviera

    Jacques, first of all “prosit” (nearly wrote prosit-tal-programm there! 🙂 ) and thank you for the opportunity to express ourselves freely – I’m tired of certai papers censoring my letters.

    Yes I am a Uni student (part-time) but NO, I am not the Laiviera who writes the student blog, though we are related.

    I have absolutely no problem with you having a “pro-Gonzipn bias”. In fact, you are too harsh with yourself – probably it’s conviction rather than bias. I have always loved to debate with peoole of opposite views rather that preach to the converted.

    It’s people who think that political debate has to be personal and vicious like Daphne whom I cannot stand.

  31. That’s just too rich, Victor. What was the ‘political debate’ (one-sided) of your favourite Mintoff and KMB governments like if not ‘personal and vicious’, besides also corrupt and violent? What is this – the rebirth of Victor Laiviera as a free-thinking, free-speech democrat? You’re taking advantage of people who don’t know and who don’t remember, and please point out that though you are a ‘uni’ student – as you put it – you are actually of pensionable age and an old socialist. This is not ‘being personal’, just clearing up the facts for the young and innocent. I am a little tired of having you stalk through the blogs like Hannibal Lecter, looking for young and impressionable people to prey upon. Too bad you’ve got me here too – no longer young and far from impressionable.

    Why didn’t I write about Tonio Borg’s clothes or hair? Simple: his clothes are ordinary and he doesn’t wear a wig. Why didn’t I write about his family situation? Simple: it’s boring and ordinary, and he doesn’t have a woman whom he shrugged off more than 22 years ago still hanging onto his coat-tails and giving electioneering interviews in the role of ‘eks-mara’ (for God’s sake). Has she no self-respect? More to the point, has he no self-respect? Why doesn’t she do what their sensible daughter does, and stay out of the limelight – or is this her way of laying claim to her man in the public eye and making sure that no other woman will ever be able to edge her way in?

    Justin: the personal is the political. A man’s (or woman’s) political life is shaped and affected by his (or her) personality. I write the way I do because that is my personality. Sant behaves the way he does because that is his personality. The same with Gonzi. The personality defects that negatively affect Alfred Sant’s personal life are the very same ones that negatively affect his political life. Personality problems are personality problems, wherever you apply them.

    And Justin, you can never divorce a person’s opinions, views and statements from who that person is. The medium is the message. No, Victor Laiviera’s views on politics cannot be taken seriously for a very sound reason: he has manifested immensely poor judgement by respecting, admiring and voting for the governments of Dom Mintoff and Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici. When you consider a person’s views, first consider whether the person has credibility in general and on that issue in particular. Now if Victor Laiviera were an expert on, say, films, I would respect his opinion of the latest box office hits. But I am certainly not going to respect his opinion on politics.

    Victor: you claim that Labour sympathisers were sidelined by the Nationalist government. Oh my, how wrong you are (perhaps deliberately so). Joe Sammut the Ombudsman was what – a maduma-waving, innu-singing Nationalist? Louis Grech was chairman of Air Malta for years, and now he is what -remind me – a Labour MEP? Those are two of the most prominent and prestigious posts in the government’s ‘gift’. I could mention others, but I don’t want to invade their privacy on a blog. What I do know is that the ones who were sidelined were useless in the first place, and I think you will find that they only got the jobs they had through nepotism under Labour and not through ability or aptitude.

    I once told your party’s Mario Vella that by spending nine years in an empty room collecting a government salary he was only proving the government’s point that he was good for nothing and that he got his job because he was a Labour acolyte. Had he any verve, drive, initiative or ability, he would have taken off after a couple of months and looked in the private sector for something more thrilling and challenging than nine hours a day doing nothing under a bare lightbulb. But maybe he and all those others who complain about being ‘left in a room’ actually enjoyed getting paid for doing sweet FA. Otherwise, they would have left and got another job. That’s what we normal people, out here in the private sector, do when we don’t like our boss/job/salary/place of work.

