J’accuse Votes: Definitely not Labour

Part I – Definitely Not Labour


It has to begin here. The lack of choice. The lack of vision. The obstinate persistence in tribal politics. The blame begins to fall squarely on the feet of the Labour voter. Yes you. The first reason we have not progressed to proper political debate in our country is yourself. I shall not call you stupid, unintelligent or ignorant for voting the way you do. It’s not my style, it stinks of frustration and it will help us go no further.

I will however share with you a few moments of absolute bafflement. Yesterday night, being the sadistic and masochistic bastard that I am I sat through the whole Alfred Sant on Xarabank thing. Now I am setting aside the flag-waving cronies that sit in every crowd on public TV nowadays. I know there are many (many, many) of them on both sides. They are not the ones to be reasoned with. They will be the last to change… like the drunken punter who suddenly is hit by a wave of sobriety when the disco lights are on, the dancefloor is empty and the sudden bleak realisation that everybody has moved on hits him with a vengeance.

I am also ignoring the rent-a-pundits’ ideas and preconceptions about what to expect from Alfred Sant. I do not care if the man chooses to wear a wig, don a tu-tu or come in a dinner jacket to his interview. I confess I am slightly biased by his inability to smile candidly but beyond that I swear that I sat down to assess this guy in as objective a manner as is humanely possible.

Was it an hour? Was it two? I cringed in my seat from the moment he started to avoid questions. It’s not like he sat in the wolves’ den he makes out Xarabank to be. Frankly I found Peppi Azzopardi a hopeless cross-examiner who could not put a blind , three-legged pussy cat in a corner if he wanted to. Peppi was not in a comfortable role and it showed. The journalists sent by the Nationalist crowd – Puff Patty and Samantha or whatever their names are – were as hopeless as partisan grooming can get.

And yet Sant failed to win me over. Miserably. There was not one question he could answer head on. He has a manifesto that is being torn to shreds by a party that knows no better. But tell me. I want to hear from people like Victor (that’s Victor with a V so it’s not you Daphne)… how can you be convinced by this kind of person? Seriously. Take his jibe about the electricity bill. Not even a reception class kid would come up with the excuse he did. He does not trust the simulated bill because it does not come in the shape of an original bill? What?

And the answer about his inflexibility? What kind of glasses do you have to wear to see him as a promising future for this country? Thick ones I guess. I tried to find a substance beneath the “Ghazel Lejber” show. Nothing. Can I feel reassured by the answers given about corruption cases brought to his attention (I am powerless when I am in opposition). Did he answer that sorry wreck of Frank Portelli? Did he apologise for his party’s misquotes? Does he notice the inconsistency in his answers about the Gozo Incinerator? One minute he is saying that the incinerator sucks then within less than sixty seconds he is claiming it is a misprint.

Did he find anything to say about his colleagues’ savaging of the University rabble? A rabble they may be but certain descriptions still deserved condemnation. Sant does not build his politics on logic. It is built on tapping discontentment using keywords such as Corruption, the Small person (iz-zghir) and constantly trying to turn the imaginary obsessed under his big umbrella. Unfortunately I find his solutions too haphazardly brought together, his inconsistencies too glaring and his inability to squarely argue his way out of a difficult question uninspiring.

And then there’s this business about managerial diplomas and all that. It is AS who brings it up not me. How many of you are aware of the changing nature of managerial diplomas and what is thought in a span of 2 years (let alone 30)? Is it a 70’s management course product that will run the country? Sorry I am not convinced. Continuing education? Doing what? Running Metalfond? Supervising efficient entry into the University of Malta? Transforming VAT into CET?

I looked for a new Sant. Sorry but I find a worse repackaged product of the 1996 vintage. Frankly I cannot afford to vote for that. Worse. I am forced to do my utmost to avoid him being in government come March 9th. Not because I have some Nationalist flag waiting to be waved in a carcade but because my priority is for a better future and at least until we find a way out of the intellectual, ideological and political impasse that we are stuck in I must ensure that we do not step backwards.

That is just what the Nationalist brigade (and their rent-a-pundits) have known all along. That is how they know they will probably win my vote in the end. It’s not a matter of intelligence – as they tend to think so often – as much as common sense. If it were a matter of intelligent voting the PN propaganda machine would be trying to provoke me with intelligent answers rather than insulting me and fellow free voters time and time again. Intelligence is not what the PN is armed with. It can afford to go to war practically naked because its opponents are led by someone who frankly seems to work on knee-jerk politics and heating up the masses of unsatisfied.

In the meantime, thanks to this meagre offer of an alternative my choice is narrowed down to two parties (in the current election). More about AD and PN in the next parts.

The Labour Party and its voters will wrongly look at this kind of article as one penned by a nazzjonalist or green. It is not. It is an article by someone who would kill to be able to weigh ALL the options and have a real choice. It is a post by someone who feels let down by the Labour Party in this, the first election where the choice could have been open. The reason my number 1 vote will not be next to a Labour candidates’ name is not mine but the party’s. Tal-Labour that is. Back to the drawing board.

We will eagerly anticipate a day when the choice is made difficult because all the alternatives have something that rings good in what they offer and their politicians offer a charismatic promise of a new future.


92 responses to “J’accuse Votes: Definitely not Labour

  1. “I am forced to do my utmost to avoid him being in government come March 9th.”

