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

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And now, please, back to the future…

Posted by fcb on April 30, 2008

 Remember Doc Brown and Marty McFly ? 

Time to get back on track after last Sunday’s diversion. Back on track means back to the present to speak about our future. OK, it was good to revisit the 1996-1998 experience. Now that we have cleared some pending issues regarding who did what, however, we have to keep moving. We need to refocus this debate. We need to discuss visions and programmes and we need to do so much more concretely that has been the case so far. It is not enough for the contestants to tell us that we must reach out beyond Labour’s traditional electorate. We want to know how they propose to do so. It is not enough for them to tell us that that we have to rejuvenate the Party and bring the young on board. We want to see with our own eyes that they have what it takes to attract the young to the Party. What better way, we ask, than showing us now that they can do so. Show us you can and we will believe that you will.


55 Responses to “And now, please, back to the future…”

  1. pinu z- zebbugi said

    We should definitely look forward , and weigh every word that is told to us. Then we should look at the past performance of each contestant and make a sound judgment.

    Pinu z-zebbugi

  2. Andrew Sciberras said

    It is generally agreed by a great number that, yes, the MLP needs to open up to a wider array people of all shades of life, be they the different shades of the political Left or others outside the Left but that are seeking some alternative to the PN. Joseph Muscat describes a movement that calls in the progressives and moderates; George Abela calls for an inclusive party with open doors; Evarist Bartolo emphasises the call to open up the Party to the Middle Class; Michael Falzon and Marie Louise Coleiro (to my knowledge) speak in no specific terms but both argue that the MLP needs to clearly articulate what it stands for – to revitalize its identity as a unique and alternative Party that stands on firm Social Democratic principles.

    Social Democratic and Labour Parties are typically (but not always) founded on the principles of teamwork; of all for one and one for all. What I mean to say is that all the 5 contestants have different but most valid arguments or plans on how to make the Labour Party a winning party. But in the end only one of them shall be the winner.

    First let us try to determine which categories of people may be cut off from the MLP

    (1) The majority of youth
    (2) A significant amount of the middle class such as businessmen/tradesmen
    (3) Persons that are Labourites at heart but that can no longer associate themselves with Labour for direct or indirect reasons

    A. Calling in the Youth

    This is a rather tough nut to crack but it can be done. It depends on the age but I would imagine most youth in the age-bracket of 18-25 would normally vote for that Party which their parents vote for. But I’m positive that there are many open-minded young people out there who vote based on a personal ideology, on what they believe appeals to them most on an intellectual and perhaps a socio-economic level. I do not want to speak for the majority of youth but I’ll speak for myself as a 21 year old. I’d like an aspiring leader; someone that I can trust and relate to; someone that is charismatic, down to earth, perhaps a little controversial in the sense that he/she is ready to discuss certain issues which to older generations may be appear a little dodgey or against the status-quo; someone that will work for my future to be a prosperous and a bright one. In this sense I can deem myself as falling under the progressive movement.

    On a Party level, better marketing and visual style is perhaps needed. By this I mean a revision of the party tv and radio stations in a way that make them more appealing to the youth. The Party needs to be more positive in approach and more outward-looking. A bigger call for youth to join the FZL and participate in the Forum’s activities would also be appreciated.

    B. Calling in the Middle Class and the Moderates

    This is also a very tough nut to crack and a somewhat dangerous path to tread because it may result in the MLP losing its identity. But, again, it can be done. The key is balance and equilibrium. The heart and soul of the MLP lie in its Social Democratic principles to uphold social justice; a continuing social dialogue in civil society; fair trade and competition; in continuing to advocate full employment and equality and solidarity amongst workers of all walks of life. This is, of course, a very brief synopsis but it is, in essence what Labour IS. What it stands for. The task is in transposing this base, this identity, to also reflect the aspirations of affluent families. Whilst continuously advocating its Social Democratic principles the MLP also has to advocate ways on how to successfully bring economic prosperity in the country, to lure foreign investment, to create more and better jobs; to stimulate private enterprise to grow and prosper and to give it the freedom to do such but in a fair and just manner. In the end is it not what the businessman/woman wants? To be assured that his/her business or profession will continue to prosper? On this point I’m sure that economists can give much better technical advice than me 🙂 and the MLP should, in fact, consult with economists on a regular basis. Everybody wants peace of mind!

