I.M. Jack – Midweek Special

The way the news is going it might turn out to be an interesting end of the week. An interesting one for blogging, no doubt about that. Here’s my last tuppence before I leave for the long weekend.

The Police

The Nicholas Azzopardi affair is a hot potato. In the interests of justice I might form part of the minority who believes that the role of the media is to be limited to ensuring that justice is proceeding at its own pace. By that I mean that the reassurance that an investigation headed by a retired judge is under way should be enough at this point. Conjectures and theories will help no one. The ifs and buts can only amount to pure speculation and nothing good can come out of that. What is important is the reassurance that the combination of social forces ensure that our society is vigilant and that no wrongs are allowed to escape the scrutiny of justice.

As if that were not enough the police force also have the Mafia-like killing in Birkirkara to handle. It seems that there is not much evidence – they even lack proof of motivation for the crime. That’s going to be a tough one.

Handle the force with care. They are there to ensure the maintenance of public order and all scrutiny of their activity should be maintained within the strict parameters of this perspective. If improvements are needed then so be it. No need to go out with all guns a-blazing on this one.

The Race

Will go on this weekend. Labour in Labour called it a regatta (incidentally the LiL site keeps up its mini-spams on other blogs but still has no link list to blogs that I know of). It’s more like a marathon seeing how much time is left till the finish line. In Thermidor fashion I predict that not much will change this weekend barring some reappearance of the Ghost of Mintoff at some meeting. Sant might be tempted to make some star appearance somewhere – it will give us no better clue as to whether Joseph Muscat has been fully emancipated (lunga manu). Varist, Coleiro and the Falzon will continue to play second fiddle to the big Abela vs Muscat confrontation… pity there are no primaries for the weaker candidates to fall off earlier on. Imagine that. And now Fgura, Balzan and Tarxien for the next round of Labour’s primaries. Wouldn’t that be great?

The Government

Is still in bumbling mode methinks. It cannot be perceived as work as usual because it suffers from the absence of a working Parliament. PS Chris Said met the Institute of Journalists and could only promise that the Freedom of Information Bill will be first on the agenda upon reopening. Boy haven’t we had enough of promises. Speaking of Said, he also promised an overhaul of the DOI… might be promising. Wait and see.

MEPA reform is far from solved. The boathouses incident tripped Gonzi at the starting line. No amount of apologists will convince me that this was the right way to start MEPA reform. More of the same. We said it before the election and we will repeat it again. They are too comfortable in their shoes.

The Opposition

Headless and factionful. It’s interesting times they are living and we all know what the Chinese have to say about Interesting Times (if you don’t then you have been missing out on my Sunday prize articles). My fear is that the impetus for change will be lost once the guts to tread into areas were Labour has never been before is lost. The “traditionalist” crowd might become the heavy anchor weighing out the movement for change. The danger lies in the fact that one of the candidates might decide to use the traditionalist weight to tip the scales in his or her favour. You can sense this in the reluctance to completely cut away with the past, in George Abela’s sucking up to Mintoff in Qormi. On this level I think Evarist is the one who tries most to bravely test pastures new. He does claim to be a liberal socialist after all. Resentment of national scrutiny of the race is still high. Labourites still believe that it is “THEIR” party and forget that it is “everyone’s” opposition in this country were bipartisanism is practically entrenched in the constitution. Again. Pleasures yet to come.

J’accuse Goes on Semi-Holiday

All this to come to the point where I inform you that in all probability this will be my last post for a couple of days. I leave for Alghero tomorrow morning and am toying with the idea of leaving my laptop behind. I will be back on Monday evening so do not expect much blogging activity until Tuesday. If you really really miss reading the fun stuff you find on this page then don’t forget that there is always the Sunday Independent with a full page of J’accuse treats. (or keep up with the rest of the blogosphere by clicking here).

I’m off to an island where I hope the sun is shining. See you guys soon and please keep the place clean in my absence.

(Comment will be free in the meantime and I refuse any responsibility for comments that are posted while I am away).

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27 responses to “I.M. Jack – Midweek Special

  1. Unless your hotel has ‘net access, ditch the laptop. Wireless is kinda hard to come by in Sardinia – mostly people use the 3G USB thingy or a 3G card in their computer (so if you have one of those, you’ll have a connection everywhere you go). Have fun, Sardinia is beautiful.

  2. Hello Jacques,

    nawguralek xewqat sbieh lilek u lil Mel.

    Merci li ccensurajtli kumment dedikat lil Arcibaldo.

    Apparti kollox dak l-artiklu tal-Hadd li ghadda ma nafx ghaliex ghedtlek li ma qrajtux ghax kont qrajtu. Kont insejt nassoccja ma’ dak li tkellimna l-bierah dwaru ma’ il-Pair not to Pair.