    I do not share your view that Gonzi is marginally better than Sant, or PN is marginally better than MLP. I have been disillusioned by both of them. One lacks vision (MLP) and the other is a balloon of soon-to-be-broken promises (PN), imho.

    However, if you should do your utmost to prevent the above, then your utmost should be nothing less than voting PN number 1. Anything less than that will not be your utmost.

  2. Pleasures yet to come GR. Pleasures yet to come. It’s part I remember? How I vote will be revealed before March 8th. And that’s my promise. I will also be taking the liberty to suggest some bright individuals who I would vote for if they were in my district – independently of their party. Sitting on the fence can be nice. (or so will many detractors think).

  3. I agree 100% with Jacques for the first time ever in this blog (though we do agree outside it most times). Now Jacques, after you’ve said all that, please don’t do anything to help elect him, because it’s not fair on the rest of us. If you do, you’ll probably find yourself having to provide my sons with a temporary lilo on the living-room floor within a month or so.

    Did you watch Herman Grech’s interview video with Alfred Sant on The Times site? It’s worth it, if only to see Herman’s rapidly accumulating despair. He asks him about the plans for things that have already been done in Labour’s manifesto, and AS first begins to say ‘mispr….’ then stumbles over his words and says that the computer malfunctioned. What kind of computer was it then – the kind we saw 40 years ago in 2001: A Space Odyssey?

    And tonight there’s a real treat in store at 9.45pm: Sant on Bondiplus. The performance was so newsworthy that the production company has just emailed all the media houses offering DVDs for free with permission to broadcast clips on television and radio news before the show.

    The only campaign that the Labour Party needed was to keep this man at home with a gag on his mouth.

  4. I am Sandro. With an S.

    Can I post please and give you an answer?

  5. “I agree 100% with Jacques for the first time ever in this blog (though we do agree outside it most times). Now Jacques, after you’ve said all that, please don’t do anything to help elect him, because it’s not fair on the rest of us. If you do, you’ll probably find yourself having to provide my sons with a temporary lilo on the living-room floor within a month or so.”

    So Jacques,

    are you discarding your MLP vote to help Daphne’s wonderful family?

  6. “I shall not call you stupid, unintelligent or ignorant for voting the way you do. It’s not my style, it stinks of frustration and it will help us go no further.”

    But do you approve calling names on your blog or you condemn them as Sant should have done with Vella?

  7. Seems that one of Harry Vassallo’s windows got smashed after yesterday’s PN mass meeting in Dingli Street. Obviously the work of an agent-provocateur to make us think the Nationalist marmalja did it. And of course it has absolutely nothing to do with certain people preaching hatred against AD…

  8. Jacques describes my feelings exactly – probably better than I could ever hope of describing them myself!

  9. Funny you should be enraged about a broken window, Raphael, when you thought a bomb threat was OK because I deserved it.

  10. “Raphael, when you thought a bomb threat was OK because I deserved it.”

    Naughty boy.

  11. Jacques,

    issa oqghod ibki ta ghax jiccensurawk tal-maltastar!!!!

  12. To be precise what i said was that the bomb scare did not warrant an expression of solidarity by the Journalists Committee.

  13. Well, well, well. Now I really have seen everything. The latest is that Gonzipn has suggested it might really have been an AD agent-provocateur!!

  14. are you serious Raph? is it a joke or did he really say that?

  15. yes I’m serious. A colleague of mine called and asked: the reply was (words to the effect of) “How do you now it was a PN supporter? It could have been someone else on purpose.”

  16. Come to think of it I am probably the prime suspect, seeing as my parents live further up the same street and I happened to pass by last night.

  17. ‘People hearing without listening’

    Seeing what is going on in this electoral campaign I could not help recalling the above verse from Simon & Garfunkel’s famous song “The Sound of Silence”. It seems that everything that had to be said has been said and that people are now just repeating themselves. It is now the deaf preaching to the deaf – “people talking without speaking”, “people hearing without listening”.

    It is clear to me that the two party system in Malta has exhausted its useful life and has now become restrictive and unsatisfactory. The two parties are no longer enough to represent the opinions of the Maltese. Personally I cannot identify with anyone of the major parties such that I feel that I am excluded from the democratic process.

    Both the PN and MLP are dominated by small cliques surrounding the respective leaders and in our system where supporters are not encouraged to discuss let alone disagree, fresh ideas are hard to find. Therefore in our ‘democracy’ we have a small band of people with a fixed opinion who dominate their respective parties. One of these parties then dominates the land by forming the Government. Sometimes parties like to consider themselves as a ‘broad church’ representing various opinions or diverse sectors, but in actual fact they are not. They represent the dominant clique surrounding the leader.

    Uncritical supporters are rewarded, thereby generating legions of yes-men. The system of patronage and clientelism supports the ‘democratic’ process. Whoever is in Government has a superlative advantage to dispense advantages in a myriad of ways. A promise of a future reward is far less powerful than an actual reward. I wonder how many politicians in the main parties have never promised rewards in return for votes. If that is not corruption I wonder what is.

    We cannot talk of a pluralist society where it comes to Malta. Anyone who dissents is rejected and ‘spitted’ out by the system. Each side of the political spectrum has people who have been rejected. Some go away quietly and disengage from public life while a hardy few try again.