    Another way to lure the middle class and the moderates is to, once and for all, explicitly shed its EU-sceptic stance or appearance of such. I mean that the MLP should not only be a pro-European Party but also appear to be so. It needs to become a true European Party not just by name but also by level of activity and appreciation. It should work hand in hand with the government to truly ensure that Malta is in conformity with Lisbon strategy. However, this does not mean that it should fall on its knees and cower with every EU directive which blatantly is of detriment to the national interest and should use all means of discussion afforded to it by the EU Treaties and mechanics to defend the national interest.

    Finally the MLP needs to be far more positive, constructive and open to all. If someone or some group or body were to disagree on one point or other the MLP should be more than willing to discuss with the person or body of persons to clear any disagreements that may have arisen or to accept that a certain manoeuvre or principle that it made was erroneous and to fix the error. It should truly become the people’s Party.

    C. Exiled Labourites?

    This very much depends on the circumstances of why certain people feel cut out of the party. Of course discipline is needed for no organization can be without internal order. Someone who was in the party but manifestly stepped out of line and was excluded is not exactly Labour’s fault. But if the person wants another chance and shows that he has learned from his mistakes should be allowed to return to MLP if he/she wishes to do so.

    Others may have departed out of their own free will because they might have disagreed with the direction the party was taking. On this point I would refer to the above paragraph regarding being more positive, constructive and open to all. There should be an immediate dialogue between the Party and the concerned person or persons who are disagreeing with a particular point or points and perhaps such points should be voted upon. In the end the majority wins and both the Party and the person, if loyal, should accept the will of the majority. If not, than there is not much that anybody can do I think.

    There is plenty more to discuss and I would appreciate more comments, arguments, counter-arguments, criticisms et al

    Andrew Sciberras

    P.S. Sorry about the long posts. It is a bad habit of mine.

  3. Jennifer Galea said

    Good morning all,

    Here is an extract from a post by fellow blogger Fabrizio Ellul writing in his :

    “From The Land of Mickey”

    April 30, 2008

    “… while all the newspapers dedicated their first pages to the story of Nicholas Azzopardi; the ‘Nazzjon’ relegated the whole issue to a sketchy report in the third or fourth page. They perceived that the offer made by a high official of the MLP (and not the MLP) to George Abela, to withdraw his candidature in exchange of a nomination for president of this Rock, was more important than the allegations made by a man (now dead), stating that he was beaten up by two policemen.”

    “One should not be surprised that the reports of the ‘Nazzjon’ are biased. Fair enough – the[ir] party pays their salary. However, not covering a story of abuse of power within the Maltese Police Force for fear of shattering the immaculate image of Lawrence ‘The Magnificent’ Gonzi that he tries to give to his electorate; it is something to think about.”

    Jennifer Galea (from the Labour-in-labour team)

  4. Hello, it’s me again.

    Following from my previous post quoting from Fabrizio Ellul’s post from The Land of Mickey, here is the comment I posted on his blog:

    ” Well said, Fabrizio. Sometimes I and my friends at feel that we may be unwittingly doing Lawrence Gonzi and his court a big favour. Perhaps the thousands of words we publish hour after hour and day after day on Labour’s leadership contest are helping (albeit in a modest way) the emperor to distract this country’s attention from the fact that he is indeed … naked.”

    What do you bloggodytes think?

    Jennifer Galea (from the Labour-in-labour team)

  5. A happy First of May to all of you!

    I agree with the comment Jennifer Galea posted on Fabrizio’s blogsite regarding Lawrence Gonzi thanking his lucky stars that Labour is so taken up with the controversies stirred by the leadership contest.

    May I remind you of my own comment on this blog (it was a comment to the Mintoff at Qormi post, dated April 30, 2008 and written at, no less than, 4:23 am)? Well, here it is again for easy reference:

    If there is anybody out there who is enjoying this and thanking his lucky stars, that’s none other that Lawrence Gonzi! I think highly of all the contestants for the job of leader but although not all of them may ultimately be The Leader, none of them may be an effective leader once elected unless the others undertake to rally around her or him to give the Country a choice between a Gonzi government heading for trouble (remember, the man himself warned us before elections that there is trouble ahead) and a strong, credible, European, environment-friendly administration that will bring us peace of mind and sustainable prosperity. So let’s stop giving Gonzi and his desperados a helping hand. Let’s get this done, let’s get it done with dignity, and let’s offer this country a decent choice. It deserves better!

    Wally Buhagiar

  6. Night Editor said

    Thanks Wally for wishing us all a happy First of May!

