First Impressions

The government had a very big agenda for the third term, which also included the MEPA reform and a new rent law.The Prime Minister said this election served as a lesson to PN in terms of the risks of losing the majority of voters and added that the electoral system needed to be improved in order to avoid the risk of having a governing party who fails to secure majority support. (www.di-ve.com)

The reason given by Gonzi for changing the electoral system does not bode well for those who have a fair system of representation in mind. Without Sant in the way, with an election still five years off and with what is supposed to be the humble voice of a party that became a government of the minority much more would have been expected from the opening round. Instead we get a system that has to be “improved in order to avoid the risk of having a governing party who fails to secure majority support”. I would have preferred the phrase to be based on simpler, wider concepts that open the way for a mature debate: equitable representation comes to mind. Gonzi’s choice of words will leave us with the worry that we can expect tinkering to ensure once and for all that “meddling of other parties” (that seemed to be the main line of the analysis on NET on E-day plus one) is impossible and that the playground is restricted to two big parties. What can I say? I hope I am wrong otherwise we can expect many more abstentions next time round.

By the way, and here I will sound pro-AD again in order to play along with the idea that this blog is simply an AD set-up, did you notice the two topics highlighted from the new PM’s “very big agenda”? MEPA reform and New Rent Law. So much for Harry’s party being the useless, meddling party.

What absolute rubbish. Then they had the gall to say that the AD’s campaign evidently favoured labour. They had the gall to say that they could not form a coalition with a party who they disagreed with. This too is the result of our faulty electoral law. It has nothing to do with AD and shows a lot about the absence of sense in an electoral campaign where the only stake is the “winner takes all”. Now other blogs will be saying that AD elves sabotaged Gonzi’s speech in order that he sound inconsistent with his pre-electoral campaign.

Cominciamo Bene.

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185 responses to “First Impressions

  1. Maybe Gonzi is forgetting that he is a minority government too. A party with 49.3% of total valid votes cast is not supported by the majority. But I’m sure by electoral reform he doesn’t mean “proportional representation”.

  2. PN wants to make it useless to vote for the Josies, the Harrys, and the Tal-Farfetts.

    Gonzi has made it clear he wants an
    MLPN dictatorship.

  3. Sorry to be immature about it but when I hear the words “very big agenda” all I can think of is Gonzi heaving under the weight of a 200kg, 4m long x 3m wide Filofax…

  4. I’ve given the matter some thought I don;t think we need electoral reform after all. We have a very fair system as it is. A party which polled 3,800 votes remains unrepresented in parliament; but at the same time, a difference of 1,500 votes between PN and Labour – less than half the third party’s tally – translates into FOUR EXTRA SEATS for the PN.
    Where’s the injustice in that?

  5. Ah, Raphael, but you don’t have blue DNA. That’s why you can think that way. People who have blue, red, green or whatever DNA, by definition, do not have free-will and free-thought. They are predetermined at conception.

  6. wow that’s one seat for every 375 votes… who needs elections?!

  7. David Friggieri

    A sweet little coincidence. ‘L-ambjent’ will be Gonzipn’s top priority (announced on Lou Larry King Plus). Ca tombe bien, Ratzi has just made environmental degradation a mortal sin: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7287071.stm

    I wonder whether Harry gets any extra retrocative indulgenzi for his gruelling battle up till this point. I doubt it.

  8. Interesting. My favourite quote from the article:

    He (Archbishop Girotti) also named abortion and paedophilia as two of the greatest sins of our times. The archbishop brushed off cases of sexual violence against minors committed by priests as “exaggerations by the mass media aimed at discrediting the Church”.

  9. By the way, an interesting article on Daphne’s blog (yes sometimes you do manage to find one if you dig deep enough in this realm of odious diarrhoea) is that the uncollected votes were not largely traditional PN votes but only 52% of them were, according to an ID card number analysis. I don’t know from where Daphne got this information but, in retrospect, she seemed to have very reliable contacts with the counting hall, better than Maltatoday’s or anybody else’s. If this is true, this is a very interesting and revealing factor for the following reasons.

    1) It is not true that Labourites are traditionally more blinkered than Nationalists. Labourites can be just as disgruntled about their party as the Nationalists.

    2) Seems like a good number of Labourites were fed up of Sant and preferred giving PN a victory by not voting (or possibly even voting PN) than putting up with Sant for another 5 years. Probably, a significant haemmorage of votes from PN to MLP did occur, and surveys indicated a strong one, but this was cancelled out by the Labourite disgruntlement of Sant. Ironically, it’s probably disgruntled Labourites who gave the PN their victory rather than disgruntled Nationalists who had a change of heart in the voting booth.

    3) This probably also reveals that there are a lot more floating voters than one thinks. And by floating voters I also mean people with a traditional sympathy for one party who find no qualm in voting for another party if circumstances necessitate this. It’s just that the swings from one party to the other almost cancelled each other out, so at first glance it wasn’t so evident.

    Of course, all of the above is not valid if what Daphne reported is not correct. But I think it is.

  10. Am I the only who thinks it is unnerving that the Nationalist Party knows how we vote simply through analysing our I.D. Card number?

  11. It all goes with having blue DNA, Josanne. Us mere mortals wouldn’t understand.

  12. Yes that is interesting. I imagine now that the non-voters have been duly identified by the Party espionage machine, all that remains is to sift through their garbage and read through their private post in search of stuff to blackmail them with ahead of the next election. At a stretch, they can always send round the DNA police to teach them a good lesson or two. How revolting.

  13. Josanne, it’s not just the Nationalist party but also Labour. I know someone who used to work in the MLP headquarters, and they have a database where you could search ANY eligible voter and they will have info about him like “Nationalist”, “presumed Nationalist”, “Labourite” or “presumed Labourite”. I asked her to search my for my father’s name in the database and see what it says about his political leaning and well, they got it pretty much right. PN, with their electronic vote counting methods, probably have something just as sophisticated if not more. Yes, it feel like we’re living in some Orwellian reality doesn’t it hehe … ma tistax tboss fil-veru sens tal-kelma.

  14. Vera Gold Roast,

    dan ir-registru elettorali wkoll jghid li J’accuse huwa AD u lili PN.

    Dan kollu ghax darba vvutajt IVAPN.

    Kif tista’ ma taqbilx ma’ l-Ewropa meta ghandek id-demokrazija ta’ l-EFA u l-USA?

  15. Well Sandro, they might not always get it right, but it’s always an indication for them to construct a political map of the electorate. An improvement over having no info at all about anybody.

    Just to give you an example, my father never was outspoken about his political leanings. The only thing that could give him away was a political newspaper he used to buy on a Sunday. That’s enough for your local stationery to know your political leanings, or even another regular customer who sees you buy that newspaper. But this is Malta not London. In London, if you walked in the street wearing a bunny outfit nobody would give a toss. In Malta, people are scrutinizing every single detail of your behaviour, your tastes, your preferences, anything …

  16. gold roast, qatt smajt bihom “street leaders”? dik is-sinjura wara l-purtelli li tkun taf kollox fuq kullhadd hi street leader! kull ma tkun trid hu li darba kull ftit xhu ituha lista u timmarkha.

  17. David Friggieri

    Disgruntled. The word on everybody’s lips. When you consider that, objectively, things are looking up for our beloved isle, it’s odd that this feeling of disgruntlement has set in. My hunch is that there’s a heavy feeling of boredom weighing down on lots of people. Same old political faces, sure. But also: same old TV personalities, same old discussion programmes, same old predictable opinion columnists. Perhaps the disgruntled army isn’t just disgruntled with the politicians but also with the whole intricate network surrounding them. Just a thought.

  18. U sandro: kif dahhalt lil bondi fiha din il-haga?

  19. Whoops! wrong post, ignore

  20. so with this reasoning, I would think all these floating voters shifting their votes from one election to the next is playing havoc with their database, no? what can they write…was Nationalist, then became AD, then kind of warmed up to Labour, but voted IVA for Europe, then became AD again…?

  21. VINCE COLLINS

    Mabe the time has come to look at the US system where the voters vote for the PM on one ballot, and MPs on another with the PM given the veto. Appointing Ministers from the whole population will broaden the base from which MORE competent persons are eligible for the job. That way the MPs will be free to vote for what their constituents want not the party.

    Best system I know of.

  22. Raphael Says:
    March 12, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    U sandro: kif dahhalt lil bondi fiha din il-haga?

    Aw Rapheal.

    Jiena kont ghamilt servizz ghall-gurnal serju Maltafly.com li daqt intik il-links dwar dak li Saviour Balzan ried jghid dwar Bondi.

    Jiena deffist lil Bondi fiha, ghax inti stedint lil Periklu biex jibghat e-mail lil S.B. jekk irid isaqsih xi haga li forsi ddejqu.

    Meta staqsejtu jien lil sehibna S.B. ma tanix twegiba. U l-kaz kien ta’ Bondi.

    Ha ntik il-links maj frend:

    link 1 : – http://www.maltafly.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=447 (26 th October 2003)

    link 2 : – http://www.maltafly.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=455 (2 November 2003)

    hehe kemm ili “nibbloggja” Jacques hux jien, mit-2002!……u kollu ta’ xejn marisa madonna.

  23. Maybe Gonzi is forgetting that he is a minority government too.

    Gold Roast, you may wish to know that apart from the Maltese Green Party, the rest of the world understands the expression “minority government” differently i.e. no, this Government is not a minority government.

  24. Josanne, all I can say is that PN officials claimed, on Sunday morning, that they were more optimistic than yesterday. This article of Daphne’s concurs with this optimistic Sunday morning feeling. And well, time proved them right. I know it’s a database based on perceptions, but oftentimes perceptions can be right. Sometimes they can be wrong (e.g. Sandro Vella being PN) but they are more often right. Ultimately I believe very few of us, if any, in Malta can claim to be competely independent of any political party allegiance. Everyone tends to have his/her sympathies to start with, and even if that is not the case, everyone in Malta tends to come from a traditional Nationalist or traditional Labourite family.

  25. Ok you’re right Fausto, it’s a misnomer. But it’s a plain fact that the majority of valid votes cast were not PN yet it is governing (not illegitimately) without representing the majority. If the constitution allowed for proportional representation in parliament, then a combination of two parties would guarantee that the government does represent a majority. However one would also have to discuss the flaw in this. If, say, PN gets 44%, MLP gets 46% and AD gets 10% in a general election. That means that it’s AD that decides whose in goverment, by deciding with whom to form a coalition. That’s not very democratic either.

  26. “Meddling of other parties” — before you point your guns at Net, you may wish to note that Harry Vassallo is presenting himself as Meddler-in-Chief. Why the smile/smirk at three press conference after the election? Is he happy that under his stewardship the Party is performing worse than under Wenzu Mintoff (who, it ought to be mentioned, could have made the same complaints about electoral rules as Harry Vassallo). No. He says it’s all schadenfreude, knowing that the PM is being sworn in one day later than usual.

