Vote Harry, Get Freddy… I Dare Daphne

So the arguments are getting a bit thin Daphne? We just leave a little note at the end of the article as a sort of addendum. Unjustified, unargued and hanging in the air. A bit like PN electoral policy. You see I am not here to defend AD and their campaign. I am here to point out how sorry the PN campaign (and empty policy behind it) is. I am obliged to pick on PN more than any other party because coalition or no coalition it is being touted as the least dangerous option to run the government in the next five years.

I am already thinking beyond the carcades and the meeting tar-rebha. I am thinking of the desert of ideas that will dry us up faster than the Gobi come April and the first 50 days of government are over. Daphne, you cannot argue more than one simple phrase (Vote X get Y) because that is all there is in PN’s favour – a u-turn loving, newly EU pandering, inconsistent and bumbling set of fanatics who still believe there is something socialist (I dare not mention social democrat) about their party. Any other argument – any more words than Vote Harry, Get Freddy would have meant more pie on the PN face. It would have meant Daphne having to come up with forced superlatives about a party in government that barely managed to get the obvious right. So Daphne prefers to veer away … at least until Sunday when I dare her to keep away from twisted mathematics and further justification of the gerrymandered electoral system and instead to come up with a full article of PN positives.

I dare you to write that without going into generic descriptions and without mentioning Alfred Sant once. Just think positive. Tell me why, judging by the past 5 years, PN are more than simply the least dangerous alternative to government. Smart City? You mean the city like the myriad of Technopoles outside most French towns? Portomaso and Tigne? Tax on travel that made sure we were in when we wanted more of the out? The firm hand on hunting? The projects that were always on time? The failure to register the fact that roads and an efficient transport system are interlinked? The constant lack of values in the future projections? I have said it before and will say it again. PN have been the party that have taken this country through the OBVIOUS steps of the early 21st century. Nothing impressive.

Again, I don’t care how useless you think AD are. I don’t care how ridiculously insane voting for MLP is. What I want to hear is why you think PN is good. Sell it to me like you’ve never sold before… literally. Remember – the dare means no comparisons to the useless void around them…. prove to me that PN is a beacon in the darkness of ideas. A shining guidance brimming with enthusiastic and capable politicians.

The new rebel generation (the one that is in its early thirties and not the rabble generation at University) have new expectations. In the eighties they wanted democracy and liberty, in the noughties we want the best for our country. They have been to Europe (thanks to EU programmes THEY chose to vote for -using PN and AD as a vehicle) and know what life could be like. They want to be able to vote a party into government that has similar aspirations. Sadly there are none. And the absence of arguments coming from the PN apologistas themselves is the best proof that if anybody has been right all along it is this disjointed movement for change that seems to be gathering momentum.

Unfortunately my contractual obligations with the Times do not allow me to write about politics in my Sunday column. Tant pis… would have made a nice balance to some arguments trumpeting the faux notes of PN success. For now, in the absence of a real opposition of ideas in the form of a concrete party we are prepared to wear the mantle of a virtual opposition – criticising and pointing out the faults of the pretenders to the throne.

Welcome to the show. Till Sunday.
P.S. I saw an electoral affiche for a politician in the Grenoble cantonal elections. I think that if PN can steal from Sarkoy, AD should steal this slogan: “Le gout des autres” (literally: other people’s taste).

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224 responses to “Vote Harry, Get Freddy… I Dare Daphne

  1. Aghti nifs. Issa gibtu r-raba’ marija madre!

    Ergajt ghaxxaqtha man!!!!

    http://sandrovella.org/2008/02/gaxxaqtha-jacques.html

  2. No need to cut down hospital waiting lists? Nationalist ballerinas only? Varist and Fredu actually shared Famous Five books before they set off into the political wonderland of Maltese politics? Exciting cliff-hanger endings ?(Sorry to provide a spoiler Jacques but the PN have already aired the first Harry/Fred spots on PBS last night. More of the usual stuff – ominous voice over, black background and unflattering pics of Harry and Josie – very scary I must admit). I love all the intrigue but don’t really see where it gets us. Why alienate and exclude decent politicians whose values you have adopted? Why continue with the foot-stamping and negativity? What are we going to do when faced with a ballerina whose parents are not Nationalist? Cover her quickly in the PN flag – like the bottle-feeding baby on the front page of The Times yesterday?

  3. If Daphne is running out of ideas, I could offer to help her. How’s this:

    VOTE GONZI. YOU HATE HIM LESS.

    On a more serious tone, today’s article by Ranier Fsadni in the Times http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20080221/opinion/why-the-pn-prefers-opposition-to-coalition concerning (a) the electoral maths that favours Labour and (b) reasons why it is genuinely not in PN’s interest to form a coalition with AD, is the most substantial contribution I have read so far on this point – and incidentally, much more thought-provoking and concrete than all the vicious (and now babyish!!) interventions on the same issue by Malta’s foremost professional communicator.

    The considerations raised by Fsadni are self-evidently valid. Somewhere else in this blog, Daphne was asked to talk on the issues, and to specify exactly where PN’s proposals are so incompatible with AD’s. As Daphne’s forte clearly is not on the issues per se, she chose to ignore that post. Fsadni however answers this question comprehensively. I await reactions to his article with interest.

  4. Jacques,

    This article is very important.

    PN government was not good/not bad on the whole. Maybe a new start in the next administration. Somebody here said that the University story and other pointless ridicolous stragies from the PN should not decide our vote. The actual PN bullshit is addressing the standard sheep for the usual applauses.

    The floating voter does not watch NET or ONE TV every time of the day showing stupid organised discussions with faked journalists. The floating voter might watch the news and the newspapers which try to be more intellectual and selective than and from length programs.

    Gonzi is a victim of his party. He cannot admit corruption. He wants to start a new life. That is why GonziPN. He is not showing his embarassment but he is telling the floating voter that this election does not concern The PN’s leader elections but The Maltese Prime Minister. It means a lot if people votes Gonzi as Prime Minister, and he knows that. He does not want to be a KMB version.

    Shall I trust on Gonzi’s mental message?

    I am still undecided this time. Very undecided. This blog is my only hope for a solution.

    On a European level there is no hope on MLPNAD . They suck!

  5. @dispassionate

    The “election-mode” of Daphne is not a person who discusses issues, everyone here by now should have realized. She just pops up, showers you with pro-PN rhetorical questions, then leaves. She ignores any questions which she cannot answer in this manner.

    PN propogranda is there to act as a smokescreen for its incompetencies, and urge the voter to put pencil to ballot paper and put 1 in a blue box. There’s no room for a constructive discussion.

  6. I read the Fsadni article. There is really nothing new in it. I love his conclusion ‘The Chalice of Government’. Should we believe that being in Government is a calvary and all this money being spent on campaigning etc. is without its reward?

    Given that gonzipn has been painting a doomsday scenario should Sant be the next PM would Gonzi and his backers refuse to form a coalition? I can’t imagine Eddie phoning Larry after the results are out and Larry telling Eddie to phone Freddie instead.

    Right now Gonzipn has to follow a raised earth policy to win and win alone. Gonzipn cannot waiver at this moment from this policy. In any case this is all in the air. Let’s see what happens when the election is over and done with.

  7. ‘The new district boundaries have put about three PN seats, in different districts, within Labour’s reach – even with AD out of the equation. Labour can grab them without a big national swing in its favour – that is, without winning the absolute majority of votes.’ (R Fsadni)

    Doesn’t PN now have a 5 seat majority? Labour would have to win all three of the seats that are apparently within its reach to gain a majority. I don’t know the details of the redrawing of the disctricts, but it is highly unlikely that such a big grab was made.

    ‘Nor do there seem to be compromises available that would not damage the credibility of one party or another. Would AD stop Dr Gonzi from bringing income tax down to 25 per cent for people earning up to €60,000? How could he face his electorate if he stopped at 30 per cent, as AD would like?’ (etc, etc)

    Ignores the fact that there would be coalition talks in which AD would have to give up some things and PN or MLP would accept some parts of the coalition manifesto in return. Perhaps they would agree on a 27.5% rate.

    ‘Even if an agreement on a government programme is reached, there will be dim prospects for proper Cabinet government with open discussion. Over the last four years, AD has called the PN (and MLP) “moral dwarves”. AD has made it clear it would see its role in government as a whistleblower in waiting, watching over people it does not trust.’

    May be right on this one. But it’s one of the better reasons to vote for AD in my book.

    ‘Did Joschka Fischer ever hurl the insults at Gerhard Schroeder that Harry Vassallo has hurled at Dr Gonzi?’

    Schroeder and Merkel did hurl insults at each other and their parties are now in a grand coalition with Fischer in opposition.

  8. Addendum: Fsadni the anthropologist is apparently ignorant of the fact that about 90% of PN voters would think that anything that PN does is right, while the other 10% are far more likely to swing to AD than MLP.

  9. He might have a point on the implications of the extension of maternity leave on Church schools, though. That’s the point which struck me most.

    In any case, I’m starting to suspect that whoever wins this thing will win with an absolute majority, rendering all such discussions academic.

  10. Schroeder and Merkel did hurl insults at each other and their parties are now in a grand coalition with Fischer in opposition.

    Well, Schroeder is not in the cabinet and you and Fsadni chose the wrong analogy. Harry Vassallo does not think of himself of Fischer or Schroeder but as Aung San Suu Kyi and Gonzi as a Burmese dictator. Aung San Suu Kyi has repeatedly ruled out coalitions with the regmine’s civilian political surrogates and if there’s any surprise in all this is not Gonzi ruling out a Blue-Green coalition but that Vassallo didn’t do that first.

    Doesn’t PN now have a 5 seat majority? Labour would have to win all three of the seats that are apparently within its reach to gain a majority. I don’t know the details of the redrawing of the disctricts, but it is highly unlikely that such a big grab was made.

    I gave the details of four Nationalist seats which are at risk,

    Finally, as someone who will never, ever vote Labour or Green for having risked our EU membership in the 2003 election, I’m happy that a Blue-Green coalition is ruled out. If Santa Claus exists and the Greens elect an MP who’s hold the balance of power I wouldn’t mind seeing Reds and Greens reach a governing agreement. Not that there’s be any hope that it would last until the summer recess …

  11. In any case, I’m starting to suspect that whoever wins this thing will win with an absolute majority, rendering all such discussions academic.

    The possibility that all this discussion is academic is not as remote as you make it out to be, certainly not dependent on anyone winning an absolute majority:

    1. The Greens have to elect an MP. That is being assumed that it will happen because Harry Vassallo has been saying it so often. He bases his claim on the fact that during home visits many people have told him they’d be giving the Greens a preference. Ho hum.

    2. They have to hold the balance in Parliament. That is not dependent on the Greens’ electoral strength but on the other Parties relative strength,

    Meaning it all hinges on an electoral fluke and a mathematical fluke.

  12. Tell me why, judging by the past 5 years, PN are more than simply the least dangerous alternative to government.

    Yeah, Jacques, how about the euro?

    Will you, as in the case of EU membership, give credit to “the people” — the same people who in 1996 deserted the Nationalists over, amongst other things, 15% VAT (sine qua non for membership) and hunting regulations which were more stringent that the current ones?

  13. Daphne Caruana Galizia says “Vote Harry, get Freddie”, with the assumption that this empty slogan is going to convince us all to stop using our minds, panic, and “Vote Lorry”.

    Daphne, why don’t you give us a good reason why we shouldn’t vote for Harry Vassallo per se? If the only reason you can cite is “because you will get Freddie”, that’s fine, then we shall all smile and respect your viewpoint.

    In the meantime, I will give you a reason why I will vote for Harry Vassallo, and keep in mind that my vote and yours carry exactly equal weight. No matter how much the big media and parties try to make me believe that the demolition (also known as “construction” or “development”) industry is a blessing, it is root of all evil. It destroys our heritage, the visual environment, the aural environment, destroys our roads, and pollutes our seas and our air, both directly and indirectly (e.g. blocked roads causing traffic, etc.) It keeps investing millions of Euros in huge senseless projects that are destroying, and in the long term, shall eliminate our tourism industry, upon which we depend almost entirely.

    The worst thing about it all is that people seem to be getting used to this, in typical Maltese style, of course (“Ħeqq hux! M’hemmx x’tagħmel…”). If that weren’t the case, these problems certainly wouldn’t need to be pointed out, as they are obvious.

    It is Harry Vassallo who is going to represent me in Parliament to challenge these serious issues. It certainly won’t be your Lorry or Freddie. They’ve all had plenty of time to do something about it, and they haven’t.

    I refer to Freddie as being “yours” (with all apologies to him of course) as I wonder with what you would fill your columns were he not to exist (similar to the way Jerry’s life is rendered useless whenever Tom is not around). I’m not saying that you wouldn’t have anything interesting to write about. On the contrary, I am certain that you must have something interesting to write about, other than the usual boring stuff (yaaawn). I look forward to buying whichever paper you’ll be contributing to at the time you’ll start writing the interesting stuff. I sincerely hope that that will happen before the MLP and the PN start taking our environment seriously.

  14. Victor Laiviera

    Well, at least we know. All that matters to Fausto is EU membership. No other isue is even worth a swcond thought.

  15. Jacques

    Before trying to answer the question you pose let me say something about the electoral math too. I don’t need to say it to you, because you’ve clearly understood it, but it still needs saying.

    Daphne’s flippant sign-off was clearly a red flag to a bull. But unfortunately the fact that she says it so baldly and undiplomatically doesn’t make it less true.

    And of course this is not theoretical; we’ve already had a dress rehearsal in the MEP elections. The pro-EU candidates were split between AD and PN, meaning that the Labour Party got the 3rd seat, and the parties that had campaigned for membership got only 2.

    I guess no real harm done in a European election; but in a general election it would determine the next government.

    So the question becomes: does that matter? Sure it does. It’s not my business to evaluate the last government in detail; but it’s got the big things right. The biggest challenges before it were the public finances mess and getting to grips with how the EU works. The second exercise has gone well, and though it’s not the most important measure, Malta was recently judged as the second of the 10 new MS’s that has managed to absorb EU funds best (81% absorption as compared to e.g. Cyprus on 62% and the Netherlands (!) on 65%; of the new MSs only Hungary did marginally better with 82%).

    The 2003 public finances situation was going to harm the country in every department: excessive debts and deficits mean that there’s insufficient money for all the important things like the environment, education, improving the tourist product etc. Don’t underestimate how bad it was – back in 2003 the idea in Brussels that Malta would not only manage to whip its finances into shape, but actually respect the Maastricht criteria for Euro membership in such a short time was simply not taken seriously.

