Labour in labour

Re-inventing the Malta Labour Party (and Maltese politics): an unauthorised tazebao.

A lively and healthy debate within and around the Party.

Posted by fcb on April 1, 2008

One week after MEP Joe Muscat’s bold statement that he is looking forward to being Malta’s prime minister at the age of 39, Evarist Bartolo MP confirmed that he too is contesting for Labour’s top post. Summarising his approach , he declared: “We have to show that we are an alternative government. We agree with what is being done properly and good for the people, while criticising what is going wrong, while offering credible alternative proposals on how the situation can be improved.” This brings the number of confirmed contestants to three. Two days earlier, Deputy Leader for Party Affairs Michael Falzon had announced that he is “contesting for the post of Labour Party leader so that together we build a team that can give to the Maltese and Gozitan people a Labour government in five years’ time”.

The ‘campaign’ is taking place within the context of a lively debate on what sort of leader the Labour Party needs to attract those sections of the electorate that it has not, so far, succeeded in convincing that there is an alternative to a Nationalist government. Participants in this lively and healthy debate are certain, and so are we, that a very significant majority of people in this country have had enough of Gonzi and his crew. In the few days since he has been reconfirmed in power, Gonzi has given plenty of signals to the effect that he has no intention of carrying out the great changes he promised to his party and to the Country.

Dissatisfaction with the Nationalist government, however, will not – on its own – bring it down. What is needed is a leader and a programme that will convince an adequate majority that an alternative government is possible and available. The debate – or better the debates – that are going on within and around the Labour Party are an encouraging and inspiring sign that Maltese and Gozitans of all ages and social backgrounds have not given up hope that one day not too far they will get the government they deserve… a decent, competent and forward looking government.


172 Responses to “A lively and healthy debate within and around the Party.”

  1. Antoinette Stellini said

    I think we should go for new faces such as joseph muscat but i will not throw away the idea of having gorg abela and joseph as his deputy to be his sucessor in the future. I really think that we should modernize our party. thank you and keep up the good work. Antoinette Stellini

  2. danny attard said

    Rather than name names at this early stage, it may be more opportune to identify characteristics that a leader should have or may need to develop. I here submit a few ideas that others may want to build opon or trim:

    An effective leader is one who knows s/he does not know it all

    Leaders are not exempt from human frailties. A leader must therefore within structures that benefit from the best available systems that provide the organization with effective and timely information gathered from the best scientific processes/sources. Must apply such information as modeled by marketing experts. Must have the humility to be the voice of the end result, (even when his/her reaction is to go degress) which voice must however be in harmony with the party’s core beliefs and tenets

    “walks the talk ” True authority is born from respect for the good character and trustworthiness of the person who leads.

    Must be enthusiastic about his/her role as leader. People will respond more openly to a person of passion and dedication. (this seems to exclude from the race people who had left the party for not agreeing with a stance or other. Such person may not tolerate divergent views and her/his leaving may betray an ‘I know it all’ attitude. I trust that all who belong to a party or other have qualms with aspects of their party’s strategy or beliefs yet stay on).

    Leaders need to be able to be a source of inspiration, and be a motivator towards the required action or cause.

    A leader needs to be seen to be part of the team working towards the goal.

    A good leader is confident. A leader who conveys confidence inspires the best effort from team and party members. Confidence is also shown at moments when s/he admits to not knowing

    A good leader must be tolerant of ambiguity and remain calm, composed and steadfast to the main purpose.

    A good leader must be able to think analytically. Not only does a good leader view a situation as a whole, but is able to break it down into sub parts for closer inspection.

    A good leader must be committed to excellence. Second best does not lead to success. A good leader not only maintains high standards, but also is proactive in raising the bar in order to achieve excellence in all areas.

    good luck

    Danny Attard

  3. Robert said

    We need a leader who is humble, able to work within a professional team set-up, who would not go at a tangent, be faithful to the basic modern-left principles and one who has been loyal to the cause. Malta may be moving towards a silent dictatorship as the dividing line between party and government is quasi invisible, as serious doubts exist that a part of the influential journalistic class is in fact directly involved in the electoral strategy of our incumbent government (pre-electoral appointments at PBS, etc etc), a smaller government with power now concentrated in the hands of a selected few. We need to be careful that the MLP leadership contest is now not also influenced by pro-Government sources. Remember: most dictatorships also hold elections where the opposition is chosen by the power-base enjoying the fruits of such dictatorship. I consider as inordinate the attention that these sources are giving to the MLP contest as issues of major importance effecting all of us are being ignored by these sources. Those putting their name forward, especially those coming in from the cold, need to convince us of their motivations for wanting to lead the Labour Party forward. Robert (Actual name submitted to Caretaker)

  4. joseph farrugia said

    The important thing to be considered when the delegates go to choose their leader is that the chosen persons will have the ideals based on the social democratic rules but with modern flexible ideas. Joseph Muscat is the right candidate.He will gain the experience of a leader in a short time considering what he has done in the past years.
    It is the best choice. Joseph Farrugia

  5. Jeanette Borg Abela said

    I know this blog is all about who is going to be next MLP leader but if you don’t mind I would like to say something about Alternattiva. You may say that this is irrelevant to the issue of MLP leadership: I disagree. The next MLP leader should be someone who is able to win the respect and trust of environmental activists namely, of all those young women and men of goodwill who have so far voted for Alternattiva but are now political orphans. Can they vote for PN next time round or in local council elections between now and the next elections or in European Parliament elections? Of course they cannot! Fancy voting for Pullicino Orlando’s party! Can they vote for Alternattiva? Of course they cannot! Fancy voting for a party that will NEVER be in government! They have no great choice. They will either vote for Labour or they will not vote at all. Only Joe Muscat can convince them to vote Labour. Vote Joseph, get Green Policies! Jeanette Borg Abela

  6. Anna Maria Callus said

    Dear all,
    whatever we do, whoever we choose, let’s do it and do it fast. This country deserves better than this. To say, as some have done, that a country gets the government it deserves, is cynical to the extreme. Ultimately it is unfair to just less than half of Malta’s voters who voted for change and to throw out a party that tolerates corruption. I am not sure that the others – the less than half of Malta’s electors who voted Gonzi back in government – actually deserve what they voted for. Am I being too generous? No, I do not think so. They voted Gonzi (and many of them voted Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, for duck’s sake!) because they know no better, because they have been brought up in a provincial culture of macho mediocrity that condones sleaze and sees it as an attribute of virility!
    Come on, let’s finally become Europeans and get rid of this bunch of parasites. 2013 here we come!
    Anna Maria

  7. George said

    Today’s underlying political currents in Malta are less about ideology and more about a public desire to find leaders who can effectively address everyday problems, and who do so honestly. The formulas of the past have been widely questioned, and should by now be totaly dismissed. With traditional ideas and structures breaking apart, a new leader is being called on to produce results. I feel that Joseph Muscat is the answer. Young and energetic, Joe can be politically successful…I feel he will produce good results for the Party. Joe knows that, if chosen, he will be inheriting an enormous difficult situation but I am positively sure that he can count on the support of us Labourites to perform the needed reform.
    George – Santa Venera. (Actual name submitted to caretaker)

  8. Anna Maria Callus said

    I read Antoinette Stellini’s comment of 20 March. She thinks it might be good idea to choose George Abela as number one with Joe as number two for a while. I am of an open mind but, being admittedly very young (this was my first election, before that I was a kannol bla-krema)I do not know much about George. Perhaps Antoinette could fill us in.

    Anna Maria Callus

  9. Clive Fenech said

    George, in his comment of earlier today, writes that “today’s underlying political currents in Malta are less about ideology and more about a public desire to find leaders who can effectively address everyday problems, and who do so honestly”. Thas is probably true but an effective response to this “public desire” requires a solid ideological basis (= a clear vision of where we come from, where we are and where we want to go to as a society). What I mean is that part of the problem is that today’s politicians fail to impress us because they all tend to think in the same way and look more and more like each other irrespective of which party they belong to. If Labour – irrespective of who the new leader will be – is unable to offer a distinct and appealing vision, then kiss the future goodbye!
    Clive Fenech

  10. Amanda Busuttil said

    We should look beyond the tip of our nose and further than the leadership contest. We have an immense job ahead of us. First, modernise the Party. Secondly, win the next elections (and don’t kid yourselves, these guys won’t last 5 years). Thirdly, modernise this taparsi-pajjiz. One man (pity there isn’t an electable lady in sight for the top job)is just not enough to see us through. That’s why we need to give as much attention to choosing the deputy leaders as we are giving to the choice of number one. There are some very valid persons around for the deputy posts. Your readers have so far mentioned only Joseph Muscat and George Abela and both for number one. But what about Evarist Bartolo? What about Joe Vella Bonnici? What about Gavin Gulia? What about Marie Louise Coleiro Preca? What about Owen Bonnici? What about Helena Dalli?
    Amanda Busuttil

  11. Zeppi said

    Tazebao? Watzdat?

    Peppi ta’ Milorda a.k.a. Zeppi ta’ biz-zarbun (actual name submitted to The Caretaker)

  12. The Caretaker said

    The Tazebao (also Dazebao and Dazibao) was the mural poster carrying notices or political manifestos during the Chinese ‘cultural revolution’. It was then adopted by the militant student movement in the West in 1968 and 1969 as a practical and immediate form of political and cultural expression and as a symbol of freedom and creativity. The digital Tazebao has a social function: it provides space for free, unrestricted public expression. Use it but, please, don’t abuse of it!
    Your Tazebao Caretaker.

  13. Nerdus Maximus said

    Dazibao (chinese: 大字报 ; Wade-Giles: tatzepao) literally translated means ‘newspaper [mural] written in large characters’. The character ‘bao’ 报 (報) is also found in the term ‘poster’ (海报) and in ‘newspaper'(报纸). Although it is often traced back to the Cultural Revolution and to the student movement of the second half of the 1960s in Europe and the US, tazebaos (to spell it as you do) go back to the ancient Chinese dynasties. For the fellow nerds out there: Poon, David Jim-tat. Tazebao: Its History and Significance as a Communication Medium. In Godwin Chu (ed.), Popular Media in China: Shaping New Cultural Patterns. (1978) pp. 184-221, Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii. The Tazebao was the precursor of today’s website! See for example

    Nerdus Maximus (actual name submitted to Caretaker)

  14. Clive Fenech said

    Good to see that we Labourites and Labour sympathisers also have a sense of humour and that some of us are also capable of playful scholarship at such a serious point of our and our country’s history! But, guys, now that we have established what the duck (Anna Maria I liked that expression, may i borrow it?)a ducking Tazebao is, can we get back to the serious business of talking about choosing a leader?

    Clive Fenech

  15. Roger Busuttil Cutajar said

    Alfred Grixti is only partly right when he says that “now that the dust of the general and local elections has settled down, it is time to get back to the grind and hold the Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to account” and “that will be the role of the Labour Opposition in Parliament no matter what the outcome of our three months of soul searching for a new leadership will be.” (his Sunday Times blog 23 March)

    The more forward looking amongst Labour’s young people are asking for much more from the Labour Opposition in Parliament. They want the Labour parliamentary group to use Parliament to speak about Labour’s analysis of where we are and why we are here. More importantly they want Labour in Parliament to speak about its vision of where we want this country to go to.

    The ferment within Labour’s young is surprising the Labour Party itself. As may be seen from popular unauthorised blogs (such as this virtual Tazebao) the most innovative form of political debate today in the Labour Party, young intelligent Labourites are completely ignoring Gonzi’s government. They are not in the least interested in it. They consider it as a sheer waste of time. They will eventually defeat it by simply ignoring it.

    Of course, dear Alfred, it matters what the “outcome of our three months of soul searching for a new leadership will be”. What the hell! Only the right sort of Labour leadership will fulfill the dreams of the thousands of Maltese young women and men who feel totally unrepresented by Gonzi’s government of hypocrits [*] and who are not at all keen in getting more of the same from Labour!

    [*] for those of you who are wondering why I have spelt this word without the ususal final ‘e’ (as in hypocrite), here is a drop of post-modern wisdom. Hipocrit, according to the Urban Dictionary, is “a combination of liar,moron and hypocrite” ( see ).
    Fitting description of our present government, donchatink?

    Roger Busuttil Cutajar

  16. Anna Maria Callus said

    Amanda is ducking right! Of course we must look further than the tip of our noses. Let’s not limit this discussion to the leadership contest (in my humble opinion that matter is practically settled) but let’s also discuss the deputy leaders’ bit. Number one will need all the quality help he can get from his deputies. I said QUALITY help! So, we’ll need somebody with brains and a winning perspective. By winning perspective I mean the ability to read what church sociologists used to call ‘the signs of the times’, to win the respect of those social groups that are deeply dissatisfied with society as it is today and to build bridges across to them. Let me stick my neck out: Helena Dalli. She is politically savvy (she got elected on both the 2nd and 3rd districts), culturally on the ball (Ms Dalli is a sociologist) and (in case you had not noticed)a woman. Is that important, I mean Helen being a woman? Of course it is. A woman as deputy leader will send the right signal to over half of the population (I am speaking of women not Nats or Labourites). Look, it’s not as if women (more than 50% of the population) have made much progress in terms of representation in Parliament since Independence in 1964. Here is an overview of the facts:

    WOMEN MPs SINCE 1964

    1966 – 2 Agatha Barbara, Evelyn Bonaci
    1971 – 2 Agatha Barbara, Evelyn Bonaci
    1976 – 3 Agatha Barbara, Evelyn Bonaci, Anne Agius Ferrante
    1981 – 2 Agatha Barbara, Ċettina Darmenia Brincat
    1987 – 2 Giovanna Debono, Carmen Sant
    1992 – 1 Giovanna Debono
    1996 – 4 Giovanna Debono, Helena Dalli, Helen D’Amato, Maria Camilleri
    1998 – 6 Giovanna Debono, Helena Dalli, Helen D’Amato, Marie Louise Coleiro, Dolores Cristina, Rita Law
    2003 – 6 Giovanna Debono, Helena Dalli, Helen D’Amato, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Dolores Cristina, Justyne Caruana
    2008 – 6 Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Giovanna Debono, Helena Dalli (two districts), Dolores Cristina (two districts), Marlene Pullicino, Justyne Caruana

    An increasing number of Maltese women are realising that this is ridiculously inadequate. A women in Labour new leadership and a promise of several women in the 2013 Labour government will add to our firepower.

    Anna Maria Callus

  17. Richard Abela said

    I am young (19 last February) but I think it would be a serious mistake to leave out older people from the leadership of the Labour Party. We need the wisdom that comes from experience. The team should be a good mix of age and gender. Speaking of gender, yes Anna Maria is right that there should be a woman in the team and I think Helena is just right although Marie Louise has many merits and is very popular too. But I think there should be a senior politician too, of the stature of George Vella for example.

    Richard Abela

  18. Marvin Tonna said

    Of course we should not waste the wisdom of experienced politicians but we need a new face as leader to send a strong signal to the electorate and to contrast with Gonzi. Of course a new young face is NOT enough. There’s got to be a powerful brain behind the face, the brain of a highly competent young person who has already shown what he can do and how far he can go. I am all for Joseph Muscat for leader.

    Marvin Tonna

  19. Joanne Fenech said

    Joe Muscat told The Sunday Times that he is looking forward to being prime minister at 39. I and many others, irrespective of how old we are, are looking forward to having a 39 year old prime minister in five years time. Or a 38 year old one in four years time. Or a 37 year old one in three years time. With a measly one-seat majority in parliament and economic recession in the US looming on the horizon (spelling big trouble for us quite soon) Gonzi’s government will not have an easy time and the present not-so-young prime minister may well be tempted to go for a snap election sooner than we think. With Joe Muscat leading us, we must be ready to accept the challenge.

    Joanne Fenech

  20. The Caretaker said

    You will all have heard that yesterday, Monday 224th March, Joseph Muscat issued a press statement officially confirming his candidature as leader of the Labour Party. We are pleased to publish this important document in its entirety. We will be equally pleased to publish press statements by other possible candidates for the same position as well as for the positions of deputy leaders. We will post an informal English language translation early tomorrow morning.

    The Tazebao Caretaker


    “Pajjizna ghandu bzonn riformi ambjentali, socjali u ekonomici kbar biex jilhaq il-livelli ta’ zvilupp tal-pajjizi shabna fl-Unjoni Ewropea.

    Partit Laburista imsahhah, mibdul u pozittiv huwa l-ahjar mod kif dawn ir-riformi isiru b’ mod li jghaqqdu flimkien lis-setturi kollha tas-socjeta: minn impjegati ghal negozjanti; minn zghazagh ghal nisa; minn hassieba ghal dawk li jghixu barra l-pajjiz.

    Biex dan isehh irridu nibdew issa u minghajr dewmien nibnu moviment kbir li jigbor fi hdanu l-ahjar elementi ta’ pajjizna. Moviment li jmur lil hemm mill-Partit Laburista u li jinkludi kull minn ghandu idejat innovattivi u progressivi, kull minn ghandu l-hila u l-inizzjattiva li jwettaq progetti li joholqu il-gid, u kull min tabilhaqq xeba’ bil-qerda ta’ l-ambjent.

    Biex il-Partit Laburista jirnexxielu jigbor madwaru moviment wiesgha bhal dan jehtieg l-ewwel nett li jissoda minn gewwa. Jehtieg ukoll li jkollu Mexxej li huwa kapaci jigbed is-simpatija u jirbah ir-rispett mhux biss ta’ dawk li kienu u baqaw l-attivisti tieghu matul is-snin, imma anki ta’ dawk li ma baqawx jhossuhom parti minnu u sahansitra ta’ min qatt ma hassu qrib tieghu.

    Nemmen li nista’ nkun il-persuna li nghaqqad flimkien dawn l-elementi kollha biex inwasslu ghal Gvern Laburista sa’ l-2013 sabiex inwettqu l-aspirazzjonijiet taghna ghal poplu u pajjizna. Nemmen li nista’ naghti vizjoni u energija biex sa’ 60 xahar iehor inkunu maghzula mill-poplu biex imexxu lil pajjizna.

    Il-pedament ta’ dan il-progett huma iz-zghazagh, kategorija li fl-ahhar snin ma irnexxielniex nattiraw bizzejjed lejna. Irrid nuri lil shabi zghazagh li mal-Partit Laburista u fil-moviment li ser noholqu flimkien jistghu ikunu parti minn Generazzjoni Rebbieha.

    Ghalhekk, wara li tkellimt mal-familja u ma bosta persuni ohra, wasalt ghad-decizjoni li nressaq n-nomina tieghi ghal kariga ta’ Mexxej tal-Partit Laburista meta jifthu n-nominazzjonijiet.

    B’hekk, wara l-esperjenza tieghi fl-akbar istituzzjoni demokratika fid-dinja, il-Parlament Ewropew, inkun nista’ nkompli nservi lill-pajjizi b’mod aktar dirett.

    In-nomina tieghi qed nitfaha minghajr l-ebda kundizzjoni. Jekk nigi elett, lest li nahdem ma’ kull persuna maghzula mill-Partit Laburista bhala Deputati Mexxejja u fil-karigi kollha l-ohra.

    Fil-gimghat li gejjin se nkun qed niltaqa ma’ dawk kollha involuti biex nisma minghandhom u nispjega l-programm ta’ hidma tieghi.

    Dr Joseph Muscat B.Com, B.A.(Hons.), M.A.(European Studies), Ph.D (Bristol)”

  21. Clive Fenech said

    “Moviment li jmur lil hemm mill-Partit Laburista u li jinkludi kull minn ghandu idejat innovattivi u progressivi, kull minn ghandu l-hila u l-inizzjattiva li jwettaq progetti li joholqu il-gid, u kull min tabilhaqq xeba’ bil-qerda ta’ l-ambjent.” (From Joseph Muscat’s Media Release 24/3/08)

    Remember my comment on the need of vision? Well, this is what I call an winning vision: “A movement that goes beyond the Labour Party itself and that includes all those with innovative and progressive ideas, all those who have the capacity and the initiative to carry out wealth-creating projects, and all those who are really fed up with the destruction of the environment!” Wow!