    You are particularly disingenuous making this claim when your very own wife, Renee Laiviera, held for years (and for all I know, still holds) a very good position in the Prime Minister’s Office at the Auberge de Castille – and the prime ministers she worked/works for were/are Eddie Fenech Adami and Lawrence Gonzi. So give it a rest. There’s somebody who knows rather a lot on this blog – me. That means you’ll have to go somewhere else to do your Hannibal Lectering. Oh, and maybe you should tell Jacques that the Nestor Laiviera who writes the student blog is – what – your son? Named after, let me see now, the infamous old socialist Nestu Laiviera? There you have it: the personal is the political.

  32. Victor Laiviera

    I thought you woud expand the argument by dragging my family into it – it’s the only way you know and the only weapon you have – I pity you.

    In any case, you are seriously of of date and out of line. My wife used to be the head of the Dept which promoted women’s equality – a post she obtained after a call for applications and after facing an interviewing board chaired by none other than Mr Joe Grima – who went on to become Fenech Adami’s right hand man in the civil service. However, when the PN got back in in 98, the sight of a labourite in such a position was too much to take and she was replaced by a true-blue stalwart BY DIRECT APPOINTMENT, WITHOUT EVEN A CALL FOR APPLICATIONS. Then she was exiled to a dead end-job out of sight and out of mind

    Yes – Nestor is my son. And I can assure you that I raised him well and he would never attack people who are only doing their job and tell them to “fuck off”.

    You viciousness won’t even respect the dead but yes, Nestu Laiviera, whom you have the gall to call “infamous” was my father. He was a member of parliament non-stop from 1947 to 1978, earning universal respect in the political field and both sides of the house to the extent that he was elected speaker twice not just unanimously but by acclamation. Check out what your “the village lawyer” had to say on his retirement. By the way, the Birgu Local Council will be erecting a bust in honour shortly. Sħall I ask them to send you an invitation to the unveiling?

    Talking of fathers, I believe yours was a would-be politician at one time too – did he ever manage to persuade anyone to vote for him?

    You see, Dear Daphe, I have the capacity to debate soberly and sanely with Jacques and the rest and, when the occasions calls for it, to descend to your level and slug it out in the gutter. You can’t.

  33. This discussion is truly disgusting and childish.

    Daphne – stop your patronising attitude towards to the contributors of this blog. Stop treating us like a bunch of gullible idiots.

    Victor – I am not interested in your opinion about anything in this world. If you have nothing better to do just invite over KMB or one of your friends for a cup-a-tea to reminesce the ‘good old days’……

    Mi avete rotto il ca..o.

  34. I think these ‘battibekki’ between Daphne and Victor summarize everything that’s wrong with Maltese politics today.

    Yesterday’s debate at university was shameful, as is trying to justify it with what happened in the eighties (which is even more shameful) … freedom of speech is one thing, behaving in a tribal fashion is another.

  35. I fully agree that yesterday’s debate at university was shameful. Further proof that that place has become a robot-factory not a hub of intelligent, free-thinking individuals.

  36. Talking about government appointees – why didn’t the Nationalist administration appoint Judge Giovanni Bonello to the ECHR? Why did it have to be the MLP to appoint him?

  37. I’ve just seen the exchanges on this post. Particularly viscious. No I am not afraid of discussion and yes I do think the personal can veer on the political, only I feel that certain exchanges should begin to form part of the old way politics was done. Again I am not censoring. I don’t even have time to do that right now … I am about to go to the peak of a 3000m high mountain. Unless anything new can be added to the discussion on this particular post I invite all participants to move on and discuss something new.

  38. What depresses me about yesterday’s university debate is the attitude of certain students itself. I am all in favour of a student’s freedom of speech. However, yesterday’s debate did not represent freedom of speech. It represented the arrogance of a growing faction of youth which has no respect for either authority or other people’s opinions. It was a disservice to any student who hoped to get some civil discussion out of this event. I’m also certain that if I had to ever use foul language in public or in front of a TV camera, I would be getting any approving smiles from my parents.