  27. “Then they had the gall to say that the AD’s campaign evidently favoured labour” — Yes, it did. Not directly perhaps but just as indirectly in 2003 the Greens jeopardised our chances of joining the EU. Erm, and my I remind you that only yesterday you quoted Henry Frendo saying that the Nationalists were denied an absolute majority because of the Greens and National Action.

  28. Ok you’re right Fausto, it’s a misnomer. But it’s a plain fact that the majority of valid votes cast were not PN yet it is governing (not illegitimately) without representing the majority.

    Yes, big deal. It’s the case with most European governments (including, most recently, Zapatero). And did you know that Borg-Olivier never archieved an absolute majority of votes?

  29. If the constitution allowed for proportional representation in parliament, then a combination of two parties would guarantee that the government does represent a majority.

    I have run the numbers of this election through the d’Hondt method which, not only is used by most European countries but was also proposed by the Gonzi Commission on which sat reps of the Nationalists, Labour and the Greens. The result would have still been a one-seat majority for the Nationalists and no seats for the Greens.

    Now, Jacques will say that the Greens would attract more votes if the rules were changed. There is not much evidence, pro or contra, for that. The only country which made a wholesale change in its electoral system was New Zealand in the mid-1990s and what it did was to encourage more people to vote (they did not have 93% turnouts in the first place).

  30. Just out of curiosiry, does the “d`Hodt method” actually account for vociferous, public bullying campaigns against people express their preference for minority parties for the first time? Ever been any “d `Hodt method” Green Party candidates served with arrest warrants a couple of days before the elections?

    Honestly, take that “d`Hodt method” and shove it you know where.

    What amazes me about the campaign has been the Christian Deomcrat party`s ability to gloat about being able to scare so many people indoors. “We didn`t need you!” the main cheerleader screamed.

    Very Christian. Very democratic.

  31. Ever been any “d `Hodt method” Green Party candidates served with arrest warrants a couple of days before the elections?

    No. For that matter, it does not fill in your tax forms or pays your rent on time either.

  32. Cabinet is being sworn in.

    First impressions, anyone?

  33. George Pullicino, Giovanna Debono, Tonio Fenech, Carm Mifsud Bonnici … ajma zaqqi … particularly Giovanna Debono. Ok I admit Dr. Gonzi isn’t exactly spoilt for choice as regards new faces.

  34. Pierre Farrugia

    The government has a relative majority in relation to MLP and the rest of the smaller parties. The constitution is there and it should be respected.

    Nevertheless, the present government can also be defined as an absolute minority.

    How is that for democracy?

  35. First impressions Fausto? Well, as a cartoonist i am now certain that this government will keep me busy.

  36. Suppose the MLP, with an even smaller absolute minority, took over government with an advantage of 3 seats. How would that have been for democracy?

  37. Pierre Farrugia

    That would have been democracy at its best, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

    In this election, both parties suffered a substantial swing in votes towards the other major party.

    The swing from the Nationalist party towards Labour is around 27,000 votes.
    The swing from Labour towards the Nationalist party is around 12,000 votes.

    It is the new voters, and their number exceeds 17,000, that have contributed largely to the electoral result. Their number is probably around 22,000 when one considers the voters who passed away since 2003.

  38. Mar tajjeb Georg Sapiano, eh. 58 votes. Norman Lowell gab iktar minnu.

  39. No one beats Donald Felice though…how he managed to get less than an Alternattiva candidate on an PN districs par excellence beats me.

  40. Hmmm sorry for the horrible syntax….I bet i could do with reception class.

  41. Victor Laiviera

    Doanla Felice is the best gynaecologist (did I spell that right?) and the worst politician in Malta.

  42. Fausto: ‘I have run the numbers of this election through the d’Hondt method …. the result would have still been a one-seat majority for the Nationalists and no seats for the Greens.’

    Yes, but it’s generally acknowledged that the d’Hondt method favours larger parties. If you use a different method (e.g. Sainte-Lague or largest remainders) you get 32-32-1.

  43. Morning Gold roast, I’ve just joined the discussion now…I have never for a moment doubted that both parties use extensive data bases on people’s voting patterns to determine their chances at the polls…all I’m saying is that this kind of “mind control” gives me the creeps…this must be the only country where people feel absolutely no embarrassment at bluntly asking you “inti x’int?” and then sticking a political identity label on your forehead which you are supposed to wear for the rest of your life. In other countries it is quote common for voters to switch allegiances from one election to another, and no one would dare call them a traitor or disloyal or ungrateful or selfish or immature or the even worse adjectives I’ve seen bandied about… to this, all I can say is “tridx ma tindahhalx!!”
    While yes, most people come from a “traditional” Nationalist or Labour family, there are also those who come from families where because of marriage with “the others” (oooh!! how scary) or simply through simply changing their minds (!) their political beliefs are not set in stone. They are open to new ideas, and if the party they previously supported has screwed up, they have absolutely no problem with saying so. Where Malta has not matured politically is that you still get people who, come election time, will defend “their” party until they are blue in the face, tying themselves up in knots to justify the unjustifiable. In this sense, this election has reminded me vividly of the Mintoff years where, if you dared to criticise Dom you were labelled a traitor to the “cause”…the physical violence may be gone but the relentless psychological battering was there all the same.

  44. L-iktar ħaġa li dejqitni f’din l-elezzjoni kienet il-vot baxx ta’ Felice – u mhux bin-nejk qed ngħid hekk. Stennejt li jkun hemm xi elf votant fl-għaxar distrett li jużaw lil Felice (bħala l-iktar kandidat dgħajjef tal-PN) biex ikomplu fuq l-Alternattitiva. Iżda ġab biss 96 vot. M’hemmx tama..lanqas it-2 ma kienu lestu jagtuhom lill-Alternatiiva fl-għaxar disrett.

    Għalhekk ngħid: iktar hemm ċans li Myanmar issir demokrazija mill-l-AD jtellgħu siġġu. Għalhekk il-parir tiegħu hu: ikkonċentraw fuq is-sitt siġġu tal-Parlament Ewropew – hemmhekk biss għandkom ċans.

    Issa huwa importanti għal pajjiżna li l-partit Laburitsta jiġi f’sensieh – inkella ser nispiċċaw one party state. Parir wieħed għandi għalihom: think outside the box. Ara ma tagħmlux xi paprata oħra – insew lil Anġlu, lil Kulejru, lil Mangion jew Falzon, u anke l-Varist. Tridu tirbħu ghaxar snin oħra jew lew? Ma tantx għandkom minn fejn tagħżlu, veru – allura aħjar tmorru għal xi ħadd intelliġenti, fotoġeniku, moderat, tekniku, tal-familja, li jappella lejn iċ-ċentru, mux biss ix-xellug.. Bejn tlieta l-għażla: Muscat, Karmenu Vella, u, għaliex le, iva – Edward Scicluna(dan l-aktar li għandu ċans naħseb f’elezzjoni ġenerali). Jew hekk jew qed taħlu l-ħin ta’ kulħadd, l-aħwa.

  45. Antoine Vella

    Kenneth Cassar – I have voted for the PN for the last 8 general elections so, according to you I “do not have free-will and free-thought.”

    …..and then you wonder why I compare you to the Maltese fascists.

    Josanne – “all I’m saying is that this kind of “mind control” gives me the creeps…”

    Next time round, wear a tinfoil cap. That should protect you from ‘their’ mind control.

  46. Josanne what can I say … I agree 100% with everything you said. Loyalty to Maltese political parties, in at least 80% of the country, is no different from loyalty to a favourite football team or a kazin tal-banda. If you criticize Gonzi and PN, you are a Laburist or AD. If you refuse to vote, you are a coward and you should be ashamed of yourself. Labelling, labelling, labelling. We live in a country where the majority cannot perceive free-thinking. I don’t think I need to advertise the blog where such nauseating labelling, finger-pointing and accusations are plentiful. As for myself, I can say that I can be either a conservative, a socialist, a green or a liberal, depending on the various aspects of my point of view. But go explain an Antoine Vella that … it would probably be easier selling a fillet steak to a Hindu. These same people are probably keeping their fingers crossed that MLP chooses a crappy leader so that PN will remain perennially in government. Who cares about a decent five years of government … carcading and flag-waving every five years is a bigger priority isn’t it?

  47. Antoine Vella

    Gold Roast – you do some pretty good labelling yourself.

  48. Antoine Vella – what can I say? I rest my case…

    Gold Roast – I’m glad someone understood what I was trying to say..

  49. I don’t do labelling … I may not have guessed your age but my judgement of your personality was spot-on.

  50. Antoine Vella

    Jacques – “They had the gall to say that they could not form a coalition with a party who(m)** they disagreed with.”

    Why would anyone need gall to say that they don’t want to form a koalizzjoni? Doesn’t the PN have a right to disagree with AD?

    You are still banging on about this koalizzjoni. lol. Forget it man. It’s not going to happen. By the next election, the ‘third’ party might well be AN. I think that Seatless Harry contact Josie and propose a koalizzjoni.

    ** Hope you don’t mind me adding an ‘m’ to the quote. The sentence would have been better:
    “They had the gall to say that they could not form a coalition with a party with whom they disagreed”.

    I’m not an intellectual though, so your Maltese-style syntax could well be the correct one.

  51. Hey all you guys, who seem to be so disgruntled, rebellious, reformists, unhappy with the status quo, change it! I suggest you set up your own party, run the next elections and hope to get a very big and wide seat to accomodate you all once you rake in the so called quota between your candidates. Good luck.

  52. Antoine Vella

    Gold Roast –
    “We live in a country where the majority cannot perceive free-thinking.” – that is labelling.

    “go explain an Antoine Vella that … it would probably be easier selling a fillet steak to a Hindu.” – that is labelling

    “carcading and flag-waving every five years is a bigger priority isn’t it?” – that is labelling.

    These are just 3 examples from one of your posts. Any kind of sweeping statement and stereotyping is labelling.

  53. Antoine Vella

    new party –
    “Hey all you guys, who seem to be so disgruntled, rebellious, reformists, unhappy with the status quo, change it! ”

    They tried to change it but the electorate said: “No deal”.

    Not their fault though – it’s all in the power of incumbency.

  54. well said Antoine Vella, it was “the electorate said: No deal” not the electoral system and neither any of the political parties. Accept that and it will be the first step towards change.

    p.s. i already heard this ‘power of incumbency’ thingy from the mouth of a four times defeated leader, i wonder whether it is a lame excuse synonymous with defeat.