    Clive Fenech

  22. Lizzy Bartolo said

    I have to disagree with what Roger said in his comment titled: WHAT WE WANT FROM LABOUR GOVERNMENT! He asserts that intelligent young Labourites are not interested in the Gonzi government, and that they will defeat it in the end by simply ignoring it. I am sorry to call you back to earth my friend, but you are wrong. First, the Nationalists are very difficult to ignore because they have been in power for almost 2 decades, save for the 1996 glitch, and therefore, their governance has influenced our lives intrinsically in many ways. I, for one, am constantly reminded of the Gonzi government every time:
    • I turn on the light, for the bills are exorbitant.
    • My kids and I play the game: ‘Find the Green Patch’ in your neighbourhood, for we are penned in-between concrete and concrete; yet lately the MEPA kept dishing out permits (for more construction) like they were pastizzi.
    • A friend calls me to say he/she has been laid-off, and cannot find another job.
    • I go to the supermarket, or the green grocer, or/and the butcher or fishmonger and have to disregard my family’s wants, to concentrate only on the most essential of basic needs, for the prices are ridiculously high.
    • I need to use the services of the hospital, previously St. Lukes, now Mater Dei, and am told that my appointment (or that of my mother) will be due in approximately 6 months time.
    • I hear of another factory closing down…
    • I drive my car somewhere. The bumpy ride certainly jogs my memory Roger!
    • I hear of a government appointment or promotion and realise it was one of the countless: ‘jobs for the boys’!
    • I meet my relatives and other friends, whose small businesses they had to close down because the purchasing power of the people was and still is at its lowest under this government and so they see no point in running it.
    • My niece calls me up to tell me in her discouraged, disappointed voice that she still hasn’t been able to purchase an apartment or maisonette decent enough for a family of four, because she can’t meet the current market prices.
    • My 9-year-old son comes back from school with a ridiculous amount of homework, which he hardly finishes in time, let alone allow himself leisure time to play and take part in the physical activities everyone so readily promotes.
    • I watch the ‘fat cats’ getting fatter, and the moggies getting thinner and weaker.

    The Nationalist party has always promoted itself as the party of the family, but in my opinion, they have done more to undermine stable family life in this
    country than any other Government in memory. Our public schools, our health service, our infrastructure, our economy are in shambles! Can’t you see that! Do you still think that this government can disregarded? I can’t! Does that make me daft?!

    I will end my comment using T. Blair’s words: (1994 – First Blair Speech to Conference as Party Leader)
    “I say it is time we were roused.
    Let us be blunt.
    – Our system of Government has become outdated.
    – Our economy has been weakened
    – Our people have been under-educated
    – Our welfare state and public services have been run down
    – and our society has been made more divided than at any time…
    But our politics need not be like this.
    Our country need not be like this.”

    Lizzy Bartolo

  23. Roger Busuttil Cutajar said

    How can I – how can anyone – disagree with Lizzy Bartolo’s criticism of what I said in my comment of yesterday? Perhaps I expressed myself badly. Let me try again. What did I mean when I wrote phrases such as “young intelligent Labourites are completely ignoring Gonzi’s government”, “they are not in the least interested in it”, “they consider it as a sheer waste of time”, “they will eventually defeat it by simply ignoring it”? I certainly did NOT mean that we should resign ourselves to five more years of increasing hardship for all except ‘dawk tal-klikka’! I simply meant that the rethoric and the propaganda of the Nationalist party leaves us (rightly so) cold. It does not influence us. This was not always so. There was a time, until a couple of years ago, when, for many of us children of traditionally Labour families,it was cool to side with the Nationalist Party and ‘jaqq’ to be Labour. Many of us were ashamed to be recognised to come from a Labour background. Now that is changing and it is changing fast. The narrow Nationalist victory of 8 March has not only not stopped this change…on the contrary (and, for me at least, inexplicably) it is accelerating it. I know an increasing number of young Nationalists now (after the elections, in the last few weeks) that are taking distances from the party of their parents. They are embarassed by the party that defended spinners like Pullicino Orlando to the end. They feel that if its guys like Pullicino Orlando that ‘their’ party ultimately stands for, then they cannot be expected to stand up for such a party. And so they are beginning to look at the Labour Party in a new light. Like us, they are becoming immune to the lure of the Nationalist Party. They will ignore its call. Not a bad beginning, as I am sure Lizzy will agree. Otherwise she is right. It is not enough to free oneself from the clutches of Nationalist propaganda. The next step is to work actively to kick this government out at the next elections. Yes,”it is time we were roused”. Let’s begin by choosing the best possible leader for today and for tomorrow.

    Roger Busuttil Cutajar

  24. Lino Meli said

    Ghaliex bl-Ingliz? Ahna mhux Maltin? Mela naqtawa b’dawn l-Inglizati! In-Nazzjonalisti il-partit ta’ l-Inglizati u mhux ahna tal-Labour!

    Lino Meli

  25. Jeanette Borg Abela said

    Lino, napprezza l-imhabba tieghek ghall-ilsien Malti imma kieku kelna nghamlu kif trid int, zgur qatt ma naraw Kastillja minn gewwa! Huwa fatt li hemm numru mhux zghir ta’ Maltin, specjalment zghazagh, li jhossuhom aktar komdi jitkellmu ma xulxien anki bl-ingliz. Dan ma jfissirx li b’hekk jkunu qed jichdu l-ilsien Malti. Jekk naghmluha tal-fundamentalisti u ninjoraw dan il-fatt, nkunu qed neskludu numru mhux zghir ta’ zghazagh Maltin mill-Partit Laburista u minn dak il-moviment li rridu nibnu madwaru. Hekk biss nistghu nibnu maggoranza gdida, maggoranza mhux ta’ ftit mijet izda il-maggoranza kbira li jisthoqqlu l-uniku partit tal-progress u ta’ l-innovazzjoni f’pajjizna. Hemm post ghal-kulhadd anki min f’certu cirkostanzi jhossu komdu jitkellem l-ingliz.

    Jeanette Borg Abela

  26. marie abdilla said

    Kannol bla crema asks who George Abela is.

    Granted that he is said to be charismatic and knows how to get along with people but solely that does not a leader make.

    Where has George Abela been for the past ten years? Talking, writing and preaching to the world from his holier-than-thou high moral ground that MLP policies, strategies,spokespersons and above all ex-Leader Alfred Sant where rubbish. Listening to him on 101 and RTK, as a true Laburista, used to make me feel physically sick!

    Above all George Abela was the guy who in 1998 who, after the party had agreed to go for an early election because there was no other option, stood up in front of the General Conference and said that if the Party went for an election that he’d walk.

    And cool as a cucumber walk he did!

    Says I, anyone who leaves me in the lurch without a backward glance in my dire hour of need loses my trust forever.

    Many didn’t vote for the PN this election but they weren’t prepared to trust the MLP. That’s what makes a leader. Someone who people can trust. If George Abela were the last person on this planet I would still not trust him with my vote!Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me! Marie Abdilla

  27. Zeppi said

    Jeanette hanini, qrajt it-twegiba tieghek ghall-kumment ta’ Lino Meli dwar l-Inglizati. Ghandek ragun imma kieku x’hemm hazin li min irid jikteb bil-Malti, jghamel hekk? U kulhadd kuntent! Mhux ahjar hekk?

    Peppi ta’ Milorda a.k.a. Zeppi ta’ biz-zarbun (actual name submitted to The Caretaker)

  28. Lizzy said

    Dear Roger, I see you’ve been ‘a-roused’ by my comment, and I, by your reply. Perhaps it is true as you say that the propaganda and the rhetoric of the Nats leaves us cold, unaffected. Nevertheless, may I add, the people elected to office do not.

    I like to imagine that you form opinions of a political party not on talk but on action; no more ‘vita contemplativa’ but ‘vita activa’ as Hannah Arendt wrote in her book The Human Condition. In her 1967 essay “Truth and Politics,” Arendt puts it this way: “I form an opinion by considering a given issue from different viewpoints, by making present to my mind the standpoints of those who are absent; that is, I represent them. This is a question neither of empathy, as though I tried to be or feel like somebody else, nor of counting noses and joining a majority. The more people’s standpoints I have present in my mind while I am pondering a given issue, and the better I can imagine how I would feel and think if I were in their place, the stronger will be my capacity for representative thinking and the more valid my final conclusions, my opinion.”

    Forgive my severe tone but I am more concerned with governance than party politics and it is on these grounds that this time round I opted to vote Labour, only to get the blues again!

    I see what you mean when you say that people are becoming immune to the lure of the Nationlist Party. What worries me is that it ever had this lure! For how can people who have been accused of squandering taxpayers’ money, of being corrupt, of exercising gross conflict of interest in public office, of misappropriation of public funds for that propaganda which you say feels like water on a ducks back lure anybody at all! In addition to all that, they have even sold all our national capital assets built up over many years, and used the proceeds not to invest but to cover current spending. This leaves me unaffected no more, my friend, not because I am immune to their ‘charms’ but because, (as Blair had said of the Tories), “they are the most feckless, irresponsible group of incompetents ever let loose in the Government” of Malta.

    It is time we put our house in order and elected leaders with vision and the capacity to implement it…as J. Muscat (an MLP candidate for leadership) rightly put it last Sunday, we need “some fundamental changes in our country so that we can turn it into a real European society…we don’t need half-baked measures but a drastic change…”

    Lizzy (Author’s full name is known to Caretaker)

  29. Victor Cuschieri said

    I was always under the impression that Mr Alfred Mifsud had been expelled from the Malta Labour Party. That is until I read his interview with Raphael Vassallo in last Sunday’s (23 March) “Maltatoday” under the heading “The Man Who Would Be Kingmaker” Mr Mifsud stated that he was censored by the Party’s Board of Vigilance and Discipline about some articles he wrote: “They told me I was ‘damaging the party’. Personally, I would have thought my articles were trying to avoid further damage to the party. As I put it at the time, we were sowing the seeds for the next electoral defeat. But rather than face the wrath of the board, I simply resigned.” With that cleared and quite happy about the fact that Mr Mifsud has now withdrawn his resignation and is accepted back within the Labour Party, I went on to discover Mr Mifsud’s endorsement of Dr George Abela’s bid for the leadership of the Malta Labour Party and his agreement with Dr Abela’s proposal to widen the leadership election by giving a vote to all party members instead of the statutory Party delegates` vote.

    So what have we got here? We have two returnees to the Labour fold; Dr Abela after a self imposed absence of 10 years and Mr Mifsud after 5 years, both wanting to change the rules before they play the game hopefully to enhance their winning chances.

    Dr Abela’s resignation as Labour’s Deputy Leader for Party Affairs in the height of one of the darkest periods in the history of Labour governments is still remembered by many delegates and Party members as another nail in the coffin of a Labour government that was regained with a superb victory at the polls in 1996 under the Leadership of Dr Alfred Sant after 10 years in opposition. Furthermore, his acrimonious rupture with the GWU, although he places the GWU above MLP respectively in list of loves, does not make him a hot favourite for dialogue with this strong trade union base.

    Dr George Abela is also 60 years old. If elected, in five years time he will be 65, two years short of what “kingmaker” Alfred Mifsud believes should be the retirement age of politicians. For further reference on this point and other political thoughts of Mr Alfred Mifsud including those about Where’s Everybody, click to Victor Cuschieri

  30. Stephen Mallia said

    I disagree with the tone of Victor Cuschieri’s comment in your tazebao on Raphael Vella’s interview with Alfred Mifsud in Malta Today of March 23. Victor was, in my opinion, unnecessarily negative. Mifsud is only trying to help. His aim is to help the Labour Party become stronger. To make it strong enough to win the next elections. This is the aim of everyone in the Labour Party. It is Joseph Muscat’s aim. I am backing Joseph’s candidature because of his outward looking and inclusive approach to reaching this aim.

    Victor evidently does not share Mifsud’s enthusiasm for a possible George Abela candidature to lead the Labour Party. Fair enough. Everybody has a right to her or his opinion on this issue. I disagree, however, with Victor’s antagonistic attitude. I, for one, am not prejudiced against anybody who wants to contribute to the defeat of the Nationalist government at the earliest opportunity. George Abela is no exception.

    In his interview with Herman Grech on The Sunday Times, March 23, Joseph Muscat says: “I will say it loud and clear – Joseph Muscat as leader of the Labour Party is an invitation for everybody to work together. Choosing Joseph does not mean excluding Michael or George. I want to be everyone’s leader, not the leader of a faction. ”

    I am convinced that a Labour Party led by Joseph Muscat will welcome back with honour all those who want to come back to the Labour Party and who are willing and capable to contribute to prepare the Party for government in 2013 or before that, if Lawrence Gonzi decides to do so. Joseph has made it abundantly clear that he has no problem to work with any one who has no problem to work with him. I agree with him. I think that it is time for us to welcome back with open arms those who in the past, for one reason or another, felt that they could no longer work within the Party.

    The overriding aim of all intelligent and progressive Maltese and Gozitans is to transform this Country from a tacky provincial outpost of Europe into a vibrant centre of economic and cultural development, one where environmental and social sustainability are beyond discussion. To do so we need to replace this tired, old government. To do so we have to gear up for elections whenever they may come. To do so we need everybody who can make a valid contribution, without prejudices and without preconditions.

    Stephen Mallia

  31. Johann Agius said

    Ma ghogobni xejn il-kumment ta’ Marie Abdilla. Ghaliex din il-hruxija kollha kontra George Abela? Jien m’ghandix hajta f-ilsieni…minn jiehu posizzjonijet horox bhal dawk ta’ Marie Abdilla mhux qed jaghmel xejn hlief jaghti palata lin-Nazzjonalisti billi jdeffes feles bejn Laburist u iehor. Divide and rule, jekk Marie Abdilla tifhimni ahjar bl-Ingliz!

    Johann Agius

  32. Leslie Falzon said

    What Stephen Mallia said about Victor Cuschieri’s excessively hard tone in his comment on Alfred Mifsud and George Abela also applies to Marie Abdilla’s attack on George Abela. What side are you on Marie? Ours or Gonzi’s? Reserve that tone for comments against the government! Let’s use our heads. I can very well understand that some wounds still hurt badly but now the time has come to resolve our differences and unite to take over the running of this country. I will not beat about the bush. I am for Joseph Muscat as leader and George Abela does not figure amongst my choices for deputy leader party affairs and deputy leader parliamentary affairs, but what an achievement it would be to have George Abela on board as soon as possible! What an asset he would be for Malta under a Labour government!

    Leslie Falzon

  33. marie abdlilla said

    Nahfer iva ninsa qatt biex ma nergghux naqghu fl-izball tal-imghoddi. Hemm post ghall-kulhadd fil-Partit taghna ghal dawk li iridu jahdmu ghall-Partit biex nergghu nkunu fil-gvern, imma biss jekk ikunu lesti li jahdmu mal-Partit u mhux jaghmlu li jfettlilhom f’rashom, xhin ifeetlilhom f’rashom. Zgur li mhux f’post li hu daqshekk sensittiv bhal leadership wara li tkun tlaqtni meta kelli bzonn l-ghajnuna! It all boils down to a matter of trust. Trust in someone who has proven time and time again that he/she will be there for the Party no matter what – trust in people like Joseph Muscat, Evarist Bartolo, Marie Louise Coleiro, and Helena Dalli.
    Leslie Falzon u Johann Agius minflok ma ssaqsu lilli who side I’m on jew jekk jien qed naghti palata lin-nazzjonalisti ahjar tistaqsu min qed jaghti palata lil George Abela u ghaliex???? bhal Peppi, Bondi, coverage fuq 101, Net u Nazzjon…… meditate gente, meditate!! Marie Abdilla

  34. Tessa said

    I can understand Marie Abdilla’s righteous indignation at the suggestion that George Abela be considered for MLP leadership. Many Labourites and their fellow travellers do feel strongly about George Abela’s behaviour before and after the 1998 election. I am one of them.

    But, having said this, I must also say that I see nothing wrong with George Abela coming back into the Labour Party or at least making his peace with the Labour Party. I also see nothing wrong with him eventually covering public functions of great importance.

    I believe that Joseph Muscat is the only one in the Labour Party to be able to sell this idea to the General Conference. Only he commands enough credibility with young and old, moderates and militants, to convince them to let bygones be bygones and to applaud the return of not only George Abela but also Lino Spiteri and Alfred Mifsud.

    I am sure that he will not welcome them back with the condescending magnanimousness of a father towards returning prodigal sons (how could he, who is young enough to be their son?)but with the respect and honour due to individuals who were courageous enough to assert their dissenting convictions with their feet.

    If this were to happen, the Labour Party would benefit immensely in the eyes of the middle-standing electorate. Labour would emerge as a truly ecumenical political movement capable of including a variety of points of view; a movement with a leader so secure in his position – on the grounds of the broad solid consensus for his leadership – that he need not assert himself with threats of expulsion and excommunication.

    I appeal to Marie Abdilla’s political good sense. Let’s elect Joseph as leader on 5 June, or anyone else capable of exceeding his infectious youthful enthusiasm, and then – once this is done – lets help him or her build the broad non-sectarian church we need to sweep Gonzi and his motley crew out of Castille.

    Tessa (Author’s full name is known Caretaker)

  35. Zeppi said

    Jien gie li nittawwal daqsxejn fil-blog ta’ Daphne…u bhalissa it-target taghha huwa Joseph Muscat. Bis-soltu pulitizza u galbu taghha qed tinfexx f’tghajjir raffinat u eleganti kollu immirat lejn Joseph. Issa qed issejjahlu ‘twerp’.

    Jien, ghax laburist injorant, ma kontx naf x’inhu ‘twerp’ u ghalhekk fittixtu f’dizzjunarju on-line. Fuq sibt li ‘twerp’ tfisser “a person regarded as insignificant and contemptible”. Jigifieri, ‘persuna meqjusa bhal insinjificanti u ta’ min jistmerr’.

    Alfred Mifsud (Fredu taghna biex niftehmu)kitbilha u qalla: “Dear Daphne, You are clearly doing your best to get Joseph Muscat elected. The more you criticise him the more your solidify his voter base. That’s how party politics work.”

    Jien tabilhaqq injorant, imma jekk kif jghid Fredu Mifsud, mela veru li Joseph Muscat tajjeb jekk rnexxielhu sahansitra idawwar Daphne maghna!

    Peppi ta’ Milorda a.k.a. Zeppi ta’ biz-zarbun (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  36. Clive Fenech said

    Come on, let’s leave Daphne out of this wall-journal of the 2008 MLP leadership contest! We made a good start with several serious contributions, let’s not turn it into a farce! But, more importantly, let’s not create yet another opportunity for DCG to spread her hate campaigns even further. If you give publicity to her rantings and ravings, now apparently concentrated on Joseph Muscat, you will – whether you like it or not – increase the size of her audience. Ignore Daphne, that’s the most effective way of fighting her.

    Clive Fenech

  37. Roger Busuttil Cutajar said

    Daphne Caruana Galizia has become a national obsession. Friends and foes alike hang on her every word. Indeed, apparently intelligent individuals go as far as to conjecture why she does not speak ill of persons she has so far spared.

    I have come to the conclusion that all of us Maltese are deep down daphnecaruanagalizias. What distinguishes most of us from Ms Caruana Galizia, however, is that we dare not release our innermost demons out into the open. So we need someone to do so for us, vicariously as it were.

    Let’s admit it, when she picks on someone and attempts to drown her or him with verbal venom, most of us (red,magenta, blue dark and pale, green)pretend to be scandalised and deplore her excesses with great show of piety.

    Secretely, however, we enjoy it. From the corner of the same mouth that pretends to condemn her, we salivate with perverse pleasure. Shame on us.

    Roger Busuttil Cutajar

  38. Ludmilla Zammit said

    Roger’s suggestion that “all of us Maltese are deep down daphnecaruanagalizias” is fascinating!

    Ludmilla Zammit

  39. Davida said

    Daphne who? Davida (actual name submitted to Caretaker)

  40. Zeppi said

    Viva Dafni! Viva Dafni!
    Hej! Hej! Hej!
    Kif qal certu Dostojevski dwar xi hadd ftit aktar importanti minn Dafni, kieku Dafni ma’ kinetx tezisti kien ikollna nivvintawha!

    Peppi ta’ Milorda a.k.a. Zeppi ta’ biz-zarbun (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  41. Dorothy Camilleri said

    Thanks for your endevour. This tazebao is an eyeopener and harbinger of things and thoughts to come. Evidently it is mainly a student forum and it is great to read about other students ideas. Finally it makes us feel a part of the “normal” world student community. The centre-left party in Malta needs to move more to the centre if it wants to lead Maltese society away from “Sicilian” type of politics. To-day, most of the Maltese working class aspire to be middle-class. The majority of the Maltese stand around this centre and the new Party has to change track to fulfill the aspirations of this very large segment.

    The new party must plan ahead for the next 15 years when tiny Malta in Europe will be swimming in totally different waters from those of today. Malta and its young people deserve much better than the corruption-impregnated politics we have today. We cannot continue to swim in polluted waters. Cannoli politics (Mafia-type politics for which building outside development zones is a strong motivation to entering political life) should be a thing of the past…but it isn’t. Instead of arguing over plans for a better future for Malta we went back to the 1960s, when speculation (Santa Marija Estate, the Gozo Hospital scandal) were the agenda of the day.