    The KSU president addressing AS on the stipends issue also comes as a surprise (not!), when the KSU president himself remembers a more recent stipend cut and was not around in the 96-98 period when the first slashing of stipends happened, which was never reversed by the way. AS’s way of dealing with uncomfortable questions did not do him any favours, and neither did LG’s approval of such an attitude.

    I believe the PN were successfully managing to catch up lately with their political adversaries … not surprisingly so, as Sant and Mangion have no inkling of how to woo the electorate … but I do not believe this university debate helped in any way.

  39. Victor Laiviera

    Anton I agree with you that this kind of discussion is disgusting and I deeply regret that I was dragged into it. But sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

  40. You weren’t dragged into it, Victor, you asked for it. And as for your reference to your wife, you’re mashing up the truth. In 2000, I worked on a project for the Dept for the Promotion of Women’s Equality, or whatever other silly name it had, and the person I dealt with there was Mrs Laiviera. So much for her being sidelined out of sight and mind in 1998.

    There is nothing childish or disgusting, Victor, about putting things in context. On the contrary, that’s the mature and sensible approach. If you are the kind of person who sizes up people and issues purely at face value and on the basis of printed or spoken words – well, I don’t know . Do you also study the electoral programmes and take them at face value, rather than assessing the potential of the party to implement them, and its track record? If somebody were to apply to you for a job, would you only go by his letter of application, or would you also interview him and find out a little bit more about him.

    Now here’s Claire, back again with her two cents’ worth about Vanni Bonello. The reason he wasn’t appointed was personal jockeying for the post, and nothing to do with politics, so your argument doesn’t exactly hold. As for Alfred Sant, he appointed him because he no doubt thought it would be a magnificent PR opportunity, not because he loves Judge Bonello any more than Judge Bonello loves him. Fortunately, Vanni is a magnificent person. On the other hand, just take a look at the political sympathies of the judges/magistrates appointed by the brief Labour government, and I’ll rest that particular case there.

    Anton again: if you are one of those men who shrivel up down there at the sight or sound of an assertive woman, that’s your problem not mine. Deal with it. Men like you are better off with women who bat their eyelashes, flirt and presage their every opinion with a timid “In my opinion, not that I know anything, but….”. Now for all I know you might turn out to be having an affair with Margaret Thatcher, and I might be wrong, but I’ve been around long enough to have learned how to separate the men who can cope from the ones who can’t. You might have noticed that there are only two women on this blog, and why might that be? Because it’s overtly masculine and chauvinist, that’s why, and only women like me, who are accustomed to dealing with this kind of attitude on a daily basis, can deal with it. Oh, there’s Claire, too, but she has something to sell.

    This blog is full of patronising, intolerant, rude and aggressive comments, but who is the only one who gets described as such? The woman. Women are only permitted to appear in the presence of Maltese men if they whisper, don’t point out that they know more than the men, are suitably submissive and make the tea. The amusing thing is that you think of yourselves as out there and liberal, when a quick cruise through this blog reads like a discussion in a hanut tat-te.

    Oh, for some more girls in this debate. Don’t any of you have some at home?

  41. Daphne, I’ve agreed with you before about the misogyny in Maltese culture and politics, but it is grossly unfair to hint that this blog and everyone who writes on it is chauvinistic. If your comments attract more attention, I think that it has everything to do with your popularity/notoriety and very little, if anything, to do with your gender. Some people who submit misleading and patronising comments are just ignored, as well they should be in some cases.

    Yes, Malta is still decades away from gender equality. I’m surprised that nobody kicks a fuss about the pathetic number of women contesting this election. This is not a purely Maltese malady, but it certainly is accentuated in Malta. That being said, when one crosses the border into targeted misandry, few will be convinced.