    This has started paying off in the form of an economy growing fast again because the fundamentals are right, and in the newly regained ability to plough money into areas like the environment. So – without comparing to the other option on offer – should we be happy with where we are now? Of course not. Some things have moved too slowly or not at all; some people have abused their position. Are we in a better place then we were 5 yrs ago? Yes – we are in a healthier position to face the challenges before us, and we’re moving in the right direction. Hopefully we can accelerate after the election.

    Just as it’s unhealthy to sit back without criticising, it’s just as unhealthy to go to the other extreme and simply dismiss everything and many are doing. That’s intellectual laziness, it’s taking the easy way out.

    And Jacques – while it’s a useful theoretical exercise to look at one party without reference to the alternative, what we have before us is a very practical exercise indeed. It’s not about giving marks out of 10 to one party; it’s about choosing the next government from between two very real options. And while scaremongering helps no-one, setting out the choice that people have before them can be useful.

  16. Correction:
    “Just as it’s unhealthy to sit back without criticising, it’s just as unhealthy to go to the other extreme and simply dismiss everything AS many are doing”

  17. Patrick,

    the Labour Party got the third seat because of PN’s dips in popularity, and their stubborness and greed. They knew they were nowhere near the third seat, so instead of limiting the damage and allowing for an ideal scenario where 3 pro-UE candidates (including AD’s Cassola) would be elected, they insisted on demonising AD and instructing a block vote. Li zraw, hasdu: it was a tactic that backfired, for AD in some small measure, but for PN big time. And we got three people, who until a year before, were hell-bent against the EU. It’s called cutting your nose to spite your face. They also fooled their voters into believing that they could have won these elections…and instead of selling themselves, they tried to play the fear card (i.e anti-Sant/MLP/turning the clock back, anti-AD and all the dirty tricks entailed).

    gonzipn’s current scaremongering tactics (like their new electoral spot) reeks of more of the same. I think more and more people are able to see beyond the spin and are fed up of the Pn treating them like idiots.

  18. Patrick, some numbers. in 2004 EP elections MLP got 48.42%, PN 39.76%, AD 9.33%. even if AD got its usual 2-3% labour would still have won. There was only one way that the PN could have won 3 seats ie only if AD did not exist and all of AD’s votes were transferred to the PN which would have got 49.09%, still not an absolute majority.

  19. ezatt…inhallu n-numri jitkellmu…imma ta’ min jgħid ukoll li s-sejħa kontra l-block vote fissret li Cassola ma ġabx biżżejjed preferenzi ta’ wara l-1 biex jaqlibha lil Louis Grech (forget the Joanna Drake scenario)…kieku n-nies tħallew liberi u l-intelliġenza tagħhom ġiet irrispettata, kien ikollna maġġoranza pro-EU fil-PE….

    vote BLOCK VOTE, get LABOUR ?

    issa kieku jiġri xenarju simili did-darba….f’min inwaħħlu?

  20. …ridt ngħid is-sejħa FAVUR il-block vote…

  21. Mr Cefai may not understand the single transferrable vote system, especially in the context of the EP elections, where the last count is probably more important that the first. The reverse is true for the General Elections because the first count determines who gets to form the government. In the EP election the relative majority (let alone the absolute majority) is of secondary importance. Thsi will be even more so at the next EP elections where Malta will be allocated 6 seats.

  22. Victor Laiviera

    Mark, if you consider the matter dispassionately, you would realise that – ONCE WE WERE IN – it was to Malts’s advantage to have MEPs with healthy dose of euro-scepticism and not dazzled by the EU stars.

    It’s probably why Muscat and Grech have done so much better than Casa and Busuttil.

  23. Depends how you see it Kelinu, and that’s what’s wrong with the way the MLPN arranged the system ‘to their advantage’…in the eventuality that a third party wins a seat, the electoral contest boils down to seats…it cuts both ways…

  24. Rupert, I’m not very interested in a discussion about the European elections, apart from the fact that the numbers you kindly provide prove a point: that the split vote meant that despite having a relative majority of votes the pro-EU parties got a seat less. I’m not passing judgement whether that was right or wrong, fair or unfair – just noting a fact.

    As I said before – no big deal in a European election: but possibly determining who forms the next government if the pattern is repeated in the general election.

    It’s good that these quirks are all analysed like this so that we then all vote as we think best, in full understanding of how the cookie’s going to crumble. Then – with everyone voting in an informed way – whatever the result is will be the right one for us.

  25. Mr. Kelinu, thank you for assuming what i can and cannot understand, i am always thrilled to hear what big brother has to say. The only issue of primary importance is the freedom to choose whoever i want to represent me in parliament, all other issues are of secondary importance.

    Having said that, i always said that a coalition between parties to keep a party out of government is very dangerous. Coalitions have to be for something not against a party. I also find it very dangerous that we have a PM that believes that only GonziPN have a divine right to govern. scaremongering and demonising the opposition will only divide this divided country more

  26. Rupert (if you prefer) I did not assume anthing. I simply said you MAY not understand, therefore giving you the benefit of the doubt. A luxury you were unable to afford to me. You, on the other hand, certainly assume (the big brother reference) that I would presume to curtail your freedom of choice. Nothing could be further from the truth. Do as you wish and deem fit, of course, but, as Patrick points out, just be sure you are aware of the consequences. As the old maxim goes: a country gets the government it deserves……

  27. Its not true Patrick, what you would call the euro-sceptics had an absolute majority, MLP 48.42% + 2.49% the others. Pro EU was a minority

  28. Kelinu, i did not deserve these last 4 years 🙂

  29. No, Rupert. The ‘others’ had no bearing at all on the result. It was the MLP that won the 3 seats with no contribution from the others.

    Since the split on the eurosceptic side was negligible, the split on the europhile side determined the matter.

    For me this horse is so dead it would be cruel to flog it any further. Ta ta.

  30. There was no split on either side. there were a number of different organisations/parties that competed for a number of seats. this is exactly the mistake that the PN is making, that whoever was/is pro EU is by default Nationalist

  31. beware the ides of March

  32. Mark, what’s happening on 15 March?!

  33. David Friggieri

    By the same token, does a country also get the eternal hopeless opposition it deserves? Probably.

    Which leaves (most of) us in a bit of a fix…

  34. @David Friggieri

    Yes, I believe our polarized way of doing politics has literally screwed the country.

  35. And the worst thing is, 20 years later, we still have maltastar, maltarightnow, NET, ONE and all the Daphnies and Francalanzas in this godforsaken rock to continue aggravating the problem.

  36. How do you know what the Labour and Nationalist electoral campaigns are like, Jacques? You’re living in Luxembourg, not Malta. The only part of the campaign you’re getting is through reading the newspapers on line, which means you’re missing everything else. By now, pretty much everyone who’s awake and living in Malta knows the reasons why a vote for the Nationalist Party is a positive one and not just a ‘keep Labour out’ one – except, of course, for the Labour supporters (on whom you just have to give up) and the AD obsessives who pretend not to notice that there’s a difference between Alfred Sant and Lawrence Gonzi, and between the track records of both parties in government (and in opposition too, for that matter).

    I’ll just list a few reasons why I’m voting for the Nationalist Party, and not for AD (Labour and AN are out of the question – I would have to be born into that kind of family and unable to think for myself):

    -Malta is nearing full employment; within a year or so at this rate there will be more jobs than people; there are already more jobs than people in several sectors, including financial services and IT, two sectors which barely existed a few years ago, but which have since generated many thousands of jobs (7500 in financial services alone)

    -the deficit has been slashed from 10% right down to 1.6%, and if this government is allowed to carry on, we will be in surplus by 2010; this is a remarkable achievement

    – foreign direct investment has averaged EUR750 million a year over the last three years

    – Malta is doing so well economically that we have been permitted to join the Eurozone ahead of countries that have been EU member states for much longer than we have

    -there are 22,000 young people in higher education whereas when Alfred Sant left office in 1998 there were half that number

    – this government has created an environment of political and economic stability that has fired up business confidence, and business keeps everything else turning

    – hundreds of international companies are setting up in Malta, creating a buzz and engaging the services of young professionals who are truly enjoying the challenges and experience

    -the economy is buoyant and will stay buoyant as long as there is a government like this one that knows how to deliver the goods without putting shocks into the system

    – 5000 kids are at MCAST where before they might have ended up dropping out of education at 18 before university is not for them; EUR1.5 million or so are now being ploughed into a new campus for this training college, so that further thousands can go there too

    -people are treated with respect by a well-mannered government that understands the meaning of democracy, and which, despite several assertions to the contrary on this forum, is not a top-down autocratic power structure; compare this to the Labour Party’s cavalier attitude to democratic thought and complete disregard for the sanctity of freedom of speech, its lack of respect for the sovereign will of the people in a referendum, its authoritarian leader, and his statement that he doesn’t believe in referendums but only in general elections

    – there is a palpable feel-good factor for the first time in years, and I am speaking about the economy here; people are so comfortable that they have been affected by the type of ennui that in the past made rulers go to war for a little bit of excitement to crack the mood; instead, these comfortable people are considering a little bit of dangerous living by voting AD and risking all their comfort just for the sheer hell of it

    That’s it, Jacques. Intelligent people take intelligent decisions. Anything else is sulking, posturing, prancing and behaving like a prima donna who wants the government, nay the actual prime minister, to come crawling hat in hand for a vote. If you want to press the suicide button, go right ahead. Nobody’s stopping you.

  37. Which long standing EU member country have we overtaken to join the Euro?

  38. Illallu……kemm nixtieq nghix fejn tghix din is-sinjura.

  39. Not to quibble but the European Commission did not give precisely the same picture of Malta’s economic forecast and pointed out that the budget surplus goal might not be reached in the time frame mentioned. Among the reasons mentioned for this was the reliance on volatile tax revenue items in 2008, the recent decision to subsidise energy prices without compensating measures and whether there would be a favourable macroeconomic outlook after 2008. Malta was urged to enhance the efficiency and fexibility of public spending, and accelerating the design and implementation of a comprehensive healthcare reform.

    In other words it urged the Maltese government to get its act together about (1) energy prices (2) public spending and (3) healthcare. The PN has not indicated long-term plans for alternative energy sources which may buffer energy costs (except for the pre-electoral offshore windfarm idea which is costly, not tested extensively and unfeasible. It has a record of over-spending on capital projects. Healthcare reform should take place from the bottom up, with emphasis on preventative measures. The breast cancer screening programme is welcome but long overdue (another budget measure)

    – We may have the highest numebr of youngsters attending school and educational institutions. We also have an alarmingly high number of illiterate school-leavers – lagging behind the European average.

    -Our IT network may be fine, other forms of infrastructure are not – the roads are one example. This affects people’s commuting time and their quality of life. I have spent the last 4 months making detours because Rue D’Argens has been closed for works – for the third time in the last two years.

    -Malta is full of ugly, unfinished projects – hideous tower blocks which are usually not much bigger than 70 metres square – excess supply for a housing demand which does not exist. This causes inconvenience and nuisance to people who live in the vicinity or frequent the area. There is no enforcement of planning laws. How often has direct action been taken with regard to serial offenders who finance the major political parties

    -Supposedly independent and autonomous authorities such as MEPA have allowed direct ministerial intervention in the planning process and have avoided public scrutiny. Conlicts of interest are endemic.

    – The government drags its feet when it comes to adhering to EU standards – CO2 emissions, bird hunting etc. There is also the very worrying prospect of our aquiffier becoming unusable within the next 10 years due to excessive unrecorded and illegal borehole extraction. This will result in us depending on the energy-intensive process of reverse osmosis for our drinking water needs. If that happens – watch our energy prices soar.

    -While there is no actual physical violence, there is what we will euphemistically call “moral coercion” where there is a constant attempt to stifle views which are different from those of the government of the day. There are many ways to skin a cat. Similarly there are many ways to stifle opposition – restricting air-time, censoring of letters by Nationalist-friendly media, appointing government stooges on adjudicatory bodies – are just some ways of doing this.

    -So you see, these are prorities which people take into consideration when voting – no suicidal tendencies – just an acknowledgement that these matters have not been adressed during the last legislature because the major parties preer short-termism

  40. Another little quibble – Tonio Fenech has stated that inancial services employment accounts for over 6000 persons not 7500 as stated by Daphne. It’s still good but a little more precision might be in order.

  41. Ghandi s-suspett li jien nghix f’pajjizek Ms. Claire.

  42. It is fatuous to compare me to Robert Francalanza and a host of other political party employees, because I am not one. I have never been employed by any media organisation other than an independent one, and I have never reached any opinion other than by using my intelligence. I hesitate to say considerable intelligence, but I am going to do so just for the sheer pleasure of annoying you even more, given how much you are annoying me now with your resistance to seeing the obvious.

    If I can reach an intelligent and independent decision about racism, Catholicism and Dun Gorg Preca, among a thousand other matters, then I am also able to reach an intelligent decision (many, actually) about politics and which party to vote for. You who respect my views on non-political matters are now questioning my views on politics. Apparently, those views have been arrived at by a different brain.

    Claire is annoyed because I wrote ‘Vote Harry, get Freddie’. Perhaps she should explain to us why, in that case, she voted PN in the EU referendum rather than AD, so as “not to risk EU membership”, as she put it elsewhere in this blog. Clearly, Claire knows the full veracity of my arguments, Patrick’s and Ranier’s, but chooses not to say so. You will notice that she never questions those arguments, but only suggests that you ignore them and vote AD anyway, because “Alfred Sant as prime minister can’t possibly be that bad.”

    Well, what can I say – Claire must know a lot about electoral systems, but little about economics, what keeps the economy turning, and the importance of stability and a sound prime minister in not making everything go belly-up as it did in 1996-1998. At least learn from the lessons of (recent) history.

    How a political party that claims to be liberal can ever act in such a way as to bring to power a man who “doesn’t believe in referendums” and ignores their results is quite beyond me. And that’s just one aspect of the man’s anti-democratic personality. You constantly whine on about Gonzi, but I have yet to read a word of criticism on this blog about Sant and his approach to democracy. Have you given him up as a dead loss? Bad mistake, because if you carry on as you are, then he’s coming to get you.