    This two party system has created a system where everything is seen in extreme terms, either black or white without any shade in between. One side calls the other as corrupt while the other paints the other side in a sort of doomsday scenario. People who have been criticizing in the past suddenly lose their critical edge and anyone who continues to criticize becomes ‘a groucher’ or whatever. We are at a stage where parties think they own votes and the voter rather than the other way round. The parties consider the voters as the flock and dissenters as wayward sheep to be brought back within the fold.

    In my opinion we need to break this system and become more pluralistic by allowing more people of different opinions the chance to be represented in Parliament. The only way to get the system changed is for a sufficient number of us to defy the parties and vote for change by electing other opinion in the highest manifestation of our democracy i.e. the House of Representatives.


    it was joe saliba not gonzi. Sorry.

  19. Come on, Raphael. Admit it 🙂

  20. Raphael, imissek tisthi li tiddubita x’jghid is-sur Saliba! dawk l-Angli tal-Paci kienu, probabbli xi wiehed laqatha b’xi gewnah!

  21. Jacques,

    wara dan l-artiklu, kieku minnek nibqa’ l-Lussemburgu ghax malli tigi Malta se ssib answering machine m’ghandi l-forzi ta’ l-ordni li xi hadd ghamillek theddida.

  22. Sur Sandro, smajt li bdejt il-kampanja BB. Vera?

  23. Malcolm Buttigieg

    Interesting blog! I am looking forward to read Parts II and III.

  24. Attent Big Foot kif titkellem,

    ma tmurx il-ms. busli l-bajd tahsbek li inti psidonomu tieghi!

  25. Watching the debate on TVM and seeing the next leaders of PN, MLP and AD: Simon Busuttil, Joseph Muscat and Mario Mallia. Overall, three very decent people who fit their parties like a glove.

  26. “Please don’t do anything to help elect Sant, Jacques”. Please, pretty please. This is getting quite pathetic.

    And anyway, “help elect Sant” ? Someone is hugely overestimating the power of a blog.

  27. Dafnay not only wants Jack not to elect Sant BUT she does not even want him to vote for anybody except PN. Good God woman, what kind of hatred do you hold in your wicked heart against this man?

    As for your “bomb threat” has anyone been caught or charged or is it another “hoax” played on you by one of your many admirers.

    As for your sons….I’m pretty sure they have nothing to worry about with their bloodline. They’ll be taken care of in the future by the PN.

  28. Malcolm Buttigieg

    I’ve just seen the PN advert on TV- Vote AN, Vote AD = Alfred Sant.

    Incredible! I have never seen such a counter-productive advert.

    It is adverts like these that encourage me to go ahead with my choice for AD!

  29. I saw that advert. PN is focusing all its efforts on winning over its disgruntled followers. Just like Daphne.

  30. Raphael: To say a bomb threat does not warrant an expression of solidarity is to say it was deserved.

    Vince Collins: that bomb threat was real. How does ridiculing it add anything to the debate here?

  31. No, Cora, that is a classic example of fallatious reasoning. The exact fallacy in this case is known as a false dichotomy, as i have no doubt you know very well. It’s like saying that, by failing to loudly express your support for (for instance) a political party, you are indirectly expressing approval for the rival party. Sorry, but it doesn;t work that way. I can believe that your sister doesn;t deserve to be blown up, but at the same I can also believe that a committee which represents the interests of journalism as a whole should not get involved when it comes to anonymous phone-calls to individual journalists. The two beliefs are not mutually exclusive.

  32. Malcolm Buttigieg

    Naf li m’ghandhiex x’taqsam mal-blog, imma intom kontu kocc ex-studenti li kontu taghmlu drama ta l-ostra gewaa l-universita fiz-zmien meta kontu ghadkom studenti tal-ligi? Dak kien zmien!

    Jien naf kelba jisimha Cora – xi poodle kienet minghalija.

  33. Ooh, nasty spelling mistake there. Should be “fallacious” of course

  34. Malcolm Buttigieg

    Freudian slip..eh you were thinking of fellatio eh?

  35. Victor Laiviera

    Cora, haven’t you realised yet that nobosy believed the “bomb threat” red herring? Not even staunch PN allies like The Times and The Independent?

  36. Victor,

    cemplulek il-pulizija lilek?

  37. Victor Laiviera

    Not yet – but I wouldn’t be surprised.

  38. 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.

  39. No, Raphael, what you said is that I deserved it because I – and I quote – “stuck my neck out far enough to get slapped”. And if a bomb threat didn’t deserve a statement of condemnation by the Journallists Committee, why was Harry’s broken pane worthy of reporting on TVM news? I’m not going to suggest that Harry stuck a brick through it himself, just as a few on this blog suggested I threatened myself.

  40. “The latest is that GonziPN are saying it was an AD agent-provocateur”….Raphael, you base this on something somebody told you after they called somone else. How does that make it a ‘GonziPN’ viewpoint? There was somebody who reasons exactly like this on BondiPlus tonight. And the last time he went to the university, he was booed.

  41. Daphne,

    I did not say you threatened yourself just that you decided that the MLP media was the result of that threat and you made a fuss on it but all the other newspapers IGNORED you.

    On a quick search – just quick – I got to know that many members of PN do not stick you!

  42. Victor, the police don’t waste resources unnecessarily, and they’re still behind my door. Oh, I’d almost forgotten, according to your friend Alfred Sant on Bondiplus tonight, the Police Commissioner is a ‘paraventu’. So that explains it then!