  42. Dear Daphne, you really need to calm down and relax. You see, my remark on your unwarranted personal attacks triggered off a tsunami of accusations and assumptions towards my person. Le persone si attaccano con la forza della ragione non con l’insulto.

    Take a deep breath and relax……………

  43. Very interesting exchanges,, until, that is, he old witch from Bidnija butted in.
    I am really sorry for her. She seems much to frustrated in life to be able to carry a sane argument without getting personal.

    No wonder she did not lift a finger when the silicone baby boy sitting just two seats away insulted the journalists at the University. If that is all she could come up with by way of fostering a yobo then no wonder she tries so hard to vent hatred against all who oppose her. I relaly pity her!

  44. Very interesting exchanges, until, that is, the old witch from Bidnija butted in.
    I am really sorry for her. She seems much to frustrated in life to be able to carry a sane argument without getting personal.

    No wonder she did not lift a finger when the silicone baby boy sitting just two seats away from her insulted the journalists at the University. If that is all she could come up with by way of fostering a yobo then no wonder she tries so hard to vent hatred against all who oppose her. I really pity the woman – plastic and all.

  45. Oh Savanah! What a great warrior you are! What wit! What panache!…..What a waste of space……….

    Why does it have to get so personal? Aren’t you capable of building a cogent argument? You must be a product of the Generazzjoni Socjalista………. And before you say that I too am becoming personal, that comment is about a political programme implemented by, among others, the wannabe Prime Minister himself. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

  46. Savannah, I think you will find that personal insults and attacks on members of people’s families are not considered to be convincing or becoming by most readers of this blog. If you found the discussion above interesting, I am sure we would all appreciate your views on that discussion.

  47. One thuoght about blogs and internet – modern technology does not necessaeily make us better human beings apparently. None of us are “grudge-free zones” here, all of us are human beings, but the blog/internet makes it so easier for us to rant and rave and transmit our prejudices to the rest of world by the mere push of a button. Advanced techonolgy is clearly not enough for the betterment of mankind – blogs worldwide are ending up as as mouthpieces for the most opinionated, the loudest sectors of society, plus those with axes to grind, chips on their shoulder, or with not-so-hidden agendas – in other words, the glorified equivalent of those talk shows which Joe Grima had tried to introduce without much success in the early 1990s.

    I was never a fan of Web 2.0 and I am much less now. All the world and the next guy has a megaphone now, and the sound coming out is not edifying, although entertaining in a vaudeville sort of way.

    Daphne and VL can howewer provide us with one interesting piece of information here – what are the latest internal polls of the parties indicating? There are rumours of a wide lead by MLP. Comment is free, but facts are sacred – and this is one fact we would be interested in!

  48. Wide lead by MLP?! HAHAHA. You’re going to get a nice surprise march 9th at 1100 as soon as you turn on your TV and see Joe Saliba hugging Gonzi at the counting hall. PN’s lead is growing each day. Their only worry is Harry in Sliema.

  49. Personally, I think this election is the most unpredictable one for the last 10-15 years. That is why I am surprised as much as you at these rumours and would appreciate hearing something from the horses’ mouths. After all, we have heard here many opinions and irrelevant personal information, so perhaps it’s time to go for some value-added.

  50. I believe that whoever will win it will do so by a narrow relative majority.

  51. I of course, have no polls at hand, save those published by Maltatoday every Sunday. However from the way the leaders of the two major parties are behaving themselves, it does look as though they both know that the MLP has a comfortable margin…

    Also, this is becoming one long boring election campaign. Sant is behaving himself in a way only he can. In comparison the desert is exciting. While Gonzi and Harry, who are usually much more energetic and well focused in their deliveries, are starting to make a Sant of themselves. Not quite but on their way there.

    Pity the only colourful character, brings with him a huge baggage of intolerence.