    You ask me to explain the arithmetic and spell out the arguments as to why people who don’t vote for Gonzi’s party are risking not getting Gonzi as prime minister. The rationale behind this is so simple and straightforward that even my five-year-old niece can understand it: if you want the biscuit, reach for the biscuit, not for the banana. I am beginning to have my doubts about your decision-making skills here. How long exactly does it take you to get dressed in the morning? Should it be the black trousers or the blue ones, the green shirt or the white one, the yellow tie or the purple one, and does this go with that and what will be the consequences if I wear those shoes and not the others? Dear God.

    I have written in great and exhaustive detail about the arithmetic and the arguments of vote Harry, get Freddie, in at least two or three newspaper columns, and I have no interest in repeating all that here. I get paid for my columns – by my newspaper, not the Nationalist Party – and I don’t get paid for writing this, though at this rate I am beginning to consider it a public service in the national interest, rather than an amusing way to pass the time of day (as though I don’t have enough to do).

    But obviously, a woman’s arguments count for nought next to a man’s, and while you insulted me and dismissed those arguments, which were exactly the same as Ranier’s, you discuss his in entirely different tones. You take them seriously. I have had reason to point out elsewhere that this is a chauvinist blog that scares off women, and here is another example. And no, I don’t cite misogyny when it suits me; I cite it when I see it.

    My attitude is this: do what the hell you want to do with your vote. I’m tempted to be graphic and explicit but instead I’ll just say this: vote for whom you want to vote; just weigh up the consequences seriously before you do and make sure that you don’t end up with serious regrets – and believe me, a serious regret is not the return of Gonzi as prime minister, it’s the return of the ‘I don’t believe in referendums’ spectre. Too bad that those of us who arrived at our decision by pragmatic analysis will end up paying the price with the rest of you. But that’s democracy and I’m not going to do what Sant does and say that I don’t believe in it, and that the votes of the dead and the no-shows count too.

    Dwardu: if you think I’m so boring, don’t read what I write. This was a free country the last time I looked and nobody is forcing you to log onto http://www.independent.com.mt. If your view were the universal one, I wouldn’t have been retained as a columnist for almost 20 years, generating the same response from readers that I did in the beginning. I’m not showing off here, but countering your rude and ill-mannered remarks. Are lack of manners and a prima donna approach to life prerequisites for voting AD? I’m beginning to wonder. I am also beginning to wonder why you think voting AD will result in lower levels of construction in Malta. Apparently you believe that a Labour government will crack down on all building rather than doing the opposite, which is its historic tradition and its present inclination, given that the man scheduled to be minister of works has a development company and lives by earnings from development.

    Everhopeful questions Ranier’s use of the phrase ‘chalice of government’. I can only assume that Ranier implied ‘poisoned chalice’, for such it is: you get into government, you run a great show, and then you have to deal with a lot of people who complain like Disgusted from Tunbridge Wells, always looking for the fly in the ointment and taking everything else for granted, despite having lived through years when not even the most fundamental human rights could be taken for granted. We haven’t learned the lesson of how easily the good can be taken away – or to use a cliche, you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

    Now off I go to lend my support to my chosen ‘new face’ MP by going to his drinks party. At least I can be assured that there will be no Super One cameras there to invade my privacy and make a columnist with a glass of wine in her hand the headline news on prime time television. And please don’t tell me that columnists are not allowed to (1) have political opinions or (2) support a candidate, particularly not when ranting on about their political opinions is (1) one of their main attractions for readers and (2) what they’re paid to do. Take care to distinguish between being paid to hold opinions and being paid to write about them. I have a few libel suits pending against people who failed to make the distinction.

  43. “Labour’s plan proposes a sea transport service which links the Grand Harbour and Marsamxett by digging deeper in the ditch which goes through Valletta and passes the sea through it. …Special boats will be transporting commuters to ferry stages. One such stage will be under the Valletta City Gate where vertical communication systems such as lifts will be installed for the people to be lifted to the centre of Valletta right from the stage.” maltastardotcom

    Oh my god.

    For a visual display of this hogwash click here:
    http://www.maltastar.com/pages/msrv/msfullart.asp?an=19040

    I mean, after 20 years in opposition… This is what they fucking can come up with?
    Please AD people, realize once and for all, as long as there will be an MLP of this caliber, you have no chance. And I honesty can’t blame anyone.

  44. Victor Laiviera

    Could you be a bit more specifi in your comments, R/?

  45. Daphne is not Robert Francalanza – we all know he renders his services to the MLP or he is employed with the MLP in some capacity. Daphne is not a PN employee – no question there. But does she write the text for the PN newspaper ads? Again nothing wrong with that. So why not clarify?

    – I did give my first preference vote to the PN in the last elections but went on to give my 2nd preference vote to AD. I regret allocating my preferences in that order but admit to having been taken in by Fenech Adami’s scare-mongering (and incorrect)speech at Luxol. I have now realised that he was incorrect and will not vote for someone I do not have faith in. It’s not a question of reaching for the banana when you want the biscuit. It’s a question of wanting the apple instead and reaching out for that.

  46. Daphne wrote “I can only assume that Ranier implied ‘poisoned chalice’, for such it is”. Are we now to consider politicians as some sort of latter day Mother Theresa or philanthropists. If that is the case it seems that for Daphne only PN politicians are philanthropists while all others are what ‘blood suckers’, ‘leeches’ or what? What are the financiers of the parties? Should we call them benefactors?

    So all this money and energy, this bad blood is for ‘a poisoned chalice’? The next thing we know is that we will have a St. Lawrence for drinking from ‘the poison chalice’.

  47. ‘If I can reach an intelligent and independent decision about racism, Catholicism and Dun Gorg Preca, among a thousand other matters, then I am also able to reach an intelligent decision (many, actually) about politics and which party to vote for. You who respect my views on non-political matters are now questioning my views on politics. Apparently, those views have been arrived at by a different brain.’

    Just because one can reach a decision intelligently, it does not mean that every alternative is unintelligent.

    ‘Claire is annoyed because I wrote ‘Vote Harry, get Freddie’. Perhaps she should explain to us why, in that case, she voted PN in the EU referendum rather than AD, so as “not to risk EU membership”, as she put it elsewhere in this blog. Clearly, Claire knows the full veracity of my arguments… if you want the biscuit, reach for the biscuit, not for the banana.’

    You are absolutely right. A vote for AD (or MLP for that matter) is a vote less for PN and a greater chance of Alfred Sant becoming PM. Some people are prepared to take that risk, while others would rather give a nonstarter PN candidate (or Gonzi in his districts) their no 1 vote in the hope that an AD candidate will inherit the no 2 vote. The latter approach is either (i) better considered or (ii) less daring.

    ‘But obviously, a woman’s arguments count for nought next to a man’s, and while you insulted me and dismissed those arguments, which were exactly the same as Ranier’s, you discuss his in entirely different tones. You take them seriously. I have had reason to point out elsewhere that this is a chauvinist blog that scares off women, and here is another example. And no, I don’t cite misogyny when it suits me; I cite it when I see it.’

    Firstly, your ideas have been discussed at great length and have become a greater focus of attention than Jacques’ pieces on occasion. Secondly, Ranier writes in an academic style that invites considered attention, whereas I am sure you would be the first to admit that your articles, as well considered and intelligent as their content is, are also far more colourful and provocative. This is why you attract lots of attention, both wanted and unwanted, and Ranier does not. Because your writing is provocative, people are more inclined to react with passion rather than separating the wheat from the chaff and focusing on the substance. It has everything to do with the words you type with your fingers and nothing to do with whether or not you have a y chromosome.

    ‘Now off I go to lend my support to my chosen ‘new face’ MP by going to his drinks party.’

    Now who might that be?

  48. Victor Laiviera

    I hope it’s not the proven plagiarist Pippo Psaila.

  49. Give it a rest Victor. He may be a proven plagiarist as you have pointed out whenever there was a whiff of an opportunity, but he is also an innovative and successful businessman. Of course you would prefer someone who can write prodigiously but would run a business into the ground. I tend to differ.

  50. Mr Laiviera,
    are you joking? you want specifics??? I guess I should pass your question to Dr Sant and the architects and engineers behind this superb idea. Perhaps they will explain to us how on earth are they planning to dig a ditch not less than 4 (FOUR!) stories deep to allow sea water to majestically flow around our capital city. And have they studied the effects something like this could have on the bastions and our capital?

    I don’t believe I’m even discussing this. And then there will be the futuristic elevators (Starwars like) to lift the people right from the boat to their shopping mall. You can see the pink tubes in the graphical presentation. 😀 Hilarious.

    Mr Laiviera, don’t get me wrong. I respect MLP, and a healthy administrative alternative is one thing every country needs. I long for a Labour party that can give real answers and alternatives. I’m no PN aficionado happy with a one-party rule ad eternum. But for God’s sake, MLP has to help out here!!

    Honestly, after 20 years in opposition, is it possible that you’re not asking yourself whether your party should be presenting better ideas than these. 20 years in opposition, you should be inundating the electorate with a kind of energy.. with ideas (proved and tested), that would leave no space for any discussion!

  51. You can be in Malta, Luxembourg, or Zwahili for all I care. To the average person, “keeping Labour out” is still the main incentive to vote for PN.

    Needless to say, if you attend PN rallies and coffee mornings with MPs of PN you’ll hear various other reasons why to vote for them and you’ll have a different view.

  52. Victor Laiviera

    The last time I was in Valletta the ditch was already there – you mean you have never seen it?

    Try google earth.

  53. Victor Laiviera

    Justin, the qualities which make a good businessman and the qualities that make a good politician are different, especiall;y inb the field of ethics.

  54. Why the hell every time Gonzi mentions the word ‘surplus’ he has to add the footnote “jigifieri li l-pajjiz idahhal izjed milli jonfoq”? Is it such a difficult word?!

  55. That’s just in case we think he is referring to the number of hopeless politicians we elect to parliament.

  56. R, if I’m not mistaken the Valletta project you are referring to is an updated version of the Connections project which proposes the extension (not the creation from scratch) of ditches dug by the Knights, making use of the channels underneath the city. I am not sure how extensive this underground network is or how damaging it would be to extend the channels, but the ditch already exists (and was full of water at one point)and there is nothing wrong with waterways or water-traffic linking Sliema, The Three Cities and Valletta. As for people-movers and elevators, they’re not exactly new-fangled outlandish contraptions seen only in sci-fi films. So maybe an adaptation of the idea could be used. Why pooh pooh all suggestions as impossible or ridiculous without any realy study?

  57. Quite right, but a bad businessman is likely to be a bad administrator and therefore a bad PM.

    Shall we discuss the ethics of a man who presided over and campaigned for a party that trod on fundamental human rights and NEVER apologised for having done so personally, or at the very least on behalf of his party?

    Shall we discuss the ethics of a man who fabricated electoral promises that he had no clue how to implement but held fast in those promises for electoral gain to the great detriment of the economy and the most vulnerable therein? (and don’t use il-hofra as an excuse; it was a costly game whether we could afford to play it or not)

    Shall we discuss the ethics of the man that Daphne highlights but that you cite as private?

    Shall we discuss the ethics of a man who would use criminal proceedings for political capital and would prefer to see drug barons run free than allow political points to be lost?

    Shall we discuss the ethics of a man who will block the removal of a judge for political reasons?

    Shall I go on?

  58. Victor Laiviera

    “Use criminal proceeding for political gain and prefer to see drug barons run free than allow political points to be lost” – you are referring to Fenech Adami, right?

  59. Pull the other one Vic.

  60. R, if I’m not mistaken the Valletta project you are referring to is an updated version of the Connections project which proposes the extension (not the creation from scratch) of ditches dug by the Knights, making use of the channels underneath the city. I am not sure how extensive this underground network is or how damaging it would be to extend the channels, but the ditch already exists (and was full of water at one point)and there is nothing wrong with waterways or water-traffic linking Sliema, The Three Cities and Valletta.

    I’m not sure the ditch was ever full of water. If I’m not mistaken the Knights always intended a dry moat. And, think about it, what would be the most difficult for besiegers to cross a dry or a water-filled moat?

  61. Mr Laiviera,
    this is the ditch you are talking about:

    You will need to dig 4 stories further down to effectively expect to go through this ditch with boats and catamarans. I don’t know what to say. I cannot even imagine how someone in his right senses can come up with such a thing.

    After 20 years in opposition… I mean… (Sigh) Is it possible that you don’t realize that something is terribly wrong somewhere?

    Anyway, I’m out of here.

  62. Victor Laiviera

    The point is, Fausto, thatb the ditc is already dug almost to water level – it would only need deepening by a few more feet.

  63. Costings (financial and evironmental )please. Could you be a bit more specific in your proposals?

  64. Victor Laiviera

    Justin it was you who brought this matter up.

    Have you fotgotten that it was Fenech SAdami who gave Zeppi l-{afi 3 prtesidemntial prdons?

    And who pardoned Queiroz?

    And who refused to order and investigation to see who was responsible for Azzabi’s escape?

    Why should I be pulling your leg?

    It is vile to even imply that Sant is even remotely involved in anything of thed sort.

  65. No I have not forgotten that EFA gave Zeppi l-Hafi a pardon. And I have not forgotten that it was AS that politicised the proceedings to such an extent that he virtually guaranteed that he would quash any chances of Zeppi l-Hafi’s evidence being taken seriously by a majority/blocking minority of the members of the jury. This guaranteed that AS could score further political points at a great price to criminal justice. Do you wish to say that EFA gave Zeppi l-Hafi a pardon for political gain? He is cleverer than that and he lost the 96 election in part because of it.

    As for the others, you may be right.

    No Victor, it is not vile of me to state facts. It is vile to muddy the waters and make political capital off criminal prosecutions. Pardons granted to procure evidence against murderers and drug dealers are very different to the Queiroz pardon. Queiroz is fair game. As for Azzabi, I must admit that I am unfamiliar with the case. To anyone who reads beyond headlines and spin, Zeppi l-Hafi is a stain on Labour, not PN. You will not convince me otherwise, but I will not respond on this topic again for obvious reasons. I will leave the last word to you if you choose to elaborate.

  66. PSA: Josie to organise a day of GHANA MALTIJA and WIRJA TAL-VRIEDEN U GRIEDEL at Zebbug Square this sunday. Azzjoni nazzjonali indeed.

  67. Victor Laiviera

    Azzabi was a hardened criminal and drug smuggler in jail in Malta. He was ent to hospital accompanied by just one young constable who had been in the froce only a few months. Naturally he escaped. Fenech Adamoi adamantly refuses to investigate who was responsible.