  55. Claire Bonello

    Hi Antoine
    Just to be precise – some 4000 people said “deal” for AD. Had those 4000 people been voters from the same district they would have elected an MP. However our electoral system (designed and retouched by PN and MLP) works in such a way as to deny these people their choice simply because they live in different districts.
    Incidentally, the voters who voted for the MLP and those who voted for AD all said “no deal” to the PN/the PN governing alone. Together they make up a bigger percentage of votes than those who voted for the PN. You do realise that a party with a minority of votes is governing over the combined majority of voters, do you? That may be fine in your book (just wondering and not doing any cruel labelling) but it’s not with many others.

  56. Antoine Vella said: “Kenneth Cassar – I have voted for the PN for the last 8 general elections, so according to you, I do not have free will and free thought…and then you wonder why I compare you to the Maltese Fascists”.

    Antoine, I am seriously wondering whether your reply reflects lack of a good grasp of the English language, or else it is simply a case of intentional and malicious misrepresentation of what I say.

    The simple fact that you voted PN for 8 consecutive times does not imply lack of free will or free thought. It only implies unchanged opinion, which might be a good or a bad thing, depending on the circumstances. HOWEVER, and THIS IS WHAT I SAID, for one to claim to have “blue DNA” does imply that either one does not know what he/she is saying, or that one indeed lacks free will or freedom of thought. If you know anything about DNA, it is unchangeable in the individual. Therefore for one to say that one has blue, red or green DNA is to VERY STUPIDLY say that no matter what, one will still support the party he/she has always supported. I honestly hope you are not one such person who claims to have blue DNA, which is not the same as saying that you freely chose to keep voting PN.

    Having explained the above, hopefully in a way that you will understand, I hope you will prove yourself to be a man and apologize for comparing me to Fascists. Then again, do what you want. What do I care?

  57. mhawwad: ‘Stennejt li jkun hemm xi elf votant fl-għaxar distrett li jużaw lil Felice (bħala l-iktar kandidat dgħajjef tal-PN) biex ikomplu fuq l-Alternattitiva.’

    This is the inherent problem of the ‘weak candidate’ strategy. If 1000 people voted for Felice, he would not have been a weak candidate at all. In fact he would have been one of the strongest PN candidates on that district, and Harry would have been eliminated without benefiting from those second preferences.

  58. Fil-fatti dak kien il-biża tiegħi. Iżda ma kelliex għalfejn ninkwieta !!

  59. This talk of “minority” government is reminding me of Alfred Sant’s creative counting after the EU referendum. In terms of real world politics, Malta was an absolute exception in having a party in power that commanded over 50% of the vote. Also, everyone outside Malta is amazed when we consider a turn-out of 93% to be low. Perhaps we are becoming more European in these respects as well.

    And by the way, on the question of AD being cheated out of a seat: If we take an average quota being in the region of 3700, AD would have won a single seat on a national plane. This calculation would have worked out at over 38 seats each to PN and MLP, instead of 35 and 34 respectively, so who was cheated? QED: you cannot simply extrapolate our district-based system to a national level.

    The real question is: does a party with 1.3% deserve to be represented? The answer to that is that the vast majority of the Maltese electorate prefers a government with a stable majority.

  60. Antoine Vella

    Claire –
    “You do realise that a party with a minority of votes is governing over the combined majority of voters, do you?”

    That is the argument Sant used to explain that the partnership won the referendum.

    ” That may be fine in your book (just wondering and not doing any cruel labelling) but it’s not with many others.”

    Labelling (any kind of labelling, not referring to you) is not ‘cruel’, it’s just stupid.

    Had the 4000 voters all lived within one district then AD would have obtained a seat. But the fact is that they don’t live in one district and AD knew that. That’s why it was so presumptuous for AD to announce that they were going to get 4 seats.

    Do you really expect Malta to become one single district simply to help AD get a seat???

    The only thing AD can do is to issue a directive to all its voters to go and live in Sliema.

  61. Does a party that gets 1.3% of the votes deserve a seat? NO.

    Should there be a 5% threshold to ensure that if a party gets 16000 votes it does get a seat? YES

    Can you dismiss the threshold becuase no third party has got 16000 votes yet under the present system? I don’t think so. We cannot say if people would vote differently under a new system simply because they did not do so under the old system. Anyway if the threshold exists in next election and no party reaches it then it won’t be applied. Much less harmful than if it didnot exist and 16,000 votes do get wasted.

    otherwise you get implausible suggestions bordering on the ridiculous (yes labelling) such as asking people who want to choose a party to move into one district. Call that respect for people’s choice. I call it protecting your crops DNA by ensuring that your particular crop comes out first come what may.

  62. Antoine Vella

    Kenneth – Actually there are some studies that suggest that DNA can mutate during the lifetime of an individual but you don’t want to go there. Somehow, I don’t think molecular genetics is your cup of tea.

    The ‘blue DNA’ slogan, seen on some T-shirts during this electoral campaign, was just a jibe at Mangion who, you probably know. claimed that we Nats have something wrong in our DNA. It had nothing to do with not wanting change.

    Apparently, you cannot recognise sarcasm when it’s staring you in the face.

    Yes, I’m afraid I still think you’re intolerant and would be more at home with Lowell than Gonzi. However, the latter said that his government will be open to all Maltese so there is space for you, should you decide to embrace democracy.

  63. Antoine Vella

    Jacques –
    “I call it protecting your crops DNA by ensuring that your particular crop comes out first come what may.”

    Are you talking about crop protection now? Pesticides? Bological Control? Integrated Pest Management is probably the best option for Maltese agriculture.

  64. Antoine…mutation is still not the same thing as mixture, which does not happen in individuals. In any case, if DNA can change, this makes “blue DNA” meaningless instead of plain stupid. Your claim that molecular genetics is not my cup of tea is just your prejudiced assumption. But of course, I hope you do not expect me to fill these pages with any knowledge that I have about DNA. Suffice for me to say that the “blue DNA slogan is either meaningless or stupid. I’m sure you will concede me this.

    As for the “blue DNA” slogan being a jibe at Mangion, who (I have only recently discovered) claimed that Nationalists have something wrong in their DNA, this only goes to show that Mangion was very irresponsible and offensive when making that statement. But then again, I did not vote for Mangion.

    As for not recognizing sarcasm, I do. Unfortunately I suspect that not everyone saying they have blue, red or green DNA says it out of sarcasm. The problem in Malta is that there is a significant portion of the electorate who believes that once born a Nationalist/Labourite/Alternattiva, always a Nationalist/Labourite/Alternattiva. To many people, politics is just a game. Unfortunately this is one of the weaknesses of democracy (which is not to say that I oppose democracy).

    As for saying that you still think I’m intolerant and would be more at home with Lowell than Gonzi, I would kindly ask you how you came to that conclusion. Failing a reply, it will only show that your belief is plain and simple prejudice.

    As for your concluding sentence, please spare us the sarcasm. What’s undemocratic about anything that I said?

  65. @Antoine

    Why don’t you publish your own dictionary? I’m sure Oxford would be envious.

  66. Antoine Vella wrote: “Are you talking about crop protection now? Pesticides? Bological (sic) Control (sic)? Integrated Pest Management is probably the best option for Maltese agriculture”

    Hmmm….very tolerant.

  67. Antoine Vella

    Kenneth – My opinion of you has been formed over time not just from your responses on this blog. It is not an prejudicial assumption but a judgement based on experience.

    You said that DNA is unchangeable in the individual and I answered that there are studies to show that it can change (mutate). You never mentioned mixing of DNA.

    I know that biology is not your forte becuase I’ve read letters to the papers where you have struggled to present a very personal view of the Animal Kingdom.

    Incidentally, many people do not readily change their allegiance to a political party, precisely because they realise that politics are not a game.

  68. Antoine Vella

    Kenneth – Why did you put (sic) after Biological Control? (The Bological was a typo).

    What’s tolerant about crop protection? As a matter of fact, Integrated Pest Managements is probably the most tolerant of crop protection methods and I said that it’s the best for Malta.

  69. Antoine, you say your opinion of me has been formed over time, and yet you fail to mention one instance where I have been intolerant or fascistic.

    Regarding DNA and whether it is unchangeable or whatever, if you want to press the point, fine, I give you that. What I meant is that each individual’s DNA is unique and that my DNA, for instance, cannot change to yours.

    You say that biology is not my forte because you’ve read letters of mine where I have “struggled” to present a very personal view of the “animal kingdom”. And yet again, you fail to provide a shred of evidence to support your claim.

    Perhaps I am not an expert in biology, and I never claimed I am. But perhaps the following quote from distinguished evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins will show you that my views regarding non-human animals are not so uninformed and that they are not at all personal.

    “Many of our legal and ethical principles depend on the separation between Homo sapiens and all other species. Of the people who regard abortion as a sin, including the minority who go to the lengths of assassinating doctors and blowing up abortion clinics, many are unthinking meat-eaters, and have no worries about chimpanzees being imprisoned in zoos and sacrificed in laboratories. Would they think again, if we could lay out a living continuum of intermediates between ourselves and chimpanzees…? Surely they would. Yet it is the merest accident that the intermediates all happen to be dead. It is only because of this accident that we can comfortably and easily imagine a huge gulf between our two species – or between any two species, for that matter.”

    “I suppose we should take comfort from the change that has come over our attitudes (regarding racism) during the intervening century. Perhaps in a negative sense, Hitler can take some credit for this, since nobody wants to be caught saying anything that he said. But what, I wonder, will our successors of the twenty-second century be quoting, in horror, from us? Something to do with our treatment of other species, perhaps?”

    Richard Dawkins – The Ancestor’s Tale

  70. Antoine Vella, you ask why I put (sic) after Bological, which I know was a typo. I did this because you are very quick to point out the spelling or grammatical mistakes of others. Kind of “who is without sin, cast the first stone”.

    Regarding what’s intolerant about your pest management remark is that taken in the context Jacques was using the crops analogy, pest management alludes to part of the electorate. I’m sure you did not really think that Jacques was literally speaking about farming.

  71. Apologies to Jacques for going very much off-topic, but since this blog is not moderated, I have to defend myself from prejudiced unsubstantiated allegations.

  72. Antoine Vella

    Kenneth.- No, I never point out the spelling mistakes of other posters but only their grammatical ones and only when I see that they are not typos.

    Normally I would not bother to point out gramatical mistakes either – this kind of communication is very informal anyway – but when people define themselves as ‘intellectuals’ I expect them to live up to their description.

    In any case there was nothing wrong with the way I spelt ‘Control’ but you still put (sic) on it.

    Regarding crops and farming, you know what? I really don’t know what Jacques is talking about. Does he?

    Don’t worry Kenneth, you’re not off topic. There isn’t a topics as far as I can see (but then I’m blinkered so it could be that there is in fact a topic)

  73. Antoine, the “intellectual” thing is between you and Jacques. So I won’t comment.

    Regarding “Control”, I wouldn’t have put “C” in caps, but then again, I made my point…the details are not important.