  52. http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/2008/02/17/t2.html

    This is last Sunday’s Maltatoday survey results, though I’m always doubtful regarding the accuracy of newspaper surveys. I believe that internal party surveys (which are always kept under wraps) are always more meticulous, and in an election like Malta’s you have to be meticulous as the parties are always breathing at each other’s necks. What may be interesting in this article is the “swing” factor however (from PN to MLP and vice versa). Otherwise, with PN at 30.5% and MLP at 32.2%, it’s difficult to tell what the remaining undecided ones will do.

  53. Jacques, int għedt “Yes, probably many of us will reluctantly end up giving a number one vote to some PN nincompoop because no matter how much PN policy and strategy is in the shit, MLP policy is even for the worse”

    Imma kif tista’ ssejjaħlu “nincompoop” (kelli nfittixha din) u imbagħad tivvotalu!?

  54. @Pollsters… “turn on your TV and see Joe Saliba hugging Gonzi”. Kif inhi din allura…? Ħeħ.

  55. I love the way Daphne accuses me of having something to sell. Please provide a clear explanation of what that might be and what you presume I’m getting in return. I’m sure everybody would like to know about my so-called covert campaigning. W’re waiting here for your astounding expose of Claire’s top secret activities Daphne. Then go on to explain what you’re doing yourself. Maybe you have something to sell too? Or perhaps it’s already sold?

  56. Seems that those knowledgable of internal party polls always keep mum about them.

  57. However from the way the leaders of the two major parties are behaving themselves, it does look as though they both know that the MLP has a comfortable margin…

    If that were the case Sant wouldn’t feel the need to go on making new promises long after the Party’s General Conference has voted on the manifesto. Not to mention promises made by him previously (see how the 50% reduction in surcharge was first made for households and now it’s households and SMEs).

  58. Imma kif tista’ ssejjaħlu “nincompoop” (kelli nfittixha din) u imbagħad tivvotalu!?

    At some point Jacques was thinking of giving his first preference to a weak Nationalist candidate and the second preference to a Green candidate. In that way the first preference would go to securing the Nationalists a Parliamentary majority but with the candidate, the fall guy, getting eliminated in an early count, the vote would move over to the Greens.

    For the record, he seems to have changed his mind.

  59. If that were the case Sant wouldn’t feel the need to go on making new promises long after the Party’s General Conference has voted on the manifesto. Not to mention promises made by him previously (see how the 50% reduction in surcharge was first made for households and now it’s households and SMEs).

    Fausto…its the same reason why Zapatero is roughing up his campaign even though he knows he has a huge majority, as he himself admitted, when thinking that no one was listening. At this stage ego comes in the way and every one wants to win with as big a majority as possible. Even Saddam used to promise a lot of things come election time despite the fact that he knew that the election were both rigged and he was undisputed. Same goes for Mubarak. Ahseb u ara in a free and fair(-ish) election

  60. Nincompoop. Useful vehicle to get your vote o be transferred to an AD candidate. Thanks to Fausto for technical explanation.

  61. Jacques, waqa kollox kwiet hawn, x’sar minnhom Victor u Daphne?

  62. Nahseb Daphne lestiet ix-xoghol li qabbduha taghmel.

    Rajtuh l-ahhar spot ta’ gonzipn? Ma tista’ tivvota ‘l hadd hliefhom….

  63. Same Shit Different Day from Dafnay. trying to deflect from the disgusting situation she put herself and her son into at the Uni debate, an event that’s gonna come back and bite her in the ass.

    I just want to say that I know Nestu Laiviera from the old days and I can honestly say that if there were ten people with integrity at the time he was involved in politics he was one of them. Anthony Mamo and Victor Ragonesi being two others.

    These gentlemen had C-L-A-S-S, something Dafnay definitely lacks.