    Instead of wasting time discussing bomb threats and your lack of belief in them, why don’t you take some time out to convince your friend Alfred Sant to stay at home with a gag on his mouth for the rest of the campaign. That way, he might stop doing his political party a disservice. Each time he appears in public, more votes migrate to the Nationalist Party. Or haven’t you been looking at the numbers? He’s an albatross around Labour’s neck.

    And what about that hideous, howling Michael Falzon on the fosos yesterday, cheerleading with football chants as though he was at a stadium waiting for the players to appear? And all that self-righteous ranting? Every time you put something like that on television, you strike fear and horror into the hearts of ‘disgruntled Nationalists’. And incidentally, it’s not fear of Labour in general, or fear based on the past. It’s fear of damage to be caused in the future. It’s fear of a crass throwback like Michael Falzon being given a ministerial portfolio, which will make us yell “Come back Jesmond Mugliett. All is forgiven.”

  43. Seems that Maltatoday survey is making the news for the wrong reasons … PN surpassing MLP … 34.5% vs 32.7%! And what about the “don’t know” and “no reply” … which seem to amount to 20-30% of the electorate? How much of those are PN, MLP, AN or AD? If I’m allergic to Alfred Sant, I would worry more about the statistic that, for a second consecutive week, there appears to be a considerable net swing from PN to MLP. But, let’s face it, the Maltese are in general quite mathematically deficient, believing that the percentages are indicating a growing PN lead. For me it’s more indicative that PN voters are more willing to express their intentions. On the other hand, the “impending doom” of an MLP in goverment is day by day becoming more of a certainty than a speculation.

  44. why is michael falzon a crass throwback, according to Daphne? does she not like him as well? But I thought she found him cute

  45. I think it is difficult for Daphne to be objective about Sant or MLP at the moment (or ever). Any of Sant/MLP performances, in her view, are abysmal. To be quite honest I found Sant’s Xarabank performance to be quite good at times, sometimes a bit bad, but never excellent. Lou Bondi being more a incisive journalist, I thought this would be a tougher test for Sant. However, Lou’s “let’s make a fool of Sant” ploys fell flat, and Georg’s drama queen behaviour didn’t do the PN any favours. Sant is most certainly playing “away” on a WE program so his aggressive behaviour is to be expected, but overall I think his performance was a pretty good one. The star of the show was, in my opinion, the very likeable Gozitan AD representative .. now that’s what I call a politician who could easily get my vote!

  46. Cora and Dafnay, when no bomb is found the police NORMALLY say that it’s a H-O-A-X…that’s all, probably some Uni students having fun at the expense of Dafnay….sort of what goes round comes around.

    Dafnay, I have a feeling you’re losing it, you’re obsessed with Sant, maybe the lack of estrogen is getting to you. Now you’re even talking about his hair, you poor soul you.

  47. Victor Laiviera

    Dear Daphne, the police are bound to search and provide protection, even when they are convinced the whole thing is a put-up job. Their presence does not mean anything.

  48. In an earlier post, Victor said that if nationalists keep mentioning the “few hotheads” then he is justified in reminding of pro- Mussolini and pro- Franco epithets. One big difference, Vic: how many of the people running PN in the 1930s are still around today? Which leads to the next question: and what about the leaders of the “unmeriting”Labour party of the 1980s? Perhaps a Homeric “DOH!” would be appropriate……

  49. I think MLP supporters mention the fascist roots of PN so that other MLP supporters can reply, “Mela! Mela!”. Like the MPs of their party, these supporters focus on gaining support they already have.

    However, when non-MLP supporters hear someone bring up something that is 80, I repeat, 80 years old they form this idea that the average MLP supporter is like Eddy Privitera.

    Take it from a floating voter: mentioning things like that is counter-productive.

  50. dispassionate, the German Green Party is the oldest and most successful Green party in the world. Are you comparing AD to them? I think the Maltese counterpart has more in common with the people who threw paint at Joschka Fischer.

  51. “However, Lou’s “let’s make a fool of Sant” ploys fell flat, and Georg’s drama queen behaviour didn’t do the PN any favours. Sant is most certainly playing “away” on a WE program so his aggressive behaviour is to be expected, but overall I think his performance was a pretty good one.”

    Well said.

    Watching Bondi’ and Sapiano ganging up on Sant was reminiscent of bullying in the school playground during lunch break .No extra votes for PN for that particular charade.

  52. It’s funny that during the EU debate, PN used to compare Malta to other European countries, and slam Labour’s penchant for emphasising Malta’s specificity. Now that we are in the EU, all of a sudden it’s the PN that is stressing Malta’s specificty, and arguing that what applies in other EU countries does not count on our blessed islands. Well, that argument was rejected then..and it will be rejected now.

    That of course does not mean that third parties will surprise us with a huge number of 1 votes, but when it comes to second and third preferences there will be no controlling the long-suppressed tide of frustration with the system.

    As regards the numerous so-called PN first-preference safety voters ie those who will vote No. 1 for a weak PN candidate and continue on a third party, I seem to recall that in the UK, voters who were facing this same predicament opted to make a symbolic protest , and snapped their nose with nose peg while voting. ( in caustic reference to the “Hold your nose and vote for the lesser evil” argument)http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/election2005/archives/2005/04/27/snap_yourself_with_a_nose_peg.html

    As the linked article points out: “The frustration is powerful. Of course none of this should be necessary and if we had a proportional representation system, then everyone could vote for a party closer to their taste. After the election we should be out campaigning for proportional representation so no nose-peg voting ever happens again.” Food for thought….