    Regarding crops and farming, and you saying that you really don’t know what he is talking about, if that is the case, why did you reply? If I don’t understand something, I ask for an explanation, and not post a reply until I have an idea of what the person is actually saying.

    Regarding the topic, I think it’s about the electoral system, is it not? Non-human animals don’t vote. That makes my post above (the one quoting Richard Dawkins) very much off-topic.

    As for being blinkered, I never said you are.

  74. Il-ħanina! Siktet naqra Daphne u tfaċċa Antoine. Ippruvaw tatux wisq kashom, għax kif qal Patrick, il-provokazzjoni l-għaxqa tagħhom. Inutli jaħasra, qed jgħidilna li ilu jivvota l-istess għomru u żmienu, lanqas jekk jinżlu l-anġli jiżfnu m’hu ħa jara kulur ieħor ħlief il-blu.

  75. Inflatable Tyre

    Gakku ta’ Zerrek, mhux ahjar tissossa xi karozza b’xi gakk, milli tipprova tissossa l-politika ta’ Malta ?

  76. Antoine Vella

    Kenneth – Biological Control is normally written in capital letters, just as Integrated Pest Management is. This is the main subject I’ve been lecturing in for the past 18 years so, bir-rispett kollu, I know what I’m talking about. You were too hasty to put your (sic).

    Not so sure what Jacques is talking about though, flitting like a butterfly from votes to crops. I did in fact respond by asking him questions, just as you are suggesting.
    Read properly please. Of course, I don’t expect him to answer – his policy is that silence is the best defence.

    My reference to blinkering was a general remark and not aimed specifically at you. Do not take things too personally.

    As for you, Alfred, you’re quite right. Winding you up is a pleasant enough pastime for now. Don’t fret however, I’ll eventually get tired of it and leave you in peace to castigate the world for having an opinion that differs from yours.

  77. Grazzi Antoine talli kkonfermajt b’xiex tiddeletta. Sakemm il-fehmiet tagħna jkunu differenti, ma jkun ġara xejn b’daqshekk, żgur li ħadd m’hu se jinnervja. Iżda veru wkoll li meta t-ton ikun ta’ jien naf kollox u intom għadd ta’ ċwieċ, imbagħad m’hemmx aħjar mis-skiet bħala pestiċida.

  78. Antoine, regarding Biological Control, fine, you are correct. I already said that “then again, I made my point, the details are not important”. If you want to waste time on a capital “C”, be my guest.

    Regarding blinkering, noted. It was not aimed at me.

    So let’s summerize:

    1. I mistakenly wrote that DNA does not change, instead of mix. You pointed out my mistake and I corrected myself.

    2. I wrote that blue DNA implies lack of free-will. You took it to mean that whoever consistently votes for one party lacks free-will. I pointed out that that’s not what having blue DNA means, so it does not necessarily apply to you. You did not comment.

    3. You said that I was intolerant and fascistic. I challenged you to provide evidence. You ignored my request.

    4. You said that I struggle to present “my own” personal view on the “animal kingdom”. I quoted you a distinguished evolutionary biologist’s view on the topic. You ignored it.

    But then, you find it important to insist that Biological Control is written with a capital B and C.

    I guess I’m really wasting my time.

  79. Occasionally, you meet somewhere sensible …

    Yes, but it’s generally acknowledged that the d’Hondt method favours larger parties. If you use a different method (e.g. Sainte-Lague or largest remainders) you get 32-32-1.

    True. But the Gonzi Commission in its report (which Wenzu Mintoff, as the Green Party representative, signed) recommended d’Hondt. It did so because only d’Hondt can guarantee the 50%+1 principle, that the party with an absolute majority of votes gets an absolute majority of seats.

    Now, tell me, what’s more important? Guaranteeing the 50%+1 principle or bending over backwards to appease the Greens?

    And we haven’t even started talking about the 5% threshold …

  80. Antoine, I think Jacques got his DNA confused with his GM – hence the reference to DNA crops. Like I said, most AD people know very little about science or the environment. They just use them to decorate their credentials. I love it when I hear lawyers like Claire Bonello and Harry Vassallo, who probably don’t even have so much as an O-level in chemistry or biology (because in those days you had to choose sciences or arts after third form) rant on about these subjects. I laugh enough louder when I hear them bang on about farming and agriculture from the depths of their homes in Sliema. How much time do they spend talking to farmers, exactly? When they go out for their two-hour Sunday drives (if that), all the farmers are at home resting. But if I, who have spent the best part of the last two decades living among farmers smack bang in the middle of fields, claim to know just a little bit more about the subject of farming – oh dear, I’m not AD, so what do I know?

  81. Back again from work.

    1. It’s not about Ad.
    2. It’s not about Ad.
    3. It’s not about Ad.

    Now Daphne, if whatever agenda you want to push depends on teaming up with so-called crop scientists and weeding out any remnant of a green party that should be licking its wounds rather than offending the people then be my guest. I will not help you in that though.

    Let me say it again. It’s not about AD. I am not AD. During the campaign I argued for the right of people to be allowed to choose AD if they believed in AD. That is something that is apparently beyond comprehension of the tribal politics of today. The mathematics was there – I said so as much as you and others – Vote for AD you could end up with Sant in Government. BUT I also said that it is a right that cannot be taken away – to vote AD: That right is still there and it still has a damocles sword hanging on it – whether it is AD or future Liberal Party or Social-Democrat or whatever.

    You speak of competence and Biology and Chemistry O’levels (incidentally I happen to have those). Right, should I shut you up from speaking of legal amendments to the constitution? I have studied both Constitutional and EU Constitutional Law. Jesus why do I even bother answering this kind of argument.

    As for equating greens with farmers and only farmers – that puts your amount of research on the issue into question. Ad or not… reducing the Green and Environmental questions to farming is naive to say the least. Where should I start? Waste? Polluition? Recycling? Alternative Energy? And this is coming from someone who is neither an AD supporter nor of the tree-hugging persuasion. So spare us the ridiculous I live in Bidnija so I am a farmer – leave it to the part-time farmers you seem to be happy to live with.

    The fact remains that you have still, since my dare, been unable to tackle the question of a huge fallacy and flaw in our Constitutional mechanisms – 16,000 votes can and will go to waste. All answers on this blog have tackled the issue from the point of view of alternattiva. I don’t care. How else can I spell it out?

    There is and there will continue to be a democratic deficit. I don’t need to APPEAL for discussion because the need has been felt by everyone except maybe you and the visitors to the Manuel Cuschieri Blue blog. Sure we will have different opinions and those who are interested in disrupting the agenda will continue to try to throw all those interested in change into one basket. Right now you disagree when I say that persons commenting on this blog do not reflect the opinions of the blog. Where do you want to get at Daphne? Say it.

    Another thing – you saw the eleection result – you expect MLP and AD to reform and react to the will of the people and yet you do not see how PN should too be revising its position with regard to the electorate.

    BTW the confused the DNA with GM joke is hilarious… I suggest you find a youtube video on the matter… looks like that kind of thing is popular with the people who comment on your blog as a whole (and that therefore makes them what Daphneites?)

  82. Daphne now claims to be an expert on all things environmental because she lives in Bidnija. I believe she’s the same person who wrote a column denying climate change – on the same lines as those written by Jeremy Clarkson but much less amusing. Well, I hate to disillusion Daphne and it’s not really that relevant but I’ve got A-levels in three science subjects and try to carry out some research before writing on environmental matters – this research not being restricted to paraphrasing Jeremy Clarkson’s columns.

    Antoine, don’t get so crabby about DNA and mutations and the like. Let’s all agree that Charles Mangion made an idiotic comment. And then let’s see how the PN puffed that inane comment out off proportion. Maybe then we can progress to making more productive comments than telling people who want to be represented by a political party of their choice to go and live within the same district

  83. I really can’t understand your reasoning, Jacques. ‘People should be allowed to vote AD, even though the maths is what it is and a vote for AD could result in Sant in government’. And then you went and voted AD to prove your point that you had a right to do it. Have you ever heard the words ‘responsible behaviour’ and ‘consequences”? Do you understand that rights come accompanied by obligations? I have a right to do a hell of a lot of things, but I don’t do many of them because there are adverse consequences, for myself as well as for others.

  84. Do you have a problem addressing me directly, Claire? ‘Daphne thinks this”, ‘Daphne now claims’ – it’s the blog equivalent of not being able to look me in the eye. But then I too would be ashamed if I found myself stooping to the level of defending a nasty and perverted little racist Jew-hater and gay-baiter in court. Are you really that desperate for work? Another lawyer without briefs? So much for your liberal AD attitudes, when you have Norman Lowell’s occasional shag and electoral campaigner, a woman who spends her time ranting against ‘niggers’ and ‘Jews’ and ‘poufs’ as your client. Now please explain this to me: how do you have the brass neck to stand up in court and defend the interests of a racist piece of excrement like this? That was a rhetorical question, because I already know the answer. The only reason you took up that brief is because the person on the other side is me, and your fatal obsession with me has clouded your judgment.

    But enough of that, Dr-I-defend-the-interests-of-gay-hating-Jew-baiting-racists Claire. You’re right. I don’t believe in climate change. But that just might be because my professional training is actually in archaeology, which means that my perspective goes back a little further than the last 50 years. But we don’t even need to go that far – in the early 1970s, Time magazine was building panic about global cooling.

    And actually, yes. I do know quite a bit about agriculture through roughly 20 years spent living in farmland. How else could I not? I would have to be pretty obtuse, given that all I can see from my windows are crops and people working in fields. Bidnija isn’t a village. It’s a farming community, in the heart of Malta’s main farming district. Oh and by the way, they all vote PN. Just thought I’d rub it in.

  85. “How else could I not?” – This coming from someone who made a fuss on the plural of “whistleblower”.

  86. Daphne,

    Your last post was in part misguided.

    The first paragraph makes one miss any trace of class. Your words were too personal and also involved a person, who does not seem to be around on this site.

  87. Some voted for a small party, knowing that could make Sant prime minister. They were aware of the consequences, but didn’t mind having Sant instead of Gonzi that much. Otherwise, they’d have voted GonziPN for sure.

  88. Fausto: ‘only d’Hondt can guarantee the 50%+1 principle’

    I can easily see that ‘largest remainders’ doesn’t give this guarantee. I’ll take your word for it in general. And given Malta’s history I agree that it should be in place.

  89. Daphne… I recommend that you get out of blogging…

    The Independent, at least, serves as a safety valve both for your own ailing reputation as well as the sensitivities of others. Sadly this valve doesn’t always operate as evidenced by that infamous opinion piece where you saw fit to drag in an innocent child into your mud-tossing, all in the name of getting back at a woman whom you repeatedly just now chose to deride.