    The person to lead the new party (and Malta) must be young, intelligent and think like a European….a smart European. Anything less and we will continue to gaze at our own bellybuttons without ever reaching our goals: that of being, on the one hand, the party of those who are successful, and, on the other hand, a party with a social conscience helping out those who are left behind.

    Dorothy Camilleri

  42. Victor Cuschieri said

    Ippermettuli nirrispondi bil-Malti lill-Stephen Mallia u Leslie Falzon li ma qablux mal-kummenti li ghamilt dwar il-kandidatura ta Dr George Abela ghal Mexxej tal-Partit Laburista. Waqt li insostni kull kelma li ktibt fil-kumment tieghi irrid inzid zewg punti’
    L-ewwel wiehed u l-aktar importanti huwa li il-Partit Laburista ghandu bzonn ta` mexxej zagzugh u b’vizjoni li jkun jista jwettaq pjan fit-tul ta` tishih u tigdid tal-Partit. Naturalment, dan il-Pjan, irid jinkludi fih ukoll rebha fl-elezzjoni li jmiss.

    It-tieni punt huwa li jien nibza hafna minn nies li jew jilghabu jew ihassru. Hobbuni jew obghoduni izda jien nemmen li min telaq mill-partit Laburista f’mument ta ghawg kbir ma ghandux issa jigi fdat bit-tmexxija tieghu. Barra minn hekk, Dr Anna Mallia, persuna qrib hafna ta` Alfred Mifsud li intefa wara l-kandidatura ta` Dr George Abela, wara li snin ilu ippruvat taqsam il-partit bit-twaqqif tal Moviment Popolari Laburista, dan l-ahhar, f’temp ta gimaghtejn regghet semmiet il-kelma ‘split’ darbtejn; darba ful-programm Xarabank u darb’ohra fl’artiklu “Cruel” li kitbet fil-Matatoday. Xi jfisser dan? Ifisser li jekk ma ntellghux lill-min irridu ser nippruvaw naqsmu il-Partit Laburista? Ifisser li jew nilghabu jew inhassru? Jiena dan ma rridu jigri qatt u qatt lill-Partit Laburista.

    Fuq nota differenti issa

    Jekk is-Sinjura Daphne Caruana Galizia qabdet ma Joe Muscat allura ma ghandux ghalfejn jinkwieta. Niftakar li din is-sinjura kienet qabdet ukoll ma Guido De Marco u spicca President tar-Republika (u bintu Giannella rebhitilha balla liri f’libell storiku) Qabel dan Daphne ghajjret lill-Eddie Fenech Adami “small village lawyer” u spicca President tar-Republika. Ghalhekk kuragg u taqtax qalbek Joseph. B’Daphne kontrik ghandek success garantit. Victor Cuschieri

  43. marie abdilla said

    Roger I find your assertion that“all of us Maltese are deep down daphnecaruanagalizias” pretty insulting to the Maltese people. Looks like Joseph and Evarist Bartolo were DCG’s prime target in her opinion column in the Independent and she throws a veritable barrage at Joseph on her website. Just goes to show that these two very valid contenders are worrying the PN and their reaction is to bring out Ms.Gutter Press par excellence …. Daphne Caruana Galizia. Marie Abdilla

  44. Clive Fenech said

    Marie is right and Alfred Mifsud is wrong. Marie says that the PN use Daphne Caruana Galizia to attempt to demolish the image of the two persons they fear most as possible leaders Joseph Muscat and Evarist Bartolo. Alfred Mifsud implies that Daphne Caruana Galizia attacks Joseph to make sure he wins the sympathy of Labourites…presumably because – or so Mifsud implies – they fear George Abela as a leader of the Labour Party more than they fear Joseph. I find Marie’s explanation more credible and realistic.

    Clive Fenech.

  45. Roger Busuttil Cutajar said

    Hi folks! Have you noticed that even Clive Fenech, who earlier on rebuked us for chatting about Daphne, has finally succumbed to her charm and has now joined the conversation about Daphne’s role in the PN’s strategy and her real intentions? Welcome Clive!

    Roger Busuttil Cutajar

  46. Victor Cuschieri said

    Let me say straight away that I do not know
    Dorothy Camilleri. If I did I would have been very proud of it. How did you come up with Cuffaro? Do you know that on the 20 January 2004 the Honorable Sicilian gentleman was made Honorary Companion with Breast Star of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of Malta
    as approved by Legal Notice No. 162 of 14/11/95. Cuffaro’s decoration was dished out like a hearty serving of cannoli to a dozen others that include Silvio Berlusconi, Pierferdinando Casini and Roberto Formigoni to mark the occasion of the state visit to Italy by President Guido DeMarco in January 2004. Victor Cuschieri

  47. Ludmilla Zammit said

    Marie finds Roger’s assertion that “all of us Maltese are deep down daphnecaruanagalizias” pretty insulting to the Maltese people. How would she feel if I suggested that all of us Maltese are deep down jpos ? Goodnight Malta! Good night Gozo! Good night all of you Maltese and Gozitans out there in the real world!

    Ludmilla Zammit

  48. Leslie Falzon said

    Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma! Proset to Dorothy Camilleri for her piece on the need of an innovative MLP leader to enable the Party to capture the middle ground and to take this country out of Sicilian style cannoli-politics! By the way Dorothy, what gave you impression that this is “mainly a student forum”?

    Leslie Falzon

  49. Anna Maria Callus said

    It is a pity nobody seems to want to follow my train of thought regarding the gender bias in Maltese politics (my comment of 25 March refers).

    Anna Maria Callus

  50. Jules Briffa said

    I think it’s time that progressive intellectuals hiding away in the darkest corners of the University and other institutions should come out in the open and stand up to be counted. So far they may have had the excuse that the mainstream personalities of the Labour Party were simply out of sync with them (or viceversa, but that is now history). Now, however, that excuse is no longer valid. Now that Labour is at a crossroads and may choose an intellectual with a breathtaking vision of a Malta open to the most progressive European trends of thought, let those that have to date felt marginalised and ignored because of their progressive ideas, come out in the open!

    Jules Briffa

  51. Anonimo Palermitano said

    Dear Maltese friends, do you want to know more about our ex-Governor Cuffaro and what we honest citizens think about him? See these videos on Beppe Grillo’s blog:

    (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  52. Anonimo Palermitano said

    …and here are more videos, also from Beppe Grillo’s blog:
    …and more, many more.

    I was scandalised to read that your government on 20 January 2004 made Cuffaro a “Honorary Companion with Breast Star of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of Malta, as approved by Legal Notice No. 162 of 14/11/95”! Are you all going crazy? Many of us young Sicilians used to think that Malta was very near to us physically but at the same time very far culturally…but now we see that perhaps this was an illusion! And you have just elected again the same government that appointed Cuffa’ as its Companion (minchia! e che compagno!).

    Anonimo Palermitano (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  53. Peter Farrugia said

    Thanks Anonimo Palermitano for those links!

    For those of us who prefer hearing this from the BBC, see “Sicily chief guilty in Mafia case” Friday, 18 January 2008

    Cuffaro did not resign immediately, when he was condemned. As arrogant as many of our own homegrown politicians he refused to budge. After a lot of pressure he finally did. Salvatore “Toto” Cuffaro, president of Sicily’s regional government, resigned on January 27, 2008, following a public outcry after he celebrated a five-year prison sentence against him by handing out pastries in his office. Cuffaro was found guilty of obstruction of justice and sentenced on Jan. 18.

    A picture of him handing out cannoli the day after the conviction was published Jan. 20. Cuffaro, a member of the Union of Christian Democrats, who previously said he wouldn’t step down, appealed the verdict. In Italy, the appeals process must be exhausted before sentences are served.

    Want to see and hear the reading of the sentence at the end of Cuffaro’s trial on January 18, 2008 ? Go to

    Want to see and hear Toto’ Cuffaro’s belated resignation speech of January 26, 2008 ? Go to

    Peter Farrugia (at the moment on postgraduate studies in Italy)

  54. Marie Abdilla said

    Ludmilla asks how I would feel if she suggested that all of us Maltese are deep down jpos. Ludmilla I wouldn’t say all but I think that there are many Maltese JPOs, just look at the mess that is MEPA – Mistra wasn’t a one-off case! Putting personal interest first, lying, the use of the power of incumbency and underhand dealings are after all what turned the tide in favour of the PN. Issa anke smajna li nxtraw il-voti!So for sure there is a large number of them within the PN ranks.Il-fatt li JPO telgha min zewg distretti juri li min ivvutali gi jaqa u iqum li kien imcappas u kif kien qal ta’ San Anton, “min ma jiggilidx il-korruzzjoni hu korrot”! Marie Abdilla

  55. Lizzy B said

    Hi Roger, we meet again. I’m afraid I have to disagree with you again (what’s new I imagine you saying)…anyway, this time it is about another of your clamorous assertions. It seems you still haven’t given up on making these sweeping statements. You condemn us all to the darkest of pits when you say that deep down we are all dcgs. This is unfair, don’t you think? We don’t all have an oral-aggressive personality, and anyone asserting differently is making use of a load of pseudo-Freudian bull**** that is so ‘passé! I’m sure you can do better. Were you serious when you said that “friends and foes hang on her every word”? Please! Let’s be serious. Many, like me don’t even read her articles, or buy the newspaper she writes in. There are people who don’t have the time and ‘piety’ to waste on vulgarisms. It’s a waste of neurons, if you ask me…and remember, once neurons die, they won’t be replaced 🙂 What’s beyond me is that she is even paid to produce such filth. Before you speak, I have only written about this topic as a response to all those, like you, who seem entranced by dcg- Go read a book ladies and gentlemen! It’s definitely more edifying and instructive. Lizzy B (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  56. Joe Vella said

    Moving the party to the centre is obviously an intelligent move. But is it possible for the new leadership to encourage individuals from Alternattiva Demokratika to join the re-positioned MLP of the future? Such an alliance is taken for granted in Europe, with the Greens in Spain, Italy and Germany supporting the Social Democratic parties in their progressive policies. Is this convergence possible in Malta as well? Is there not a need in Malta for people who abhor the “cannoli” type of politics, to unite in order to bring about the much needed clean change with the past?
    Think change in order to change things!
    Joe Vella

  57. danny attard said

    • The successful political party of the 21st century has to be mean, lean and hungry.
    • It must be strategy oriented, Financial/Administrative/Political, which strategy is based on core principles and keen market information that is professionally analysed and molded into clear and simple policies
    • The Party needs to take a fresh look at the manner in which our candidates are selected
    • Canvassers should be professional agents responsible to get candidates elected to office. Candidates and Canvassers are the Party’s sales force. They must be effective and positioned where sales are most needed.
    • It has to be a party focused to an equal degree on campaigning and on fund-raising.
    • The organisation and structure of the party and its lines of communication have to be simple and direct
    • Authority and control have to be unambiguous, single- minded and harmonious.
    • Reporting lines from locality to HQ need to be uncluttered.
    • Be able to talk to its members quickly and efficiently.
    • The job of Secretary General is akin to that of a chief executive. He is the person to implement structural change, and he needs to be comfortable with reform, and have the commitment and the wherewithal to see that it happens. This is crucial. Danny Attard

  58. marie abdilla said

    Very intersting contributions 56 and 57. I agree with Joe Vella that it’s a given that the greens and socialists all over Europe are allies. Unfortunately in Malta the Green Party to date has been closer to the PN (don’t know why after all the “below the belt” knocks that the PN has dealt them) but maybe a new young leader who would appeal more to the typical Green would make an alliance easier. Also how about the splinter pressure group Zmienijietna. A lot of what they speak about are pure socialist issues that the MLP espouses! The more people who come on board the better.

    Excellent suggestions from Danny Attard. There’s another thing that I’d like to add. I believe that structures should be put in and these structures should be institutionalised so that whoever is there the structure remains. Eg overhaul the Party’s electoral office which in this election was seriously lacking – no rikorsi, electoral register full of people not eligible to vote, no proper campaign on instructions on how to vote, no proper mailshots from the electoral office – put in best practices and institutionalise them so the office stands as the electoral office independent of personalities. I don’t agree that the Electoral Office should be identified with Louis Gatt or Dr. Falzon valid as they might or might not be but the Office should function within the framework set out by the administration. Punto e basta. Same goes for all other Party structures. Marie Abdilla

  59. Peter Farrugia said

    I understand that key figures in Alternattiva Demokratika are seriously thinking of coming our way if the right person becomes leader. If they mean business, they should declare their intentions now. This way they will add credibility to their favourite candidate for Labour’s leadership and to themselves.

    Zminijetna (Marie please note) is a totally different thing. They are a bunch of nice guys, no doubt, but they are politically insignificant and cannot seem to distinguish between doctrinaire pontification and practical political action. They are the sort that on the assumptions that (a) only an immediate great leap forward to a socialist society is worthwhile, and (b) that what is worthwhile is evidently not possible, then (c) what is possible is not worthwhile. As a result they revert to complaining that nothing that Labour does (or can ever do)is worthwhile.

    Of course, there is nothing to prevent Zminijetna individuals from joining our quest to do what is both possible and worthwhile.

    All of this is of course deja vu. See, for example, this video on what’s happening on Italy’s center-left–08022008-ore-1712/1988473942

    Peter Farrugia (currently in Italy)

  60. Jules Briffa said

    Alternattiva Demokratika has no political future as a party in Malta but its activists and supporters do: in the new Labour Party that will see the light of day on 5th June 2008 if Joseph Muscat is elected.

    Jules Briffa

  61. Tony Zammit Zerafa said

    Of course we want our comrades in Alernattiva Demokratika in the Labour Party. They will be welcome with all the honour and respect they deserve!

    Tony Zammit Zerafa

  62. Godfrey Lanzon said

    There is no reason on earth why Professor Arnold Cassola should not be made to feel comfortable in the Labour Party. Finally he will have found an effective political vehicle for his Green vision for the Maltese Islands. We should make it clear that we would never hold against him his past as the de facto leader of another political party. He, on his part, would not hold our past against us.

    Godfrey Lanzon

  63. Green militant said

    If we green militants are ever to make our voices heard in parliament we have to finally concede that Alternattiva will never serve this purpose. We tried. God knows we tried. But now we have to find a new way. Labour is that way. Not any old Labour but a Labour led by someone we trust and whose vision we share.

    Green militant (actual name submitted to The Caretaker)

  64. Anglu x'riha. said

    Is it much to expect the contest for MLP leadership to be done in a more civilised way? Keeping up appearances is part and parcel of political strategy. When Gonzi was crowned as leader by Dr Fenech Adami, the party cadres simply complied. Our contestants, do the opposite and bare it all.Yes do it in a democratic way, but the contest should be on ideas, strategy and vision and not about personal narrow agendas. Anglu x’riha (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  65. Maria Duluri said

    I have to disagree with Anglu x’riha’s earlier comment. He seems to suggest that the leadership contest in the Labour party is exposing acrimonious rivalry that may prove to be the party’s downfall in the end. Untrue. Unfair. As the former American democratic President, Bill Clinton, said (when answering democrats who were calling for his wife, Hilary, to drop out of the presidential race), “I think we should just relax and let this happen. Nobody’s talking about wrecking the party. The people should just relax and let this process go on. It’s good, it’s exciting, it’s good for democracy”. I think that we should sit back and enjoy this contest. It is rare display of democracy peppered by a healthy debate, which brings into focus the real issues we should really be concerned about: economic slowdown, job cuts, soaring energy costs, an environmental crisis, tourism regeneration. What we should really fuss about is the question: Who is the candidate that can address more effectively the above-mentioned issues and can make us proud Europeans? Who can lead the Labour party towards victory in the next elections? Maria Duluri (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  66. andrew borg-cardona said

    Good evening … just a small point to remind you that there are other columnists in the world…. one of you wrote “B’Daphne kontrik ghandek success garantit.” Yes, just ask Alfred Sant about that – remember him? Or are you all trying to forget him? And, please, don’t waste your valuable time discussing who is going to be leader of the MLP – it’s something that will be decided for you by the machine. As Michael Falzon wrote in MaltaToday, it will be Joseph Muscat. Good luck with him, you’ll need it. Andrew Borg-Cardona

  67. Zeppi said

    Columnists? Watzdat?

    Peppi ta’ Milorda a.k.a. Zeppi ta’ biz-zarbun (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  68. Anna Maria Callus said

    Zeppi aqtahha! Mhux sewwa tipprova twaqqa kollox ghan-nejk! I think I am speaking for the majority of this tazebao’s regulars when I assure Dr Borg Cardona that he is welcome.

    Anna Maria Callus

  69. Clive Fenech said

    Of course Andrew is welcome, which is not to say that we should not encourage him to be less sarcastic and more constructive. Sarcasm has become the order of the day with many, indeed most, columnists across the political divide. Not that we’d like this site to be monopolised by holier-than-thou bores but we wouldn’t like it to degenerate in a mere contest of cheap wit. Having said this…welcome to Andrew Borg-Cardona, for he is a jolly good fellow & so are all of us!

    Clive Fenech

  70. Manfred Mizzi said

    All those still around at 23:55 who agree that Andrew Borg-Cardona is perfectly welcome to Labour-in-labour, say Aye!

    Manfred Mizzi

  71. Amanda Busuttil said


    Amanda Busuttil

  72. Jules Briffa said

    Aye aye!

    Jules Briffa

  73. Peter Farrugia said

    It’s not a holiday here in Bologna tomorrow (perhaps we should convince the whole EU to adopt 31st March as a holiday, JM please note :-))so I need to get some sleep now. Point is one should not take a vote unless one is in full possession of one’s mental faculties and right now the only faculty I am sure of is the Faculty where I have to hand in an assignment tomorrow morning. So if our learned friend Avv. Borg-Cardona does not mind, I will sleep over the request to say ‘aye’ and ponder on this weighty matter tomorrow morning. La notte porta consiglio!

    Peter Farrugia (currently in Italy)

  74. Romina Said said

    Peter hanini, didn’t we say more substance and less cheap wit?

    Romina Said

  75. Maria Duluri said

    A painless aye from me too!

    Maria Duluri (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  76. Tessa said


    Tessa (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  77. Zeppi said

    Viva l-Boccja! Viva l-Boccja!
    Hej! Hej! Hej!
    Kif qal certu Dostojevski dwar xi hadd ftit aktar importanti minn Dafni u l-Boccja, kieku ma’ kienux jezistu kien ikollna nivvintawhom!

    Peppi ta’ Milorda a.k.a. Zeppi ta’ biz-zarbun (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  78. marie falzon said

    Oh dear me! Seems like some columnist need to be everywhere so as not to feel irrelevant. Go get a life man! Notwithstanding that Andrew Borg Cardona a.k.a IM Beck has his own column and blog he has to give us his penny’s worth here too and also quote that other opinionist/Water Services Chairman Michael Falzon (PN)who’s everywhere (Times, Maltatoday,Mument, Radio 101). We are sooooooooooo touched and grateful for your advice and best wishes! Marie Falzon (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  79. Gregory Vassallo said

    Dear Adrian,
    no, you are not (quoting you) “interfering in our affairs”. As you say, a country’s potential prime minister is the business of all of that country’s citizens. You suggest that we should choose a leader who is liked by (again quoting you) “many Nationalists”. Conversely, in your view, we ought not to choose a leader who is (quote) “openly” reviled by the same “many Nationalists”. The problem with this approach, Adrian, is that I have serious doubts about this mysterious thing you call “many Nationalists”. Who are these Nationalists? How many of them are there? Do all Nationalists think so, openly or otherwise? There are many indications that what this “many Nationalists” boils down to is a handful of professional spinners whose job it is to revile precisely those individuals that the PN would rather not have to face as leaders of a radically refurbished MLP. Why? Because of two factors. Firstly, because they fear individuals like Joseph Muscat (and also Evarist Bartolo), that have a strong appeal to a growing body of middle-class and middle-ground opinion that has its b***s full of political fundamentalism of all hues and, especially, of the politika tat-tghajjir that characterises Daphne as well as certain loud-talking Labour politicians. Secondly, because of the undoubted appeal of persons like Joseph Muscat to a new type of young, educated and in many cases upwardly mobile social niche who appreciate the values of initiative and hard work, and who are not impressed by smooth talking notables on both sides.
    Thanks for listening and please do come back. This is a great occasion for a new sort of open dialogue. Let’s not miss the opportunity.
    Gregory Vassallo (a pseudonym, author’s real name is known to the Caretaker)

  80. Peter Farrugia said

    OK, I slept over Manfred’s forceful suggestion that we should welcome Andrew Borg-Cardona to our civilised conversations and woke up here in Bologna to an overcast sky and 12 °C temperature. Not that the weather has anything to do with my decision but I thought you might wish to know in any case. So my decision is yes, he is welcome but on condition that he engages in a serious conversation. No cheap asides. All of us should do likewise.