    And was it also Alfred Sants fault that Nicholasd Jensen Testaferrata (a close friend of RCC ans surely no Laburist) who testified that Zeppi was the actual aggressor and therefore was lying and in breach of the conditions of the pardons?

    Hallina, trid – the whole affair stinks to high heaven and only someone who is determined not to see can fail to see it.

  68. Victor Laiviera

    And have youy heard the latest about the Zeppi Saga? He has asked the courts to dismiss the cases – meaning that the pardon will become fixed and irrevocable. Do you know when the verdict is going to be given? Let me tell you – on the 7th of March! The ‘day of silence’, meaning no one will be able to protest when Eddies Friend finally gets his rewards made permanent.

    This blessed country is drowing in filth and the sooner we can clean it up the better.

  69. Victor Laiviera

    And you have the unmitigated gall to say that the people who tried to expose these obscenties are the ones who are stained with them.

    Incredible.

  70. L-ahhar wahda. Promise. ‘Eddie’s friend’ – cioe` dak li kien komplici fl-attentat ta’ qtil tal-assistent personali tieghu – fatt li ma jinnegah hadd. Mela skondok Eddie jixtieq jipprotegi lil siehbu l-Hafi akkost tal-hajja tal-persuna li kienet l-iktar vicin tieghu fis-snin kollha li kien PM.

  71. Victor Laiviera

    I have said all I have to say. The facts are public and have been published and debated ad nauseam.

    I think the conclusions shoud be obvious to anyone.

  72. Victor Laiviera

    PS: According to Nicholas Jensen Testaferrata (a close friend of RCC and no Laburist) il-Hafi was no accomplice, but the acvual aggressor.

  73. Why pooh pooh all suggestions as impossible or ridiculous without any realy study?

    Claire,
    Yes it is ridiculous to propose such a thing WITHOUT ANY REAL STUDY. And that’s what MLP did. Did they consult urban planning specialists, environmental organizations, historians? Did they do any impact assessment on the effects this project would have on the bastions? This is a World Heritage Site for crying out loud. Malta’s capital. You defending MLP in this case is beyond me.

    After 20 years in opposition they should be inundating us with proved and tested ideas and not cajoling us with this nonsense.

    I’m not the type who pooh poohs ALL suggestions. I think Malta desperately needs a third voice in parliament. I stand for most of AD’s values. As I stated in other parts of this blog, I’ve been determined to vote AD this time.

    So yes I’m back with the undecided flock once again.
    But let’s face it, AD needs a much better MLP to ever stand a chance.

  74. R, if you remain undecided I’d suggest that (i) if Gonzi contests your district you give him the no 1 vote and no 2 to AD, or (ii) if Gonzi is not contesting your district, choose the PN candidate with the least chance of getting elected and give him/her the no 1 vote and no 2 to AD. This is not a risk-free approach but it is as close as one can get to having the best of both worlds.

  75. PS no (ii) might work whether or not Gonzi contests your district.

  76. Victor Laiviera

    The really risk-free approach would be to vote Labourt and avoid any risk of another five yearts of PN government.

  77. Pawza ghar-riklami:

    I intend to co-author an academic paper applying game theory (thank you Fausto) to the Maltese electoral system. An embryonic idea of what I will explore can be found here: http://law-research.blogspot.com/2008/02/economic-analysis-of-electoral-laws.html

    If anyone would like to share views on how the electoral system excludes or stimulates competition, compels political parties to converge on the middle ground (thank you Pawlu) or otherwise, please contact me on law384 “at” abdn.ac.uk Any views that are used will of course be cited. Please do not use this address for spam, whether or not it is political. I receive enough of that on my private email address.

    Thank you. And back to regular programming.

  78. R – have you seen or heard of Renzo Piano’s plan for Valletta? Most of the Connections proposals are based on that.

    if i remember my history lessons correctly The ditch was intended to be filled with water but the Knights stopped due to a shortage of funds and too much work. So filling it up, ie cutting the rock down to the water level would be fulfilling the Knights wishes.

  79. Let’s fulfill it then, Rupert! 🙂

  80. “The qualities that make a good businessman and a good politician are different,” writes Victor. Too bad your hero has neither the one nor the other, then. And he can’t write to save his life, either – he just churns out soulless prose and impresses lesser mortals with big words and even bigger books. Ah, but do they read them?

    You obviously don’t know your PN candidates, Victor, because Pippa Psaila isn’t standing for election on the district where I live.

    I now expect a barrage of criticism from AD about Labour’s most recent rabbit-from-the-hat: cutting the rock around Valletta so that the sea surges in, and publishing drawings without the concomitant civil engineering studies or any idea how it’s done. For those of you who didn’t watch the news tonight, Sant was asked on camera about any consultations his party might have had with environmental/heritage NGOs before drawing up this brilliant plan, and he gave his usual stock wooden-marionette answer: “Aqra d-dokument u ssir taf.” (It’s enough to make you want to slap the television). So the reporter in question did as requested and -hey presto – no consultations at all. Do I hear a roar of rage from AD? Maybe Cacopardo is taken up ‘whistleblowing’ documents he wrote himself for an organisation that no longer employs him, about a project that affects electors in his chosen district. Jahasra Malta.

  81. Claire thinks I write the text for the Nationalist Party adverts. Ah, so they must be really good then.

  82. Victor Laiviera

    “Jahasra Malta” indeed – but don’t worry, it will soon be over.

    And have neither heros nor bete noires – just realistic assessments. So I am not bound by any hang-ups when I write.

    As for the PN canidates, no I am far from being and expert. I know, though, that Tony Abela is one of them cos I got a leaflet – Ajaca, anyone?

  83. Victor Laiviera

    “And so to bed” as old Sam Pepys used to say.

  84. You don’t need to go on, Justin, because I’ll give you the latest one:

    Shall we discuss the ethics of a man who gets his party’s television cameras to hound his own daughter’s 19-year-old cousin and expose the young man, a private citizen, wall-to-wall on political television, described as a hamallu and a thug who ‘attacked’ his men, just to get at his mother, who doesn’t like him? And then to have that video placed on Youtube and have his Labour elves post obscene and violent comments? What kind of a man do you have to be to do that to your own daughter’s flesh and blood relation? A man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, and a man who is conspicuously lacking in normal human emotions and totally devoid of the capacity for empathy. Bring out the psychiatrist’s couch…

    Those of you who are living abroad/don’t watch Super One in the afternoon: here’s the latest. That prancing little prat (no, not you Jacques) who hosts the show called Kalamita had surgeon Anthony Zammit on as a guest (the very one who performed The Operation). Asked what he thinks of Alfred Sant, he replied: “Nista nghid li jien l-uniku bniedem fid-dinja li nafa minn barra u minn gewwa….hahahahahahaha…..u nista nghidilkom li m’hemmx hdura go fih.” If you help elect this shoddy bunch, this man is going to be Minister of Health.

    Barrage of criticism from AD about Lejber’s sea-water moat around Valletta project? You must be joking. There’s Claire above, asking R what’s so wrong with it, rushing to Lejber’s defence once more. Last time you promoted AD and voted PN, Claire. What are you going to do this time – promote AD and vote Labour? Nothing would surprise me at this stage. Maybe you can be the environmental consultant on their Valletta project. If they manage it as well as they’ve managed their upended containers-cum-billboards in this campaign, Valletta should be disrupted for the entire five years and beyond, and I’ll hazard a bet that we’ll wake up one morning to find that half the capital city is underwater.

    Yes, Fausto, it was intended as a dry moat, and of course you’re right that a dry moat is far more difficult to cross than a moat full of water – but we’re not dealing with the brightest (energy-saving) bulbs in the chandelier here.

    Victor, you know nothing but what you heard from Super One about the Zeppi l-Hafi case, as you call it. It wasn’t actually the Zeppi l-Hafi case, though, was it – it was the Meinrad Calleja case, but you find it convenient to omit that. Don’t speak about this because you know as much about it as your friend Alfred knows about democracy and running a country. Justin is right: I felt like applauding when I read what he wrote – that your crassly irresponsible friend politicised an attempted murder case and the subsequent trial, seriously prejudicing it with the expected results. But then read what I wrote above, about his having no qualms at all with persecuting his own daughter’s young cousin for political gain (actually the opposite, as right-thinking people saw it for what it was – an act of moral violence). May he be farmed out to pastures new on 9 March. He’s only a year away from retirement anyway, despite the fact that he pretends to have black hair (ridiculous) – and thanks to this government, he can work, if anyone will have him – which is doubtful – and still collect his pension.

  85. Justin, the man you need to speak to about the Maltese electoral system is Professor John Lane, Buffalo, New York. I’ve lost his contact details, but a fair number of people know him in Malta. He’s made exhaustive studies of all our general elections.

  86. Thanks Daphne. That’s a great help. Found his contact details and a whole load of information here: http://www.maltadata.com/index.htm

  87. if i remember my history lessons correctly The ditch was intended to be filled with water but the Knights stopped due to a shortage of funds and too much work. So filling it up, ie cutting the rock down to the water level would be fulfilling the Knights wishes.

    Rupert, you are confusing that with il-Mandragg (aka il manderraggio which is a kind of dockyard) which is another part of Valletta.

  88. Victor Laiviera

    How come people want every detail about Labour’s Valletta proposals but do nor ask a single question the PN’s plans foe the same place, especially the laughable proposal to build a cruise liner berth at the very spot where they would be battered to pieces whenever even a moderate Gregale blows?

    Daphne, you posts are, as usual, long on vituperation and short on facts. Meinrad Calleja is (in my view) a criminal who deserves all he got – but not in the RCC case. There he was being framed. And it was not me who say so -it was Nicholas Jensen Testaferrata and three (or was it 4?) different juries. But I forget – it was the custom at that time to rubbish juries when they did not come out with verdicts certain people were expecting (or rather going for. I see you declined to comment about the fact that the final decision about the Zeppi l-Hafi pardons will be given, By COINCIDENCE, on the 7th March when nobody well be able to comment or protest.

    It is amusing. to say the least, to see that you have suddenly discovered the family connection with Sant after denying it and ignoring it for years. I have never seen such a breathtaking example of double standards and hypocrisy.

  89. No I’m not Fausto, il Mandragg too suffered the same fate though probably for a different set of reasons. The fact is that the ditch was definitely too deep to cut to water level otherwise I believe they would have done so. If not why was Fort St. Angelo cut off from the rest of the peninsula? To make it easier for the enemy to cross?

    A ‘connections’ project is of the utmost importance if we really want to regenerate both harbours area and it should be done both vertically and horizontally. The first proposals to connect the harbours were through a tunnel under the ditch and now it is being proposed to dig the ditch deeper. not sure which i prefer though both have their pros and cons but i am definitely in for connecting the harbours.

  90. Victor Laiviera

    The thing is, Rupert, that some people want every single Labour proposal explained in detail with every i dotted and every t crossed and yet are ready to swallow 353 pie in the -sorry – PN proposal without batting an eyelid.

  91. Victor, that’s because the GonziPN have such a wonderful track record when it comes to Valletta, (such as rebuilding the Opera House and restoring the bastions) that its not worth questioning them about other proposals. It just won’t happen.

  92. Victor Laiviera

    Yes, and they also built that wonderful structure called City Gate which will probably be included in the list of “Wonders of the Modern World” which is being drawn up at the moment.

  93. 353 prooposals

    A legislature at present lasts 5 years or less. For instance, asume 5 years.

    Roughly, the above given numbers imply the implementation of one proposal every 5 days.

    Matematico caro Watson!

    Dal dire al fare .. c’è di mezzo il mare

  94. I would love to hear Claire’s opinion about the halving of the electricity surcharge maybe that would help us understand the environmental logics of Sant’s proposal. I believe it is central issue to Labour’s programme so it must have crossed Harry’s mind that Sant would implement it (“Dak li mweghdu ahna tal-Lejber inwettquh”)

    The New Labour, or is it Bidu Gdid Party now, have no idea about environmental issues and have never proposed any environmental policy worth considering. The environment was never on Labour’s agenda but then Harry seems to overlook that and prefers to attack Gonzi’s tenure in office.

    The PN, it is true that they have made the environment a back burner during the years in government however the EU was a matter which everyone agrees was the most important political idea for these last 25 years. Apart from that with the EU funds projects which till few years ago were considered as impossible are now possible. Notwithstanding that, the Maghtab rehabilitation is nearly complete and Xaghra l-Hamra proposals are there for everyone to see.

    Gonzi has made it clear that he is proposing EUR300 million specifically towards the environment. Have you ever heard about sant’s plan in this regard?

    Moreover the electoral proposals of the Nationalist are to say the least even more ambitious than those of the Green Party.

    It would be also be very interesting to see a coalition formed by the Greens and the reds most probably it would not last more than the 22 months that the sant / Mintoff coalition lasted. Cassola must be full of advice regarding the doing and undoing of Green / Red coalitions since he had first hand experience in Prodi’s government.

    There is no way to go about it the choice is between sant and Gonzi. The electorate has to choose or should we leave the decision in Harry’s hands!

  95. Marco, I don’t agree with Labour’s surcharge proposals as they do nothing to encourage energy-saving and sustainability. AD also criticised this proposal. Incidentally, I don’t see why the Nationalist and Gonzi are getting so touchy at being criticised. The PN has been in office for the past 20 years (less 22 months) – Gonzi has said that there is an environmental deficit (Gonzese or “We did pretty much next to nothing for all this time” and Marco admits that it is true that the “PN have made the envoronment a back burner” (actually you must have meant -“put environmental issues on the back burner”, but anyone who is not a Nationalist is not allowed to criticise the PN.

    If Labour’s Valletta project is not environmentally or economically feasible, ditch it – by all means, but it would be a pity to dismiss the possibility of waterways linking different cities around the Valletta peninsula, as well as the vertical people movers and lifts (The PN hasn’t managed one lift in all these years).

    Does Daphne write the PN newspaper ad campaigns?