  53. The conspiracy theorist is at it again, I see. He seems unnervingly familiar with the practices of hoax calls and the minds of those who make threats. Maybe it’s because he reads cheap thrillers in which case he should replenish his supply as clearly his mind seems to be in want of something better to do.

  54. Daphne you are becoming a tiring, cantakerous bore. Twisting other people’s arguments is always the cheapest and easiest way to score political points. For one thing stop assuming that everything is automatically about you. My original comment was in answer to Lou’s letter to the Times… the slap in the face was actually an allusion to Sant’s comment derision of his programme as “Monti-plus”, which Lou interpreted as an “attack”. Daphne came into the equation only because Lou made the comparison, when he erroneously said that the JC had not condemned the bomb threat on her house. He was wrong, and apart from correcting the misapprehension I added that, had I still been a member of that committee, I would have argued against issuing any such condemnation. You can insist on misinterpreting the argument as much as you like but all i can say is… YAWN.

  55. * cantankerous. Looks like it;s not just the MLP manifesto that is full of misprints

  56. @Victor L. – care to elaborate about how exactly is MLP the party that best represents the small guy?

    I would also be interested in the views of people like Michael Briguglio, James Debono et al (who undoubtedly have true Socialist principles at heart). I don’t think they share your enthusiasm … on the contrary. There was a time when as Moviment Grafitti they declared their support towards the MLP in one particluar election (1996?). Seems like they now know better.

  57. Get a grip on yourself, Raphael. If I’ve worked out my sums right, you’re at least 36 by now. A little too old for teenage angst, don’t you think? I hate to be harsh, but ‘cantankerous old bores’ usually turn out to be men who go through life unchanged, unchangeable, and unyielding, living alone and sticking to their little habits while obsessing on one or two issues. Working women with full lives and families are rarely able to become cantankerous, even if they wanted to be. I’d love to become cantankerous, but circumstances do not allow it.

    Jaccuse Note: I see that we are all still revelling in the character descriptions and sterotypifications. How about discussing something interesting. Like the mere fact that there are a large number of voters who would not feel content voting for either PN or MLP but are now in a quandary? Daphne you never mention a solution for these people. Even if they swallow the bitter pill and vote PN again this time what next? What do you intend to do about it?

  58. How about a change in MLP leadership and a thorough shake up of every position below that? That might create a credible opposition that could also make up a reliable government.

  59. Enough of this “vote PN or you’ll get Sant”. Those TV adverts are pathetic enough. Scare tactics don’t work with everyone. How about giving floating voters a better incentive to vote PN?

    ==> Why should a floating voter believe another 4 years of PN will do the country good?

    And please don’t answer “because it will be better than 4 years of Sant” unless you want me to vote Emmy Bezzina just to spite you.

  60. Ah yes i was waiting for the personal lifestyle argument. Never too far beneath the surface, eh Daphne? Trouble is, it only reveals more about yourself than the objects of your endless vilification. It tells us all that, underneath your protestations of superiority and “breeding”, there is only a small, bitter and ultimately delusional woman who has dug herself so deep into her private pit of obsessive hatred for Sant, that she is now condemned to an eternity of fighting tooth and nail for a party which represents the very opposite of what she really believes… and which (in case she hasn;t realised it yet) hates her infinitely more than Labour ever will.

    I would almost feel sorry for you, Daphne, if my 36 years (yes, your calculations are correct) of living in this primitive, tribal and ultimately hateful society had not long eroded all my empathy and compassion.

    J’accuse Note: And that settles this tiff. Back to the politics …please?

  61. Jacques: there is no “politics” being discussed. there never was.

  62. Victor Laiviera

    History, the present and the proposals for the future tell me so Justjoe.

    Remembet that in my post I said that the MLP has moved to much to the centre for my liking – but it is still the onethat is closest to what I be,ieve in.

  63. Keith, it doesn’t sound like you think Emmy Bezzina reflects your beliefs and aspirations. so if you vote for him you spite yourself and no one else. That, however,is beside the point. If floating voters are in a quandry now, where will they be if they won’t vote MLP as long Sant continues to hang on past his sell by date, if they like what the PN has achieved but still resent the party and if they do not see coalitions of any kind as a viable alternative? Better incentives to vote PN will give them only one option. Replacing the MLP leader and shaking up the rest of the party would give them at least two. Is that a bad thing?

  64. prosit jacques.

    In normal elections political parties usually try to make voters come round to their point of view by the power of persuasion and forward-looking solutions. The bottom line boils down to what vision does the PN have for this country – not simply on the economic and environmental level, but also, more profoundly, on an institutional one. The democractic mechanisms currently in force in Malta are not adequate for a modern EU member state in the 21st century. PN was visionary in the past – it entrenched human rights in the Constitution, it introduced notions of decentralisation such as the local councils, it imported Scandiavian ideas such as the Ombudsman, and yes, led Malta into the EU.

    Now we need PN to be visionary again and lead us in the next leap forward in Malta’s democracy by revising our electoral system for the introduction of a true multi-party democracy with effective checks and balances, and also by implementing mechanisms to facilitate referenda on a regular basis on issues of national interest. The citizen must have a say in the adminisration of this country more than once every five years. The citizen must feel free to vote as he deems fit without ulterior tactical considerations.