    Indeed it seems that you could follow the advice given to Sant prior to the elections. The less said – the better (with apologies to Sant).

  90. I can easily see that ‘largest remainders’ doesn’t give this guarantee. I’ll take your word for it in general. And given Malta’s history I agree that it should be in place.

    Wasn’t me who said that; it was Prof Anton Buhagiar.

  91. andrew borg-cardona

    I won’t be visiting this site again, because the smell of bitterness is way too strong, but I just had to point out that Claire Bonello has just used the same logic the politically-departed used after the Referendum. Claire, you support a party that hasn’t improved its vote materially for as long as it’s been around. Stop and smell the roses, why don’t you? And stop bleating about electoral bullying and media bias and all the other convenient excuses: you’re in the political game. so play by its rules, or lack of rules.

  92. I second that, Andrew. Note what Harry Vassallo feels he has to celebrate about: he denied the Nationalists an absolute majority. He does not say anything about the fact that his Party has not progressed in almost two decades (actually, it did marginally better under Wenzu Mintoff).

  93. On the other hand when blogs ‘are’ moderated then one finds that perfectly legitimate but inconvenient posts do not make the grade. Isn’t that right Mr. Borg-Cardona?

    If Harry Vassallo feels the need to celebrate then why not? Or was the right of an entity to feel good about one’s efforts also voted away this past election?

    Its not a long shot really – only a matter of time…

  94. If Harry Vassallo feels the need to celebrate then why not? Or was the right of an entity to feel good about one’s efforts also voted away this past election?

    I never queried Vassallo’s right to be delusional, not now, not when he said he can elect four MPs. My comment was addressed to the people who inhabit the real world.

  95. Mr. Borg Cardona, please note that the opinions and “bitterness” of comment-posters do not necessarily reflect those of blogger Jacques Zammit.

    You can still enjoy reading his blogs without reading the comments.

  96. It was NOT AD that denied the Nationalists their absolute majority (after what??????fifteen years????? how long have they been around???? of constant heaving and straining, there has been no betterment in their vote – surely no great cause for celebration, but of course, who are we to deny anyone a bit of fun?). What denied the Nationalists their absolute majority was nothing but DISILLUSIONED NATIONALISTS – the many thousands who did not bother to pick up their voting documents, or who stayed at home on election day. The ones who were prepared to take the gamble to drive home a point, yet were not prepared to go out and vote for AD, AN or MLP. I’m not saying these people did not have a point, or good enough reasons to do what they did. What I’m saying is that these are the people who denied PN its absolute majority, and anyone who thinks otherwise is not thinking straight.

  97. Andrew I have not used Sant’s referendum logic. He included the people who did not vote amongst that section of the electorate who voted against EU accession. This does not make sense. Nobody could attribute any motives to those voters who abstained.
    However it is still a fact that the combined number of voters who voted for the MLP and AD exceeds the number of those who voted for the PN. In a fairer system where proportionality is guaranteed for parties other than the PN and the MLP, this would have meant that AD could have been represented. Instead we have a situation where 1500 PN votes translate into 3 or 4 seats for the PN, but nearly 4000 votes for AD do not results in any seats at all. That might be the reality (as engineered by the PN and the MLP) it does not mean it’s fair. Back in the 1980s Nationalist supporters protested loudly and vociferously against the lack of rules and electoral bullying. Now they tell the rest of us to live with it…

    J’ACCUSE COMMENT: For the record, and in order to begin to untangle the different strands of thought that exist within the debates in this blog: Claire’s assertion that “a fairer system where proportionality is guaranteed for parties other than PN and, the MLP would have meant that AD could be represented” is her own and differs from my line in one important aspect. I do not believe that any system of proportional representation should guarantee representation for anything less than 5% of national votes. AD would not have obtained a seat under such a system with a 5% threshold. My argument rests on the potential wasted vote combined with the current disincentive to vote for third parties including AD since in the words of ABC “the odds are stacked against it”. Tant biex naghrfu inkunu cari.

  98. Claire Says:
    March 15, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    “However it is still a fact that the combined number of voters who voted for the MLP and AD exceeds the number of those who voted for the PN.”

    So what? It is also a fact that one party has a relative majority, however small this majority is. The political implications of a (the) relative majority are anchored in a still valid constitution.

    Could it, would it, be relevant at this point of discussion to debate the concept, and practical definition, of “democracy”?

    Claire Says:
    March 15, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    “In a fairer system where proportionality is guaranteed for parties other than the PN and the MLP, this would have meant that AD could have been represented.”

    Claire, who taught you argumental logic? I am more than surprised that a lawyer, who aspires to be prominent, is willing to embarass herself with such a statement!

    Claire Says:
    March 15, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    “Instead we have a situation where 1500 PN votes translate into 3 or 4 seats for the PN”.

    Quite true. Claire, I am pleased to note that you seem to be aware of a previous post of mine elsewhere on this site.

  99. Claire Says:
    March 15, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    “Instead we have a situation where 1500 PN votes translate into 3 or 4 seats for the PN, but nearly 4000 votes for AD do not results in any seats at all.”

    Claire, that works out at approximately 1.33% of total valid votes at national level.

    J’ACCUSE COMMENT:

    “I do not believe that any system of proportional representation should guarantee representation for anything less than 5% of national votes”.

    I would also favour such a system, which is reasonable, and practicable.

    J’ACCUSE COMMENT:

    “AD would not have obtained a seat under such a system with a 5% threshold”.

    D’accord.

  100. Claire, you are completely illogical. You harp on the fact that the votes of AD combined with the votes of the MLP are greater than the votes of the PN. Well, how about this combination, then – the votes of the MLP and the votes of the PN are greater than those of AD. Or do you get to pick and choose your combos according to what suits AD best?

  101. Sunday, 16th March 2008

    Fourth ‘perverse’ result since 1981
    Laurence Grech

    For the fourth time since 1981, Malta’s so-called proportional representation system has again produced a ‘perverse’ result, with one party obtaining fewer votes than the other winning a three-seat majority.

    In the March 8 general election, the Labour Party, winning just under 48.9 per cent of the votes, elected 34 of its candidates, while the Nationalist Party, with 49.3 per cent, elected 31.

    It is only thanks to a 1996 Constitutional amendment that the PN leader, Lawrence Gonzi, is able to form his second government, since his party will now be given four additional seats – filled by the ‘runners-up’ with the highest number of votes – to give it a one-seat majority in Parliament.

    That amendment states that if a party wins a relative majority of first-preference votes, and only two parties manage to win seats, it will be given additional seats to enable it to form a government; in another amendment to the Constitution, enacted last year, the number of additional seats would proportionately reflect the majority of votes it enjoys over the second party.

    Yesterday week, the PN managed to surpass Labour by a mere 1,580 votes, so it is only entitled to a one-seat majority. Had the difference been around 7,000 votes – or the equivalent of two quotas – it would have been given enough additional seats to give it a two-seat majority, and so on. However, the amendment would not have been applicable had a third party – such as Alternattiva Demokratika – won a seat, so today we would have had a Labour government enjoying a three-seat majority, despite obtaining fewer votes than the PN, and without needing AD’s support to govern.

    There must be something fundamentally wrong when our system, which was originally designed to ensure proportionality between votes obtained and seats won, breaks down on four occasions in the past 26 years. And what is fundamentally wrong is that when drawing up the new electoral districts, the Electoral Commission – although in strict conformity with the Constitution – favours one party over the other so that in most districts, votes which do not help to elect an MP belong to one party rather than the other.

    http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20080316/opinion/fourth-perverse-result-since-1981

  102. @Claire

    In a fairer system where proportionality is guaranteed for parties other than the PN and the MLP, this would have meant that AD could have been represented.

    Even without a 5% threshold Jacques mentions, under the most commonly used proportional representation system (d’Hondt) with the current numbers (there I said it, Jacques) there would still be a one-seat majority for the Nationalists and none for the Greens. In a 65-member Parliament it would have been 33 Nationalists, 32 Labour and 0 for the Greens and in a 69-member Parliament it would have been 35 Nationalists, 34 Labour and 0 Greens.

    Which brings me: people keep complaining that the Nationalists were compensated with 4 extra seats for a 2,000 vote majority while the Greens with 3,800 got none. But it’s important to look at the starting point i.e. what a 13 constituency 5 MP STV system gave us. And what that system gave was more a case of over-generosity with Labour than lack thereof with the Nationalists.

    Meaning that the corrective mechanism was not compensating the Nationalists but “punishing” Labour for getting more seats than what strict proportionality would have given it.

    So Claire, let me turn your argument on it’s head: with a vote tally that’s less than 2,000 what the largest Party got, Labour got two seats more than what it actually deserved to have. If we work that in proportion to what the Greens got that would not only mean that the Greens deserved none but they were actually some “three seats away” from electing their first MP.

  103. Victor Laiviera

    It was Gonzi himself (both personally and in ads put out by his party) who claimed repeatedly that “A vote for AD or AN is a vote for Sant)

    Claire is only taking him at his word.

  104. @Victor

    It was Gonzi himself (both personally and in ads put out by his party) who claimed repeatedly that “A vote for AD or AN is a vote for Sant)

    Claire is only taking him at his word.

    … and it was the Greens who went ballistic when Gonzi said that when they should have reacted calmly with a “precisely, Lor, we intend to base our claim that the system is stacked against us by summing our votes with those of the Reds”.

  105. I cannot see what all the hullabaloo is about Claire. So AD managed to garner 4,000 votes. We all know that to actually win a seat in Parliament those votes would have had to happen in the same district, in order to surpass a quota of votes to thus have one candidate elected. They did not, and 4,000 is the number of votes that AD managed from all districts together. One cannot expect a seat. By no stretch of the imagination.

  106. Periklu and Fausto, perhaps I was not clear enough. I agree with having a minimum national threshold above which there should be proportionate representation. The fact that such a system does not exist does pose a disincentive and a handicap to smaller parties whatever exponents of the PN or MLP say. People living in a district where the minor party is not very popular will think twice about casting their vote for that party. That’s because many prefer their vote to be utilised to elect someone to represent them rather than to make a symbolic gesture of support/protest. One can’t speak about AD votes in this election not being enough to ensure representation under the d’Hondt system. Such a system was not in applicable when the votes were cast, so voters were responding to a different reality. Had it been in place before there would have been less fear of the wasted vote loss.

    I find it absurd that the present system allows for a MP to be elected with a concentration of votes (16.6%) from one district, but not if a greater number of votes are cast from the various districts. What about national thresholds there?

  107. Claire,

    you do not need a seat in parliament to have a voice in parliament. The people are the parliament. The elected people are just members of parliament.