  96. With regard to the Cacopardo report, it should be noted that nobody has denied the contents of the report. The report refers to communications which the minister had with planning officers about the particular application away from the public eye. This constitutes direct ministerial intervention in the planning process and was one of the reasons why MEPA was set up. If Lorry Sant was having cosy chats with planning officials about a particular application, you can bet your bottom dollar that everyone at Stamperija would be screaming blue murder and hailing the person who revealed this news as a brave whistleblower. But since it’s a Nationalist Minister who is doing the chatting, we dismiss the report as an internal one (so?) and try to criticise its author – not about the veracity or otherwise of the report, but because of its timing. The usual two weights, two measures

  97. Claire: How come AD are saying nothing about the new incinerator installed in MArsa, which is being used not only for the cremation of animal remains from the abbatoir itself, but is also used to treat the waste coming from hospital. In so doing, the incinerator will spread tonnes of nanoparticles all over Malta (from studies abroad, particulary France,it is shown that these nanoparticles usually spread for a iameter of about 80-110 kilometres from where the incinerator is cited. Now, we all know what nanoparticles do, not only do they cause a huge surge in cancer rate and birth defects in the area of which they spread, but since they are absolbed by vegetation and soil, they will cause all these problems even in future generations. Will you ask for this incinerator to be closed? (anything less would not be sufficient since there are no filters that can filter particles of such a small size). Also, why were AD all over the place about the development of the villas in Ta’ Cenc, which at the end of the day would create a huge eyesore, but nothing more, and nowhere to be seen when it comes to this issue, which not only puts in peril all the current Maltese (and Gozitan) population, but also generations to come.

    IU could of course ask the same question to any MLP candidate but I doubt they’d be bothered since there was no mention of it in the political manifesto. The nationalists put it there in the first place, so I can’t aslk them either coz all I’d get is the same old Mars story over again and no answer.

    Sorry for worrying over tangible issues rather than the beauty of various electoral systems…

  98. Victor Laiviera

    The people criticising the MLP Valleta ditch project are making the cardinal mistake of thinking in terms of lowering the floor of the whole ditch – a mammmoth task.

    In reality, all that would be required is cuttinng a channel not more that – say – 20 feet wide and fifteen deep – more than enough for shallow draught boats to navigate.

    Given that the whole width of the dich is at least five time that, the channel would be well away from the bastions and would pose no risk to them.

    A big contractor with modern heavy-duty equipment could do the job in a month.

  99. @Daphne,

    Well, re-reading my previous post, I must admit that my last paragraph is rather superfluous, especially since by the penultimate paragraph I have pretty much stated my post’s point. To clarify, with the term “boring stuff” I am referring to your political writings, to the repetitive “Sant is bad, Sant is bad, Gonzi is good, Sant is bad” series, and not to your complete works. And no, my view on what is boring and what is not is definitely not shared by everyone. If it were, nobody would be watching Xarabank 🙂

    You said: “I am also beginning to wonder why you think voting AD will result in lower levels of construction in Malta. Apparently you believe that a Labour government will crack down on all building rather than doing the opposite, which is its historic tradition and its present inclination, given that the man scheduled to be minister of works has a development company and lives by earnings from development.”

    Nowhere have I stated that I’m voting for the MLP, and I’m not. So in no way is it apparent that I believe that “a Labour government will crack down on all building”. I don’t. Why, do you by any chance believe that a PN government will crack down on all building? Neither the PN nor the MLP will ever start tackling seriously the over-development problem that is ruining our country, whereas the AD certainly will, as they have always done. With AD’s contribution in Parliament, the other parties will no longer be able to ignore the problem. That is why I am voting for AD, so you might want to stop wondering. Daphne, keep in mind that the whole Maltese population stands to gain from the presence of AD in our Parliament, you included, and you know that. So why do you undermine this noble cause?

  100. Sometimes I hear the argument that the situation would be “unstable” were the 65 seats in Parliament to be divided e.g. 1 AD, 32 PN, 32 MLP. I presume that the reasoning behind this is that on any issue, the MLP and the PN will take opposite positions, so that single AD representative will have the power to the tip the balance whichever side he wants. So some would want to argue that this is “undemocratic”.

    This argument is weak, as it is based on the ignorant assumption that on every issue, all 32 PN representatives must take the same stand, whereas all the 32 MLP representatives must take the same (and opposite) stand.

    Every representative should be assertive enough to vote on issues on the basis of his principles. At least, that’s how its supposed to be. Of course, representatives from the same party do share a common set of principles (which is why they are affiliated with the same party in the first place), which means that they are likely to vote in a uniform manner most of the time. However, were the representatives to act as they should, there would be no instability whatsoever.

    We tend to forget that these Parliamentarians are representing us. Does anyone of you really believe that it is possible that on every issue, exactly half the population think one way, and exactly the other half think the exact opposite?

    If they persist in block-voting in this manner no matter what, then our Parliament is really one huge waste of space, and our elections a big waste of time. We might as well have just three seats. Or maybe just one. Or none at all, and instate a King or a Queen 🙂

  101. Jacques, excuse me for using your blog commentary as my publishing platform. I should probably write my own blog… 🙂

  102. Living abroad, I have been following this blog and replies for the last weeks, since I believe this gives me quite an accurate picture of the “public mood” out there. I have refrained from commenting since I consider myself biased and non-objective when it comes to Politics (maybe growing up in the violence of the 80s and all those “undercover” private lessons in constant fear of being attacked by the police has something to do with this?).
    But the Valletta “project” leaves me bewildered…water finds its own level Victor!! One has to dig up to sea level and beyond – quite a feat considering parts of the ditch are 20 metres above sea level!! Convenienetly, the MLP presentation omits to show what happens at the junction between the existing sea and the proposed “canal” (which the Nationalists have cruelly translated as “gandott”) in the Marsamxett harbour, where the existing level of the ditch is the highest.

    And using “heavy-duty equipment”? Does the MLP know that Valletta is, obviously (or not so obviously to some?) a site of Archaeological importance and “heavy-duty” tools cannot be use? And that any excavation in valletta is to be continuously monitored for heritage reasons? Or would this requirement be waived? If one were to carry out the Project notwithstanding, we would end up with “shallow draught boats” 20 metres below existing “ditch level”…I wonder how many tourists would flock to use the boats and have a lovely view of 20metre high walls on both sides!! No wonder Charles Buhagiar looked uneasy when faced with certain questions! And yes….the bastions will be irreversibly damaged. And yes…the shallowness of this Project should be an eye-opener to many people. Remember C.E.T. anyone?

  103. “The thing is that some people want every single Labour proposal explained in detail with every i dotted and every t crossed…” (8.12am)

    “In reality, all that would be required is cutting a channel not more than – say – 20 feet wide and fifteen deep – more than enough for shallow draught boats to navigate.” (3.36pm)

    Victor,
    early in the morning you were wondering why should we be so fussy and expect some kind of clarification about how a Labour goverment intends to dig a four stories high ditch around Valletta and about all the possible collateral effects. ok. 🙂

    Now you are trying to give the answers yourself. First of all I do suggest you leave the explanations to who proposed this thing in the first place if you don’t want to make a fool out of yourself. I’m sure that the civil engineers consulted on this project have all the answers ready.

    I am willing to suppose that you missed my previous post. Anyway in case you did, this is the ditch where the contractor will be digging your 20 feet wide by 15 deep channel in a month. This is the ditch which will be filled with sea water for the pleasure of busy commuters on boats and catamarans:

    You must be joking.

    The ditch is not even the issue here. I repeat, after 20 years in opposition MLP should be overloaded with proposals how to turn this country upside down. In every domain. MLP should be innundating us with tested and proven projects and ideas not plain hogwash. I am for a healthy political and administrative alternative any time. But the idea of having these ditch-digging-water-flowing-around-Valletta visionaries representing me in the European Council meetings sends cold shivers all the way down my spine.

    Take my honest advice, don’t mention this subject any more. The sooner we forget about it the better it will be for you and your party.

  104. Victor, read my lips: I HAVE NO FAMILY CONNECTION WITH SANT, AND IF I DID I WOULD BE SO ASHAMED AND EMBARRASSED THAT I WOULD CONCEAL THE FACT. It is my sons who are cousins to his daughter, full stop. Our children are blood relations. We have no connection at all – thank God.

    Nicholas Jensen – I know him and you don’t. Please don’t presume or assume things. The Labour Party’s defence of a criminal was, is and will remain a disgusting blot (to add to the thousands) on its record.

    This is the main reason I can’t stand Labour: no ethics at all. No standards of behaviour. Zero. I tempted to explain why this might be, but I don’t want a host of posts accusing me of snobbery.

  105. I’m on line early because I want to watch Xarabank tonight. So Victor, you ask why people always want to know every single detail of any Labour project, but don’t do the same to this government. Haven’t you been listening to the campaign? IT’S ALL ABOUT TRACK RECORD. Labour has consistently proven itself unable to organise the proverbial p*** up in a brewery, and now it wants to tackle a UNESCO World Heritage Site? No wonder people are worried.

    You say that “a big contractor with modern” – as opposed to what, may I ask? antiquated? – @heavy-duty equipment could do the job in a month.” And which big contractor might that be? Come on, we’re dying for an answer here. I can already hear the heritage groups screaming blue murder.

    Dwardu: “everyone stands to gain by having AD in parliament”? How, exactly? By having Labour in government? Come on everyone, bring out the calculators and arithmetic lessons again. I give up here.

    And no, it is not “a noble cause”. That would be what the Sisters of Mother Theresa are doing in Calcutta. I see nothing noble about three washed-up men approaching pensionable age trying to find a role for themselves in a political ‘party’ that should be for the young and dynamic. Nor did I see anything noble in the facial expression of smug satisfaction on Harry’s face, when asked what would happen if ‘he’ formed a coalition with the PN and the PN wanted a golf course: “Jaqa l-gvern.” Oh come on. Who wants to live like that? A revolution over a golf course? Chaos and political instability over a yacht marina? Haven’t we already been there before (though with excellent consequences)?

    Konvint: the Labour Party couldn’t even fit a print-out to the upended containers that have replaced their billboards in this campaign. Do you expect them to know that water finds its own level? And then Victor wonders why people are worried about Labour’s ‘plans’.

    Oh, by the way – the Great Leader Who Won’t Be Laughed At Or Booed celebrates his 60th birthday on Wednesday. Now this, as we all know, is a milestone on life’s journey. But are we going to hear anything about it? Will there be headlines congratulating the Great Leader Who Can’t Take Criticism From Kids? Don’t count on it. He’s worried people might ask him why his hair is still black. Ridiculous man. Total waste of space.

  106. Jon, AD had issued several press releases about the Marsa incinerator and about the process followed to choose it, which AD insisted was irregular.(over capacity just for animal carcasses etc) AD also mentioned the fact that hazardous waste was being transported to a couple of metres from the place where live-stock which we eat. AD was always in favour of “dedicated” incinerators – ones which have specific waste streams. AD did not ignore this issue at all as it recognises the fact that health issues and pollution problems are as important as intensive construction in unspoiled areas.

    I believe that there are fabric filters which absorb a great deal of the nanoparticles mentioned. With regard to dioxins (cancer-forming agents created in part by chlorine ), there is a regulation which states that when combusting hazardous waste the incinerator’s temperature to 1100 degrees celsius for 2 seconds to stop the creation of said dioxins, and pass the exhaust gases through activated carbon to reduce the amount of dioxins even further. The emissions from the incinerator should be monitored and compared to EU and WHO statistics. If there is a great divergence, then more stringent processes should be adopted to reduce said emissions.

  107. Sinjura Daphne, hemm xi cans tieqaf ix-xejjer il-bandieri u titkellem ftit politika? jew bil-malti ma tifhimx? eeeeee iva insejt li int ju lajk di hobza wit di zejt u il-malti jaqq

  108. I find this “coalitions are as stable as a two-legged stool” argument quite amusing, though indicative of a proper understanding of how coalitions work. When a coalition has to be formed after elections, the prospective coalition partners sign a coalition document which is a statement of intent. This indicates their common objectives, allocation off portfolios and red lines (areas on which the partners stand fast). A coalition partner would bring down the government only if no agreement was reached on one off these red-lines. An example of such an issue might be withdrawal from the EU, which would be opposed by AD. The very existence of these red lines exists as a check for major coalition parties – which is not a bad thing at all. On a great number of issues a compromise is usually found (even in the present PN vs MLP parliamentary set-up many laws are passed by agrrement from both sides) with the added bonus that there is input from other parties representing more sectors of the electorate.
    Also – one has to consider that bringing down a coalition for a flimsy excuse will mean political suicide for that coalition partner who will never be trusted by the electorate again

  109. Claire: You’re right, but on the AD website there was no mention in the campaigns section, the only mention (which I discovered just now was a press release dated december 2006). Still not enough in my opinion, but at least one party did raise concern about this whole issue.

    To correct you, something about the filters. The existing filters do little or nothing when it comes to nanoparticles, due to their small size. Re: Dioxin, you’re spot on (didn’t think lawyers usually interest themselves in this sort of small print).

    Since apparently the two parties are at a loss when it comes to environement (planting trees is not enough..we need a long term energy policy, which none of them has), I would like to talk about the joke that Mater Dei hospital is…but about that another time…

  110. Jon, I will check about the filter absorption rate. From the data I have have at hand they are better than the old incinerator (big deal you might say….and I would agree).
    -As you say, there is no long term policy for these big energy projects, so what usually happens is that we scrabble around at the last minute choosing high capacity (more than we need just for animal waste in this case) apparatus just so that we don’t lose funds from the Italian Protocol or the EU. This results in a cart before the horse process where we get the apparatus before studies and permits for an appropriate installation are made. Result? It’s a fait accomplit – we can’t send it back – and we’ve lost an opportunity to have the right sort of apparatus for specific waste streams.

  111. Victor Laiviera

    If you are “konvint” a priori, I can hardly hope to convince you can I? Just keep in mimd that twhat I say here are purely my ideas – don’t lump them on anybody else.

    Engineering problems can always be solved if there is the will. Just as an example (again, purely my idea) have you eve seen how the problem of differenrt level in canals is solved abroad? They have something called “locks”. Look it up here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canal_lock

  112. Trying to argue objectively, it is my right to vote, or not to. In addition, it is my right to chose for which party I will cast my vote, if I decide to do so.

    The key issue is trying to be objective. Whether I vote for AD, PN, MLP, AN or whoever else may be on the ballot paper is my decision, a conscious one at that.

    Polticians or their emissaries can try to convince me to vote for their party or the party they represent, respectively. However, their convincing power, in my case will depend very much on the objectivity of their arguments. Utlimately though, it is the past performance of the parties and their electoral proposals (not promises) that matter most.

    The people are sovereign.