    Peter Farrugia

  81. Adrian Cardona said

    permit me to join this debate for a moment. I am a floater who normally votes PN, for the simple reason that I couldn’t stomach Alfred Sant’s anti-EU stance. I had some hesitations before deciding on my vote this time round, but Sant’s declaration of his intention to mess about with our EU membership made me decide there and then. Yes, the PN has been in government too long, and this opinion is shared by many people who eventually voted for them anyway. However, as has been proven by the results, people who didn’t want to vote PN still didn’t vote for Labour, and the prime reason was simply because of Alfred Sant.
    Labour has to aim it’s efforts towards this sector of society…and to do so you must identify why people don’t vote PN and still refuse to vote Labour instead. To attract such people you have to offer them something that they can be comfortable with. As the election results showed, people do not want a Bidu Gdid, a radical change, a complete overhaul…what they need is a general tweaking of policies, and a continuation. People intrinsically hate major change, so it is useless promising it because you will just scare them off.
    It is difficult to be humble and take courageous steps, more so after an unexpected electoral defeat, but unless it is done, you will still face an uphill battle to regain the floating vote. And quite frankly, from the floating voter point of view, electing Joe Muscat is not an attractive option. He is percieved too much to be a little copy of Alfred Sant and his partnership days…people will not forget his anti-EU speeches. Yes, they please the Labour core voter, but they will not win back the floater, and seeing people like Jason (one of the prime culprits of the defeat) being so dismissive of people like George Abela and Alfred Mifsud, will put even more people off. Take a leaf out of the PN book and accept criticism with good grace…Frank Portelli was a harsh critic of the Pn, yet he was accepted and welcomed back into the fold..same goes for John Dalli. Being so harsh and venomenous on GA and AM will exclude them even more and push away many moderates. Yes, maybe from a ‘normal’ Labour supporter’s point of view, GA was in the wrong to leave the party at a crucial stage, but remember that so did Lino Spiteri and so many others. Instead of treating them like lepers yu should try and understand their reasons for leaving, and take corrective action, rather than considering them as turncoats. If many Nationalists say openly that they like such people, than that’s exactly the sort of people you need to make it palatable for them to vote Labour.
    Once again, I do not want to look like I’m interfering in your affairs (even though I consider a potential Prime Minister as my affair)..I just want you to look at things from the other side and try to explain what many floaters want…and from the look of things I’m afraid it’s not the Muscat that they want.
    Thanks for listening.

    Adrian Cardona

  82. Philip Ellul said

    It would be a pity if Joseph Muscat and Evarist Bartolo were to allow the now inevitable competition between them to make it difficult for them to work together to finally rid this country of Gonzi’s government by not later than 2013. They would make a great team. They both have that twinkle in their eyes that endears them to persons of good will irrespective of age, gender and – yes – of political pedigree…psychos excepted, of course.

  83. Victor Cuschieri said

    I have just read that Dr George Abela was present at Labour’s Freedom Day ceremony in Vittoriosa.Can anyone tell me when he was seen there last?

  84. Adrian Cardona said

    “these Nationalists” are those who preferred staying at home rather than voting Labour, and many others who voted PN holding their nose (me included), once again because they simply did not want Labour’s option. These are the people you have to target if you want to win the election, and believe me, they are not a small bunch of spinners. Both parties have their hardcore of support who will vote for them come what may, but it’s the rest who decide the election, and you have to fight for every single vote there is at stake in that segment. The PN will not fear Joe Muscat because it will be very easy for them to keep reminding everyone that he is a protege of Alfred Sant, and you know very well the effect that has on many floaters. And keeping people like Jason Micallef on board will not help matters either. If you want the floaters’ vote, you have to ask yourselves what is it they want, not simply assuming that they will converge toward Labour just because there is a new leader.

  85. Observer said

    So, what is the situation a week after the start of the race?
    My reckoning is: Joseph Muscat not less than 80 % of the delegates or 70 % of the members opting to vote if they are given the right to do so by a change of the statute.
    Evarist Bartolo not less than 15 % of the delegates or 20 % of the members.
    Michael Falzon not less than 5 % of the delegates or 10 % of the members.
    A small group of apparently pro-George Abela persons is trying to collect enough signatures to call for an extraordinary general conference before the June 5th leadership election to discuss a motion amending the statute to take away the delegates’ right to choose the leader and devolving it down to ordinary members.
    I reckon they will manage to get enough signatures to call the conference but will lose the vote for the motion. As if delegates will willingly surrender their traditional privilege to elect the leader! Following this defeat, should George Abela present himself for the June 5th election, he will be penalised by the delegates for having (in their eyes at least) inspired the attempt to disenfranchise them.

    Observer (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  86. Another Observer said

    I don’t see how ‘Observer’ can make that sort of prediction so early before the June 5th leadership election when there are stiil so many unknowns. We should be discussing the merits of various possible candidates and their ideas and programmes, not make stupid forecasts.

    Another Observer (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  87. Marie Abdilla said

    I agree with Philip that Joseph and Evarist would make a great team but I believe that if there are two people who can rise above the natural competitiveness for the good of the Party it is these two. Joseph said that he is ready to work with everyone and Evarist said that even if he doesn’t make it to the Leader position he’s ready to consider the Deputy position, (unlike other contestants who have already hand picked their Deputies and threatened to leave if they don’t make it to Leader) which shows humility. The main motivation for these two is not personal glory but a great desire to do the best for the MLP and our country.

  88. I am begining to get really worried with certain goings on…so Dr George Abela may feel that party delegates will not elect him and so his supporters are collecting enough signatures to go before the delegates who will not elect him to approve a motion to go to party members who will elect him! Che facciamo!

  89. Victor Cuschieri said

    May I ask Observer what numbers are coming up in to-morrow’s Super5 draw. Please let us be serious. Let us judge the contenders for the leadership of the Labour Party by what thay have to offer, their past and their plans for a long term revival of he party and their potential to achieve their objectives.

    Victor Cuschieri

  90. Pierre Livorno said

    Jidher li Gonzi ddecieda li jasal f’kompromess ma JPO. Qed naraw l-istess storja ta’ Richard Muscat u l-VOM. Biex jiddefendu u jiskuzaw lil Richard Muscat spiccaw jattakkaw lill-Awditur. Hekk qed jerga’ jigri. Huwa evidenti li l-informazzjoni tat-Times giet minn gewwa u giet mibnija b’mod li la darba tattakka l-‘messaggir’ ittellef fil-valur tal-‘messagg’. Jekk l-awditur innifsu kien ghamel bhal JPO allura JPO m’ghamel xejn hazin u ta’ barra minn hawn, anke jekk jirrizulta li gideb jew heba.

    Gonzi mhux ser izomm kelmtu. L-ewwel taparsi ha xi passi meta waqqaf il-hidma tal-MEPA wara l-elezzjoni biex ma sar xejn. Waqt il-programm ta’ Charlot Gouder id-direttur ghall-ippjanar Godwin Cassar qal ma jafx ghafejn waqfu l-Mepa ghaliex hadd ma kellem lil hadd u ma gara xejn! Ser izomm kelmtu Gonzi jew ser icedi ghar-rikatti. Ser jaghmel kompromess?

    U ma joqghodx ibellalna r-ross bil-labra! Kieku veramament kien onest fid-dikjarazzjoni tieghu li jrid jirranga l-MEPA meta rrezenja l-Bord li hareg il-permess tac-Caqnu u ta’ JPO ma kienx jigri jaghmel iehor biex johrog il-permessi qabel l-elezzjoni. Veru m’hemmx differenza bejn il-maniggi elettorali ta’ Mugabe (li jrid jirbah bil-pjaciri) u Gonzi.

    Pierre Livorno [pseudonym, author’s real name is known to Caretaker]

  91. Diane Mercieca said

    I have noticed that the three candidates for the job of leader of the Labour Party have insisted, albeit in different ways, on the fact that they have all at some time or another disagreed with Dr Alfred Sant.

    Joseph Muscat: “I’m my own man. People who know both Alfred and myself know we’ve always spoken our mind, and we haven’t always been full of compliments for one another.” “”I want to be elected on my own steam and if people go for Joseph they will get Joseph. Vote Joseph, get Joseph, nobody else.” Sunday Times of Malta 23 March 2008

    Evarist Bartolo, “pressed on whether he now thinks Dr Sant should have quit(in 2003). ‘That is what I told him in person, privately obviously.’ […] Moreover, he insists: “I’m not a clone. I have my own style, my own mindset, my own ideas and I need to be judged on my own terms. I’m Evarist Bartolo, not Alfred Sant.” Sunday Times of Malta 29 March 2008

    Michael Falzon: “I was born into a Labour family and I have always stood by the party’s principles, even during times when I disagreed with the party’s official stance, such as in 1998 when I opposed calling an early election.” Malta Independent on-line 1 April 2008. In 1998,Falzon was a member of the MLP’s administration and its election manager. The leader then was, of course, Alfred Sant.

    Fair enough, they clearly feel the need to distance themselves from the leader of a Party that lost three consecutive national elections, although at least two of them – Falzon and Bartolo – were senior figures in the Party on all three occasions. Moreover Michael Falzon has been nothing less than the MLP’s deputy leader for party affairs since 2003.

    The point is, however, that we are more interested in knowing – at least in outline – what concretely they plan to do to put the Party on track to win the next elections. We are more interested in knowing what they are for than what they were not for! Obviously, vague platitudes will not do. Ball in your court, gentlemen!

    Diane Mercieca

  92. Anna Maria Callus said

    On 25 March I commented on the gender bias in Maltese politics. On 29 March I complained that it was a pity nobody seemed to want to follow my train of thought on this issue. Let me put it more bluntly now both to you male chauvinists and to you indifferent sisters-in-apathy: don’t you think that at least one of the female Labour MPs (Dr. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Helena Dalli, Marlene Pullicino and Justyne Caruana) should take the plunge and contest for leader of the Party?

    Anna Maria Callus

  93. Dear Anna Maria, should Labour’s own version of Maggie Tatcher come along, she will be embraced with open arms. I am all in for positive discrimination, yet when it comes to leadership, the issue is limited as to who is the best person for the job. I have myself tried to identify qualities needed by an effective leader. The names you mention have all indeed wonderful qualities yet do they possess the minimum array of requirements? I find Helena’s performance in the Zabbar stronghold as being a muted one, while her TV performances do not inspire too much confidence. Justyne’s profile is similarly excellent yet falls short (in my opinion) of minimum leadership material. Marlene, I have no opinion on other than having followed a short radio interview where she did well. If people close to her really believe she has leadership qualities they should shout them at us from the nearest minaret 🙂 MLCP is a contender. She has a sound record, labour needs more of her type working among the electorate. But leadership qualities? Not so sure. Looking at all contenders one is bound to see strengths and weaknesses. This applies to one and all from Gonzi to Gomes. A final decision needs to be based on the balance of of these W&S and how the S can blossom and the W be mitigated. Most of all one has to evaluate how a future Labour Leader can stand up to the obvious usual long-term onslaught that will be unleashed by the managers of power. This time round it has actually started even before a leader has been elected. Can we for once stimulate a national awareness that this demonisation ultimately works to the detriment of our nation and democracy? I have today heard Dr Demarco opine on Smash TV how national consensus on the EU is a unifying factor! So how does he explain his utter silence when Labour’s EU credentials were torn to shreds by the NP propaganda machine just for cheap pre-electoral gain?

    Danny Attard

  94. Victor Cuschieri said

    I am amazed! I have just watched an incredible television event. Pierre Portelli hosted Alfred Mifsud on his Net TV chat show “Bil-Fatti” and both were seriously concerned about the fate of the Malta Labour Party and the question of its leadership. How touching! As expected Alfred Mifsud declared his support for Dr George Abela saying that of all the contestants announced so far he is the only one qualified for the leadership post. According to Mr Mifsud, Dr Abela qualifies on two strengths. First he is a convinced European and secondly he is the one to appeal not just to red or dark red voters but also to voters of all the hues in a rainbow.

    What both Pierre Portelli and Alfred Mifsud skirted around – at least in the part I caught of the whole interview – was the fact that Dr George Abela has put the GWU above the Labour Party in his list of preferences. How this declared position makes him the ideal leader of the Labour Party in the eyes of Alfred Miifsud is incomprehensible. If elected leader would Dr Abela take us back to Mintoff’s times and integrate the GWU within the Malta Labour Party so that he would be equally loyal to both? If Labour has to go forward it needs a leader with a vision for a future and not someone who looks back in anger at a Party and a trade Union he abandoned in their most crucial methods.

    Mr Mifsud said that George Abela should be thanked for the stand he took back in 1998 when he resigned as Labour’s Deputy Leader fro Party Affairs when Dom Mintoff was fighting for bathing rights and barbeques for the people of the Cottonera in the area of the projected yacht marina. This is what the other Deputy Leader at the time Dr George Vella said in an interview given to Maltatoday about Dr Abela’s resignation “I want to make it clear that I was not surprised we lost some support following that extraordinary party conference, since people ended up even more baffled, primarily because of Dr Abela’s speech, at a time when we had planned to fully explain the situation we were in….. and I can assure you that when Dr Abela made his announcement, it was a big shock for everybody, since, before the conference, we were all in agreement, including George Abela, that there was no alternative to a general election.”

    Mr Mifsud also used Pierre Portelli’s platform to lobby for George Abela’s proposal to open the MLP leadership electoral base to all the Party’s paid members. This is music to the ears of the Nationalist party who made it their business to have a say in Labour’s leadership election process basing their argument on the fact that the office of leader of the Opposition is of national importance. By the same argument we should call a general election and thus also give a say in the matter to PN voters who I am sure will select the candidate that suits their interests best . My impression is that the PN’s nominee for this would be none other than Dr George Abela.

    Victor Cuschieri

  95. I. Brown said

    I would be frankly very worried if Michael Falzon makes it to the leadership. Being part of the big three in such a defeat is a good enough reason to warrant someone’s resignation. Also, his antics on the stage in Floriana do not equate to the need for charisma in the MLP leadership. If that were the case, I would personally ask Placido Domingo to take over.

    My personal opinion is that no one is better suited to the post than Evarist Bartolo. Someone from the north would eventually bring a breath of fresh air. Also, he doesn’t have too much antipathy from the Christian Democrat masses at University.

    Ooops! I used the CD word again!

    I. Brown [pseudonym, author’s name known to the Caretaker]

  96. Peter Ellul said

    Mr. Brown (it’s not my friend Charlie, right?)has all the right in the world to name his favourite candidate for leader. I myself said that Joseph and Evarist would make a good team. What irritates me are Mr. Brown’s criteria. Bartolo is the best, he says, because (1) he comes from the north and (2)the “University masses” do not dislike him.

    This poses a problem of consistency and betrays either a confused mind or a tongue-in-cheek comment. Why? Well, consider the following.

    i. If by “the north” is meant whatever is situated north of Valletta, then none of the three official contestants come or reside in ‘the south’.

    ii. If by “the north” is meant the rural part of the Island north of the fault-line approximately marked by the Victoria Lines, then at least two of the three contestants come from ‘the north’.

    As regards the “University masses”…well, although I do not for a moment wish to underestimate the importance of students and lecturers and non-academic staff as voters, I am not sure the term ‘masses’ is appropriate. Unless we want to discuss the relative importance of other ‘masses’: civil servants, self-employed, factory workers, industrial employees in the public sector, unemployed, housewives, religious orders, pensioners etc etc.

    Yes, this Mr. Brown ain’t my favourite philosopher, the one and only Charlie Brown, who famously once said: “In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.” (Courtesy of Charles Schulz 1922-2000).

    Peter Ellul

  97. I. Brown said

    Mr Ellul, you are quite right, actually, very right.

    Short note: I myself hail from the insipid south (Marsascala, forgotten town, limits of Algeria). We are a forgotten tribe, although it is rumoured that Gonzi lives somewhere in town. Still can’t find his name on the ballot sheets.

    What I mean by ‘north’, without implying any form of discrimination: the leader should be someone without associations with the overly strong MLP constituencies. To put it bluntly: unless MLP is present in all the Maltese towns, including the grass roots (if any) in Sliema, a Labour government can only be possible in 2029 after all towns “south of Valletta” declare their independence. MLP cannot preach to the converted anymore.

    Peter Ellul: if you agree with Varist as a good choice, you will agree with his statement on the MLP becoming a middle-class party without forgetting its roots. That is why I said ‘north’, although it means nothing really.

    University masses: they made more noise in the election than the self-employed and all but one civil servants. Mind you, I don’t think anyone should be more equal than others, but this particular class has always been neglected by the MLP. Having been a “Spjun Laburist fl-Universita”, I can tell you a thing or two about the party’s absence in that sphere.

    Once i’m here, may I suggest Charlon Gouder is banished from One News? Please? Didn’t gain us so many votes did he?

    I. Brown [pseudonym, author’s name known to the Caretaker]

  98. Godfrey Borg said

    My Dear Danny Attard,

    Your comment on Helena Dalli namely “I find Helena’s performance in the Zabbar stronghold as being a muted one, while her TV performances do not inspire too much confidence.” was posted on the 1st April 2008.
    The date inspires certain people or else to ask if there is a hidden agenda?
    Getting elected from two districts in spite of strong competition is no easy task. It means that at least she has the ability to communicate in an effective manner. Don’t you agree ?

    So, please,my dear Danny, can we have fair and valid comments on the women who are active in the party. Considering female participation in any future leadership team can be a positive move in the much needed reform of the party.

    So, Danny, how about some lateral thinking.

    Macho [Author’s name is known to Caretaker]

  99. Dorothy Camilleri said

    Its not a matter of being from the North or South that counts in the election of the new leader. More important is the fact that the new leader must represent the present and of course the future. The new leader has to be moulded outside the box, and yet feel confident to see and observe what’s inside the box, and act accordingly in the interest of Malta and its citizens. The new leadership must ooze confidence and yet have an ear as big as that of an elephant, in order to hear humming of the grape vine. Will the delegates be able to vote for such a leader? Would they be able to overcome the emotional and personal attachments that they have with the contestants and vote rationally for the person which Malta needs so urgently? I am optimistic about the positive outcome. Let the best contestant win and thereafter expect that EVERYONE congrtatulates him and unites with him and the party to work fo the common good of these islanders.

  100. Eleanor Rigby said

    What is all this talk of a potential leader’s provenance? In a small island like ours, does being from any part of the country carry any weight when evaluating a leader, when choosing our next PM? I think our focus should lie elsewhere, must lie elsewhere.

    A leader is a person who inspires people with a vision, a view of the future that will excite and convert potential followers, an innovator and pioneer of a new truth. In their best selling book, The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner developed a survey (The Leadership Practices Inventory) that asked people which, of a list of common characteristics of leaders, were, in their experiences of being led by others, the seven top things they look for, admire and would willingly follow. Furthermore, over twenty years, they managed to ask this of seventy five thousand people. The results of the study showed that people preferred the following characteristics, in order:
    • Honest
    • Forward-looking
    • Competent
    • Inspiring
    • Intelligent
    • Fair-minded
    • Broad-minded
    • Supportive
    • Straightforward
    • Dependable
    • Cooperative
    • Determined
    • Imaginative
    • Ambitious
    • Courageous
    • Caring
    • Mature
    • Loyal
    • Self-controlled
    • Independent

    Even given that the people participating in this survey are of a different culture background and perhaps with a diverse set of expectations, don’t we all share the same thoughts and opinions expressed above regarding the characteristics we look for in people we want to lead us. Who can ‘encourage the heart’ (see aforementioned book) and win our trust?

    We all hope that the individuals voting next June the 5th are objective enough to choose wisely. It is not a question of selecting the ‘charismatic one’, or the ‘intelligent one’ or the ‘most popular one’, but of electing the leader-to-be-prime minister of the future.