    Ma nistax naghti kritika lil dak l-artiklu, just li ghandek stil teatrali tajjeb Macbettjan (la kwotajt lilu fil-ghost of mintoff) li jidher li hu l-istil modern tieghek kif tadatta Shakespeare ghal zmenijiet tal-lum. Xejn colourful u bombastiku mhux bhal tieghi forsi. Stil li mhux tieghi (jew tieghi imma b’overdose ta’ lwien) pero’ li joghgobni hafna.

    Dwar il-kontenut….kif tista’ ma taqbilx ma’ J’Accuse!!!!! (hlief fuq affarijiet ovvji)

  3. He does claim to be a liberal socialist

    That Varist describes himself with an oxymoron is telling …

  4. fabrizioellul

    Do you even know what liberal socialism is?

  5. danny attard

    happy laptopless 🙂 hols. Totally agree with your Police issues opinion. Re: race for leadership i think i agree with your gist. So many roads to take make the ‘race’ at once chocolatemousse rich and rickety. It is no longer an issue of which vision comes on top but to what extent these visions can gel. I subscribe to the liberal socialist philosophy and there is absolutely no contradiction in that. The Liberal concept peaks at the “will to power” that allows an individual to attain perfect personal freedom. Very few are able to reach the peak even if many may not be too far off, finding a balance between e.g. work, travel cultural expression and experience that fulfills the desire for freedom. The history of human nature has however amply shown that this freedom can only be enjoyed if the majority who stick to the platonic version of life enjoy the basic comforts of shelter, food and clothing with a doze of umpappa. These must however have the doors of freedom flung wide open for them to walk through if they so wish. This philosophy possibly offers the best climate for business developmet. It also sees individuals (say from the city) leaving a life of GBP1m annual bonuses for a life of say painting in some attic at castel mola…

  6. I agree with you on the police force. I think they do a good job, they have a tough job to do and the last thing we need is the media blowing things out of proportion. The presumption of innocence until proven otherwise still stands, and I think the media should respect this, without speculating and instilling cynicism.

    Regarding Sant’s appearance; in some cases this may not be advisable. I for one, do not believe in the maxim “there is no such thing as bad publicity”. Where he is concerned – there is bad publicity.

    Regarding Evarist Bartolo; I remember him once saying he admired Che Guevara. That is not a liberal socialist; that is a misguided socialist with a penchant for Stalinist revolutionaries. Personally I’m for Coleiro Preca/Abela

    Enjoy your holiday 🙂

  7. Do you even know what liberal socialism is?

    Yes. An oxymoron.

    Do you know what an oxymoron is?

  8. Fausto, if liberal socialism is an oxymoron, then what do you call liberal conservatism? Now THAT is what I call an oxymoron.

  9. danny attard

    what’s in a name? we live in an age when we get a little bit married and a little bit pregnant …we discuss religious opinions with christian agnostics … a name is just an intro to a discussion of an idea, philosophy, etc…no big deal. What is a Nationalist within a Malta context or within a Corsican context? is it strange to say that you find many nationalists within the labour party and many socialists within the nationalist party? A priest in Malta was asked what was a most important quality that a new bishop should have: ‘To believe in God’ was his reply 🙂

  10. Andre is right. However true socialism often evolves into totalitarian regimes. True, proper socialism, meaning not MLP li tilef il boxxla socjali u qatt ma rega sabha.

  11. Danny your comment sums things up perfectly. Keith you’re right – true socialism (as in Communism and the far left) does tend to lead to totalitarianism – and I for one am glad to see that the far left (and the far right) are out of the Italian Parliament.

    Having said that, I think that it would be very incorrect to divorce the left from the idea of social liberalism. Let’s not forget that the left has been responsible for equal pay between men and women, a minimum wage, decriminlisation of homosexuality, civil rights on the basis of race, the abolition of the death penalty etc. Some liberal (or Progressive) thought is definitely present in democratic socialism.

  12. danny attard

    Keith says true socialism tends to cascade into totalitarianism… do not quite agree. Not if it operates within democratic parameters. Within this context, socialism evolves into social democracy in to democrats/progressives. Socialism within democratic parameters is a bit like the church … it gets weaker the more affluent its traditional members become. Any movement, be it on the right or left, that does not submit itself to true democratic pronciples, will become totalitaian…take antonio salazar, a gonzi lookalike with strong catholic background, seminary educated etc with an initial strong performance in managing the finances of the state, he eventually became totalitarian as the fortunes of portugal nosedived (even if there are now attempts to rewrite hisstory :)).