    Discussing thresholds, percentages and the electoral law is waste of time especially if it is done at ad eternum.

    Claire, the client that Daphne mentioned can tell you that AD wanted Norman Lowell behind the bars just for speaking his truth.

    The truth is that the only party that represents us is ourselves.

    With all due respect Claire, the only difference between you and Nationalists here is just the decent delivery.

    Open your (beautiful) eyes.

  108. Sandro is right. To put it bluntly, we are tired of having to hear the same broken record over and over again, after each and every election. Our electoral does not allow for a national quota, and that is that. End of story. AD will have to work much harder, and quite frankly I don’t see the party getting a quota on any district any time soon. Can we change the subject now?

  109. Just for the sake of clarity:

    when Daphne – assuming its same daphne caruana galizia, wrote in reply to Claire with the following:

    “……..But then I too would be ashamed if I found myself stooping to the level of defending a nasty and perverted little racist Jew-hater and gay-baiter in court. Are you really that desperate for work? Another lawyer without briefs? So much for your liberal AD attitudes, when you have Norman Lowell’s occasional shag and electoral campaigner, a woman who spends her time ranting against ‘niggers’ and ‘Jews’ and ‘poufs’ as your client. Now please explain this to me: how do you have the brass neck to stand up in court and defend the interests of a racist piece of excrement like this?”

    Was Daphne referring to me when describing said client? Am i now a “nasty and perverted racist jew hater and gay baiter”? Did you really need to decorate your blog with “racist piece of human excrement”, together with other allegations of being norman’s occasional shag?

    Jaccuse Jaqcues, is this your idea of fair comment? And are you the same person who wrote, earlier on, that ad hominem insults are not tolerated on your blog? or do the above adjectives not qualify as ad hominem?

    thanks for the space – naturally the gratitude only applies if you approve this comment, since you saw fit to ignore so many others.

    arlette baldacchino

  110. Moggy Says:
    March 17, 2008 at 10:07 am

    “Sandro is right. To put it bluntly, we are tired of having to hear the same broken record over and over again, after each and every election. Our electoral does not allow for a national quota, and that is that. End of story. AD will have to work much harder, and quite frankly I don’t see the party getting a quota on any district any time soon. Can we change the subject now?”

    Sandro is quite correct when he says that “the people are the parliament”.

    Incidentally, Marie Benoit published an excellent “interview” with Sandro aka Sangru, “the king of bloggers” as Marie Benoit wishes to believe.

    Moggy, the fact that the Constitution of Malta does not at the moment allow for a national threshold does not mean that one cannot strive towards such a goal.

    A theshold for small parties at district level would be Utopia for the same small parties. Parliament is after all a national representation and hence, if/when indicated, the need for a national threshold.

    It should be obvious that any small party or pressure group would have to work much harder than established political parties. I wonder that the AD cannot win more intellectuals and more academics as stable supporters. This deficit makes one ponder over the actual educational potential of the UOM.

    Finally, Moggy, are you a dictator on a blog, which is not your own? One could not otherwise explain your “that is that. End of story”.

  111. Periklu,

    Benoit wrote: “the king of MALTESE bloggers” because I am the only blogger who blogs in Maltese re: politics and current affairs. That is why I mentioned Jacques during the interview and I made it a point to Marie that Jacques’ blog must be included or else I would not have accepted to be interviewed because I didn’t want to get the spot of something which did not belong to me.

    It was just a sarcastic title and J’Accuse was placed in the subtitle.

    Mare Benoit is very delicious. She is so lovely and she decided to show me the photos of her wonderful family. She was very kind she wanted to interview me and I was very rude when I refused the interview two years ago when I was still contributing (or blogging) on Maltafly.

    I do not know what you mean by “interview” but its ok. I had my moment of glory heqq xi trid taghmel. Tghidx kemm qlajt flus minn dik l-interview u anke’ wara. Dak li tiehu meta ma tibzax turi wiccek u turi li ghandek il-bajd allavolja l-pesisa tkun zghira.

    Periklu, I do not have 31,000 hits a day as somebody here claimed to ad nauseum. I have my 500 unique readers daily with an average of 0 comments and I got interviewed.

    Qed tara kemm tahdem l-umilta’ li tkun vanituz. Kemm turi wiccek, dak kollox.

  112. Dak li tiehu meta ma tibzax turi wiccek u turi li ghandek il-bajd allavolja l-pesisa tkun zghira.”

    Quote of the week.

  113. I think this blog is serving more as an insight into the occasionally bizarre behaviour of local journalists than anything else.

    J’ACCUSE COMMENT: It does do that. And lots more. I think the blog “serves” many purposes, for one thing I get to write what I think every now and then 🙂

  114. Sandro Says:
    March 17, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    “Periklu,

    Benoit wrote: “the king of MALTESE bloggers” because I am the only blogger who blogs in Maltese re: politics and current affairs.

    It was just a sarcastic title and J’Accuse was placed in the subtitle”.

    I understood Marie Benoit quite correctly because I also know Marie Benoit, and I still smile mischievously, when I remember the times at which I drove her nerve costume crazy. I omitted “MALTESE” intentionally.

    “I do not know what you mean by “interview” but its ok”.

    I thought that you are a real satire expert. If you understand satire other than your own, then, there was no need to ask what I mean by “satire”

  115. errat corrige:

    Last sentence should be as follows:

    I thought that you are a real satire expert. If you understand satire other than your own, then, there was no need to ask what I mean by “interview”.

  116. Periklu:

    If the Constitution ever sees fit to allow for a separate threshold for small parties at district level – it is what you are proposing, right? – then do you envisage that any members of said small parties who manage to make it into Parliament will have the same say, and their votes during the Parliametary process, the same weight as those members who only manage to get into Parliament after having jumped a much higher hurdle (higher quota)? Aren’t you proposing a situation rife with double (if not multiple) standards?

    That AD does not manage to attract more people of an intellectual and/ or academic type is no one’s fault, but that of AD itself. Something must be repelling them, and maybe it’s time for a little soul-searching within the AD ranks as well. One can hardly blame the UOM for AD’s failure at the polls, and its failure, as far as I can tell, to increase the number of votes, even on a National scale, by any satisfactory degree.

    As regards Marie Benoit’s interview with Sangru – it is something I look forward to reading, maybe at teatime over some Earl Grey and a few sugar-free biscuits. 😉

  117. Hehe ok Periklu.

    3 points for you hehe

    Ghamilt dak l-elogju kollu just biex insemmi tal-pesisa.

    Nixtieq insellem lil Marie Benoit minn hawn.

  118. Moggy Says:
    March 17, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    “Periklu:

    If the Constitution ever sees fit to allow for a separate threshold for small parties at district level – it is what you are proposing, right?”

    You are completely on the wrong track. Did you attend the UOM?

    “then do you envisage that any members of said small parties who manage to make it into Parliament will have the same say, and their votes during the Parliametary process, the same weight as those members who only manage to get into Parliament after having jumped a much higher hurdle (higher quota)?”

    That could be your problematic obsession. It is not mine.

  119. I don’t know why you insist on dragging yourself into it, Arlette. It’s not as though I wasn’t very careful to avoid mentioning names. But if you want to own up to all that – fine, go ahead.

    I just think it is very peculiar that Claire ta’ AD is fighting the case of a known racist from Imperium Europa who sued me for libel for saying she is a racist. Or perhaps it’s not so peculiar, given that it’s probably driven by a personal agenda, rather than Claire’s belief that the racist from IE is not really a racist at all.

  120. Jacques, you know I was referring to the comment section 😉

  121. Heard the one about the columnist who rants and raves against the people at AN – the party which had a billboard proposing the closure of the open centre at Balzan with a big pic of Anglu Xuereb? Would that be the same person who publishes adverts for Anglu Xuereb’s hotel in the magazines she edits?

  122. Sandro Says:
    March 17, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    “Hehe ok Periklu.

    3 points for you hehe

    Ghamilt dak l-elogju kollu just biex insemmi tal-pesisa”.

    Sandro, 3 points minn kemm? U ghaliex sirt tisthi li ssemmi bajd u pesisa? Mhux soltu tieghek!

  123. Hi Claire,

    who is this person? Please identify.

  124. Kemm int miskina, Claire. Il-veru kaz. If I hadn’t said anything about the AN billboards, you would have said that it’s because Anglu Xuereb’s hotels advertise in my magazines. Sadly, you’re not even bright enough to see that you’re undermining your own objective of exposing me to criticism. What you are saying here is that the fact that Anglu Xuereb’s hotels advertise in my magazines did not make me think twice about ‘ranting and raving against the people at AN’. Thank you for the compliment, even though your lower-than-you-think-it-is IQ prevented you from realising that it was one. But as amply evidenced by your arguments in favour of AD and its political chances, you are not blessed with clear thought, only with an assembly of prejudices and a clever-clogs attitude (which is not the same thing as actually being a clever-clogs). You might wish to know this: if Arlette Baldacchino asked me to work for her, I would say NO (in capital letters, and with exclamation marks). Obviously, you have no such scruples.

  125. @ Periklu:

    You should know that moggies never attend university. Now something tells me that you did – attend UOM.

  126. daphne, you flatter yourself, however i’m sure that this is not news to anyone around here, or anywhere else for that matter.

    what on sod’s green earth would i want to employ you for? what qualifications might you possess that would be of any use to me? save your capital letters and your exclamation marks too – you’ll have as much use for them as ee cummings as far as i’m concerned.

    if you need directions to the ETC to submit a job application, let me know. i might be able to help you out with that – but that’s as far as it goes concerning employment.

  127. Periklu,

    ghandi ordni mill-boss li nitkellem sew ghax inkella nigi akkuzat b’sabutagg.

  128. ……….u peress li hawn gew hawn dixxiplina stretta, ma nixtiqx nissogra.

  129. Dan il-blog sar aghar mill-Grande Fratello.

    Kull ma jonqos pixxina, opinjonista kwalifikat u li Jacques jilbes ta’ Alessia Marcuzzi. Nimmaginah b’dik il-mixja alternattiva tieghu. Ikun lahaq l-iskop tieghu ta’ primadonna.

    Hanina alla ieqfu ggieldu! Se numbrah dal-post madonna.

    Beppe Grillo ghandu 2,000 comments kuljum. Minn 2,000 ma ssib lil hadd joffendi personali lil xulxin b’dan il-mod. U hadd ma joqghod jikxef it-toqba ta’ dak u ta’ l-ohra.

    Dan sabutagg ta’ vera u riklam hazin ghal Jacques u ghal blogosfera ingenerali. (imbaghad kontu tghidu ghalija ghax nghid hara)

    Hemm it-television ghal dan in-nejk jew l-editur tal-Kullhadd.

    21249200 .

