The winds that are blowing across the Duchy are reported to be reaching 110km/h and the heavy rainfall is predicted to reach 25 litres per square meter so I guess I should consider myself lucky to have been confined in my apartment thanks to an attack of gastric flu. The last four days have not been nice but I think that the worst is past and that I should be up and running at work by tomorrow. A roundup is on the agenda seeing how I have been M.I.A for an age in blogging terms.
The freak weather is in the news everywhere. I have been entertained by the various BBC Radio Stations throughout my convalescence and all phone-ins are in true Brit styke talking about the weather. Albion is soaked in heavy rain and freezing. This is not good news for the samba and pizza party that will take place at the Emirates Stadium (sold out) tonight. Less flair and catenaccio and more waterpolo will be expected. Elsewhere and poles apart Australia experienced schizophrenic phenomenon as Melbourne melted to incredible fires (suspected arson) and North-East Australia sunk under floods. I am told that even Malta has experienced a cold spell so the home country has not been spared. The scenes outsie are amazing… whirls of snow that cannot settle because of the strong winds… I never thought I’d say this but thank god for gastric flu.
Just to be clear I was not supporting Joseph Chetchuti for the Eurovision. I did not really support anyone but was using Chetcuti’s antics to point out this pathetic fallacy of our society where everybody thinks he has a god given right to do anything for the public and in the public’s face. Claire Bonello, Matthew Vella (Matthew manages to express my thoughts perfectly) and David Friggieri all took a different angle on the whole business of divos and divas in Maltese society. David seems to think that if we were to regulate kitsch we would end up without Festas… might be true but then again we don’t need to go to extremes either and I believe the main complaint is that there is no concept of self-moderation. I mean that in the sense that I would definitely never consider of running for the Eurovision “singing” some song because I am aware of my own limits. That is the difference. What is needed is not some kafkesque Board of Kitsch Censorship but a general lift in standards (and taste). This is not an appeal for another Board to ban another Stitching (what a farce indeed!) but a search for the real standards of Maltese society.
Which brings me to the political scene. Anybody can be a politician. It’s a basic right in a democracy. Unless you are a criminal or a non-Maltese national then you are free to run for Malta’s Parliament. Same applies for the EP (only you can be an EU national too in that case). Many, many people however mistake that to mean that any Tom, Dick or Harry has the stuff it takes to be a good politician. Democracy being what it is even clowns can be elected to parliament. Given a good marketing campaign you WILL elect clowns to parliament (vide Victoria Local Council vs. Patrick il-Hanfusa). You do not need to be a clown though. Being vaguely popular for some totally unpolitical reason suffices. You can be a D.J., a highfalutin’ journalist with a chip on your shoulder or even a jack-of-all trades and master of none. Political acumen does not come into it. You just have to convince (read “fool”) enough of the people that you are the man or woman for the job. Like the Eurovision, like low cost airlines bluffs, the choice is firmly in the hands of the demos. We cannot complain if we keep getting politicians we do not like as our very own representatives.
Liberal with the Word Liberal
As if Emmy and John were not enough now we have the Nats and Labourites arguing as to what exactly is a liberal. There is not and cannot be a definition of a liberal. Think about it for a second. Both Mussolini and Lenin thought they were liberals (at least in the beginning of their career). Liberalism is not easily defined because it can fit in different categories of politics and in its strict sense the word liberal can be much more easily used to describe a policy than a political movement. Which is why the whole controversy on who is or is not a liberal is almost a lilliptuian argument on which side to break the egg. A word of advice from the old J’accuse: ignore the marketing labels… concentrate on who is saying what and look for real commitments, not vague promises.