  64. @Fausto, Jacques: Ok, grazzi, kont fhimtha mod ieħor. Però xorta waħda…

    B’din l-istrateġija tiegħek, int qed tagħmel li ċ-ċans li l-vot tiegħek imur lill-Alternattiva ikun ugwali għaċ-ċans li ma jiġix elett l-inkompetenti tal-PN li se ttih il-1. Imma fir-realtà, jekk inħarsu lejn il-kandidati passati tal-PN, nosservaw illi l-kompetenza u l-elettibbiltà qatt ma wrew xi korrelazzjoni posittiva impressjonanti. Jacques, tkun qisek qed titfa’ dadu.

    Għalhekk, filwaqt li int tippreferi tiżgura li ma tikkontribwixxix lill-MLP, ngħid għalija, jien nippreferi li niżgura li nikkontribwixxi lill-AD. Hekk jew b’hekk, vot għall-PN jew għall-MLP, fl-istess ilma se jħallina. Dak ikun vot moħli kieku! Vot li jekk titfgħux ’l hemm jew ’l hawn, ma tkun biddilt xejn. Forsi tinbidel ftit it-tattika, imma l-ideat, jew in-nuqqas tagħhom, jibqgħu l-istess.

  65. Shame on that MEP. Shame. That’s the only word I can think of. And he wants to succeed Gonzi as PN leader. It augurs well indeed.

  66. No comment Pomengranate!!!!!!!!!

  67. Maaa … mill-hazin ghall-ghar. Kont se nifqa l-monitor. Eddie may not have been an angel or perfect, but i’m starting to miss him … x’maqjel ta’ partit!

  68. Gold Roast, I don’t think the PN is a ‘maqjel ta’ partit’. If that is so, then what the hell is Labour?! But Simon Busuttil deserves a shower of eggs for that infantile behaviour.

  69. U ijja maybe i’m generalizing .. imma l-arroganza ddejjaqni. That behaviour wasn’t infantile … it was purposely intended to butcher AD.

  70. Old witch, Savanah? And your Jason Micallef thinks I’ve been botoxed and done over to look as I do, when I haven’t been. So decide – which is it to be because it can’t be both.

    And here’s another example of misogyny: instead of attacking a woman’s arguments, attack her appearance. First say she’s an old witch, and then when you discover to your horror that she’s anything but, say she’s had herself overhauled.

    Savanah is another elf, of course, given that there are key words which give it away: old witch, Bidnija, frustrated, shall I go on? It’s the Labour mantra: they can’t attack my arguments because they haven’t got the brains, so they resort to the yah-yah-yah of the school playground. What a bunch of losers.

    Claire, you asked what you might be selling: AD of course. You’ve been shoving it down everyone’s throat for years – oh yes, and then you voted PN in the 2003 election (you said so yourself elsewhere in this blog) because you didn’t want to risk the loss of EU membership. Ah, so my arguments were correct all along – and still are.

  71. Shame on that MEP. Shame. That’s the only word I can think of. And he wants to succeed Gonzi as PN leader. It augurs well indeed.

    Shame? The story goes like this. Busuttil says that the European Green Party is pro-choice. Harry Vassallo starts frothing at the mouth and the following day orgaises, with much fanfare, a press conference in front of the Hamrun Police Station (the electoral campaign is on, remember). Summons in court and — Harry does not show up (electoral campaign is over, remember). Vassallo, it should also be remembered, filed a criminal libel meaning that, first, he sought imprisonment for the defendant if he would be found guilty and, second, the case was at public expense.

    Now we learn that Vassallo, who usually gets so worked up whenever the story is referred to, was 15 minutes late. The libel case must have been very high up in his list of priorities.

  72. Victor Laiviera

    Why is it ok to call people ‘”elves” but not “witches”? Don’t they inhabit the same world?

  73. Victor Laiviera

    Fausto -in my opinion Busuttil deserves to be in jail simply because, as head of MIC, he used the LM9 million at his disposasl – which were meant to inform the people about the pros and cons of EU menbership – for pro-PN and pro-EU propaganda.

    That is misappropriation of public funds in my book.