  113. Ah so the MLP is proposing to have locks in the canal?? So to avaoid a 5 minute walk from quay it will make the passengers waste at least 20 until the levels in the locks change? Also wasnt all that area supposed to be a cruise liner terminal, now we’re going to cut right through it? And did the MLP executive decide to burden you with the responsability to tell the world that they will be building a useless canal with locks? What next?? Hail them as the next best thing after the Navigli?? Or maybe the Panama Canal?

    Listen, I will vote for PN (mostly by exclusion), and yet I criticize them in most of my posts. Is it that difficult for you to admit that this was just another project shot from the hip, just like a lot of others? It won’t make MLP lose votes. It will just convince your detractors that Labourite supporters aren’t as gullible as they are purpoted to be..

  114. “A revolution over a golf course? Chaos and political instability over a yacht marina?”

    Wonderful.

    We are stable because we’re standing in shit that has almost solidified. It’s even kind of cosy.

  115. Victor Laiviera

    Jon, can’t you read plain English? I have said more than onec that what I say are purely mu personal ideas.

  116. Daphne, keep in mind that the whole Maltese population stands to gain from the presence of AD in our Parliament, you included, and you know that. So why do you undermine this noble cause?

    A reminder: AD had an MP and were in Parliament between 1989 and 1992. The fact that nobody seems to remember tells a lot about the huge benefits a third party will bring to Maltese public life.

  117. Victor Laiviera

    Dear Daphne, how on earth should I know “which contractor”? Under a Labour government the contractors would be chosen to fit the project and not the other way round as happens now.

    One thing is certain – it will not be some “friend of friends” who will do a day’s work and be paid for 20 in return for a hefty contribution.

    Nor will the work be supervised by a company belonging to the (business) partner of the Minister concerned, under a contract drawn up in such a way that the longer it take to complete, the more the supervising company will be paid.

  118. Oh, so that excludes Charles Buhagiar and his friends, then, Victor. So who’s left? Ah, let’s see. Robert Sant? Charles Polidano? Nazzareno Vassallo? First you rip them to shreds over corruption, then you go cap in hand and ask them to cut your moat? Pause for an exasperated sigh.

    Thank you, Fausto, for reminding all these AD bloggers that AD was in parliament for three years and nobody noticed. I’ve been using that same argument myself elsewhere, but apparently it hasn’t been underscored enough, so I’ll just have to repeat it in my column tomorrow. AD WAS IN PARLIAMENT FOR THREE YEARS AND NOBODY NOTICED. Are you all hearing me out there? So much for the noble cause that saved us. And then what did Wenzu Mintoff do? He went back to Labour, and is now one of the worst hodor in that party.

  119. There are considerable differences between Wenzu Mintoff’s 3-year stint as a member of a political party which had just been formed, and the present situation. AD has now been formed for 18 years (and not a couple, as in Wenzu’s time). It has promoted E.U. accession, environmental, economic and social causes and is headed by someone who Daphne described as decent and intelligent and who she would trip over to vote for if he was on the Nationalist ticket. Circumstances have changed greatly since Wenzu Mintoff’s time.

  120. Victor Laiviera

    I’m not surprised that you miss the point, Dear Daphne, after 20 years of this lot.

    It’s not WHO the contractor is that mattets, as much as HOW he is chosen, what conditions and safeguards are inserted in the contrract and how well they are enforced.

    It’s called ‘good governance’ – look it up.

  121. I love this: I’m being asked to take lessons on good governance from the Labour Party. You really have no sense of irony, Victor.

    Claire: a seat in a parliament for AD in 1992 is no different to a seat in parliament for AD in 2008. A seat in parliament is a seat in parliament, full stop. You can’t use it to legislate.

  122. I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument as to why a third party in parliament is a good idea. The dicussion here assumes that it will necessarily be AD. What if it is ForzaMalta with its petty wish list including setting up a monument to Gorg Preca? Or Azzjoni Nazzjonali with its antidiluvian “policies”? Or, for that matter, Imperium Europa? Or something that keeps changing its brand name, but always turns out to be Emmy Bezzina?

  123. @Cora:

    What if one of the big parties with their anti-Malta (read anti-you) construction policies were to be in Parliament?

    Oh hell, they already are!

    Why? Because a large part of the Maltese population seems to want them. So if another, albeit smaller, part of the population want to be represented by any of the parties/people you mention, then so be it.

    If the solutions they propose were to be irrational, there would be the rest of Parliament to disapprove. On the other hand, if the solutions they propose are rational, the rest of Parliament could discuss. This is how democracy should work, and not as it currently does, with the media blocking us from hearing their alternative views.

    Apart from unfair electoral rules cooked up by the main parties, the other main reason why it is hard for a third party to be in Parliament is that unfortunately, and I say this out of honesty and not to be disrespectful, this is a nation of cowards, a nation of people who not only are always afraid to make the first move, but won’t even join you when you make the first move yourself!

    Whoever of you has ever stood up to defend one of your rights, even the most minimal ones in everyday life, has experienced what I’m talking about.

  124. Dwardu, thank you for the lengthy explanation but it doesn’t address my original question. I’m not asking whether there should be a third voice. I’m asking what the net effect will be if the third voice is not AD’s, but Imperium Europa’s or Azzjoni Nazzjonali’s, say. What do other people here think?

  125. There is indeed a world of difference between Wenzu Mintoff’s seat in parliament and AD being a minor coalition partner with a seat in parliament. Here’s why. Wenzu Mintoff was elected on the Labour ticket. Presumably people voted for him because he endorsed the Labour manifesto and policies (although we are supposed to vote for candidates not parties, we all know that people vote for parties). When he found out about what was going on in the MLP at the time, he was not ready to be part of it andresigned from the party. However he could not assume that the people who had voted him in were of the same opinion. Quite rightly he did not conclude that the people who had voted for the MLP had in fact voted for a party which had not yet been formed. Wenzu Mintoff had not been elected on an AD ticket and AD manifesto.
    -With regard to the legislative aspects of a party having at least one seat in parliament. We tend to think that passing laws is an all-or-nothing exercise, with the government party representatives turning up one afternoon, slapping a bill on the table, demanding a vote on it withit being passed despite the vociferous protest of the opposition members. It doesn’t work like that. Most of the lawsare approved by both sides, after being amended in committee and successive reading stages. In the case of a coalition government, a coalition document would have been signed by the coalition partners. This document would indicate those areas which the parties are in agreement on, and each others’ respective priorities. This document would also include certain no-go areas – which are the issues on which the respective parties intend to hold firm. These would be known beforehand and would also play a part in the negotiation process. These “no-go” or “red-lines” would also act as a check on the other partner. So, just for the sake of example AD could insist that withdrawal from the EU is one such red line, or that a feasible alternative energy plan is a priority or a disclosure law is needed. Having signed the coalition document and acknowledging that these priorities exist, the major coalition partner would know what it had signed up for and would be incentivised to keeping to its part of the bargain, with the result that those issues promoted by the coalition partner are not put on the back-burner or dismissed

  126. The only sure fire way of excluding parties with questionable agendas is to stop having elections. This might be pleasing to PN acolytes but they will have to admit that it’s not very democratic. Our Constitution provides for the striking down of laws which are unconstitutional and which breach fundamental human rights. So no party can suddenly decide to pass laws which discriminate against a particular group of people for example.

    – As regards to why we tend to discuss AD as a third voice in Parliament: This is probably because they are the party which makes the most sense, which seems to be attracting most votes and which has become the subject of an aggressive hate campaign by some PN propagandaists. Why expend so much energy and bile on a party which has no chance of making it all?

  127. AD will only attract votes as long as people don’t realise that this means Sant as prime minister, and a Labour government. Once they realise that, when and if it happens, then it’s goodbye protest votes to AD. The mistake AD is making is to underestimate the well-meaning naivete of many people, and the visceral hatred that many ‘disgruntled Nationalists’ feel for Labour. After all, that is why they are saying they will vote AD – because they can’t bring themselves to vote Labour. You clearly don’t know your target market as well as I do – or human nature, for that matter.

  128. I’m interested in the mechanisms of parliamentary decision taking involving third parties regardless of their agenda. If, say, Azzjoni Nazzjonali is elected alongside MLP and PN, with a 1 + 32 + 32 seat distribution, what happens next? Is a three party coalition possible, as the party is claiming? And if no common ground is found, wouldn’t that mean Malta is effectively without a government? What are the economic and political implications and for how long would the situation last before another election is held?

  129. Let me understand this. A question to Dapnhe? Does your target market consist of ‘disgruntled Nationalists’ who as you claim have a visceral hatred for Labour. If that is the case, then I finally understand why your contributions tend to attack Labour and Alfred Sant in such a visceral manner. Just in case you didn’t know, someone who acts in a visceral manner does not put too much thought to his actions.

    Believe me, people are much more intelligent than what you seem to think and that is what distinguishes us humans from other species. We do not rely solely on our instincts in taking decisions and acting accordingly. Certainly, a greet majority are not puppets on a string.

  130. You sound as though you have a very poor level of education, Haricot. No wonder you are too embarrassed to reveal your identity. May I suggest you take advantage of this government’s wonderful educational opportunities, or some EU educational exchange programmes? They might broaden your mind and teach you how to handle abstract concepts. Without that skill, you are seriously handicapped in the sphere of rational argumentation – to argue rationally, you first need to be able to think rationally. Clear writing depends on clear reasoning, which in turn depends on clear thinking. I couldn’t even understand what you are trying to say, even though I read it three times.

    Cora: Herbert Ganado gives a very good illustration of what you ask in his Rajt Malta Tinbidel. It’s not as though Malta hasn’t been there before with more than two parties in parliament and ensuing chaos. He describes how the budget got through only because Mabel Strickland, on the opposition benches of a parliament in which four parties were represented, generously voted with the coalition government to avoid that government collapsing. It was at risk of collapse because Boffa couldn’t stand Borg Olivier, with whom he was in coalition, and voted against the budget – in the same way that Harry said he would vote against a golf course and provoke the collapse of the government. It wasn’t enough and elections were called shortly afterwards, in which the Nationalist Party got a minority of votes but the majority of seats, while the Labour Party, which had the majority of votes, slid into opposition. The catalyst for this state of affairs was the Constitutional Party, and Herbert Ganado describes how he shared a drink with Miss Strickland afterwards to thank her (cynically).

    AD are trying to present a multi-party system with a coalition government as something new-fangled when it’s just old hat. In this they have plenty in common with somebody called A. Sant. The only thing they haven’t got in common with the Labour Party at this stage is their stance on golf courses. Apart from that, the road is open to an MLP coalition – there certainly seems to be a tactical one already – though I don’t envy Harry trying to work with that rigid puppet who either gets his way or plays dog-in-the-manger. I’m going to quote the relevant passage from the book in my column on Thursday to save you all looking it up. People like Haricot don’t even own a dictionary, so I doubt whether they own Rajt Malta Tinbidel. Read it on line Thursday after 10am at http://www.independent.com.mt. Now I hope I remember to include it after all.

  131. So if the third voice in parliament is Norman Lowell’s, the country grinds to a halt unless another party agrees to shoot immigrants at sea. What happens then?

  132. Daphne I know exactly what I wrote, and indeed, your reaction proves you understood it too.

    By the way I do not give out my identity here and for that I am called a bigot, stupid and in need of a higher level of education. Fair comment, my next educatino stint will be to start a post-doctoral research on genetic algorithm and its application for optimising the behaviour of marionettes.

  133. Victor Laiviera

    Dear Daphne, are you sure you want to ppst something that shows that the PN has a (fairly) recent history of Governing with a majority of seats and a minority of votes? What price 1981?

  134. Cora, perhaps you’ve missed the explanation above or maybe your sister’s post was distracting. In the case of a 32-32-1 scenario, there wouldn’t be a THREE party coalition as suggested. Thre would be the formation of a coalition between a party having 32 seats and the party having 1. Which majority party forms part of a coalition depends on which parties have the most in common with the minority party. It does not mean that agreement will be reached on every single issue in the minor party’s manifesto. As stated above there will be points of principle or matters which are considered to be a priority for the minor party and which the major party would be willing to accept. In AD’s case these priorities have been published and are clearly doable and sustainable. In the Norman Lowell case, I’d find it hard to imagine that either of the major parties would be willing to form a coalition with someone who suggested shooting immigrants at sea. In that event, the holding of another election would not be a bad thing.

  135. No, I hadn’t missed the explanation at all. That is the reason I asked my question about Norman Lowell. In a 32-32-1 scenario, a two party coalition is only possible if the 1-seat party and one of the 32-seat parties want it. The search for common ground cannot be based on anything else. The suggestion of a three-party coalition is not mine. It is AN’s. The party has publicly and repeatedly stated that, if elected, it wants to form a coalition with “the best minds” of the two main parties with AN as the coalition watchdog. What happens if AN is elected and those “best minds” or their parties don’t cooperate? Or if AN insists on the “best minds” approach even if it is technically impossible? How long are coalition negotiations allowed to last, leaving the country without a government in the meantime? And what happens if elections are held again but the result does not differ?

  136. Well, nice to see some Nationalists have finally woken up to the possibility of AN winning one or more seats in this election. And not such a fleeting possibility, either, considering that there are over 11,000 hunters and trappers in the country … and 3,000 of them are registered in one district (Gozo) alone. All they need is a few anti-immigration voters thrown in, as well as a couple of pissed off nationalists from the South… and hey presto! Azzjoni Nazzjonali could outperform AD, without the other two parties firing even a single shot in their direction.

    But then… why has no one asked Lawrence Gonzi whether he would categorically rule out a coaliton with Josie? Or for that matter with Norman Lowell?

    Perhaps Sarko was right after all. Everything really is possible… except a coalition with AD of course.

  137. So that’s off your chest, then. Now what’s your take on a third party scenario that does not include AD?

  138. Hypothesis: PN and AD make an agreement to form a coalition. The agreement says no golf courses. 2 years later PN turns its back on that agreement and decides to build a golf course. AD votes against. MLP votes against. The government collapses.

    This would serve PN right. Agreements are there for a reason. If I get married and my wife cheats on me, I dump her. That would serve her right.

    BUT knowing I’d dump her would be one of the reasons she wouldn’t cheat on me. Knowing AD would vote against would be the reason PN wouldn’t even try to build a golf course. PN just wouldn’t dare.

  139. Interesting. Now if MLP decides to vote in favour, what happens then?

  140. Keith, you’ve obviously never been married: “If my wife cheats on me I’ll dump her; knowing I’ll dump her, she won’t cheat on me.” Ajma, jahasra

  141. That example was too simple, agreed.

    This question remains: why would PN risk everything by going against a coalition agreement?