    A large number of voters want Malta to emulate her European counterparts and reach a situation where abolute power is a thing of the past. It is ultimately the spectre of absolute power that renders our elections vehicles for scaremongering, high drama, passion, intimadation, intense emotions, threats and even violence. Absolute power makes the stakes very high – and that is what we are fed up of.

    We want to reach a situation where the stakes are no longer high in Maltese elections – that will only happen when absolute power is no longer within reach. Once we remove the absolute power factor from the equation, Maltese politics will become more tranquil and NORMAL.

    And we will not be different any more from our European brothers.. We want to be European not simply because of the coin jingling in our pockets but because we FEEL European – in the way do politics, in the way we share power, in the way we compromise, in the way we accomodate different views, in the way we start to admit our mistakes and learn from them. That is what this thing is all about – and that is what PN’s vision for the future should address.

    Malta has joined the EU – now it’s time to become European.

  65. Cora. The reasoning would be good only it seems to ignore that there is another option (I do not count AN). Is there a particular reason why it should be ignored other than the Wasted Vote theory?

  66. Victor Laiviera

    Kelinu, the refernce to the PN fascist ties in the 40s (not just the 30s) was just an examaple to shoe that noboy has the right to start and sytop history as if it were a DVD,

    There are many examples I could mention which are much closer to the present times.

    For example, the man who swore on oath (bil-ġurament) that he is a Part-Time Farmer in order to acquire 10 tumoli of Gov. land at Fawwara for Lm10 a year is still a minister (it was AD who revealed that lovely litle mess if I remember correctly).

    The man who pardoned Żeppi l-Ħafi and Queiroż is still at San Anton.

    And despite all the accustions of violence, etc. the only DELIBERATE political murder we know of in Malta is still the assassination of Karin Grech.

    You get my meaning?

  67. Victor Laiviera

    Plse excuse typos in above – I’m in a hurry.

  68. Victor, you are not being loyal to your leader! He avoids the past, because “that’s for historians”!

    The murder of Karin Grech was a tragedy. But do you really think that when Nardu Debono and Raymond Caruana were killed it mattered a jot that somebody may have said “Ooops, I didn’t mean it!? I didn’t know when to stop beating him. Perhaps I should have aimed my shot gun at the sky.” What a load of rubbish. As if it makes it better.

  69. I understand that PN cannot fully control the aftermath of a mass rally, and a renegade element ends up vanadalising the property of Dr. Vassallo. But the lack of condemnation from PN headquarters, coupled with the lack of condemnation for the recent mob rule in University, make me queasy at the stomach.

    Why is it so difficult to condemn what is so self-evidently unjustfiable? This lack of reaction just diminishes leaders in the eye of the people. Is there nothing beyond the pale? What are we coming to?

  70. Jacques, the third option you mean is AD, right? I don’t imagine you mean any of the fringe ‘parties’, at any rate. AD is not an option on its own, as even AD itself admits and the need for a coalition partner raises the question of which of the larger parties the smaller one would prefer. To say that they are the same is facetious and counterproductive to AD’s cause.

    The trouble is that the smaller parties’ (the plural is deliberate) discussion of a potential coalition has always revolved around the smaller parties themselves. As long as the smaller parties remain the smaller parties, they will always need to look to a larger one to form a coalition which makes the question of their desirability or otherwise all the more pertinent. There is nothing wrong with giving voters more than two options. However, you cannot have options 3 & 4 unless 1 & 2 are sorted out too.

  71. The third option is another mode of government to take the place of the alternating one-party rule. As it is voters can chose between going for either of the two major parties with their protective imitation stance on many issues( funding from lobby groups, inaction on divorce,rent laws, whistle blowing legislation etc) or a coalition option where the major coalition partner’s stategy is kept in check throughout the legislature by the minor coalition partner.
    While agreeing that both major parties should reform themselves, I find it odd to see how PN supporters keep on going on about the MLP having to change and not showing any signs of changing themselves

  72. Victor Laiviera

    Kelinu, what I write here are my personal opinions and they are my responsibility and mine alone.

    As for Nardu Debono, bear in mind that the man who confessed to killing him (Gejtu Pace) received a FREE PARDON while the man ho was only found guilty of being an accomplice got 15 years in jail.

    Raymond Caruana was killed by a sho fired at a closed door.

    Tha assassination of Karin Grech was not just a “tragedy” – it was deliberate, premeditated murder.

  73. If it is the minor coalition’s only role is to keep the major partner’s strategy in check, then it is not a promising one. And please, before anyone rushes to rubbish that statement, stop and think about what it means. If a minor coalition partner can only hope to prevent things happening, rather than make things happen, why bother with electoral manifestos at all?

    Is there or is there not the possibility of a minor coalition partner fulfilling its electoral promises beyond simply being a third (or fourth, or fifth) voice in parliament?

    On a related note, since minor coalition partners will, by definition, have to share power with a larger one, why do the smaller parties (plural, please note) resist discussion of their possible power sharing scenarios when power sharing necessarily involves compromising on promises made prior to an election?

    If they expect to be elected on the basis of what they represent, then what they represent needs to be clear. As a start, the smaller parties could indicate to their prospective voters which of their promises they consider no-go areas and on which of their promises they are willing to compromise.

    I’d be interested to hear the replies of anyone who isn’t assuming I’m only referring to AD.