    Ma nafx il-hits ta’ Jacques x’jimmarkaw pero’ twarrbu n-nies minn hawn gew u din id-darba mhux tort tieghi jekk qattx kien it-tort tieghi.

  130. Grow up, Arlette – I don’t know what in heaven’s name happened to you between the classroom and the age of 43, but whatever it was, the results are very sad. Like I said in my original article, I will never know what turned a perfectly nice and pretty kid into a raging racist torn apart by hatred for anyone who is black, gay, African or Jewish. Live and let live – the Jews, blacks and homos aren’t coming to get you.

  131. Moggy Says:
    March 17, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    “@ Periklu:

    You should know that moggies never attend university. Now something tells me that you did – attend UOM”.

    Wrong again. I visited the R.U.M.

  132. Antoine Vella

    Claire Says:
    March 16, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    “That’s because many prefer their vote to be utilised to elect someone to represent them rather than to make a symbolic gesture of support/protest.”

    What about those thousands who did not vote or rendered their vote invalid? About 7% of the electorate were not scared that their (lack of) action could help Sant, or Gonzi for that matter, become PM.

    AD, however, did not manage to persuade them to vote for its candidates. This was clearly NOT because of some scare-mongering campaign but simply because these voters did even bother with AD. Even as a protest vote, AD is losing its attraction.

  133. Claire Bonello

    Daphne, thanks for your sympathy. I reciprocate. I feel sorry for someone who has her own blog and a twice weekly column and feels the need to continue bashing away on others’ blog at all hours of day and night -must be exhausting.
    As far as I can recall your ranting and raving about AN was much more in evidence before the adverts appeared and mostly to the effect of “what is a decent businessman like Anglu doing with someone like Josie?”. Perhaps you feel slightly warmer towards Anglu Xuereb remembering the golden days battling for his Verdala golf-course? Oh, and when the infamous “we’ll close the balzan open centre billboard” appeared you simply pounced on the opportunity to put down the multi-party system – describing it as a giant freak show – omitting the bit about not thinking twice about accepting ads to promote the business of one affiliated to what you described as a freak party. That was an online comment on The Times. No enraged columns followed. Those were reserved for bashing up anybody who was not a PN supporter – people you variously described as “selfish”, “grudge-bearing” and “spiteful”. It was surprising to see how the attacks on AN dried up in the pre-election period and all guns were directed at AD instead. Or maybe it wasn’t surprising at all and the only reason PN propagandaists ignored AN and targetted AD was that they knew that AN was no threat to them and AD was. No brave matter of principle.

  134. Claire Bonello

    Antoine, yes, many people preferred to protest by not voting. It’s their choice and they should be respected for it. Should AD or any other party do more to attract them? Yes, it goes without saying. What’s your point though?

  135. Meanwhile…Will all those who voted for Jeffrey, please stand up?

    http://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20080317/local/auditor-slams-mepa-over-mistra-permit

  136. Mela nies, ha nibdew minn hawn.

    Jacques qabbadni bhala l-assistant moderator u l-quddiem ukoll ass. editor ta’ dan il-blog.

    Jigifieri issa x-xoghol f’idejja.

    DAPHNE:“Grow up, Arlette – I don’t know what in heaven’s name happened to you between the classroom and the age of 43, but whatever it was, the results are very sad. Like I said in my original article, I will never know what turned a perfectly nice and pretty kid into a raging racist torn apart by hatred for anyone who is black, gay, African or Jewish. Live and let live – the Jews, blacks and homos aren’t coming to get you.”

    Daphne: DAQSHEKK.
    Hemm kaz ghaddej il-qorti. Solvih hemmhekk. Dan huwa blog serju u mhux l-iskola fejn kontu tmorru.

    Lil Arlette ma nafhiex meta kienet zghira pero’ nafha llum u hija ezattament kif iddeskrivejtha inti fil-bidu meta kienet fil-klassi mieghek. Jista’ jkun li nbdilt inti forsi.
    Anyway, solvuh il-qorti. Meta tlestu ejjew ghidulna x’gara ghax ha mmutu bil-kurzita’. Din importanti hafna biex insahhu l-argument fil-pajjiz.

    CLAIRE:“Daphne, thanks for your sympathy. I reciprocate. I feel sorry for someone who has her own blog and a twice weekly column and feels the need to continue bashing away on others’ blog at all hours of day and night -must be exhausting.

    Claire, bir-rispett kollu. Inti avukatessa u milli smajt dwarek hlief tifhir u rispett ma smajtx. Jigifieri ghalissa ha noqghod fuq li jghiduli.

    Pero’ dawn l-argumenti jridu jieqfu. Dan il-glied bejnietkom juri li inti m’ghandek xejn differenti minn Daphne hlief il-mod kif titkellem. Daphne hija izjed diretta u esplicita. Jekk tinbaghdu u ma tithammlux, mela ibqghu inbaghdu u tbeghdu u hallu n-nies jitkellmu fuq it-topic. Ghax lili waqqajtuni ghan-nejk meta ghedt li l-blog ta’ Jacques mhijiex il-torri ta’ Babel u ta’ Pisa f’daqqa. U hadd minn shabi m’ghadu jidhol hawn.

    Inti parir Claire biex tiftah blog u ibzax nirreklmahulek bil-qalb kollha. Imma taghmilx bhal dik il-persuna li inti stess qeghda tikritika.

    Dwar ir-riklamar u lil min tirriklama, dan kulhadd irid jaqla x’jiekol. Issa tkunx mill-Bidnija u tkunx minn ma nafx fejn inti, dan b’xi mod trid tiekol. Jekk jiena jkeccuni mix-xoghol ghax nghid kontra Dolores, u jigi xi hadd jghidli biex naghmel riklam lil Colgate mimli flouride tossiku u jtini Lm500 zgur naghmlu. Ghax dak ikun l-ghixien tieghi.

    Jiena m’inix JFK. Li jippreferi jmut milli jkun bezziegh. Jiena bicca blogger hawn.

    Insomma aqtghuha issa. Wahda avukata, l-ohra b’zewg kunjomijiet, l-ohra xjenzata li sabet il-formula ta’ Ms. Jeckyll u Ms. Hyde……..dan il-blog jistenna izjed maturita’ u responsabbilta’ minn ghandkom.

    Issa ghal li qed jghid: “Ara min qed jitkellem!” my answer: Appuntu.

    Sandro Vella
    Assistent Moderator to be promoted Assistant Editor
    J’Accuse Blog
    Malta
    behalf of Luxemborg

    J’ACCUSE COMMENT: Thank you Sandro. A few weeks and now you are the one working hardest for a better discussion. I appreciate. Of course all this assistant circum tauri is to be taken with the usual pinch of salt. Coming soon… Non Sequitur Number 78.

  137. Issa ovvjament, la Jacques ma jridkomx…..

    tistghu dejjem tigu tiddiskutu u tiggieldu *****.

    ***********………tistghu izanznuh.

    J’ACCUSE: Comment edited for selfish reasons. 🙂 Actually Sandro wants the discussion to continue on his blog: http://www.sandrovella.org. Don’t forget to send me a postcard.

  138. Claire Bonello

    Grazzi Sandro – niehu l-parir tieghek u nispera li ma jkollokx tirriklama l-Colgate tossiku minhabba dak li tikteb. 🙂

  139. Claire,

    iftah blog. Semmih originali.

    Semmih: clairebonello.blogspot.com .

    Taghmlux moderated ghax inkella jitwieled l-unmoderated : – clarifywithclaire.blogspot.com

  140. Antoine Vella

    Claire Bonello Says:
    March 18, 2008 at 10:46 am

    “Antoine, yes, many people preferred to protest by not voting. It’s their choice and they should be respected for it. Should AD or any other party do more to attract them? Yes, it goes without saying. What’s your point though?”

    My point is that it’s not true that AD did not get more votes simply because of some scare-mongering campaign. Even those who were immune to such a campaign chose not to vote AD.

    Basically, they were protesting against AD too and probably saw it as not so different from MLPN – so much for the ‘new way of doing politics’.

  141. Protesting against AD? For what?

    For a VAT receipt?

    (Jacques mela tfejt l-ispell checker nirra tahra tahtek. Se twaqqghani ghan-nejk int ukoll issa! Nirrizenja ta’ jiena minn Assistent Editur. Rizenja revokabbli.)

  142. Sandro, illum, int ktibt hafna imma nsejt lil Cicero, li fi zmienu qal hekk:

    “Assiduus usus uni rei deditus et ingenium et artem saepe vincit”.

  143. Antoine Vella Says:
    March 18, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    “My point is that it’s not true that AD did not get more votes simply because of some scare-mongering campaign. Even those who were immune to such a campaign chose not to vote AD.

    Basically, they were protesting against AD too and probably saw it as not so different from MLPN – so much for the ‘new way of doing politics’.”

    Gaudeamus igitur (iuvenes dum sumus).

    Antoine, keep calm, you already remarked that I am pathetic.

  144. Periklu: Wrong again. I visited the R.U.M.

    @ Periklu: Oh, you’re old-ish, then……..

  145. “Constant practice devoted to one subject often outdues both intelligence and skill”

    Gotcha Perikle

  146. For Jacques ghax qalli li ma fehmiex : –

    If someone specializes on one particular subject, to the exclusion of all else, he may achieve a career status with high salary – but will not be an all round educated person.

    The all round, educated person may not earn as much as a specialist, but he is more of a complete man.

  147. Antoine Vella

    Sandro Says:
    March 18, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    “Protesting against AD? For what?”

    You’ll have to ask them that to be sure but it is a reasonable assumption.

    People who did not vote or invalidated their vote are considered, for the most part, to have done it as a protest.

    Had they wanted to protest only against MLPN they had a choice to vote AD or AN. There was no scare-mongering to stop them; no “vote Harry get Sant” slogan.

    If not voting for PN or MLP is interprested as a protest, then, not voting for MLP, PN, AD or AN must also be seen as a protest. Against everybody.

  148. Talking of blogs….Don’t you think Manu(w)el Cuschieri should open one? If MLP have any sense…his program will be the first to get wiped off the radio schedule, and for those of us who follow it for entertainment value, it will be one hell of a loss 😦

  149. Jon, Manwel Cuschieri is semi-literate. He would need someone to write it for him.

  150. Sandro – in reference to Arlette. You may define as ‘nice’ somebody who hates others on the basis that they are black, African, gay or Jewish. But I don’t.

  151. Daphne,

    first of all, welcome back on our blog. I think you know that Jacques promoted me as Assistant Editor and Moderator.

    Regarding Arlette, I beg to differ. Hope you trust me about this. She is not the person you are describing. Not at all.

    I am not defending Arlette, to attack you. I am not attacking, I am just saying the very truth.

    During Benigni’s Life is Beautiful, Arlette was literally in tears. I can testify that. It was on 2004 I think.