  142. Why wouldn’t the MLP vote in favour of a golf course?

  143. Cora: Knowing the PN government would collapse if they vote against, MLP would never vote in favour. Just like PN didn’t vote in favour when they knew Mintoff was going to vote against. Nothing would win more votes for MLP than a PN government collapsing.

  144. Thanks Keith. Since you seem to be the only one interested in answering my questions, here’s one I asked earlier. How would AN’s three-party coalition work – or not work, for that matter? The longer version of this question appears further up.

  145. Cora:

    If the election result is 32-32-1 with that 1 being Norman Lowell, I imagine another election would be called. I’m sure PN and MLP would not unite to form a Grand Coalition against Lowell (64-1).

    If the result is 32-32-1 with the 1 being AD or AN, we could have a National Government, but it’s more likely that AD or AN would join the party willing to sign the most attractive agreement. I think in this scenario, AD or AN could drive a hard bargain by saying they won’t accept anything but a National Government. But, I don’t see why they would do this.

    I’m sure Josie mentioned this National Government thing to deflect a question like “with whom would AN coalesce?”. He doesn’t want to lose votes of PN or MLP hunters so he came up with this answer: “Both!”.

    Biex idahhaq l-alla bil-Malti.

    This is my take.

  146. Keith, I do not see why the Government should collapse just because a Coalition Government does not agree on the building of a golf course. No, the golf course would not be built, but that does not mean an automatic collapse of Government. There is usually plenty more for a Coalition Government to agree on besides golf courses, and golf courses should be the least of our problems, really. Coalitions just do not have to agree on everything. It will just be more difficult for the party with the majority of votes to get things through in Parliament, which might not be such a bad thing after all.

    More parties in Parliament mean more ideas – the only pity is that small parties get there at the expense of the larger ones, and at this stage – can we risk it?

    I think that what you are doing is confusing issues, harking back to the time when Dr Sant’s went to election in 1998, after a bare 22months in power, just because his Vittoriosa marina plan did not win approval in Parliament, thanks to Mintoff’s voting against it – but you forget that it was Sant’s decision to say that he would go election if he did not get a majority of votes in Parliament when the time came to take the Vittoriosa Marina vote. He could have just as easily re-discussed the whole thing, come up with something more satisfactory, taken another vote, and still have been PM after those 22 months. It would have taken some compromise, of course, but he may have stuck out those five years to the end.

  147. I’ve just seen the results of a poll specifically on immigration and its impact of voting intentions. I think you’re all in for a nasty shock on March 9.

  148. Daphne, what university qualifications are required for one to call himself /herself a journalist of your own calibre? I am in urgent need of broadening my mind and learn how to handle abstract concepts like understanding that “Fkimkien kollox possibli ” u “Biex nghixu Ahjar” whilst learing that Malta is offically almost at the bottom of international lists when it comes to levels of national corruption.

  149. Gustuz ukoll Raphael, issa ghidilna x’rajt! 🙂

  150. Do tell…

    I would imagine that immigration should have a big impact on voting intentions this time. The question is how will it all turn out. Like you, Raphael, I tend to think that Gozo will play a large role in electing someone from another party – the hunters, illegal immigration, 2 votes given to one of the smaller parties with many votes being inherited by them, etc.,

  151. Gozitans always vote on what suits them personally. Abolishing hunting ,and encouraging illegal immigration is not on the top of their list of priorities and they will, most certainly not vote for a party endorsing such priorities, no matter what La Galizia, Salvu is-Salvatur or Harry tal-Hodor will say.

  152. Omega: Yes, I know, it was Sant’s decision. He called an election citing no-confidence because he wanted to get rid of Mintoff. His idea was to get re-elected without Mintoff in MLP. Things didn’t go his way.

    Unfortunately, in a PN-AD coalition, there’s a chance PN might do the same. PN might call an election. They’d tell us floaters, “You see what you did? You see what happens with coalitions?”. This would result in AD never ever getting a seat again. One thing which would stop them from pulling this trick is that, if it didn’t work for Sant (he didn’t get re-elected), why should it work for PN?

    Therefore, you are right in saying that probably the government wouldn’t collapse because a golf-course. But there is a chance.

    I still think it’s more likely that PN, because of the hypothetical agreement AD, wouldn’t even think about building a golf course in the first place.

  153. Aakoph, the Gozitans always do exactly as it suits them, and they might smile at you, and agree with you one minute (and assure you of their vote), and do the very opposite the next, if it is what gives advantage to them. You can never say with Gozitans, but for one, I don’t think that AD has much to be optimistic about when it comes to Gozo. AN will fare better for the two reasons you give above. As re Daphne’s column, I am sure that the majority of Gozitans don’t get the honour of reading it twice a week, and they get on very well without it, too, no doubt.

    J’accuse Note: Picking on this string of thought right here. This stuff about The Gozitans is going a bit too far. Thus says the Gozitan. As for their intelligence in choosing what is bets for them… suddenly voting for the party that suits you most becomes a sin if it’s a gozitan doing the voting. I guess a Melliehi, Sliemiz etc voting for what suits him is intelligent. More of the same guys, more of the same. I guess (and Fausto here might confirm) that Gozitan swings have always happened whenever there is a change in government. You can see it as an intelligent people who smell the wind of change, you can see it as opportunist or you could see those 5 seats in parliament as the ones that always make the difference. Ghawdxi… u kburi.

  154. Hi sorry for the suspense but survey results will be out with tomorrow’s paper… suffice it to say for the present that a LARGE majority reject both PN and MLP’s immigration policies, while a significant percentage claim AN has the best stand on the issue. This in a survey where the percentage of respondent who refuse to divulge voting intentions remains very high.
    It is a situation analagous to the Jean Marie le Pen incident, though obviously on a smaller scale.

  155. Raphael – BOOOOOOOOOO!

  156. Dear J’accuse Ghawdxi u Kburi – rest assured that I consider the Gositans clever and astute, and that is precisely why they do exactly what they want to do, no matter how much other people try to talk them into doing otherwise! In my opinion – Sewwa Jaghmlu! They might save us all from ourselves, yet!

  157. Once that is what the polls say, then it is even more pertinent to ask what the political outcome will be if AN is elected. What common ground does anyone see between AN and MLP or AN and PN? Would AD join form a coalition with AN if it meant a better chance of election? What’s the common ground there?

  158. Absolutely no common ground between AN and AD I would think, or negligible. You have the illegal immigration issue over which they are at loggerheads, irreconcilable. Between AN and PN, I would say there is common ground.

  159. Victor Laiviera

    Cora, you are so subtle, it hurts. There is no common ground between the MLP and AN – if anything, the common ground exists between AN and the PN since one is a neo-fascist party and the other is a party with fascist roots – they still sing Mussolini’s ‘Giovinezza’ during their meetings.

  160. Victor. I have tended to avoid getting into most of the debates while I was away skiing. Now I still have a few questions to ask you and trust me, these are independently of what DCG has had to say about you till now.

    1. Where exactly do you hope to get with comments like “they still sing Mussolini’s Giovinezza during their meetings”? Are you telling Cora that the nationalist anthem is built on a n old fascist tune? Are you simply pointing out the fact or are you implying in any way that the nationalist party is a fascist party in any way? I still do not know how old you are but I think it is time I point out that the Don Camillo and Peppone kind of arguments are a bit passè. Communists do not eat children. I guess you know that by now.

    2. I still cannot understand how people like you decide to vote. I am aware of making a personal judgement here but beyond the vitriol you seem to reserve for the nationalist party (and seeing your C.V. it could not be another way) I cannot see a positive reason for the way you write. Do you want Labour to win to spite PN? Is that it? So simple?

    Until now I can only classify two types of commentators on the blog. My line does not get drawn with intelligent/ignorant, vulgar/diplomatic etc. It’s easier. it’s Old Politics vs New Politics. Most of the discussion while I have been away is of the Old kind. It is based on an acceptance of the status quo and a gleeful performance of Punch and Judy politics. Well done. You have great company… but what that says about how much you care for your future and that of your sons… ah… I’ll leave them to judge in the end!

  161. AD’s priorities are not those of AN and I don’t see the two forming a coalition.

  162. Here’s another combination: what is the common ground between AD and MLP? And how will that coalition work if AN is also elected?

  163. I’ve just seen your comment, Victor. I wasn’t subtle. I was direct. And please don’t flatter yourself in assuming my question was aimed at you personally. There are several other people here. I’m still interested in a sensible analysis of what the outcome of possible coalition combinations would be, as opposed to what they would mean to an individual party that wants one.

  164. I’m tempted to say that ‘sensible’ rules you out, Victor, but I’ll say this instead: if you’d refrain from taking cheap pot shots, I’d even be interested in hearing what YOU think.

  165. I somehow cannot get my head round a coalition between MLP and AD. I cannot, and I suspect that neither would the people who would have voted AD. Most of them would be horrified if AD shacked up with MLP.

  166. Well, now that the MLP has announced (yet again) its plans for golf courses (plural), it would seem that an AD – MLP coalition is impossible. The PN has said it will not form a coalition with AD. AD’s priorities are different to AN’s so they will not get together. What sort of coalition IS still possible?

  167. Let’s face it. I don’t think that AD will be successful in getting elected…..so why all the hypothesizing?

    The only coalition possibility I can think of is PN/ AN….and there again, is AN going to be that lucky?

  168. Omega: that’s exactly the point I’ve been trying to make. AD is attracting votes from (1) people who would be horrified at the thought that their vote might have contributed to the return of Sant as prime minister and (2) people who would be horrified at seeing their vote go towards the formation of an MLPAD coalition. So why isn’t AD being honest with them about the consequences? Yes, there are people who are voting AD because they believe in the cause. But there are others who are blinded by momentary bitterness and don’t really know the consequences. So far, AD’s efforts have amounted to telling us why there is no difference between Sant and Gonzi as prime minister – hardly credible.

  169. Why all the hypothesizing? We vote on the basis of hypotheses. Here are a few of the many reasons I think they are worth talking about. Several people claim the right of/need for a third voice in parliament and put forward various theories as to how it can or cannot work. There are several smaller parties, all of whom make various claims about their potential for election. There are thousands of people who are still undecided about how to vote. Many say they know how they will vote, but are unclear about the outcome if their preferred party is elected. Many say coalitions are the best solution, but only talk about AD as the third voice though there are several smaller parties. There is talk of the possibility of a third voice, but no discussion of the possibility of a fourth. And in all of the claims made for the various scenarios, there seems to be little or no consideration about the political and economic outcome.

  170. Daphne: AD have been trying to make it for years on end now, and it is totally normal that people who have worked for so hard and so long, would not want to throw everything to the winds just because the fact that they are contesting the elections is going to threaten another party. It is very easy for us to look on calmly (or not so calmly) from the outside, and to reason like that, but it will not appear like that to them – besides, they have every right to have their opinions, their ideals, their party and to contest the elections. Nothing we say, or wish, will change that, and it’s useless getting all worked up about it. It’s the price one pays for living in a Democracy if you like: everyone has the right to contest the elections, and if it weren’t that way we’d be hollering for other reasons!

  171. Cora: The problem is that many of us would dearly love a third and/ or fourth voice in Parliament, but are dead afraid of voting for a party other than the PN, lest MLP (more precisely Sant) is elected back into power. Therefore basically, people may have been saying that come the election they’ll vote for AD or AN to spite PN (and they may have had their reasons), but the fear is still there, and in the end it will win over many of these last-minute lingerers, and most of them won’t opt for the small parties.

    There again, if one of the parties does get elected, can we realistically imagine more than one MP actually making it?( If so, my bet is that the most likely will be an AN member from Gozo.) Would one MP be in a position to create much of a problem?

    It might not be the right time for a small party in Parliament yet, although only time will tell.

  172. “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha

    ha

  173. Would one MP be in a position to create much of a problem? That depends on the MP. Would one MP be in a position to make a difference or is an MP’s presence an end in itself?

  174. “Would one MP be in a position to make a difference….?”

    Depends on the MP, I guess. I don’t think an MP’s presence should ever be an end in itself.

  175. What does everyone else think? And please, Victor Laiviera, keep your cheap potshots to yourself.

  176. Cora do you have a particular MP in mind?

  177. Victor Laiviera

    No big deal, Mark – but just imagine if the window had belonged to a PN-candidate and the meeting an MLP one. The very foudations of civilisation would have rocked!

  178. Of course the effect of one MP would depend on the kind of majority the coalition is enjoying in Parliament.

  179. Cora, i have a queston for you. Do we vote for people to represent us in parliament or do we vote for governments?

  180. Can somebody tell me when were Boffa ans Mabel Strickland in the same parliament?

    I believe the only time Mabel was an MP was in 1962 when there were four parties represented but I don’t think that Boffa was an MP that time.

    Boffa and the PN had a coalition in either 51 or 53 and I don’t think Mabel or the PCP had any MPs, so either Ganado was wrong or Dafnay is not quoting him correctly.

    Can someone verify this please.

  181. Vince Collins: They were elected into Parliament together in the elections of 1950 and 1951. In 1962, Boffa was not an MP, you’re right.

    Please see here:

    http://www.maltadata.com/winners.htm

  182. Rupert, the electoral system was designed to elect MPs as representatives of the people, rather than parties to form governments. But times change and modern life demands the election of governments, and in recent decades, because the Labour Party has shown itself unable to choose a sound leader, the choice has narrowed down to that of prime minister.

    Within that system of choosing the government, we are still choosing the MPs we prefer. Though my preferred party fields a good number of candidates, I’m not voting for all of them as there are a couple I really don’t like and would hope are not elected. Also, my first, second and three preference votes are going to ‘fresh’ people. I hope lots of others do the same, even in the Labour Party.

    Raphael, I await the survey results with interest. But remember that this is not a single-issue referendum or general election – i.e. people are not voting on illegal immigration, and in fact, illegal immigration has slipped right down the scale of concerns from where it was some months ago. People tend to focus on matters closer to home when elections draw closer – earnings, jobs, that kind of thing, bills…

    The fact that people say they agree with AN’s ‘policies’ on illegal immigration does not mean they are going to vote for them. I would hazard a guess that most of those respondents will be voting Labour. And before Victor rushes out to snipe at me, he’d do well to consider the fact that I might know what I’m talking about here.