  74. Correction: the first line should read “If it is the minor coalition partner’s role…”

  75. Keith, you asked why you should vote positively for the PN. In a separate post, I gave several reasons based on their track record in government over the last five years: deficit down to almost nothing, Malta’s nearing full employment levels, 20,000 jobs generated in just four years, 22,000 young people in higher education, new areas of growth like ICT and financial services, an average of EUR760 million each year in foreign direct investment…the list goes on. Now let’s look at why you should vote positively for the PN based not on this track record but on what the future holds: they have committed themselves to more of the same, but now that finances have been shaped up, they have more time and resources to devote to the environment and legislation that had been put to the side. Plus of course there are those mammoth cuts to income tax, which will benefit everyone and not ‘just the rich’ as the MLP are trying to make out. As long as you earn UNDER EUR60,000 (it’s actually more than that but I can’t remember the exact figure), your income tax is going to be slashed.

    Even if Labour were a creditable alternative, they would have a hard time against all this. So you see, there are valuable positive reasons for voting PN, and responsible (rather than negative) reasons for ensuring that Labour is kept out of government until it reforms itself. The greatest drive for me is the need to protect the economy, because I work and don’t live off unearned income. Also, I work in a highly sensitive industry where the signals of disturbance provoked by instability are picked up first. I can see first-hand how interwined it all is, how things go down like skittles at the first sign of trouble. I keep repeating this all the time: I don’t come from a Nationalist family and I don’t really care who is in government as long as whoever it is keeps the economy safe and sound. My fear of Labour is based on its inability to do so. My admiration for this government is based on the near-miracles it has performed with the economy. I’m not an idealist; I’m a pragmatist. But I think you’ve all gathered that by now. In other words, I’m not going to topple a sound government just to bring in divorce (though I am hugely in favour of it), or because I can’t stand the party’s religious right-wing. I am aware that it has a secular centrist wing, and because I’ve tracked the party’s history and marvelled at the way it has morphed to ‘fit the market’ with the passing of the decades, I have no doubt at all that this secular group will eventually become the most influential, and that the landmark social changes (divorce etc) will be implemented by the Nationalists and not by the Labourites, as the Labour Party, let’s not forget, is ultra-conservative.

    Look at it this way: if Labour keeps getting elected without bothering to shape up, why should it shape up at all, or even bother seeking out a decent leader? That’s the way I see it. Of course, if I were in their position, I would go all out to shape up and come back covered in glory. But they seem to take the apathetic tack. The same arguments apply as with a protected economy: the product is rubbish. People keep buying their product so they have no interest in improving it. Well, maybe the protected economy analogy isn’t right, because that means no competition. The Labour Party has massive and fantastic competition, but for some reason that I can’t understand, this amazing competition doesn’t provoke it to change.

    I suspect that the Labour Party relies on the fact that Maltese electors are a little but unsophisticated, and think in terms of government as a turn on the fairground ride. Now it’s our turn, then it’s their turn. They’ve been in government for a long time, now it’s Labour’s time. I see nothing in those arguments that indicates any understanding of the fact that government is not about ‘turns’ or ‘goes at the wheel’, but is all about deserving to be in government. With this kind of thinking, we might as well not hold general elections, and give everyone a five-year turn at the wheel.

    I just heard an MEP being interviewed on television about Sant’s proposal to renegotiate terms on the drydocks and agriculture. She said, and I quote: “I can’t understand how the Maltese people believe such rubbish. Don’t they know it is completely impossible? The politicians who make such promises are irresponsible, and people shouldn’t vote for them.” But the thing is, how many of those flag-waving supporters on the Granaries last Sunday follow current affairs and know anything at all about what Sant means, and its implications? Of course they don’t. And that’s why he can sell it to them. Unfortunately, ignorance is Labour’s friend very often, and by that I don’t mean the kind of ignorance associated with a lack of formal education. Lots of very highly educated people really can’t see the wood for the trees sometimes, which is a great shame.

  76. Thank you for your lengthy reply.

  77. Iva Keith,

    kellhom ikellmuha tal-PN biex timmodera.


  78. Some people posting comments on this blog seem to blame all the tension created at election time on the Nationalist Party ‘scaremongering about Labour’. This is another case of not seeing the wood for the trees: Labour in its current incarnation is pretty disturbing and doesn’t hold out any hope at all for the economy. I think we should all be training our guns on Labour as the real cause of the tension: if they weren’t so bad, so uncommitted to change, then nobody would be worried except the incumbent ministers (and we have no reason to care about them). Claire likes to say that the Nationalist Party hasn’t changed either, but I find this a trifle fatuous. The changes have been enormous. The unspoken maxim of the Nationalists seems to be ‘adapt to survive’, and adaptation of necessity means change, great change very often.

    The constant reference by AD spokespeople and supporters to a democratically elected government as ‘single-party rule’ is becoming extremely irritating. Claire uses it again up above. I think it is actually insulting to the electorate: whoever we elect, PN or MLP, they are elected by the people, and not imposed on us. This is not ‘single-party rule’ or ‘single-party dictatorship’. It’s our choice. Just because we don’t choose Alternattiva is no reason to become offensive and refer to our choice as a dictatorship or ‘rule’.