    Eleanor Rigby [pseudonym, author’s name known to the Caretaker]

  101. Dear Godfrey, Thank you for your comments. Re hidden agenda, I do not see your point. I am not aware that Ms Dalli is actively considering the leadership role. If she is I apologise and wish her well. Re: how I see her deliveries on the media, that is my honest opinion. She may of course grow in media stature as her new responsibilities may add an extra sharpness to her step. Re her performance at the polls, I was only refering to her Zabbar performance. That is a labour stronghold and my impression is that she is queen there and so i was expecting that little bit extra. Just an opinion. Everything in life is relative and I may be totally wrong. RE: Lateral thinking, it takes much more than simply electing a leader because she is female to think outside from the box (or a young person just because he is young). Qualities need to be assessed in a specific relationship to the sofisticated demonisation process that any labour leader has to endure. A final note : If we start labelling every comment and opinion as one having a hidden agenda, we shall than all go mum and let silent perceptions lead the way. No one single opinion will make a difference. It will only be the collective view that will finally matter.

    Danny Attard

  102. I. Brown said

    Says Eleanor Rigby:

    “What is all this talk of a potential leader’s provenance? In a small island like ours, does being from any part of the country carry any weight when evaluating a leader, when choosing our next PM? I think our focus should lie elsewhere, must lie elsewhere.”

    Unfortunately, and I find myself going against my own roots – I will stress my point once again – Labour is weakest in the “northern” districts where there were oh-so-many disgruntled Nationalists who according to the legend, voted for Gonzfather and gave the 2, 3 and 4 to MLP candidates.

    The association of Labour with us poor, illiterate, troglodite southerners should stop there. I, for one, still consider the workers to be the salt of the earth, but Labour’s administration since Mintoff has refused to open up to the other social classes. I am talking about not just a change of leader, but about a change in the whole setup and mentality of the party. I’d go as far as becoming the Malta SocialDemocratic Party if need be.

    Alfred Sant was in for liberalisation of markets, in 2008, it’s hard to stay away from it. I also don’t think he really believed in his partnership option in 2003 – knowing the EU was really the only option we had. Unfortunately he articulated his mentality in a number of gaffes (eg so many factories will close down, the NO won the referendum etc) and that gave the MLP the tag of a retrograde, ignorant party that is dead set against any sort of progress. Even valid proposals the MLP was making were touted as stupid and were shot down by most people, think of the halving of the surcharge for example where suddenly everyone was saying it was not a “responsible measure” – I mean – haven’t our taxes filled enough of the state’s coffers??

    Yes, I frankly believe the image of the leader counts. One foul and you’re out; and MLP has made a bit too many fouls recently. Time to change, time to become a European Social Democratic party. Let’s take Sant’s reform of the party in the early years a further, more decisive step.

    I. Brown [pseudonym, author’s name known to the Caretaker]

  103. Dorothy Camilleri said

    As a woman I feel that we should be more represented in the future labour party. We constitute half (more according to the latest demographic reviews) of the electorate and therefore womans’ problems and indeed everyday’s problems should also be seen from a female perspective. Indeed, I agree that part of the leadership should also reflect this reality and female gender or not there are some women that have talents that they can give to the party. For example, I’ve heard that Marie Louise is interested in a top job, is this true? As a woman I encourage women like Louise to contest; she is still young and full of enthusiasm. Her past experience and knowhow, could serve the party well.

    Dorothy Camilleri

  104. Anne Borg said

    My name is Anne and I was born and bred in the north of Malta. I come from a politically open minded family that one would label a family of floating voters although both my mother and father come from strong traditional Nationalist stock. I turned 18 just a few days before the March elections and I could not vote. But I will be doing so in five years time and although I followed most of the political debate in the written and broadcast media I was not that deep into the subject. Now I am getting into the thick of it.

    Fisrst of all I feel that Labour did not loose the election, they gave a win to the Nationalist Party on a silver platter. Although Alfred Sant has to be thanked, admired and respected for his brave effort to keep up with a very strenuous campaign in spite of the fact that he had emerged from a very serious operation a few days before, I feel that the party machine let him down very badly. I am not going into any particular details where Labour’s campaign failed. One hopes that the Commission set up by the Party will identify these failures and hopefully also name who was responsible.

    However, being one not to cry over spilt milk and a natural born optimist I do believe that my future is in Labour’s hands. Another back to back Nationalist government can only breed more arrogance as we have seen with the announcement of Malta rejoining Partnership for Peace, more mismanagement of public funds and less control on sleaze and corruption.

    My trust in Labour lie in the fact that one of the contenders for its leadership is Dr. Joseph Muscat. I have been following Dr. Muscat’s weekly contributions in The Times and have learned a lot about his achievements as a Labour member of the European Parliament, particularly his ground breaking initiative to bring about the Euro roaming tariff for mobile phone users all over Europe amongst others. In his writing I also note a strong positive outlook and a far reaching vision about local and foreign issues that inspire faith and trust in a young person like myself.

    May I close with an appeal to the delegates or whoever is going to elect the leader of the Malta Labour Party. The decisions you make now will determine the future of the Labour Party. Dr Joseph Muscat is Labour’s hope.

    Anne Borg

  105. Anthony Zammit said

    Fost il-kritika li qed issir lill-Dr Joseph Muscat wara li habbar il-kandidatura tieghu ghat-tmexxija tal-Partit Laburista hija dik li huwa qrib wisq ta Dr. Alfred Sant. Irrid nghid li din il-kritka gejja l-aktar minn osservaturi politici genwini u mhumiex, minn barra il-Partit u ghaldaqstant ghandha tittiehed talli hi.

    Kemm hi valida din il-kritika? Jekk wiehed ihares lejn il-kandidati li diga habbru l-intenzjoni taghhom sabiex jikkontestaw il-hatra ta mexxej tal-Partit Laburista isib li:

    -Is-Sur Evarist Bartolo kien Ministru ta l-Edukazzjoni fil-Kabinett tal-Prim Ministru Dr. Alfred Sant bejn 1996 u 1998

    -Dr George Abela kien Deputat Mexxej ta Alfred Sant ghall-Affarijiet tal-Partit ghal 6 snin bejn 1992 u 1998, u

    -Dr Michael Falzon inhatar Deputat Mexxej tal-Partit Laburista ghall-Affarijiet tal-Partit fl-2003, pozizzjoni li ghadu jokkupa sal-llum.

    Sa fejn naf jien Dr. Joseph Muscat qatt ma okkupa karigi fil-Partit Laburista li poggewh f-livell ta decizjoni daqstant qrib Dr Sant.

    Kritika ohra hija dwar l-eta realattivament zghira ta Dr Muscat. Apparti l-fatt li il-maturita, is-serjeta u l-intelligenza ta`persuna adulta ma titkejjilx bl-eta, ta min wiehed isemmi politici bhal Felipe Gonzales, l-ex prim Minsitru ta` Spanja li ha it-tmexxija tal-Partit Socjalista Spanjol meta kellu 32 sena u sar Prim Ministru ta`40. Gonzales mexxa erbgha gvernijiet Socjalisti successivi fi Spanja bejn l-1982 u 1986.

    F’pajjizna Sir Ugo Mifsud kellu 35sena meta fl-1924 sar il-izghar Prim Ministru fl-Imperu Ingliz u l-Perit Duminku Mintoff sar mexxej tal-Partit Laburista ta 33 sena u Prim Ministru sitt snin wara meta kellu 39 sena.

    Jghidu x’jghidu il-kritici tal-Partit Laburista li qatt ma qalulna biex nahslu wiccna sabiex inkunu isbah minnhom, l-ghazla ghal-mexxej tal-Partit se tkun responsabbilta tad-delegati tal-Partit. Id-delegati iridu jiddeciedu dwar il-futur tal-Partit u jharsu fit-tul. Iridu jistaqsu lilhom infushom jekk iridux il-Partit jinbidel vizjoni gdida u b’idejat moderni . Iridu jistaqsu jekk il-partit ghandux bzonn strutturi godda sabiex jappella aktar lill-nies li jew tbieghdu minnu jew qatt ma ndenjaw jersqu lejh. Fl-ahhar mill-ahhar iridu jistaqsu lilhom infushom min mill-kandidati li ser jipprezentaw irwiehom ghall-hatra ta` Mexxej f’din l-elezzjoni probabbilment l-aktar krucjali fl-istorja tal-Partit Laburista, kapaci jikseb dawn il-bidliet. Fil-fehma tieghi it-twegiba ghal-dawn il-mistoqsijiet hija Dr Joseph Muscat, politiku zaghzugh, matur u intelligenti li ghadnu iz-zmien favur tieghu sabiex iwettaq program ta`titjib fil-Partit Laburista li jwasslu ghas-success elettorali misthoqq.

    Toni Zammit

  106. Godfrey Borg said

    Dear Danny,

    I welcome your reply since this should be the spirit in which communication and discussion on every subject should be carried out.
    In your input No 93, you were not quite fair since you only chose to comment on certain female candidates in spite of the fact that a lot of female candidates fared in a satifactory manner in the last election, especially Helena. In my book, the end result is what actually matters.Whether Helena is considering any leadership contest I do not know but I hope that you agree that it is her right, it is her choice and not mine. Basing on her result, one should seriously consider her capabilities and the positive effect that such a matter will have on the MLP image as a whole, if she actually showed such an interest. But let’s leave this issue for the moment.

    I do also agree that a lot of lateral thinking and thinking outside the box should be carried out when the delegates commence the choosing process of a leadership team.

    This time it HAS to be the right choice with the right attitudes. That is why we should engage in constructive discussions/inputs in order to help the delegates and/or the party members (if the party statute is amended), in their choice of the leadership team.


    Godfrey Borg

  107. danny attard said

    Dear Godfrey,

    Many thanks for your kind reply. Please note that my contribution no.93 was in direct response to 92 from Anna Maria who named the four candidates. Mine was an impromptu reaction to those suggested names. If you go over my previous contributions you will realise that I have mostly stayed with qualities that a leader male/female should ideally have. My only other direct comment referred to candidates coming in from the cold in respect of whom I have serious doubts (which i am willing to expand upon if the debate takes this turning) while I remain all ears to hear their case as with all the rest.

    Indeed as you say it is crucial that we get it right and in the coming weeks we must all start focusing on issues that will hopefully lead to the best possible decision, our only agenda being that of selecting a person who will lead the MLP to victory in the sole interest of our nation.



  108. Josanne said

    Hello everyone,

    As someone who is constantly on the look out for healthy, constructive online debate about Maltese politics I was pleasantly surprised to come across this blog. The arguments posted here are all very interesting, intelligent and give much food for thought. Above all, they are respectful to those who do not share the same opinion, something which I have found to be sorely lacking in cyberspace. If we are to mature as a nation when it comes to our “tribal” view of politics, and if we are to ever learn how to be open-minded even when someone criticises “our” party, this is the type of discussion which is needed.
    Well done to all concerned,

    Josanne Cassar

  109. I. Brown said

    Dear All

    linking to what Josanne has just posted, does anyone feel the “media ban” imposed by the Kummissjoni tal-Vigilanza is laughable? Is there an attempt at reforming the party or do these Stalinist traits (minjaf minn fejn gew!) really have to resurface again?

    Also, who is leading the party at the moment? Shouldn’t Jason Micallef and Michael Falzon, who will be contesting for the post of Secty. Gen. and leader respectively, resign from their roles?


    I. Brown (pseudonym, author’s name known to the Caretaker)

  110. Marie Abdilla said

    Hello Josanne,

    I always enjoy reading your articles. You’re one of the few sensible and unbiased commentators in the Independent. Such a relief after some of the other contributors in that paper especially Madame Gutter Press Loose Cannon whose name shall not be mentioned. Welcome to this Tazebao discussing the choice of the MLP Leader. Now that we have 4 contenders who have formally entered the race I’d like to hear your your thoughts and comments on each one. Thanks. marie abdilla.

  111. Anna Maria Callus said

    Of course Mr. Brown is ducking right! I don’t know if it is a recurring Stalinist trait, but whoever was responsible for the attempted and ultimately unenforceable “media ban” is a ducking idiot and should resign immediately! Ducking political dinosaurs! Duck off!

    Anna Maria Callus [Caretaker’s note: Watch your tongue Anna Maria or I’ll have to kick you out of this place! You are perfectly free to voice your view – a view many of us share in this particular case – but do so in a civilised manner, OK?]

  112. Zeppi said

    Viva Anna Maria! Viva Anna Maria!
    Hej! Hej! Hej!
    X’tahsbu kieku kellna nifthu zoo fil-foyer tac-Centru Nazzjonali Laburista il-Hamrun fejn nezibixxu id-dinozawri tal-Kummissjoni Vigilanza tal-Partit u niccargjaw 1 Ewro ir-ras lill-vizitaturi bla’ tessera tal-Partit, 2 Ewros lill-membri tesserati u regolarment imhallsa, 5 Ewros lid-delegati, 10 Ewros (iwa, 10)lill-membri ta’ l-Ezekuttiv u 100 (iwa, 100) lill-membri ta’ l-amministrazzjoni. Dhul b’risq il-kampanja elettorali 2013!

    Peppi ta’ Milorda a.k.a. Zeppi ta’ biz-zarbun (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  113. Josanne Cassar said

    Thanks Marie for your kind comments.
    Regarding the four contenders, based on what I have read and seen of them so far, here it goes:

    Joseph Muscat: to be honest when I first read his interviews in the print media he came across as too cocky, and even arrogant but when I saw him on bondiplus I changed that observation…he is definitely a good speaker, and rather than cocky he sounded self-assured and confident. I think with his last tongue in cheek comment when he told lou bondi that he might even make him change his mind, he showed he had a sense of humour (which is badly needed in our politicians). Which goes to show you should never just rely on what you read in the papers :)) He will help to attract the young vote, as well as the floating voter who may have come from a working class family and has gone on to tertiary education and needs to identify with someone who has done the same. I think a lot of ppl admire those who have achieved success in spite of not coming from a priviledged background. His EU experience has also given him a more worldly view, which is a plus. His youth might work against him with older voters who might feel he lacks experience. And of course there will be those who see him as being too big for his boots.

    Michael Falzon: he impressed people by staying on in the counting hall, which shows strength of character. Unfortunately on TV during his interview he came across poorly, I have a feelng that in order to come across as being more modest than J. Muscat, he went the other way, almost looking diffident and too self-effacing. It almost seemed like he has an inferiority complex. This in my view fails to inspire any ability in his leadership. He also lacks polish and this is a negative in today’s image conscious world.

    Evarist Bartolo: I have always liked Varist as a person, he is one of those people who just makes you feel comfortable in his presence. His easy smile helps immensely. As he himself has pointed out he is a moderate who is liked by traditional Nationalist voters, something which I have often heard from such voters myself. What I don’t understand however, in the light of the failings of the recent campaign, is why he is only now using his university contact with students and knowledge of the media (he has a support group on facebook) to find out what the young floating voter wants. Surely this should have been done before esp after that disastrous university debate when it was so obvious that Labour is out of touch with students. To some this might smack of opportunism. His close friendship with Sant is also already being used against him, which though unfair, is bound to happen…That’s politics.

    Marie Louise Coleiro: I have seen Marie Louise on TV and yes she is rough around the edges, and loses her temper easily (I still have an image of her scolding Paul Borg Olivier for interrupting her on Smash). However I must admit that she is the only one so far whose print interview convinced me that she is a firm believer in left-wing principles and is not ashamed to say so. With all the attention being spent on attracting the middle of the road voter, of trying to be “all things to everyone”, labour is in danger of losing its ethos. What will distinguish it from the Nat Party if it moves so close to the centre that they will be virtually the same? And if that happens, why bother changing at all?
    She was also the only one apparently who had the guts to call the Vigilance Board (an archiac notion which needs to be scrapped I agree)to vociferously protest about the media ban – and they listened to her.The others were a bit wishy washy in their protest.
    As for her gender – yes it’s an asset because it will be a first for Malta…but as Hillary is finding out, it will still be an uphill struggle to combat all the sexism inherent in politics.
    And as for the negatives: she will forever be branded as Old militant Labour in the eyes of many which will be used against her. For this reason, middle class and floating voters might still view her very warily bec she reminds them of a past they would rather forget.

    Josanne Cassar

  114. Alfred Calleja said

    Hey Zeppi!
    What are you up to? For a very long time the foyer at Labour’s “Centru Nazzjonali” served as an art gallery and scored a first for a political party who promoted new and promising local artists.

    I cannot accept and fail to find any reason in your unfounded attack on the Party’s Vigilance and Discipline Commission which was also a first in local political history to control and correct internal party affairs.Therefore, unless you express yourself in clearer language, I cannot understand the motives behind your puerile and senseless attack on this board.

    The Labour Party is passing through one of its most critical moments and it must defend itself against both internal selfish and external attacks from that large section of society that never allowed an inch of breathing space to the plight of the working class and its defenders.

    So please Peppi, buy yourself a good pair of walking shoes and take a hike! Before you hit the road just have a look around you and let me know if you honestly think that your dry humour can bring a smile to those people who were promised heaven on earth by a dishonest and shameless Nationalist election campaign but, with a wafer thin parliamentary majority can only be more arrogant, mismanage public funds and drown in a mess of unaccountability.

    C’mon Zeppi. Forget Labour’s Vigilance Board and a take more serious look at the mess our country has found itself in after so many years of incompetent and reckless Nationalist governance.
    Please do come up with some more positive proposals and a less prejudiced analysis of the present political situation.

    Alfred Calleja

  115. J. Borg said

    I have been following the discussion on this blog for the last few days. The level which has been reached on this blog is quite impressive, especially when one compares it to other blogs (such as Daphne’s). Anyway, I would like to comment regarding the bord tal-vigilanza and their media ban. I can’t understand why all this fuss, especially that coming from Net Tv & co, when the same thing happened when the nationalists were choosing their kap. Ideally the leadership hopefuls would have debates etc. on tv shows, including Malta’s own jerry springer show (an a la Maltija version of course). However in such debates it’s quite likely that the nominees end-up pointing out each other’s “weaknesses”. I’m sure that they are able to have more constructive debates…but so are Senators Clinton and Obama and yet they are doing the best favour they could do to their rival Party by telling the people why they shouldn’t choose the other candidate. I guess that the debate to choose Labour’s leader would not include bellow the belt comments as the one within the US Democrat Party, but you can never say. There’s also the problem that some of the hopefuls are more likely to get media attention than others. I’m already imagining George Abela being turned into some kind of superstar by Peppi, Net tv and all others who form part of the nationalist spin machine. This week we had the pleasure to have Alfred Mifsud telling us on Net tv how nice it would be to have George as leader. If they are to receive media expsoure, all of them should be given the same exposure. It would be a good idea to have interviews and so forth on some programme on One tv where the nominees could tell the general public what their plans for the Party are. But anyway, it’s so nice having Amanda Ciappara telling us that Labour should be more open and so on when Labour is just doing what the Party which employs her did when Gonzi was elected as kap (i.e. saviour of the nation).

    J. Borg

  116. Godfrey Borg said

    The most important thing at this moment in time is to try and stay calm and participate in a civilised and democratic discussion, urging the powers that be in the MLP, to actually let a fair and democratic election process between all candidates for the contests.
    Adopting such media bans has never helped any organisation in such contests.
    I am saying this out of experience because I was a victim of a similar ban imposed in the 2005 contest for the administration of another organisation, not to mention the scaremongering, labeled as a moderate and a nationalist , block votes etc etc. However,when one then analyses whether such tactics were beneficial to that organisation, the results are all there for everyone to check.
    That lesson of 2005 should serve us as a basis on whether such type of bans actually will help any organisation.

    What I am actually noticing is that valid persons seem to want to re-commence their active input to the party.
    So the candidates for the leadership must themselves ensure that their contest will be a clean, fair and democratic process, since whoever will be the winner, will certainly need all the help and cooperation from all the other contestants and other valid persons, in convincing the majority of the voting population that the party is actually what this nation really requires in its governance. There would be no-one who can claim that he was marginalised if every contestant is given all the same opportunities to air his views on what type of party and policies he wants to be adopted in future.
    It is a golden opportunity and I really hope that the party will not make a mess out of it. I had stated in 2005 that the left wing movement in Malta had only won an election when it had the best policies and when it was united. I am not proposing any wedding ( you know what I mean) but when there are other kinds of partnerships or cooperation in vigore between other organisations in Malta, why should we not also adopt such a type of cooperation if it will be beneficial to the nation’s interest.
    Therefore, it is time for the building of bridges. Therefore, the powers that be in all the left wing movements must commence such initiatives to start the healing process. As a first step, the full unhindered opening by the left wing media can actually help the delegates and/or the party members , if the party so decides, in deciding who is the best choice in the prevailing circumstances.

    I may be called a dreamer and I will accept that, but at least the above comments are based on good faith and hope, since I have always believed that if there is goodwill then there is space for good things to happen.