    Avoiding making a snide remark as to why people who support retrograde policies on ‘niggers’ also vote Labour IS KILLING ME.

  183. Raphael said an extremely high percentage of people surveyed said they want action on the immigration problem.

    You’re saying those people will vote Labour.

    An extremely high percentage of people will vote Labour?

    Mela il-partit ta’ Fredu ha jirbah, Daphne.

  184. Back to the math schoolbooks for you Keith. Look carefully at your syllogism and find the error.

  185. Victor Laiviera

    Good questions, Jacques, which deserve an answer. I’m sorry I took so long to reply.
    1) I refuse to accept that anybody has the right to decide where history stops and starts. If they feel they have the right to remind us ad nauseam about the time when a few hotheads earned the MLP an unmerited notoriety, I have the right to remind them (amongst other things) of the time they referred to Mussolini as “Il-Bniedem Mibgħut min Alla” and sang “Dħalna Madrid!” when the Spanish Fascists took the capital. Whenever they decide to live in the present and look to the future, I will gladly do the same.
    2) As for how I decide to vote, there are the positive reasons and the negative. The positive are that I vote on principle – socialist principles in my case – and the MLP, with all its defects and despite the fact that it has moved too much to the centre for my liking, is still the party that best represents the interests of the small guy, the poor (yes, we still have them), the emarginated and the vulnerable. That is reason enough for me.
    On the negative side, there is also a burning desire to get rid of the present administration which, in my considered opinion is one of the filthiest – if not the filthiest – that has afflicted Malta since we started to govern ourselves. And if you think that is just mud-slinging, you must be living in another world.
    I don’t really see the difference you refer to beteween ‘old’ and ‘new’ politics. Politics are a function of human nature, and that hasn’t changed since we came down from the trees and it doesn’t look like changing any time soon.

  186. Almost missed this last comment Daphne. The choice does not boil down to the PM. Once you rule out someone like Sant the choice vanishes. The step you forget is that the current electoral system is tailored to make a third alternative an impossibility – a non-choice – if you want Sant out. This is where we probably start to disagree… you see no problem with that. I find a party that is proud of Wasted Vote theories despicable and regret being obliged to vote for it. I want that to change. Do you?

  187. Is racism really that rampant? (I ask rhetorically). We’re approaching full employment, but immigration is a major issue. So let’s see – we can’t be too concerned about losing jobs. We can’t be too concerned about our national identity because if we are concerned then we do not know that our identity is multifaceted. We can’t really be concerned about the costs of housing people in tents that are guarded by a couple of soldiers.

    If immigration is to be an issue, we should address the following aspect: the conditions that immigrants are housed in are a horrible blot on our national conscience. As far as I know, AD is the only political party to have made any noise about the terrible conditions in which immigrants are kept. This is part of the reason why AD are worthy of respect, whether one thinks that a vote for that party is a wise choice or otherwise. As some would say: Onore all’ Alternattiva.

  188. Illegal immigration is an issue of grave concern for the country. It should be top of the agenda during this campaign but both big parties are conveniently and SHAMEFULLY sidelining it. If the elections were to be held in July, I’m sure illegal immigration would have been a major focus of debate.

    For once, I hope the good weather persists and permits numerous boats to land on our shores before the 8th March………..interesting to observe what the people’s (and the politicians’) reactions would be like then.

  189. Well well ……..on one hand you call the political situation in this country as anti-democratic becuase the electoral system is against small parties like AD and on the other hand you are vilified by the will of the people to solve the illegal immigration issue………..ma andate a cagare va.

  190. To presume that most people who are sick to death of the illegal immigration problem wil vote Labour is short-sighted. The number of Nationalists I know who have aired their opinions (in private) about the matter is not a small one. If it weren’t so imperative that they vote for PN, then maybe they would even vote AN!

  191. “Avoiding making a snide remark as to why people who support retrograde policies on ‘niggers’ also vote Labour IS KILLING ME.”

    On a serious note.

    Daphne,

    don’t you think you are over reacting about this election? What is the matter?

    Jiddispjacini ninfurmak imma s-surveys, and I am sorry for MaltaToday, huma favur l-MLP b’4,500……..x’se taghmel jekk jitla’ l-MLP, Daphne?

  192. ……..x’se taghmel jekk jitla’ l-MLP, Daphne?
    Titlob kenn politku fil-Kosovo?

  193. F.Aakofph.

    Mine was a serious question.

  194. Victor Laiviera

    Jekk jitla l-MLP, Daphne tibda tagħmel bhal ma jagħmlu 99.999999999999% ta’ l-opinjonisti l-oħrajn fid-dinja – tikkritika l-gvern u ma tibgħax l-unika opinjonista fid-dijna li tikkritika l-oppożizzjoni biss.

  195. Sandro Says:

    February 26, 2008 at 1:47 am
    “F.Aakofph.

    Mine was a serious question.”

    Mine was an equally serious answer.

  196. Tridu taqtawha bil-hafna kummenti vojta u infantili? Sa fejn naf jien kulhadd spiccaha s-sekondarja hawn. Hawn min irid juza dan l-ispazju biex jiddiskuti affarijiet harira iktar interessanti mic-cajt li ma jdahhak ‘il hadd hlief ghal min jiktbu. L-argumenti interessanti qed jintilfu fost il-vojtagni, tant li nies li jaghmlu kontribut siewi jidhru li qataw qalbhom u ilhom granet shah ma jghidu xi haga. Jekk m’ghandkomx rispett ghalikom infuskom jew ghall-ipsewdonomi banali li addottajtu, ghall-menu rrispettaw lil qarrejja l-ohrau lil min imexxi dal-blogg bhala forum ghall-izvilup ta’ ideat. U grazzi: l-anqas meta nkun qed nghallem lit-teenagers ma jkolli ghalfejn naghmilha ta’ teacher daqshekk.

  197. Jiena bis-serjeta’ nsaqsi.

    U mhux qed nitnejjek.

    Ghaliex mara intelligenti (bla dubju) bhal Daphne hija ossessjonata li MLP ma jitlax fil-Gvern?

    Hawn hafna nies li qed jissograw xogholhom tipo WE? u dawk li rrizenjaw mill-GWU jekk jitla’ l-MLP u l-ebda wiehed mhu jaghmel dal-fuss kollu.

    Qed igghalni nahseb hazin. Se jkolli nivvota l-MLP biex inkun naf x’hemm mohbi taht il-friex?

  198. “Victor Laiviera Says:
    February 26, 2008 at 1:50 am

    Jekk jitla l-MLP, Daphne tibda tagħmel bhal ma jagħmlu 99.999999999999% ta’ l-opinjonisti l-oħrajn fid-dinja – tikkritika l-gvern u ma tibgħax l-unika opinjonista fid-dijna li tikkritika l-oppożizzjoni biss.”

    Justin BB,

    imma din ta’ Victor haqqa l-oscar eh lol hahahahaahahah

  199. Justin BB Says:

    February 26, 2008 at 1:32 am

    “If immigration is to be an issue, we should address the following aspect: the conditions that immigrants are housed in are a horrible blot on our national conscience. As far as I know, AD is the only political party to have made any noise about the terrible conditions in which immigrants are kept. This is part of the reason why AD are worthy of respect, whether one thinks that a vote for that party is a wise choice or otherwise. As some would say: Onore all’ Alternattiva”.

    I am quite sure that improving the lot of immigrants is top priority for Gozitan voters and Maltese ones too. That is why this time AD will be electing the four MPs that Dr.Vassallo is predicting. All the more reason why a good Samaritian like Ms Caruana Galizia should be supporting , not demonizing, AD .

  200. I dont think that where I live in Gozo they have ever seen an african let alone vote for allowing blacks to mingle freely with the our best pet goats and chickens letting them sleep in the late nannu leli’s room and relieving themselves in the ceramic pottie that came as dowery with buznanna Venut when she married buznannu Redent.Therefore I cannot imagine that a farming community like Gozo will vote AD no matter what the communnist groups led by some friar or jesuit may say. or what Peppi may say. Gozitans have other things in mind manily to do with the price of land for developement, the harvest , hunting . marrying off pregnant mustacioed daughters and doing a bit of business over a bottle of best gozowine and a plate of gbejneit.

  201. Prosit warthog. That is exactly what the Gozitans will do. AD never had any chance there.

  202. True. The wily Gozitans will use AD to suit their own ends and then throw them away as used paper towels, once they do no longer need them.

  203. Get this: Victor Laiviera who supported the governments of Dom Mintoff and KMB thinks that this government is the filthiest ever to afflict Malta since self-government. And then when I say that people vote Labour through blind ignorance I’m pounced on. If this is the filthiest government ever, Victor, what was Mintoff’s? What was Karmenu’s? If you want to know about corruption, I have some horrific true stories to tell you. But then so does the entire business community of Malta in the period 1971 to 1987.

  204. Yes, Victor.

    Ask her the stories about corruption. She has loads to tell you.

  205. You asked me a question up there, Jacques. I think you forget that I’m voting for the Nationalist Party because I want to, and not because I have to. In other words, I’m not one of those ‘voting with a gun to my head’, as Kenneth Zammit Tabona put it last week in his column. I think this government deserves my vote becuase it’s done exceptionally well. It is in fact the best government Malta has ever had, contrary to what Victor thinks. I would vote for the Nationalist Party even if AD had a chance of making it to actual government. Indeed, given what I’ve seen of AD during this campaign, that possibility would actually serve to increase my motivation for voting PN.

  206. I did not know that guns are allowed in the voting room.

  207. Well said, Justin, but that’s what happens when the doors of this blog are opened to people whose usual forum is Viva Malta. That’s the kind of language and interaction they use there. Check it out – though I have to warn you: more than two minutes on it and you’ll feel sick at the raging hatred of anyone and everything except Norman Lowell.

  208. So why don’t you open a blog Daphne to teach us love and tollerance within your style parameters?

  209. And now I’m out of here, because as Justin pointed out, the Viva Malta people have squeezed out all decent debate. Let’s leave them to it.

  210. The best result VivaMalta ever had.

  211. Nies ghandi xi pics fil-web-site tieghi imma jiena dicenti bizzejjed li ma urejtx kollox.

    Hemm tifel ta’ xi hadd partikolari. It-tifel l-iehor did-darba li liebes flok u fuq wara kellu l-kelma “INZABBAB”. Ohhhhhhhhhh x’arukaza……….x’foul language!!!!

    Ta’ klassi ovvjament.

  212. Matthew Aquilina

    Sandro naghmlulek statwa jekk tibqa sejjer hekk. Keep it up! lol

  213. Daphne Says:

    “February 27, 2008 at 2:02 am
    I think this government deserves my vote becuase it’s done exceptionally well. It is in fact the best government Malta has ever had, contrary to what Victor thinks. I would vote for the Nationalist Party even if AD had a chance of making it to actual government. Indeed, given what I’ve seen of AD during this campaign, that possibility would actually serve to increase my motivation for voting PN.”

    If my memory serves me right , that was’nt exacty what you were writing in your weekly columns right up to a week or so before General elections were announced. Up till that time you were promoting yourself incessantly as the vibrant leader of the new liberal movement in Malta , publicly criticising the prime minister, various senior ministers as well as PN backbenchers who are not shy of publicly professing to be practicing catholics. You have continually endorsed divorce and abortion, trashing all those of a different opinion from yours.

    You rubbished valid and honest concerns of all those worried about the possible future consequeces of the continual influx of irregular immigrants to our shores. You wiped your feet flippantly on the religious sentiments of the majority of the voting public whilst your mania of mocking and demeaning anything to do with Malta and Maltese traditions knew no bounds.

    With all due respect Madam , nothing personal and may you and yours prosper a thousandfold, but how do you expect people to take your sudden unconditional approval for anything that is GonziPN- related ,except with a pinch of salt?

    There are some who make u turns .Others do somersaults whilst others run in circles getting nowhere except back to square one.

  214. “Sandro Says:

    February 27, 2008 at 2:16 am
    Nies ghandi xi pics fil-web-site tieghi imma jiena dicenti bizzejjed li ma urejtx kollox.

    Hemm tifel ta’ xi hadd partikolari. It-tifel l-iehor did-darba li liebes flok u fuq wara kellu l-kelma “INZABBAB”. Ohhhhhhhhhh x’arukaza……….x’foul language!!!!

    Ta’ klassi ovvjament.”

    U le. Dak xi agent provocaeur dressed up as a GonziPN activist simply to give GonziPN activists a bad name. GonziPNisti ma jghidux affarijiet pastazi bhal IN*****B je xi F**K**F

  215. Matthew Aquilina

    Immagina kieku dan kien ikollu miktub hekk fuq xi flokk ghal kontra n-Nazzjonalisti minflok. Daphne kienet ittina teorija shiha ta kif kull min hu Laburist huwa hamallu probabilment, u tfakkarna fiz-zminijiet li tant ghandha ghal qalbha 1971-1987.

  216. Matthew (u min irid),

    jekk trid ibghatli e-mail biex naghmillek reply. Ghandi xi ritratti nteressanti x’nurik.

  217. Malcolm Buttigieg

    Sandro

    Int qatt smajt bl-ittri OCD u t-tifsira taghhom?

    Dik ir-raguni ghal mistoqsija tieghek ghaliex certu nies ossessjonati li ma jitlax l-MLP.

    Jien ma nafx x’se jigri, ghax l-ghazla ghamiltha, u mhux se tkun la PN u lanqas MLP, imma mhux se nossessjona ruhi jekk ma jitlax il-partit li ha nivvota ghalih.

  218. Victor Laiviera

    Surprisingly, I am in almost total agreement with a whole sentence Daphne wrote, namely, “This government is in fact the best government Malta has ever had”.

    I would only change one word – filthiest instead of best.

    Slice of goodcausesfund, anyone?

  219. The ‘success’ of this government with Gonzi doubling up as PM and minister of Finance was brought about by the wholesale disposal of various companies and entities. I find it scandalous how companies like MIA, Maltco, Maltacom, Mid Med bank and so on were sold off. All these companies were profitable and some enjoy a quasi monopoly status.

    It is easy to make the specious claim that the deficit has been reduced as per EU requirements when in fact Gonzi just sold off the family silver for a song. Let’s see how sustainable it will be.

    If the MLP wins the election they will face the consequences of this irresponsible, creative accounting. The people have been on opium for the last few years. We’re heading for the downer now, whoever wins.

  220. Pingback: When Daphne was worried about holes in Valletta « Daphne4dummies Blog

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