    Summary : within a democratic culture Socialism becomes democrats (depending on economic fortunes) outside of democratic parameters all political leanings will become totalitarian.

  13. Which of the candidates for MLP leadership is the most leftist?

  14. danny attard

    Most Leftist? Extract from my posting on another blog:

    Labour may need to bring together the following qualities in the leadership mix:

    Evarist’s ‘liberal’ approach to ensure that Malta’s national wealth-creation capabilities are firing on all cylinders,

    Joseph’s progressive agenda to provide our country with a listening culture coupled with the ability to act moderately and reasonably to the expectation of all classes,

    Michael’s foot-on-the-ground attitude towards maltese culture without which we become faceless organisms,

    Marie Louise’s constant presence and empathy at ground zero,

    Abela’s mollification of Malta’s obscure power-bases.

    I feel that ML is the true lefty even if she still has a good dose of pragmatism.

    A question. With EU’s economic policy parameters now totally engrained within the globalisation temblor, is it still relevant to speak of leftist policy? Is it not obvious that all political parties will congregate the middle ground?

  15. fabrizioellul

    Everyone agrees that you need to liberalize. No doubt about it. You can’t have a state controlled economy. I think, even a 5 year old kid knows that.

    If the ‘Left’ has to remain relevant, it needs to go to its roots. But I mean, really dig at its roots, before it was all institutionalized and structured around political parties.

    The Left is not some party, but it is that struggle for better social conditions, for the wealth of the capital to be distributed to the many and not the few, but also to emancipate people from any form of oppression – hence it needs to work more on education that challenges and questions rather then accepts and conforms…it alsi need to work on social laws that do not discriminate between, sex, ethnic, or religions.

    When a week or two ago people almost started to declare ‘the dead of socialism’ no asked one asked what does that mean? If also social injusticies and social classes are something of the past too?

    You can change its name but the game is still the same.

    I think Michael Bakunin summaries the liberal wing of socialism very well: ‘power to think and the desire to rebel’

  16. When a week or two ago people almost started to declare ‘the dead of socialism’ no asked one asked what does that mean?

    It means that we’ve reached a point where “everyone agrees that you need to liberalize”, that there is “no doubt about it” and that “you can’t have a state controlled economy”.

    And Bakunin a liberal? What happened to “anarchist”? Has it become a dirty word?

  17. fabrizioellul

    I see you are aware of wikipedia. Good for you.

    I think that you are confusing the authoritarian with the liberal wing of socialism, centralization vs de-centralization.

  18. danny attard

    If the ‘Left’ has to remain relevant, it needs to go to its roots…

    is that the struggle between the owners of capital and the wage earners?

    I do not think so.

    The left should perhaps synthesize the meaning of sustainable development by focusing on the negative fallout of globalisation in so far as environmental damage is concerned. Explore the practical meaning of equal opportunity and encourage the weak to obtain personal satisfaction through pride in participating in the life of a community through active contribution. Yet all these objectives would require a full thesis-plus each i suppose 🙂

  19. fabrizioellul

    True.

    Yet by roots what I meant was to see how socialism started out: to improve social conditions.

  20. Yet by roots what I meant was to see how socialism started out: to improve social conditions.

    So did Charles Dickens. And he’s dead too. Read it on Wikipedia.

  21. fabrizioellul

    I see you are a ‘Happy Days’ fan. Good for you.

  22. I see you are a ‘Happy Days’ fan. Good for you.

    … which makes me nostalgic for the 1950s. How does being nostalgic for the 1850s work for you?

  23. fabrizioellul

    Who mentioned anything about nostalgic? You might want to check a few things though as reference, information etc … just inform a little bit yourself … I do not wish to drag this little thing for ever; so tc and good cares.

  24. I do not wish to drag this little thing for ever; so tc and good cares.

    What a pity. I would have been ready to sit out the search for “the Left to become relevant” and the “need to go to its roots”. I would love to see the day when you folks discovered that “improving social conditions” has been the aim of practically all political hues from extreme left to extreme right and the distinguishing mark of socialism is that it tried to achieve that through abolishing or, at least, constricting property rights. That that is no longer a feasible proposition is obvious (including to you). Which does not leave people like you with much (political) choices.

  25. danny attard

    a search for a relevant ‘left’ needs to identify the right wing of politics. Identify the right wing and the contours of left philosophy will become very visible. Right left very much depends on economic realities. Therefore within the south american context where the left is very much on the up, the leftist philosophy is very much influenced by economic realities. Perhaps Fausto should give us his description of the right wing within the context of malta’s political frame work as a basis to descover malta’s left.

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