    Godfrey Borg

  117. Marie Abdilla said

    Anna Marie and Brown aren’t we forgetting something here! The idea of the so called “media ban” was started by PBS a.k.a. Net 2 and Net TV because their plans to have Joseph and Michael on Dissett fell through probably leading to a lose of revenue in advertising. Why must we keep falling into the trap of the PN’s spin! Why should our Party’s contenders fill the coffers of PBS? Why should we have the contenders going on PBS? It’s not like they need the exposure because they will be elected strictly by the delegates or at most the tesserati. Marie Louise gave a press conference which was carried on all the media outlets as should be, just as had the previous contenders. If there are more contenders who officially say that they are contesting I agree that they too should be given the opportunity to do the same but then that’s it! I believe that any debates, talks, or interviews should go on One TV and One TV alone – no Peppi circus, no Bondi, no Pierre Portelli, no Net TV 2. Min irid jarahom jarahom fuq One TV. Min ma jridx joqghod. Then after the Leader is chosen he/she will give as many interviews to everyone as they want. But only then. Mela immur inpaxxihom biex jaqbdu ma xi kelma biex isawtu lil kontestanti u lil MLP. Kemm se ndumu nhalluhom imexxu l-agenda taghhom min fuq dahrna! Stop being so naive!

    Marie Abdilla

  118. marie abdilla said

    Hi Josanne,

    Thanks for your comments. Very insightful. I find myself agreeing with a lot that you said on the contestants. Some comments that I don’t agree with are as follows.

    1. I don’t think that Joseph is too big for his boots and cocky. This is the image that PN and Madame Gutter Press are trying to give him but all those who have ever spoken with Joseph know that he’s a very down to earth guy and not stuck up or smarmy at all!

    2. Re Varist you say you can’t understand “why he is only now using his university contact with students and knowledge of the media” and that this might be preceived as opportunism. It isn’t opportunism at all but it seems pretty obvious NOW that the whole election campaign and Labour’s strategy was wholly and totally in the hands of the 2 Deputies, the Sec. General and the President to the TOTAL exclusion of everyone else. Very valid people like Varist, who could have contributed so much and made all the difference were sidelined and pushed aside.

    Thanks again for your input Josanne. So fellow Tazebao contributors, what says you to Josanne’s comments?

    Marie Abdilla

  119. maria vella said

    The process of selecting a new labour leader is an opportunity for One TV/radio to take the lead over other TV stations. This can be done by inviting jounalists to interview each of the contestants vigorously and with purpose. eg. Godfrey Grima, Josanne Cassar, (hi there!) Reno Bugeja and say Miriam Dalli with a brief to be searching and firm. Let each candidate earn her/his corn. Being soft with ‘our’ people will only make them mentally flabby. Let the party media be the first to be searching with ‘our own’ because in this way each individual may best tone one’s opinion.

    Maria Vella

  120. Jeanette Borg Abela said

    Hi, it’s been a while since I have had time to poke my nose in here. Proset! Now we are talking business! I am impressed by the quantity, the quality and the diversity of contributions to this blog – sorry, this tazebao – but more importantly by the spirit of tolerance and good will that reigns in here. What a contrast with that other post-election blog, Daphne Caruana Galizia’s Running Commentary! I suppose that Daphne and her friends, together with Labour’s own dinosaurs, is a pityful war wreck.

    I can hear the holy innocents amongst you ask: a wreck of which war? The long Maltese class war that began almost immediately after the Second World War and that saw, amongst others, the Götterdämmerung of the Strickland dynasty, the political extinction of fascist ancestors of today’s Nationalist Party, the rise and fall of George Borg Olivier, the fall of Paul Boffa and rise and fall of Dom Mintoff, the rise and fall of Archbishop Gonzi, the so-called political-religious war (with its ‘interdett’, the ‘mizbla’, the bells and the ‘sfafar’ to drown the voices of speakers at Labour’s meetings, the refusal – in confession – of absolution to children admitting they were members of the Brigata or simply for attending some MLP function or other), the Fenech Adami years and the poorly-veiled frustration of the would-have-beens (Ugo, Guido), the excesses of the 70s and 80s (the real history of which still is to be researched, written and reflected upon) with their victims and the hovering close to the edge of the cliff and civil war.

    That war has left deep scars and a few, but nevertheless festering, psychological wounds. It may be argued that the psychological and physical wounds inflicted on Labour in the 50s and 60s fuelled the anger of its rank and file in the 70s and 80s. This anger, in turn, led to the psychological and physical wounds inflicted on Nationalist supporters who then abundantly revenged themselves in the following twenty odd years. The psychological damage wrought by wars is well known.

    The wrecks that litter the former battlefields are not merely material but also psychological. Three years after EU accession, the effects are still with us. The shameful scenes I have been unfortunate enough to witness personally only a few weeks ago show this clearly…you have all certainly heard of screaming drunken young and not-so-young men and women hanging out of speeding honking cars waving animal entrails and wigs with one hand and the PN flag with the other. No, it wasn’t the PN’s own great unwashed, but evidently tfal tal-puliti.

    I was in the presence of three Northern Europeans – one of them driving – and we were caught in a carcade. My friends – who know Malta well and immediately decyphered the symbolism – were visibly upset and one, who later apologised, asked the rest if what we had just seen did not remind them of the revolting scenes of Somali mobs dragging the bodies of US soldiers through the streets after the so-called Battle of Mogadishu in 1993 (ta’ Black Hawk Down biex niftehmu).

    But the point is that scenes such as these and some of the stuff that I have seen on-line during this campaign and after it (of which Daphne’s blog is just another example) should also be seen as recurring effects of past historical situations. Yes, those kids’ behaviour and the venom you come across in some contributions to the press and in blogs, indicated that our psychological and cultural landscape is still littered with war wrecks…what worries me is that there might be unexploded ordinance still lying around.

    Jeanette Borg Abela

  121. Maria Vella said

    There is much to say about this most pungent editorial (see: Identity and social democratic values), yet I will focus telegraphically on a part of its backbone:
    What does the Labour Party stand for that makes it different from the NP: One can write volumes on this crucial theme, yet, if a brief suggestion is to be given, i dare suggest that the labour party judges its performance through the standard of living (both material and spiritual/cultural) enjoyed by the least member of society, knowing that this can only be achieved through the on-going success of all strata of society.
    The following extract from your leader, however, gives me cause for concern…
    ‘The person Labour will choose to lead it must be one with the intellectual competences necessary to confront these issues fearlessly, and to draw politically effective conclusions from this exercise. This is not an exercise that can be accomplished …by marketing and media executives, be they homespun amateurs or outsourced professionals’.
    I am worried you may be suggesting that it will be the intellectual competence of a leader that will shape vocation, strategy and implementation, and not a dynamic structure that benefits from modern scientific competences that will take stock of Maltese Society as it stands today and from there work towards the further development and enrichment of that society as a whole and as one made up of individuals.
    The Gonzi image has little to do with Gonzi himself, but it is carefully put together via scientific data obtained via misco and the array of other professionals. His speeches are carefully written were each word is diligently selected in response to perceptions.
    It is of course the duty of each party to shape the future of the nation with its vision and action. Yes, this takes generations to materialise and is ongoing. Yet five years are a blip in the history of a Nation, and if we are discussing the next five years, we need to acknowledge the important role that in-depth scientific support plays if Labour is to replace a decadent and tired party in Government. A labour leader needs to be humble to take on board vital inputs from professionals. I know this sounds cold and calculating, but that is the reality.
    We can not afford to face this Government during the next five wearing our Don Quixote armour.

    Maria Vella

  122. Dorothy Camilleri said

    The editorial makes very interesting reading. When the Nationalists lost the 1976 elections, they knew that the “sixties era” was over. They were not credible, and therefore they embarked on two strategies; one at portraying the Labour party as a violent party, and, on the other hand stealing the mattress (on which the elecorate slept) from the labour Party; then the Nationalists became populists, and yes a worker’s party. They knew that the large segment of the voters, that is the workers, who traditionally did not vote PN, had to be guided and to trust PN and therefore they promised that not only the welfare state started by MLP would remain, it would also be consolidated. This strategy, I think, was the mind of the priest politician Father Sarracino Inglott. The other strategy, that of violence, began with the entrapment of the “emotional” Labour that was provoked by the PN in responding to these provacations, with the labour party being seen as a violent party. This was brought about especially by a group of thugs, who served former MLP ministers (now some of them turned Nationalists) really well in their enterprenerial endevours! Karmenu was the MLP leader that PN dreamed off – someone who is honest, has an enormous heart, is just and truthful, but with no “makkekerija” and double standards like the PN leaders. The rest is history.
    So, what is to be done? MLP has to steal the mattress from the Nationalist Party, do a reality test of the values, and especially of the “wants” more than the “needs” of the larger sections of the Maltese electorate, and then win their consensus thereof.
    The new leader, must understand all this, and be willing to listen and see for himself what this big chunk of voters want, he should never, ever teach them how to have a social conscience: that is not their priority. He should listen and work on what he hears from them. That is the new reality that the new leader must face, this is the New Malta, in New Europe! Only a new intelligent face and mind has the potential to make the MLP(?) the party of the new upwardly mobile young generation.

    Dorothy Camilleri

  123. Well done. Just the right kind of question to be posed (see editorial: What’s behind your face, Mr. Would-be-leader). Congrats for setting up this blog – I hope it will be used properly as a forum for discussion that will lead to sound choices and a stronger Labour party -a stronger, wiser opposition for healthier politics.
    Jacques Rene Zammit

  124. Marie Abdilla said

    Hey Maria. Agree that that’s the way to go inviting guest journalist on One TV. I’d also suggest Saviour Balzan and Gerald Fenech.

    Jeanette, in 1987 though still young, I was spat at and insulted and the village in the south where I lived was submitted to a whole week when this ear bursting siren split the air 24/7 for 3 whole days. 1992, 1998, 2003 the carcades and so called celebrations were non the less savage and degrading and notwithstanding that EFA told us we were all ahwa Maltin his Konciljazzjoni Nazzjonali never materialized we Laburisti were considered to be Jaqq! and only worthy of their insults and jibs. Now living in the North the ultimate compliment (sic) that my neighbours think they can bestow on me is when they tell me that they would have never imagined that I’m a laburista and that the PN would be more suited to my lifestyle, which makes me want to puke or tell them to Duck off as Anna Maria would say.

    2008 was no different and anyone who believes Gonzi saying that he wants to be tal-Maltin kollha I say ditto! It’s just that the PN is between a rock and a hard wall and needs the MLP to be complacent so that they can govern with the thin majority they have. What we need is a leader with the balls to stand up to the PN and have them show us some respect. If they don’t respect us we won’t play ball. PFP was just the beginning. Issa naraw fuq President, speaker, Board Chairmen, PBS etc. In 1998 they gave us hell so why should Labour not give them a taste of their own medicine now. Mhux ta’ b’xejn kollha iridu lil George Abela so he can play nice and let them get on with their old ways! Marie Abdilla

  125. I. Brown said


    Nahseb li jekk il-Labour ser jibqa jaghlaq il-veduti tieghu ghal min ma jarax Super 1, ser ikollna problema manja u ma jkollniex gvern laburista sat-2029. Iktar facli li l-Inter jirbhu c-Champions League.

    Ma jistax l-MLP jibqa izolat u jippriedka biss lil dawk li diga jhaddnu l-mentalita laburista. L-MLP dejjem qata lura milli jirbah il-voti tal-floating voters. Jien issa xbajt nara l-istess fuq Super One: JPO, korruzzjoni, gholi tal-hajja; l-Ghada: JPO, korruzzjoni, gholi tal-hajja.

    Anke l-programmazzjoni ta’ One hija mmirata wisq lejn il-mara tad-dar (ebda dizrispett jew klassizmu: hija demografika) u ftit lejn iz-zghazagh u/jew dawk li jitkellmu bl-Ingliz biss. Ir-rebranding kien pass tajjeb izda mhux komplut.

    Il-bidla, il-bidu gdid ta’ l-MLP, ghandu jibda minnufih u jestendi sa l-gheruq.

    Nerga nghid li din il-bidla tista’ issir biss permezz tat-tmexxija ta’ bniedem li jaf il-mass medja sew, u jaf li l-medja jekk tipprova tigdmilha lsienha, ser tigdmek lura. Wasal iz-zmien li nregghu lura l-izball ta’ Sant li jehodha qatta bla habel kontra WE. Billi Bondi u Peppi Nazzjonjalisti? M’humiex l-uniku tnejn. Allura, il-Labour messu ma jkollux nies jiktbu fit-Times, ghax l-editur anti-MLP.

    Tuni mija bhal Varist.

    PS Nehhu dak il-bord tal-Vigilanza minn hemm. Mela qeghdin fi zmien il-Pravda!!!

    I. Brown

  126. Norma Mercieca said

    Don’t be offended but I would never ever have expected to come across a reflection on Maltese politics as mature and as deep as Jeanette Borg Abela’s excellent comment of April 6 in an apparently Labourite blog or in any other Labour-leaning means of communication. The same may be said for many, not all, of the other contributions to this e-tazebao. I say ‘apparently Labourite’ because it could very well be an Alternattiva trick to get themselves liked by Labour (in fact I have read several comments favourable towards a dialogue with Alternattiva notables). It could also be a cleverly camouflaged front of pale-blue Nationalists who want to embarass Gonzi into keeping his word about throughgoing changes in the PN and in its way of governing. Believe me there are many such Nationalist intellectuals who are overjoyed that Gonzi obtained such a shamefully slight majority on March 8. No, they are not traitors but proud Nationalists who think that it is Gonzi who has betrayed his party’s principles by making immoral compromises with a bunch of hypocrite crooks just to cling on to his primeministerial armchair. Norma Mercieca is not my real name, of course, nor am I going to tell this blog’s editor – the Caretaker as you call him or her – my real name. Too risky. If the editor doesn’t like, well then screw him or her…he/she is free not to publish it.

    Norma Mercieca (The Caretaker agrees, exceptionally, to publish this pseudonymous comment; readers be warned, you may not cite it as a precedent! Although we prefer signed comments, we do accept contributions by persons who prefer not to disclose their name to the public as long as they inform the Caretaker of this tazebao of their true identity)

  127. danny attard said

    Marie, you raise a very thorny issue that a new leader has to address (or may possibly ignore).

    Beyond clichés, being a Laburist under a nationalist Government carries its distinct disadvantages. Of course there are instances when a laburista will make his/her allegiance work for him/her, but by and large a person of Labour conviction can be in many ways disadvantaged. This also applies to non-PN persons and also to a spread of PN leaning persons too. (political leanings is very often only the excuse to justify discrimination)

    National reconciliation is therefore an IMPERATIVE, must happen NOW and must happen from bottom up (symbolic gestures like President issues etc are not enough). This requires a strong will as most of the people in pain live in the great big grey where discrimination can be as easily seen as it is easily explained away with a heqq and where the discriminated can be so easily ignored by both parties.

    Let us face it, a new labour leader can not look back and must exclusively work with eyes firmly on the enhancement of our institutions, fighting, for example, bureaucracy, not to reduce the need to fill one extra form or queue in one queue too many, but because bureaucracy is corruption’s best friend.

    REAL National Reconciliation happening NOW will make the life of a future Labour leader/PM that much easier, possibly for two main reasons:

    1. It will make it easier for her/him to offer some breathing space to this Government

    2. Can sleep easier with her/his conscience knowing that the past wrongs that have to be written off are in fact being partially redressed.

    Am I being too idealistic? I think so, I hope not.

    danny attard

  128. Amanda Busuttil said

    Hi all! It might interest you to know what they said yesterday 6th April about ‘Labour in labour’ on

    Quote “Even cooler […] is the new blog baby on wordpress. It’s called “Labour in Labour” and is all about the travails to choose a Labour leader.” They say that this tazebao could become “a good forum for open minded people to discuss, question and challenge what is being proposed by the political establishment. Keep an eye on this blog.”

    Amanda Busuttil

  129. danny attard said

    Hi Amanda, the jaccuse blog is perhaps the most esteemed and reputable long-standing ‘malta’ blog around. I discovered it a couple of days after the 8th. The qualities of the lawyer gentleman who moderates it (is that the word?) from his Luxembourg home are indeed admirable. His recommendations therefore carry singular weight.


  130. Omar Said said

    Lino Spiteri in today’s The Times of Malta floats the idea of an alliance between George Abela (as leader of the Labour Party) and Joseph Muscat (as deputy leader to start with). What this means in practice is that Lino Spiteri is asking Joseph Muscat to give way to George Abela and withdraw from the contest for leader of the Labour Party. Presumably it also means that when, and if, the delegates (or the party members) choose George Abela, the latter (by then the elected leader) will openly support Joseph Muscat’s candidature for deputy leader (which deputy leader? the one for parliamentary affairs or the one for party affairs? or will the new leader request the general conference to amend the statute and abolish one of the two posts of deputy leader to ‘streamline’ the party’s top management?). Is this what it means? And if so, what guarantees will Joseph Muscat have that, once safely elected, George Abela will openly support his candidature for deputy leader? Or does it mean that George Abela and Joseph Muscat would openly declare their alliance before the election of the party leader? In any case, what guarantee is there that the delegates (or party members) who would eagerly have voted for Joseph as leader will still want him as deputy leader? Taking liberties with Martin Luther King’s famous words: “I have a nightmare…I have a nightmare!”

    Omar Said

  131. Joanne Fenech said

    I cannot answer Omar Said’s many troubling questions and doubts about Lino Spiteri’s hypothesis of an Abela-Muscat ticket with Abela as senior and Muscat as Junior partner. All I know is that unless Joe Muscat withdraws from the race and actively backs George Abela as leader, George Abela doesn’t stand a chance. That is certain. What is certainly not certain is that once George Abela will have climbed on Joe’s young and capable shoulders to reach the top, he will in fact help the gallant (or naive) Joe to climb up too. So who stands to gain for certain from Spiteri’s proposal. George Abela? Certainly. Joseph Muscat? Not at all certainly. I too have a nightmare.

    Joanne Fenech

  132. Maurice Camilleri said

    Until Joseph Muscat made his bold statement that he is looking forward to be prime minister at 39, my opinion of Maltese politics and Maltese politicians was unprintable. His enthusiasm is inspiring. Thanks to him I decided that hope was justified. Now, there are some people who are going around whispering that he is too young to become Labour’s new leader and should let others, older, politicians do the job and accept a back seat post. In other words he is being accused of being too young. Well, I suppose that makes me guilty too. In fact even more so because I am 10 years younger than Joseph and I will be 29 when he becomes prime minister. To those who are telling Joseph to “pause for a reality check” (he is not realistic, they whisper) we supporters of Joseph say that we are four square behind him because we have taken a reality check and we don’t like the reality we see around us. With Joe there is hope.

    By the way, do you know who else was asked “to pause for a reality check” recently? The young Barack Obama. Go to and listen/watch Obama’s Yes We Can Music Video and read the moving speech/lyrics!
    We can, yes we can.

    Maurice Camilleri

  133. Eleanor Rigby said

    I have been following this leadership contest ever since there was word of it. So far, I’ve read all the contestants interviews on The Sunday Times, the last one being of Marie Louise Coleiro Preca. Normally I go through them carefully and pay particular attention to their personal ideologies, their proposals and long-term plans for the party and eventually for the country.

    Going through Marie Louise’s interview, I have to admit that I ended up disappointed by the time I finished reading it. High expectations? Maybe. Not only does MLCP fail to discuss her proposals for improving the party’s machinery and public/media image but she also comes across as being more with an eye on the past than with her gaze cast to the future. It pains me to say so as a woman because I was looking forward to having a ‘sister’ in the top post but the above-mentioned interview did nothing to me-did not inspire me in the least. I found no traces of vision or substance in her speech. She concludes the interview by exulting that she has been “the one to obtain the largest number of votes”. Ok. We give her that. Being elected on first count with 5,490 votes is no slight feat. Nevertheless, can we take the results of one district to be a cross-sectional representation of the voting public? I think not!

    If Marie Louise wants to appeal to the Labourites and the general public as being innovative, capable and worthy of running the party and in the future the state she’ll have to ‘aerate’ her ideas and listen to the dreams and interests not only of the grass-root supporters (who MLCP seems to be surrounded with) but to an increasing majority of upward mobile persons that is keen to see Labour re-invented to address their interests.

    Eleanor Rigby [pseudonym, author’s name known to the Caretaker]

  134. Tazebao Caretaker said

    Hi folks!

