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.