  74. Let’s accept Daphne’s thesis that everyone on this blog is either (a) a woman-hating loser who starts growling away in frustration when challenged by an assertive woman, or (b) trying to sell something (according to Daphne no-one can have sincere convictions and try to discuss them). In that case I guess that Daphne would fall into the latter category – the salesperson. That’s all right – she’s selling the PN. Her columns and blog comments are quite clear in this regard. Does she also write the PN newspaper ads? It’s either her or someone who writes in precisely the same way as she does. Why doesn’t she tell us about that? What’s wrong with a person who works in PR doing the PN’s campaign? After all Daphne has done it for Anglu Xuereb in the past. Why not give Gordon Pisani a helping hand now?

  75. Victor Laiviera

    Dear Daphne, you really should read other people’s post before replying. You will have to be a lot longer in the tooth before you catch me out.

    I did not say you dragged me in. I said you dragged my family in – your favourite method of “debating”.

    Neither did I say that my wife was shunted aside in 1998. I said that when the PN got back in 1998, they could not stand the sight of a labourite in a position of any authority.

    But they did not move her immediately – Oh, no, they are too crafty for that. They left her in place until – as a highly capable person and a loyal civil servant who does not let her politics interfere with her work – she made sure that Malta was compliant with EU entry requirements in the field of gender equality.

    Once that goal was achieved, she was callously and brutally shunted aside into a dead-end job. Her post was taken (now get this) by a person who:

    – was put in place by direct appointment and without a call for applications, and

    – had NEVER worked in the field of women’s emancipation and had ZERO EXPERIENCE.

    And that, Dear Daphne, is the kind of government you would have us put back in for another 5 years.

    Excuse me while I go and puke

  76. Victor Laiviera

    Claire asks “Why not give Gordon Pisani a helping hand now?”

    Tha answer of course is that she does.


  77. Really, in the long run, what is being achieved by all this playground bickering?

  78. Victor Laiviera

    It does wonders for my digestion. 🙂

  79. Some people like you Victor, and daphne, jacques, and others (not to mention the politicians themselves) seem to thrive on this state of war. I myself find it sickening. It clouds the issues, makes fools of us all, and does not lead anywhere.

  80. I have suggested elsewhere that maybe elections could be held on a bi-yearly basis. In this manner, ministers will perform better by delivering projects and policies on time.

    But another suggestion could possibly be that of holding general elections every twenty years. That way, if elected, Dr Gonzi could switch his attention from one sector to the other on a five year roster. The ministers’ role in the interim period would be that of caretakers.

    In two legislatures, a total of 40 years, the whole country could be on solid ground.

    Quite honestly, the slogans ‘Finanzi fis-sod’, ‘Ambjent fis-sod’ and all other pillars are partly relevant, when considered seperately. What the people need and deserve is a ‘Pajjizna fis-sod’.

  81. Hi daft (‘scuse, Daf), it seems that in your copybook everybody is wrong and you are the only one who is right. You like to dish out the dirt and aim it at human beings personally. You’ve been doing it for as long as somebody gave you the chance to pen a few lines in a newspaper.
    It really got to your head. But since, you yourself have become your own worst any.
    You have a way to attack and vomit at people (AND THEIR FAMILIES) whom you dislike,
    You like to attack but there’s no way you are able to defend. Attack may be the best defence in a football game, but this is no football game you are playing. By brining in and attacking people who have nothing to do with those you like to debate about (!!??) is cruel and uncalled for.
    You like to dish out the insults but not to take them. You know it hurts to insult the people who are close to Alfred Sant, and now even to Victor Laiviera, but then you don’t even care to mention that silicone baby who was sitting next to you at the University who took it upon himself to insult the press IN YOUR PRESENCE, not one, but twice and three times even.
    I would have thought that as a decent (?) person you make yourself out to be you would have stopped shushed him (no not slapped him in the face for getting himself involved and getting himself so low and disgracing his own family. Or perhaps there’s nothing to disgrace after all!

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