    Joe Muscat’s supporters are linking with pro-Obama bloggers in the US. Robert Vassallo posted this comment on Sharon Cobb’s blog. Referring to Obama’s Yes We Can Music Video, he wrote:

    “Hi! Great words! They pull you out of despair and give you hope. I am writing these words from Malta, where we are also embarking on a great adventure! The Labour Party (in opposition but with over 48% of valid votes at the last election, facing the Maltese equivalent of the Republicans who have been in government for almost 20 years) will soon choose a new leader. All the young (in age and at heart) in the Party are for Joseph Muscat, 34 years old. He has also been told “to pause to take a reality check”. But he’ll make it! He will be our candidate for prime minister at the next elections and with him we’ll win. We can, oh yes we can.”

    Posted by Robert Vassallo on April 7, 2008 5:34 PM at:

  135. Marvin Tonna said

    Dear all,
    unlike Omar Said and Joanne Fenech, I do not have nightmares. On the contrary, I have a dream…
    Marvin Tonna

  136. J. Borg said

    Dear Norma Mercieca,

    your comment, full with prejudice as it is, offends me as a labourite and as a rationally-thinking (at least I hope so) individual. I guess your comment reflects the kind of stereo-types which exist on labourites, especially in certain quarters. But than again, you might just be one of those folks who support PN just to show that they’ve got a “better” social status…low-self esteem? Probably. You mentioned “nationalist intellectuals”…the last time I checked, the list of people who could be given this label it included guys like Gentile. I do hope that the PN is not being inspired by such ideas.


  137. Maria Vella said

    I keep asking myself why a number of individuals, who in one way or subtle other lambasted labour during the election campaign, are going to such pains to convince all and sundry that not only is George Abela the best candidate to take the Labour Party forward, but that he is in fact the ONLY candidate who should be considered.

    I have, so far, come up with a list of 4 possible reasons:

    1. They could be honest in their recommendations. Convinced that the NP in Government is well past its sell-by date, they hanker for a ‘reliable’ party to take over. In Reliable they may read their ideal version of what the NP should be without the significant baggage that this party has accumulated over the past 20 years. In Dr Abela they may in fact see an ‘uncompromised’ version of a ‘compromised’ Gonzi (JPO, Giovanna etc etc etc) and therefore under Abela they may possibly stomach an alternanza that Malta so crucially needs. This reasoning, in my books, is sad because it will solidify Malta’s conservative characteristic (as underpinned by our ensuing libertarian sub-culture).

    2. They may be creating a platform from where they will immediately unleash their usual assault on a new labour leader. La mhux a Gonzi clone mela tal-klikka etc etc.

    3. Abela may truly be the best person for the job, and their support would automatically mean that Labour would not select their best option but one who will be an easier target. If this were the case I would have expected Dr Abela to come forward with strong reasons why he believes that the NP should be replaced by a Labour Party. His broadsides have for the past years been directed at Labour and continue to be so with his populist yet unworkable ‘tesserati’ idea that contrasts so glaringly with the way the NP are going about the task of electing their General Secretary. I find it difficult to understand how Abela expects to be elected Labour leader when his critical analysis of the NP is conspicuous by its absence.

    4. A strange version of a compromesso storico. Doubts exist that real power in Malta does not principally reside in the hands of the political class. The MEPA controversy may be an accidental corollary. The real owners of power can not risk having a ‘nonconformist’ leading a party in Government. Dr Sant may have fallen under this heading and so may Dr Muscat. They may acknowledge Malta’s desperate need for a change in Government that would ‘inter alia’ give some breathing space to 80,000 odd small spirits who have been breathing dust for a few years too many as the intellectual capacity of this class is becoming more refined by the day. They will not however permit this change unless the new leader is a ‘conformist’.

    One should not read too much into what I write. These are just a few notes in a work-in-progress thought process.

    Maria Vella

  138. Alfred Calleja said

    May I compliment Ms Jeanette Borg Abela for her revealing piece on political and class ‘warfare’ in Malta. Unfortunately, like Ms Borg Abela I was witness to the revolting behaviour of certain revellers ‘celebrating’ the Nationalist Party’s electoral victory last month. This was not a celebration. It was a pure and simple orgy of hate that puts 2008 European Malta to shame, The barbarians on the trucks were filled to the gills with venom against Alfred Sant in particular and the whole Labour Party in general.

    Do I find this surprising? Disgusting yes but surprising no. Just go back and consider the build up of the hate campaign mounted by Daphne Caruana Galizia against Alfred Sant first in her columns on the Thursday and Sunday editions of The Malta Independent and later with more vicious and base attacks on her blog. Caruana Galizia showed no kindness, prudence or restraint, not even when Dr Sant was recovering from a life threatening operation. What I am reproducing hereunder reflects the utter disgust Caruana Galizia’s poison pen provokes in decent citizens.
    Political opinion and respect
    by Anthony R. Girard
    I try to read most opinion columns in virtually all the English language newspapers. Now that the general election is drawing closer, I note that many political opinions are becoming more intense, more forceful, more direct and, at times, even offensive to both their political opponents as well as their readers.

    The serious illness that befell the Leader of the Opposition before Christmas has exposed more than ever before the underlying bitterness that the political divide has generated over the years in this country.

    Let it be said from the outset that I am no fan of Alfred Sant’s politics – in fact, I consider him to be the biggest liability the Labour Party has carried since 1998. However, the animosity, the venom and, at times, the deeply ingrained hatred that has been festering over the years has resulted in many people “forgetting themselves” and penning opinions that do them little credit, in particular when they should be showing at least respect even if they cannot find it in themselves to show sorrow or concern in times of personal and family trauma such as serious illness.

    I shall not enter into the merits or demerits of whether the Malta Labour Party should or should not have dealt with the media in the way that it did regarding information on Dr Sant’s illness; either way, the escalation of bad blood that has resulted from this sad and unfortunate situation is a serious and frightening reflection of our political maturity when one considers that we are (or should be) living in a Christian community. I have read similar features in the British tabloids, but there again, it is highly debatable whether Britain can still be considered as a Christian country.

    Here in Malta we have the MLP General Secretary reacting to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s uncalled for (pathetic, actually) snide remarks some months back about Dr Sant wearing a wig and his having undergone cosmetic surgery on his frontal features by insinuating that she has had a couple of “uplifts” herself.

    If either of these two high profile public figures aspires to impress, they are very much mistaken; indeed, I will go as far as to say that they do far more damage than good to the political ideals they so passionately believe in.

    Now a few words about the most bandied about and most misinterpreted phrase in journalism – Freedom of Expression.

    The one approach that is deadlier than the direct assassination of a person or one’s personality is the subtle approach and few are defter at this than Daphne Caruana Galizia.

    Her latest contribution “Hey Jese, thanks for the mammaries” (TMIS, 20 January) is a case in point.

    She starts off by dismissing Jason Micallef cynically and clinically in a casual, jokey manner; she then charges into Alfred Sant once again, but this time in a subtle, almost cruel way by systematically and intermittently reminding us of his medical condition but never failing to mention the dreaded word – cancer. Just in case you missed it, this was it:

    Para 1: (still digging at Jason Micallef)

    And so, confronted on Bondiplus with my column about Labour’s sad inadequacy in telling the country that its leader has cancer…

    Para 2:.. watching Jason make a pig’s dinner of explaining why we weren’t allowed to know that Alfred Sant has cancer…

    Para 3: Bondiplus tonight guys! They’re going to be invading our leader’s privacy and discussing his cancer…

    Para 4:… It was a bad mistake, because it showed precisely that, and no amount of make-up could conceal the ghastly pallor…

    (This I personally found absolutely shocking)

    Para 4:… Jason, the sidekick asked why Sant persists in the leadership of his party when he is fighting cancer…

    Para 4:… and an opposition leader who refuses to step down despite having cancer…

    Para 4:… most people would prefer not to have a prime minister with cancer…

    This is gutter journalism; no matter how much one despises one; no matter how much one has suffered under the opposite administration and, God knows, we, of a certain age and experience had suffered much under the Labour administration of the 1970s and 1980s, and we shall never forget!
    No matter how much we fail to forget, no matter what political allegiance we profess, I am sure that all people of goodwill know deep down that this is not the way to do “politics”.
    A friend with a sense of humour described Daphne’s blog as a sad corner in cyberspace where desperate men and women – who, respectively, can no longer get it up or are starved to sexual death by frigid husbands, and are both therefore dying for a decent romp between the sheets – scream their existential angst.

    However, the scream is not funny. It is the scream of an insecurity that results in shyness, paranoia or alternatively it may encourage compensatory behaviours such as arrogance aggression or bullying – a principle enshrined in the phrase “all bullies are cowards”

    And here I rest my case for the moment.
    Alfred Calleja

  139. Maria Vella said

    hi, any reason why subsequent postings have their comments off?

    Maria Vella

  140. Johann Agius said

    I give Joe Muscat’s performance on Dissett (TVM Tuesday 8 April) a mark of 80 to 90%. Michael Falzon 10 to 20%. X’tahsbu, l-ahwa?

    Johann Agius

  141. Tazebao Caretaker said

    Mary Vella’s question (No.139) is a good one. We are using a standard off-the-shelf blog format and have not yet succeeded in formatting it in such a ways as to collect all comments to all postings into the same place. We would like visitors to our tazebao to be able to read all comments ‘on the same wall’ as it were. Leaving all postings ‘on’ for comments led visitors to concentrate mainly on the latest one (thus ignoring earlier ones, although the debate on earlier themes was/is by no means exhausted) with a few ‘stragglers’ posting them on earlier ones (and being generally ignored – viewing statistics by page prove these – by most of the most recent vistors).

    Our final aim is to have a blog where all visitors can go through all postings (conveniently displayed in chronological order, latest first) and, if they so wish, comment on any one or on more than one posting in one central place for all to see conveniently. This will have the added advantage of not restricting comments to the themes treated in the postings, but to free the visitor to paste her/his views on the general subject we are all concerned without having to conform to the way we Caretakers have structured the conversation. In other words, dear Mary and all of you out there, please comment on any of the postings so far as well as on anything else related to Labour’s search for a new leader (which is also a search for new ideas and, possibly, for new political identities) and post your comment under whichever posting is ‘on’.

    By the way, we are also working on reversing the order in which your comments appear; as we approach the 150 mark, it is becoming tedious for you to scroll down to the latest one. This will soon be modified and you will be able to read the latest ones first. We will not delete any of the previous comments nor store them elsewhere (certainly not before we have a new leader); we would like visitors to our tazebao (a wall on which news and views can be pasted for all to read and react to, see comments 11 to 14) to be able to start with the latest and then walk back along the wall – as if along a stream of consciousness – to trace back the various strands of the various strings of the various arguments to their beginning. Yes, there is more to Labour than some of Super One’s mind-numbing products. But the ultimate point of it all is that…yes, we can!

    The Tazebao Caretaker

  142. maria vella said

    Many thanks Tazebao Caretaker. Sounds reasonable. Keep up the good work.

    Maria Vella

  143. stephen camilleri said

    I totaly agree with Johann Agius re Joseph Muscat’s performance on Dissett. He is very convincing and has a clear vision for the future.

    Stephen Camilleri

  144. Tac-Civil said


    Qed nibghatulkhom dan l-e-mail minn ufficcju tal-Gvern. M’hemmx ghalfejn tkunu tafu mil-liema Dipartiment jew Ministeru. Hawn gew qeghdin 4 Laburisti, 3 Nazzjonalisti u 1 jghid li hu bla partit. Imma t-tmienja kemm ahna qbilna li niehdu vot ghal min nippreferu li jkun leader tal-Partit Laburista. Ilkoll kemm ahna minbarra 1 rajna Dissett tat-Tlieta filghaxija u ghalhekk qbilna lkoll li dawk fostna li raw il-programm, nghatu marka kull wiehed minn 100 lil Joseph Muscat u lil Michael Falzon. Hawn huma ir-rizultati:

    Il-favorit ghal Mexxej tal-Labour:


    Apprezzament ta’ dawk li hadu sehem f’ Dissett tas-6 ta’ April:


    Votant Nru. 1: 10 %
    Votant Nru. 2: 20 %
    Votant Nru. 3: 25 %
    Votant Nru. 4: 20 %
    Votant Nru. 5: 40 %
    Votant Nru. 6: 35 %
    Votant Nru. 7: 40 %
    Medja: 27 %


    Votant Nru. 1: 75 %
    Votant Nru. 2: 60 %
    Votant Nru. 3: 90 %
    Votant Nru. 4: 70 %
    Votant Nru. 5: 85 %
    Votant Nru. 6: 100 %
    Votant Nru. 7: 50 %
    Medja: 76 %

    Ghall-informazzjoni taghkhom: qeghdin 3 irgiel u 5 nisa, eta’ medja 40 sena, 3 mis-South, 2 mill-parti tan-nofs ta’ Malta (Belt u l-Hamrun), 3 minn North.

    Tac-Civil [contributor’s name is known to Caretaker]

  145. Clive Fenech said

    Hi all!
    I one of the earlier comments (n.21) I had noted that when he announced his firm intention to contest the election for MLP leader, Joseph Muscat had said that he wanted to build a “movement that goes beyond the Labour Party itself and that includes all those with innovative and progressive ideas, all those who have the capacity and the initiative to carry out wealth-creating projects, and all those who are really fed up with the destruction of the environment!”
    Unfortunately this statement has not received any serious attention. One would have expected the phrase “a movement that goes beyond the Labour Party itself” to have at the very least raised a few eyebrows. Come on, raise your eyebrows and open your sleepy eyes, think about this!

    Clive Fenech

  146. J. Borg said

    I think that one places where the MLP has to work harder is Uni. However this is obviously not being done…Pulse are not even contesting the KSU elections and SDM will once more take over KSU, this time without even being contested by either Pulse or any other organisation. If the MLP wants to win the next general election it has to start working NOW. Uni is one place where the Party could and should be much more active. If Pulse are not able to be a voice of the left at Uni (they should be since they refused the MLP’s assistance, unlike SDM which is PN’s extension at Uni) a new organisation should be formed. We can no longer take things easily. We have to be efficient, hard hitting and organised. Even if Pulse had only a minimal chance of winning KSU, it shouldn’t have given up arms. Pulse should also be more active….for instance why didn’t Pulse mobilise people for the debate at Uni?…SDM did. MLP has to start working among ALL sectors of society, NOW.


  147. Joanne Fenech said

    The “chorus of cynics will become louder and more dissonant” as the Obama Yes We Can Song/Speech says. As expected they will insist that Joseph Muscat is too young to become leader of the Labour Party. Don’t let them fool you. The louder and more dissonant they become, the more determined we will become in our conviction that Joseph is the leader we need to take us from the bottom of the European league to a more dignified position in Europe. Link up to Joe’s European Parliament site:

    Joanne Fenech

  148. Merill said

    All this talk about Joseph Muscat’s age is distracting attention from at least three of the other contestants, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Evarist Bartolo and Michael Falzon. I am not mentioning George Abela because I think that it is evident that the “Joseph is too young” spin comes from the George Abela camp, and if you read the English language papers this is documented in black and white.

    This spin has two goals. The first goal is to put pressure on Joseph Muscat to surrender to George Abela before the actual election day hoping that Abela will then back him for a number two position. The second goal is to exclude Marie Louise, Bartolo and Falzon by presenting the Abela-Muscat ticket as the ‘inevitable’ leadership team.

    Falzon has not helped himself much by declaring that for him it’s either leader or nothing. Marie Louise and Bartolo have been more cautious. Of the two, I think that Evarist Bartolo has more, much more, to offer. Bartolo, however, is not asserting himself at all and, if my reading of the tea leaves on the bottom of my empty cup does not entirely mislead me, in the next two weeks he risks being completely overshadowed by George Abela. Abela will try to bulldoze his way into the heart of the Party delegates. The main victim, the only I care for of the three that have already fallen behind in this tough marathon (Falzon, Bartolo and Coleiro Preca) will be Evarist Bartolo.

    But not all is lost yet. Bartolo needs a strategy with clear objectives and a clear Plan B. If he already has them, then they are not visible. I can see Bartolo and Muscat working well together. What do you think?

    Merill [author’s identity is known to the Caretaker]

  149. Amanda Busuttil said

    Just read Merill’s comment. Methinks he writes off Marie Louise Coleiro Preca a trifle too easily, don’t you? For sure Evarist Bartolo has a lot to offer (I remember him from my student days…why are you laughing, that’s not that many years ago) but we should have a woman in the team. As far as I know, Marie Louise never said she would not work with Joseph Muscat if he got elected a leader. Nor did Joseph exclude working with Marie Louise. What do you think?

    Amanda Busuttil

  150. Suldat ta' l-azzar said

    Ma naqbel xejn ma’ Merill meta jeskludi lil Michael Falzon ghal kollox mit-tigrija, isu Michael digja spicca barra. Michael huwa l-uniku wiehed li jaf jitkellem lill-poplu tal-Labour. Fil-fatt huwa l-uniku wiehed li ma ghadx idur mal-lewza. Jekk ma jintghazilx bhala leader mhux lest jahdem taht iehor jew ohra. Jew leader jew xejn. Hekk jitkellmu is-suldati ta’ l-azzar.

    Suldat ta’ l-azzar [author’s identity is known to the Caretaker]

  151. Zeppi said

    Viva il-kannoli! Viva il-kannoli!
    Hej! Hej! Hej!
    Tajba ta’ Benigni! Proset! Hemm xniegha li Roberto staqsa lil xi hbieb Maltin jekk hemm xi kontroversja attwali li jista jsemmi waqt l-ispettaklu Dantesk li ser itella’ l-Universita’. Jinghad li l-Ministru ta’ l-Edukazzjoni, l-Onorevoli Dolores Cristina nkwitata ma jmurx Benigni jghamel xi wahda minn tieghu…nghidu ahna jitfa’ xi botta dwar fl-liema taqsima ta’ l-Infern jinstabu dawk il-politikanti li jispekulaw fl-artijet klassifikati ODZ.

    Peppi ta’ Milorda a.k.a. Zeppi ta’ biz-zarbun (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  152. Alfred Calleja said

    I have just finished reading Alfred Mifsud’s weekly dose of Friday wisdom in The Independent and quite frankly I am seriously confused. In his piece titled “Ask the Client” Mr Mifsud informed us that he took the trouble and the expense to run a 400 sample survey about the preferences for the next leader of the Malta Labour Party.

    Alfred Mifsud is a respected financial consultant. He is also generally a well balanced opinionist and when he publicly endorsed George Abela’s candidature for the MLP leadership he was hailed as “kingmaker” in a section of the local press. Alfred Mifsud, a former Labour candidate, is now back in the Party as a member. In his above mentioned article he wrote the word “machinery” seven times to stress his unfounded allegation that Joseph Muscat’s candidature is being pushed by the powers that be at the Milend.

    In my book a person so fond of the word “machinery” could be either a “machinist” or an expert in “machinations”. If this is the case, then Mr Mifsud must have two more hats to wear. And this is where I was asking myself “How many hats does a man need?”

    Alfred Calleja

  153. J. Borg said

    Suldat ta’l-azzar (comment 150)…ma naqbel xejn mieghek li Falzon hu l’uniku wiehed li jaf ikellem lill-poplu laburista. L-ewwel haga hemm tipi differenti ta’nies li jidentifikaw ruhom mal-MLP u allura trid issib mexxej li kemm jista jkun jigbed lejh kemm jista jkun individwi li jiffurmaw l-MLP kif ukoll nies li m’humiex laburisti izda li hemm bzonn nigbduhom lejna…b’taghna f’taghna biss mhux ha nirbhu. It-tieni haga ma nahsibx li l-istil li kien juza Falzon waqt il-meetings kien apprezzat minn hafna laburisti…meta kien hemm il-meeting ta nhar il-hamis, l-ahhar wiehed, fil-Luxol mort. Wahda mir-ragunijiet li mort kienet biex ninnota r-reazzjoni tan-nies ghal-kelliema differenti. Waqt id-diskors ta’ Falzon ma qadtx f’post wiehed u smajt diversi persuni jghaddu kummenti negativi dwar id-diskors ta’ Falzon. Nemmen li Falzon ghandu potenzjal qawwi hafna biex jorganizza (organisational skills) izda ma nahsibx li hu l-bniedem adatt bhala mexxej tal-MLP, specjalment fi zmien li fih il-partit irid jigbed lejh nies moderati (floaters). Minhabba certi pregudizzji li jezistu kontra l-MLP u l-laburisti, nahseb li hemm bzonn li l-MLP jinghata image ta’partit iktar raffinat. Huwa vera li f’din l-elezzjoni kellna c-cans naraw kif il-PN muhwiex xi partit ta’ l-aktar nies raffinati ta’ Malta (laqgha ta’Gonzi f’hal Qormi, l-universita etc etc) imma madanakollu l-MLP ghandu bzonn jahdem iktar fuq l-image, nerga nirrepeti, minhabba certi pregudizji u stereotipi li jezistu. Nahseb li jekk il-partit ikun iridu jaghmel kampanja ta’ PR professjonali (xi haga li l-MLP ghandu bzonnha) ikun difficli li Falzon jinghata image li biha l-MLP jnaqqas mill-istereotipi li jezistu. Ghalkemm ma nahsibx li Falzon hu addattat ghal-kariga ta’mexxej, nahseb li tkun hasra jekk Falzon, f’kaz li ma jintghazilx bhala Mexxej, jibda jikkontribwixxi inqas lejn l-MLP. Falzon ghandu potenzjal qawwi biex ikun parti mill-magna li torganizza l-partit kif ukoll ghandu l-vantagg (li ftit nies ghandhom) li kapaci jikkonvinci lin-nies meta jkun qed jitkellem wicc imb’wicc mal-persuna. Nahseb li dawn iz-zewg kapacitajiet ta’ Falzon ghandhom jigu uzati mil-MLP, dment li Falzon ikun lest li jkompli jahdem ghall-MLP.