    Arlette does not hate anybody. She loves and respects my wife. And my wife is from Africa, Muslim and speaks arabic.

    J’ACCUSE COMMENT: “Our” blog Sandro? Delusional I guess. That’s what you get for attending shady prize giving ceremonies. Promotions have been suspended pending investigation by the Ombusdman.

  152. Daphne Says:
    March 19, 2008 at 12:59 am

    “Sandro – in reference to Arlette. You may define as ‘nice’ somebody who hates others on the basis that they are black, African, gay or Jewish. But I don’t.”

    Daphne,

    Do you hate anyone? Are you genuinely free from hate?

    Should one define, discuss and debate “hate” on the same level, and according to same parameters, as those, which are applied when defining, discussing and debating “independence”?

  153. No, Periklu, I don’t hate anyone. I dislike some people, but I can’t say I hate them. I especially do not hate or dislike anyone on the basis that they are black, Jewish or gay.

  154. Sandro, in that case, what you describe is an extremely confused person, who loves and respects your African Muslim wife while helping campaign for a man who has made it his mission to send all such people back ‘where they belong’, and who spends her days posting comments on the Viva Malta website, under the nick Etoile Noire, that are seething with racial hatred.

  155. Daphne Says:
    March 19, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    “No, Periklu, I don’t hate anyone. I dislike some people, but I can’t say I hate them. I especially do not hate or dislike anyone on the basis that they are black, Jewish or gay.”

    Merci for your answer Daphne, in which you project three key words, namely, dislike, hate and basis.

    As a devil’s advocate (possibly a better one than Claire), I would now like to ask you about the “basis”, which makes you “dislike some people”, whom “you do not hate”.

    Of course, I might now incur your dislike, if not your wrath, but I can find consolation in the fact that you will not hate me.

  156. Good afternoon Daphne,

    I am navigating through VivaMalta since 12.30p.m. Can you or somebody here please help me find Etoile Noire’s hatred posts please on http://www.vivamalta.org/forum . I cannot find one.

    Please help.

  157. Sand, if you want to find a fresh post about illegal immigrants you can click here. But it’s not on VM, it’s on my blog (shameless plug). Just talking about illegal immigration is considered racist today, so there you go.

  158. Victor Laiviera

    Only on the basis that they are called Alfred Sant.

  159. @Sandro – I presented an entire file of them to the magistrate in court. Claire Bonello, as Arlette’s lawyer, has a copy of every one. Perhaps you should ask her for the evidence.

    @ Periklu – you ask on what basis I dislike some people. I think you will find that it’s the same basis that all psychologically stable people use for deciding whether they like others or not: their personality, opinions and attitudes, not their skin colour, Jewishness, homosexuality or other matters that are beyond their control. No, I am not angry with you.

  160. @ Victor – for an explanation of why I dislike Alfred Sant, please see my comment above. Thank you.

  161. VINCE COLLINS

    Dafnay, you don’t dislike Alfred Sant….you hate him with a passion, you’re obsessed with him, his name, his wig and his party.

    Maybe now that he’s gone from the scene you might dislike him instead of hate him.

  162. Keith Chircop: You can protect yourself from contracting the HIV virus by not engaging the services of the woman in question.

  163. Cora, next time read my entire blog post, not the first sentence.

  164. Keith: Let me add to that. I did read the blog post and it seems you’re concerned about the transmission of infection. There is one sure way of protecting yourself and that is not to use the woman’s services.

    Did my earlier comment irritate you? Perhaps that’s because you thought it was directed at you personally. There is no reason that as I do not know you and can know nothing of what you do in your spare time.

    HIV is not the only infection you can pick up in transactions of this kind, and infection is not the only thing that can go wrong, as a highly popular video on You Tube illustrates.

  165. Daphne: “Sandro – in reference to Arlette. You may define as ‘nice’ somebody who hates others on the basis that they are black, African, gay or Jewish. But I don’t.”

    Could you kindly substantiate all four allegations?

    Daphne: “@Sandro – I presented an entire file of them to the magistrate in court. Claire Bonello, as Arlette’s lawyer, has a copy of every one. Perhaps you should ask her for the evidence.”

    Then surely you would have no trouble providing a couple of links. After all, this is not a court room.

    Oh and by the way, quantity is not the only determining factor. There is quality and relevance also. Was this ‘entire file’ of quality and more importantly, was it relevant?

  166. Keith, just how exactly do you expect the Government to be dealing with HIV positive immigrants? And don’t you think “thousands” is a bit of an exaggeration?

  167. Keith, has the fact that I don’t ‘use their services’ got anything to do with the fact that this non-news concerns me much less than it concerns you?

  168. Cora: In my blog post, I pasted an old Torca article where it was made clear that illegal immigrants were (are?) not screened for HIV and AIDS. That is what the blog post is about. At the bottom of the article I expressed my concerns on the matter, and I didn’t even mention prostitution. Also, I am in a long term relationship, so it’s not myself I’m worried about.

    Moggy: I said thousands of illegal immigrants in total (healthy + infected), not thousands of them being HIV positive. For starters, the Health Department should keep a record of how many people in Malta (Maltese + foreigners) have such diseases.

  169. Keith there is such a register. A number of infectious diseases (and all cancers) are notified to the health department immediately, both for statistical, public health and ethical reasons. A medic is required by law to inform of such cases, and lack to do so will put him in a spot of bother to say the least,

  170. Keith: Read my posts again. My comments were not directed at you personally.

  171. Please note that I said the Health Department should know how many there are not who they are, regardless of race.

  172. No Keith, the system knows who they are as well, for obvious reasons, so that they can screen contacts, monitor dangerous areas, warn ppl infected with certain diseases that they can’t have sex without informing their partner on their condition etc.

  173. Jon: Okay, that’s the first step. Isn’t screening people who have a higher risk of being infected, like prostitutes and African immigrants, the next step? (I mention the latter because 68% of people with AIDS in the world live in Africa). They are already being tested for tuberculosis, but not HIV/AIDS. Why not test for both while they’re at it?

  174. @ Keith: the Health Department does keep records (and publishes them) re how many people are diagnosed with a number of infectious diseases, including HIV. However, the reports do not distinguish between colour or race, and the number would obviously include Maltese people and people of other nationalities who reside in Malta, and are diagnosed HIV positive. It would also include a number of foreigners (not illegal immigrants) who are diagnosed in Malta.

    As for the other part of your question, which asked how Government is dealing with HIV positive illegal immigrants: how do you expect Government to “deal” with them? I am just curious to know what you actually expect.

  175. There again, Keith, does the Government of Malta test all the people on these islands for HIV? Does it test all holiday-makers? How many of us (Maltese and foreign residents) unknowingly carry the HIV virus? Could one not possibly contract HIV from having unprotected sex with a Maltese/ foreign res./ holidaymaker? Should not the greater stress be on not having unprotected sex with anyone, regardless of them being an illegal immigrant or not, rather than testing one set of people when they come into Malta?

    As things stand, a person must be informed that he is being tested for HIV, and he/ she can refuse. What does one do about those illegal immigrants who refuse the test?

  176. Keith Chircop – Read Jon’s post: “there is such a register. A number of infectious diseases….”
    If you’re concerned about HIV prevalence “regardless of race”, why do you highlight an article about HIV among immigrants who are reduced to working as prostitutes to be able to survive?

  177. DCG expresses herself as follows:

    “The allegation that Pullicino Orlando lied came far too late in the game to make significant numbers of people change their minds about voting PN. Most people missed it, and only found out after voting”

    Correction

    When it is proven black on white that someone has not told the truth, the term allegation about lying is no longer applicable. In this instance, the lies prior to the election are proven to be just that, lies. The following article published before the election is self explanatory.

    Also, I have no doubt that DCG is an avid reader. I guess though, that DCG must have missed the following web article.

    http://www.maltastar.com/pages/msrv/msfullart.asp?an=19419

    Now, DCG writes:

    “I gave Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando my number-one vote on 8 March despite the doubts I had about the Mistra case”

    What would be the implications to the PN government if JPO were to resign? Is there something between the lines I am missing. DCG’s vehemence for him not to relinquish his seat raises loads of questions and as a result, the vacuum between my ears is starting to hurt.

    What are the differences between JPO and DCG?
    Actually, nothing.
    They both share the same values.
    Both are experts on farming. JPO is a part time farmer whereas the bidwija from Bidnija has a knack for identifying chickens (cocks too I suppose) and peacocks. In addition, JPO is a part time pseudo-journalist and guess what, so is DCG.

    Somebody told me that JPO and DCG were seen hugging soon after the election!

  178. @Keith – are you now going to advocate the testing of all incomers for HIV? Or just the ‘illegal immigrants’? I don’t suppose you know any Maltese person who has ever slept with a tourist, do you?

    As for quoting It-Torca as a source of information…..

    @James Cauchi – get a life

  179. Illegal immigrants are already being tested for tubercolosis – all of them. Since 68% of people with HIV/AIDS live in Africa, why shouldn’t they be tested for HIV/AIDS as well? I’d hazard a guess that they aren’t tested for those because CZT pills are very expensive and the government doesn’t want to spend the money on treating them. How do you like the current way of dealing with them, Moggy? Do you condone ignoring their disease?

    It’s a question of the Health Department dealing with this incompetently. I can conclude that if Birdflu were to explode in Russia, we wouldn’t be testing/treating inbound Russians. Incompetent as hell.

  180. If you don’t like Torca I can quote
    MaltaToday
    :

    A report drawn up by French medical organisation “Medecins du Monde” (MdM) has slammed the living conditions in Malta’s closed detention centres as “detrimental” and “incompatible with a minimum of respect of human rights”, while at the same time expressing concern regarding the lack of any screening policy for infectious diseases such as HIV and AIDS.

    Private note to Jacques: please ignore the previous comment (#10046) with bad formatting

  181. Keith, you cannot test anyone without permission for anything that isn’t immediately life threathining, such as high potassium etc. You cannot fore anyone to have any tests, also, it is illegal to test anyone for something, without informing him what you’re gonna test for beforehand. Anyone can test for AIDS and other STIs, without paying anything, and on a totally anonymous basis. All you need to o is to go to the GUI clinic in Floriana. Its free and anonymous for all foreigners as well.

    Keith I just can’t see your point.

  182. It-Torca gazzetta bhal l-ohrajn.

  183. http://www.vivamalta.org/forum/showpost.php?p=140786&postcount=34

    Is this for real? Using Pink Floyd against someone in cout? Unheard of.

  184. Jon, they are already testing them for tubercolosis. I’m sure they’re getting permission from the immigrants for that. Why wouldn’t they be given permission to test for other diseases?

    My point is that the Health Department is acting irresponsibly to save a buck.

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