    Cora makes the valid point that people seem to be assuming that AD in coalition – and for this let’s assume that coalition is possible, which it is not – will have the power to bring forward legislation, as opposed to merely derailing the legislation proposed by its coalition partner. Everybody here seems to be ignoring this point. AD in coalition will NOT be able to legislate for divorce because it will have a mere single seat compared to its coalition partner’s 32. To persuade its coalition partner to introduce divorce against its will, it must have mammoth leverage, and for AD to have ignored this simple fact shows a consummate lack of experience in negotiations of any sort. If they offer to trade divorce for a golf course, for example, its coalition partner would probably prefer to drop the golf course suggestion (and Harry has already said he will act to bring down the government over a golf course, in any case).

  79. And Raphael, please stop being so nihilistic. We love you really…….

  80. Ghandi suspett li Cora u Daphne huma l-istess persuni jew igorru l-istess demm.

    Immodera ftit izjed Daph, ghax jergghu ibezbzuk.

  81. Jacques, would you please write another article about de Molta Lejber Parti, placing another Towca pic up front? This thread is soon rolling over and communicators would like to further communicate their communications to the playmobil people.

    “Definitely not Labour” wasn’t a bad title, but try something more intriguing, like, “Should Sangru’s balls be kissed were Sant to be re-elected?”

    Which reminds me. I have been pestered by the multitude to report the infamous Sangru-Dafni clash on Maltafly. Given your strong commandeership of this flagship blog, I’d like to ask your kind permission to feed this matter to my flydogs, who’ve been mighty hungry.

  82. Funny how I become the story wherever I go, europarl. And then some people on this blog like to remind me that ‘it’s not all about me’. Apparently, it is.

  83. You’re unique.That is why we all love you. 😉

  84. …and I’m sure you enjoy the limelight, Daphne 🙂

    turned keb after Jacques’ “challenge”

    J’accuse note. Glad the challenge worked. I also noted a change of tone (for the better) [and I am sure you will comment on this patronising comment]. At least it got you discussing issues not fooling about about lejberz torca etc etc… which proves my point that some people abuse of the anonimity affforded by pseudonyms. (not a jibe at Fausto)

  85. No Jacques, let me just tell you that I was told that the moderation was off, but now I see it’s back again.

    Also, I rarely waste time on blogs – when I do it’s for a break cos my job is politics. So as a break I love pissing people off (at times). I do it with a smile on my face, but do I have to put in a smiley every time? Are we mature adults here or do we go to nanny everytime we feel offended?

    So, all I can say is: hallina mill-moderation u c-censura – let free expression ring, for that is reality, not the censored version.

    J’accuse comment: Point taken. You commented as expected (even found time to write another comment for me to censor… if it makes you happy…). I couldn’t agree better… for someone championing freedom and active against totalitarian government in the new form I would expect you to know that the limit of freedom is simply so long that its exercise (of whatever freedom) does not impinge on the freedom of others. Which is where the unfortunate use of censorship has to come in.

    Comment #2: this early “I rarely waste time on blogs” thing is a mantra that I have heard many times in the past. It’s not about you Kevin it’s just interesting to see that people tend to speak of blogs as though they are talking of some porno… almost apologetic to have read one. I remember Bocca speaking in similar terms, hell he started off his first “Blog” almost apologising for having started one! It’s just a comment I wanted to make within the ambit of the whole discussion of blogs and what they are for and whether they are useful in malta… it just makes you wonder.

  86. The role of minor coalition parties is not soley to keep their partners in check – though this is an important part of it. Minor coalition parties can propose legislation – after negotiating with their partners. Of course there are concessions and trade-offs – there always are – but that’s the way it goes. It does’t always boil down to, “You drop the unfeasible golf-course plan and give me divorce or I throw a tantrum and call it quits”

  87. Niftakar

    Meta kont zghir kont dejjem naqbad ma ohti ax kienet idejjaqni tghamel larja bil kelb jew b’ommi jew hekk,.. insomma kienet tagixxi ta tifla fuckin antipatka li kienet.
    Ta tifel li kont kont dejjem naqbad iktar maghha bcertu sodisfazzjon, naraghha dejjem tipprova tinjorani u ma jirnexxiliex; naf li minn gewwa qeda tbaqbaq ha tisplodi, umbad tmur tisvoga u tibki mal pillow. Ma kontx sibling ezemplari u missni nisthi, illum li kbirna sirna hbieb.

    Ehh xmemorji

  88. F.Aakofph has changed nick to Gamma.

  89. I haven’t read Daphne’s column for the past 17 years or so. Ever since she used to write about having babies – how ugly they looked etc etc. I was then the mother of two toddlers and what she wrote used to hurt me. Now I can see what kind of youths her love for kids produced.
    In the Malta Independent she asked Alfred Sant how could he let his media insult his daughter’s cousin. With the same argument I ask her ” How can you hurt your son’s cousin by insulting her parents. Let’s not forget that some years back she told everyone all the details of their annulment: all this for a couple of Liri.
    Daphne don’t worry if they put a bomb on your doorstep, you will surley smell it. PN supporters always do. Remember the bomb they planted at St.Julian’s PN club, some years back. How the barman smelt it and ran down the stairs, picked it up, crossed the road and threw it on the rocks !!!!!!!!

  90. Grace:
    You say words hurt but you trivialise the fact that bombs kill.

    I don’t know you from Adam, but your sentiments are visible. They’re not a pretty sight.

  91. Pingback: J’accuse Votes: Epilogue « j’accuse

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