    J. Borg

  154. Paul Borg said

    Benigni? Many Maltese rightwingers are going to applaud him, because Malta is full of contradictions. Can a person be a Nationalist supporter in Malta and a left of centre in Italy? A Labour supporter in the UK and a Nationalist in Malta? Can we blame this to the fact that the “crema di cannolo” turns sour in these hot latitudes? Any suggestions?. By the way, will the local intellectuals (mainly priests and ex priests) be present in the front row to hear and see Benigni? Will Pullicino Orlando be present in the front row as well? Will he cry when Benigni starts posting corrupt politicians and speculators to the last level of hades?

    Paul Borg

  155. Philip Camillleri said

    Don’t be surprised that most nationalists present at Benigni’s concert will occupy the front seats to be seen. I am sure that most of them know nothing about him, but still they will try to be seen with him. I bet most of the tickets will be complimentary given out to friends.

    Philip Camilleri

  156. linda said

    RE Eleanor Rigby.

    I agree, I think there is a lot of hype surrounding Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, especially regarding the number of votes she got. I read elsewhere that in 1998 she contested on two districts and was one of the first to be eliminated on one of them, as she managed to garner only a few votes. In this election, we have had for the first time ever two women elected on two districts each. It’s the first time that we are holding casual elections for seats made available by female candidates. What’s more they both competed on districts where there was a list of long candidates on each district unlike the shorter list on Ms Coleiro’s district. Just thought I should point this out as nobody seems to have brought the subject up.


  157. Marie Abdilla said

    Merill (comment 148) I agree with a lot of what you said. “Too young” spin re Joseph comes from George Abela because he’ll be 65 in 2013 (BTW – criticism from the George Abela faction that Joseph lacks the maturity and experience of the executive is rich coming from Abela because he never held any executive position and was just an advisor in the 1996 MLP Government whereas Joseph is an MEP!). I also agree that the George Abela faction are trying to get Joseph to give up the Leadership for George and then be his deputy but it ain’t gonna happen ghax Joseph mhux bahhnan u mhux se jhalli lil George jirkeb fuq il-popolarita’ tieghu.

    Joseph and Evarist are my dream team! Evarist is a visionary, an intellectual and with the executive experience that Joseph would need to back him up as Leader. Like you Merill I think that it would be a great pity if Var falls by the wayside. Ejja Var qum naqra fuq tieghek u haddem kampanja iktar aggressiva. I’d hate to lose you or see someone less deserving and less of an asset to the Party as Deputy.

    Marie Abdilla

  158. Marie Abdilla said

    Suldat tal-azzar (comment 150), ahna mhux nies “li jafu ikellmu lill poplu tal-Labour” bhal ma qieghed tghid int li hu Michael ghandna bzonn imma nies bhal Joseph u Varist li jafu jigbdu lil nies li bhalissa ma humiex tal-Labour. B’hekk biss nistghu nirbhu l-elezzjonijiet. Mhux bl-ghajjat ta’ “Ljuni tal-Bidla”!!!!

    Marie Abdilla

  159. Alfred Calleja said

    May I thank Paul Borg for introducing Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando’s name to this blog. You gave me the opportunity to thank Dr Gonzi for appointing Mr Pullicino Orlando as head of the Maltese parliamentary delegation for a Council of Europe Meeting on abortion. There could not have been a better choice. Dr Pullicino Orlando can now explain to our European friends how he was forced to abort his plans to ruin Mistra Bay. Good one Dr Gonzi!
    Alfred Calleja

  160. Marco Grech said

    Unless Labour changes its image, that is the perception of what it is and what it stands for in the eyes of a sizeable majority of the electorate, it will never be electable. This might might also mean that it will eventually have to change its name. The new leader must know his party’s market. He must get to know what his consumers want, especially those that make up the largest and most profitable chunk of the market.

    In 2013 Malta will be a different island in a different world. Please don’t give us a menu full of eurosceptics, gays, divorce, abortion, reforms, new beginning, single mothers, unemployed, drydock workers, hardcore socialists and un-professional people in the administration. We live in a world of make-believe in which image is everthing and reality can be changed. Am I a cynic? Yes, but we do, after all, live in a cynical island. The new leader has to listen more and talk less. He should do what people want him to do. That’s the only way forward. This is my suggestion. Do you agree?

    Marco Grech

  161. Carmel Galea said

    Solidarjeta’ ma Gavin Gulia!

    In-Nazzjonalisti, biex minghalihom ihawdu lill-Laburisti li bhalissa huma impenjati jirreflettu dwar il-process ta’ ghazla ta’ mexxej gdid biex jwassalhom fil-gvern malli Gonzi isejjah elezzjoni generali (li jista’ jkun qabel hames snin minhabba li dan il-gvern ghandu biss maggoranza ta’ siggu wiehed fil-parlament), issa daru ghal-habib taghna Gavin Gulia. Keith Micallef tal-gazzetta online Nazzjonalista il-bierah 12 ta’ April, ikkritika lil Gavin talli dan iddecieda li jikkontesta l-elezzjoni każwali. Is-sur Micallef spinnja storja biex jorbot l-ghazla ta’ Gavin mal-kontest ghal-deputati mexxejja tal-partit u allega intricci u komplotti.

    L-avvukat Gulia, li ghandu 45 sena, kien “ġie approvat mill-Eżekuttiv Nazzjonali tal-Malta Labour Party bħala kandidat prospettiv ghall-Elezzjoni Ġenerali ta’ l-1996 fuq is-sitta w s-seba’ distrett. Huwa kkontesta l-elezzjonijiet ġenerali tal-1996, tal-1998 u tal-2003 u ġie elett tlett darbiet infila. Fl-1996 inħatar Segretarju Parlamentari għas-Self Employed u f’ Jannar 1998 il-Prim Ministru Dr. Alfred Sant ħatar lill-Avukat Gulia, dak iż-żmien 32 sena, Ministru tal-Ġustizzja, responsabbli għall-Uffiċċju ta’ l-Avukat Ġenerali, il-Qrati tal-Ġustizzja, in-Nutar tal-Gvern, ir-Reġistru Pubbliku u r-Reġistru ta’ l-Artijiet. L-Avukat Gulia kien l-iżgħar Segretarju Parlamentari u Ministru tal-Ġustizzja f’kull żmien.” (ara il-website ta’ Gavin fuq

    Gavin Gulia huwa politku validissimu. Fl-opinjoni tieghi, wiehed mill-ahjar deputati Laburisti waqt il-legislaturi 1996, 1998 u 2003. Hasra li ma telghax fl-elezzjoni tat-8 ta’ Marzu. Il-partit ghandu bzonn nies bhalu, issa aktar minn qatt qabel.

    Carmel Galea

  162. Caretaker said

    We are publishing in its entirety a press statement issued on April 8, 2008, by the MLP’s Electoral Commission.

    The Caretaker of this Tazebao.

    Stqarrija ghall-istampa mill-Kummissjoni Elettorali tal-Partit Laburista

    Il-Kummissjoni Elettorali tal-Partit Laburista tavza illi ghall-elezzjonijiet tal-5 u tat-12 ta’ Gunju 2008 ghall-hatra tat-tmexxija tal-Partit Laburista, jistghu jitfghu n-nomini taghhom dawk il-persuni kollha li hallsu l-menswalita tal-Partit Laburista sa’ l-ahhar ta’ Gunju 2007. Dawn il-kundizzjonijiet japplikaw ukoll ghall-proponent u ghas-sekondant ta’ kull nomina ghall-istess elezzjonijiet tat-tmexxija tal-Partit Laburista tal-5 u tat-12 ta’ Gunju 2008.

    Ghal dan il-ghan il-Kummissjoni Elettorali tavza li hejjiet terms of reference kif approvati mill-Ezekuttiv Nazzjonali tal-Partit Laburista u japplikaw ghall-hatra tat-tmexxija tal-Partit Laburista tal-5 u tat-12 ta’ Gunju 2008. Il-Kummissjoni Elettorali tavza li dawn it-terms of reference jistghu jingabru minn dawk kollha interessati waqt il-hin ta’ l-ufficcju mic-Centru Nazzjonali Laburista, mill-ufficcju tal-istess Kummissjoni Elettorali.

    Joe Falzon
    Chairman Kummissjoni Elettorali
    Partit Laburista

  163. Marie Abdilla said

    Solidarjeta ma Gavin. Was disappointed Gavin wasn’t re-elected. Hallihom iparlaw fil-vojt lin-Nazzjonalisti. Gavin Gulia bniedem ta stoffa. So glad li tefa n-nomina u nispera li jirnexxilu jitla bil-casual elections. Awguri Gavin!
    Marie Abdilla

  164. Karin Vella said

    Why is the fact that Zapatero appointed a thirty-something gender equality minister appearing on this tazebao which, we are constantly told, is about electing the Labour leader? What’s the big deal? Malta had a gender-equality junior minister in the prime minister’s office, of the same age as the Spanish minister, way back 12 years ago. Tajjeb li nsemmuhom dawn l-affarijiet. Iz-zghazagh fil-partit minn dejjem kienu.

    Karin Vella

  165. harloc said

    It is a pity that I got to know about this blog only now through the Malta Independent, as I would have surely commented on most of the above blogs. I do not know your role within the party, but I am just a member and hope that my comments are almost independent though I have my preferences.

    First I would like to start by saying that though it is good to comment on such a contest, I do not think that the same comments were recorded on the net when Gonzi was chosen and PN leader. So please let us be fair and when criticising, let us not give our opponents things to use against our own party. For me this is the gravest thing that is happening at the moment…….criticising our own party structures and people in front of all the media. And then guess what….only what is good for them to report as a U-turn or scandal is used in the reports.

    Now back to the leadership issue. In the weeks before the election it was clear that the winner of the election would have won with a few marginal votes. I had sensed it and it was only the die-hards who listen only to their party radio station and read the party’s newspaper thought that their party would have won with a high number of votes. It was evident that the way the labour campaign was being led, left a lot to be desired whereas the PN campaign was more thoughtful and organised. The lack of voting on traditional PN districts also lead the MLP followers to believe that the election was won. And then after a Sunday full of heart breaking things, the official results were out and the PN win declared. I do not consider myself a prophet, but I had guessed the results of the elections for the last 4 times at least. Yes I knew labour would win in 96 and lost in 98, 2003 and even 2008. The reason is that if during the day you spend your time with a mix of people and read and listen to different political views, you will feel who is more appealing to the other. And I think that this is one of the things the party currently lacks. It seems that the party is full of yes-men that are only there to say yes to what their leaders say.

    This has happened in the decision of the 1998 election whereby the delegates voted for an election and lost the best 5 years for new labour government. The same happened for the decision on EU. I am not in favour of EU membership, but despite having some manufacturing companies closing down, other opportunities emerged especially in services industry such as financial and IT sectors, that are very promising. Back to my argument, the party should have commissioned and published reports on EU membership and then try and make the most of it and better that the PN administration. Instead we opted to say an outright ‘NO’. What happened was that we lost a referendum (yes lost) and lost the election thereafter. All this because the leadership, or the persons in the leadership said that it was not good to join.

    Then we had the biggest YES SIR in the history of the party….the re-election of Alfred Sant as leader. Not to discredit Alfred Sant. But after the failures and issues created in the 2 years in office, in my opinion he should have resigned for good. But again the people in the leadership of the party made sure that the delegates pitied Alfred Sant and voted again to see that he becomes leader. A decision that cost us as a party another five years of opposition after the election of last March 8th.

    In my opinion, this spider web in the party leadership should now be removed. The faction that is backing the Alfred Sant people should be removed. The people who 5 years ago convinced the party delegates to vote for Alfred Sant should stop playing this game in this leadership contest and await for the right decision of the delegates. Even though I have to admit that the party delegates need to be more mature on their decisions and decide wisely and not on what the party leadership says. All people have a mind to think independently and without being influenced….and now is the time for the delegates to use it.

    They have to use it when they see awkward moves within the party structures and within the party media. For example, it is still not understandable how the most favourite Super One TV program had problems while the Joseph Muscat interview on TVM program Dissett, and then when he had finished, the program continued. Hope this was really a problem and not a way to allow the party delegates to watch Joseph Muscat and not Michael Falzon. I am sure that next Tuesday, there will not be a similar problem. BTW, this had never occurred before during the program Giselle. Hope that ‘4 People’ can explain for real what had happened and eliminate these doubts.

    As I said, the people in the higher positions in the party should now remain independent and let this contest be performed on equal grounds for all to allow the people who will be deciding to choose, hopefully, the best leader that will lead the party to the next election.


    (Caretaker’s note: contributors may use a pseudonym but are cordially invited to inform the Caretaker of their real identity. This is, however, a gentle request and not a condition for publication. In this particular case, the Caretaker does not know who the contributor, Harloc, is. The allegation made in the paragraph before the last, regarding Giselle on Super One TV, is so serious that we would have been justified to refuse to publish Harloc’s comment without knowing who he is. We decided to go ahead and publish as a gesture of good will towards those visitors who do not trust us enough yet. We are confident that over time they will. By the way, not one of the eight friends managing this site has any role in the Malta Labour Party.)

  166. Zeppi said

    Viva Zapatero! Viva Zapatero!
    Hej! Hej! Hej!
    Bibiana isbah minn Joseph!

    Peppi ta’ Milorda a.k.a. Zeppi ta’ biz-zarbun (Author’s real name is known to Caretaker)

  167. danny attard said

    May I reflect for a short while on Zapatero who led his party into Government at the age of 43. He did not sit on the fence of Spain’s psyche once gripped by religious conservatism.

    One of his first acts as prime minister was to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq. He has pushed to legalize gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples, reduce the role of religion in schools, grant more political power to Spain’s provinces and better integrate immigrants.

    Coming across as a person of dialogue and consensus, he managed to drive home the importance of plurality. Mr. Zapatero now heads into a second term with a stronger mandate.

    Anything we may take up from the Zapatero experience that can be brought to work for the betterment of our society?

    On the home front, a labour party leadership team must have energy, intellect, experience, purpose, delivery capabilities, appeal…something to sleep upon … Joe Muscat, MLCP (parliament), Evarist (party, get those communication skills working where they matter), George Abela (Secretary General, should be ideal for the job, proving that he is willing to work for his values in a united party and is not on a leader-or-bust strategy)…

    Danny Attard

  168. Alfred Calleja said

    Hey Harloc, have a look at this:

    Gizelle directors, ONE TV outrightly dismiss PN allegations team Thu, 10 April 2008

    ONE Productions and Four People, producers of Malta’s most viewed teleseries Gizelle, have dismissed unfounded allegations by the Nationalist media on Thursday evening.

    The PN spun a story on Thursday on how ONE Productions stopped Gizelle because of “technical problems” so that viewers switch to the national TV station to watch a particular leadership contestant being interviewed. They alleged that the “technical problems” were reversed and Gizelle went back on air as soon as another contestant started being interviewed during the same programme.

    “The board of directors of ONE Productions and the Directors of Four People outrightly dismiss the allegations on the Nationalist media that there was some sort of manoeuvring in ONE TV’s schedule to favour one candidate or another in the Labour leadership race,” said the statement.

    Meanwhile, Carlos Debattista, director of Four People, thanked the thousands of viewers who watch Gizelle and at the same time expressed their disappointment on how a section of the media tried to capitalise on their professional work in drama to influence the electoral process within a particular political party.

    “What happened on Tuesday was nothing more than a technical hitch. Despite all our efforts to fix the problem in time to air Gizelle according to schedule, we did not manage. So much so that we excused ourselves and explained the situation to the viewers live on the same day and time,” said Mr Debattista.

    The statement was signed jointly by Dr Michael Vella Haber and Tony Sultana on behalf of ONE Productions and Carlos Debattista on behalf of Four People”.
    Are you seeing things a little bit clearer now?

    Alfred Calleja

  169. harloc said

    Guess it is my turn to reply.

    Caretaker. I cannot give my name and surname for the simple reason that for the last 20 years under the PN administration I have had enough of not being promoted because of my political beliefs. Unfortunatelyy, there are only a few people with my name and surname in Malta and hence I am easily recognizable. Despite having sold the company that I am employed with, we Labourites are still suffering because of the PN supporters that have dominated the highest positions in the same company.

    Now to the issue of Gizelle. Believe, I think it is too good to be true. I definitely did not like the way the issue was handled. If the issue was so technical, than they should not have aired the second part and postpone it to the next week. I am sure that Super One would not have had any issues with such an idea.

    The thing is that the election of the MLP leader is so important for everyone even the PN. Despite this, the communications media that gave it less exposure were the MLP media including the newspaper. All the others organised multitudes of programs and services on the issue. But no, Super One has other more important programs. Even Vici Versa has not done anything yet on the issue. So please do not come and tell me that the people managing the party and the media are not involved in such things. Please remember the anonymous letters in the last leader’s election and the same type of letters on people in the current party leadership.

    Come on and let us look forward on the issue and see that the selection of the party leader is fair and in the interest of the party and the country. The MLP has to win the next election and cannot be the party of THE opposition. As I have mentioned earlier, let us not influence the party delegates and hope that they choose wisely. They have to choose without the media influence and choose someone that really has the party at heart. Someone who gave a lot to the party and worked hard in the interest of the party. Someone who in whatever role he had in the party he was a leader and has always done everything in the interest of the party despite of issues that have occurred during the Alfred Sant administration. Someone who is not going to continue on the Alfred Sant administration and someone that will introduce a new way the party will function.

    This person is to be mature and knowledgeable of how the party works internally and is willing to take a stand when required. For me the most important is that s/he will not continue on the same work of the current administration.

    What I am writing is in the interest of the party and I am just a member that sees most of the time how the party looks from outside and from the lens of the average citizen. Please act intelligently and let us discuss the party leadership and not who I am and what others said. Let us be mature and accept constructive criticism that makes sense. This is another factor for which the party lost the election….afraid of criticism and not being ready to discuss issues and win the discussion.

    In order not to remain totally anonymous I will sign with my initals.

    BC (a.k.a. Harloc)

  170. Amanda Busuttil said

    Karin (her comment 164 refers),

    you are missing the wood for the (one) tree. The point is not whether our own parliamentary secretary for gender equality in 96-98 was younger than the 31 year old woman appointed as minister for equality yesterday by Zapatero in Spain. The point is that a majority of ministers in Zapatero’s cabinet (if you exclude him, 50% if you include him)are women. If you add that to the PSOE’s programme of reforms (see Danny Attard’s comment 167), you will appreciate the profoundly innovative and truly democratic nature of Zapatero’s government, now in its second term.

    You also ask what this has to do with our discussion on the choice of a leader. Again you miss the wood for another (one) tree. Choosing a leader is also, indeed it is mainly, about visions for the future. That vision must finally include a great leap forward for women. I will not beat about the bush Karin. Let’s call a spade a spade. I am now more than ever convinced that Joseph Muscat is the right person in the circumstances to lead us on the long march to our goal. Equally, I can think of no better person – in terms of vision and intellectual background – than Helena Dalli, to lead us forward together with him.

    Amanda Busuttil

  171. John Darmanin said

    I like your site. Keep it up. This is the new party in the making.

    John Darmanin (a pensioner but as young as the youngest of you in my heart).

  172. John Attard said

    Prosit Amanda. Naqbel mieghek. How about Gavin Gulia deputy party affairs ma Joseph u Helena? Ma jkunx tim dinamiku li jgib l-ghira tan-nazzjonalisti?

    John Attard




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