    So, last cup of coffee, before your friendly Night Editor hands over to the colleague responsible for running this show today from 8.00 am to 14.00.

    By the way, speaking of brother blogger Fabrizio, I was doing a routine round of the various pages on this site and found two comments posted in the ABOUT LABOUR IN LABOUR section. One is dated 18 April and is signed Kenneth Cassar and the other is from none other than Fabrizio Ellul dated 24 April.

    Well as very few normally bother to visit the ABOUT page, chances are very few of you have ever seen these two comments. So here they are below:

    Kenneth Cassar Says:
    April 18, 2008 at 7:12 am
    Interesting blog. Hope it does not end when a new labour leader is announced.

    fabrizioellul Says:
    April 24, 2008 at 10:26 am
    It looks like an interesting blog. If it keeps being objective, then I hope it continues after the election.

    Thanks Kenneth! Thanks Fabrizio!

    Night Editor

  7. danny attard said

    The debate that this tazebao generated has been instrumental in unearthing many facts that will help delegates make an informed decision as to where they want to take the Labour Party. I see five distinct options: will it be

    * Joseph’s progressive approach reaching out through a culture of moderation ,
    * Varist’s liberal agenda with social democratic underpinnings,
    * Michael’s vision of preserving the Maltese character through a pragmatic approach to our economic/social European realities,
    * Marie Louise’s building from grass-roots upwards embracing loyally social democratic principles, or
    * George Abela’s pragmatic approach to power as the basis of national continuity?

    Five mouth-watering options indeed. The heated debate on internal politics has, unfortunately, taken precious time away from debating vision.

    Despite the efforts of Government spinners (who do not all come along with a vivagonzi pn shrill – on the contrary) to convince us otherwise, this Government is under immense pressure:

    * Wild pre electoral promises known/unknown are coming to haunt this government even before a first word of platitude has been uttered in parliament.
    * The funding of the health service is a veritable quagmire,
    * Structural reforms that are still needed to make of us true Europeans have been postponed but can not be ignored,
    * The last drop of juice from substantial repatriated funds that gave the impression of a boom scenario has been sucked as the property market is in silent turmoil,
    * Dividends from the Mater Dei hospital and the substantial investment in the AS demonisation have all been encashed,
    * Commodity markets and the price of oil find our Government (unfortunately) unprepared,
    * The strength of the Euro is compromising important economic drivers. The list is endless.

    A new Labour Party will need to encompass:

    * Varist’s ‘liberal’ approach to ensure that our national wealth-creation capabilities are firing in all cylinders,
    * Joseph’s progressive agenda to provide our country with a listening culture coupled with the ability to act moderately and reasonably to the expectation of all classes,
    * Michael’s foot on the ground attitude towards maltese culture without which we become faceless organisms,
    * Marie Louise’s constant presence and empathy at ground zero,
    * Abela’s mollification of Malta’s obscure power-bases.

    Can the five bring their heads together to give Labour and Malta this formidable springboard to national maturity within the EU?
    Or will personal agendas cut off our own nose to spite our own face?

    Let us take the presence of all five at today’s manifestations as a good omen.

    Danny Attard

  8. This blog post is featured on Maltamedia: The Maltese Blogosphere

    – Nominate blog post of the month –

  9. Night Editor said

    Hi all!
    Another 1st of May has come and almost gone. We have an interesting month ahead of us. Let’s by all means concentrate on choosing the right candidate for Labour’s top job, but let’s not make it too easy on Lorry Gonzi and Co.

    Meanwhile, please note that we have todate received/compiled materials (statements, interviews, articles) from/about Joseph Muscat, Evarist Bartolo, George Abela and Carmelo Abela (the latter will contest the Deputy Leader post). You will find these documents in the page STATEMENTS BY CONTESTANTS.

    Happy blogging!

    Night Editor

  10. Tar-razza u 'r-radika said

    Those of you that were in Valletta for the 1st May parade yesterday afternoon will have observed the five contenders for Labour’s top job marching together. They seemed to be going out of their way to show that they want a united party. Michael Falzon and Marie Louise Coleiro shook an enormous number of hands. Evarist Bartolo joked a lot with onlookers. Curiously enough, Joseph Muscat and George Abela, whom the media want us to believe are the worst of foes, seemed to be quite at ease with each other. They were seen chatting at lenght, joking and waving at people together. They also waited for each other when climbing down the stage. Daphne eat your heart out!

    Tar-razza u ‘r-radika [author’s identity known to Caretaker]

  11. Jennifer Galea said

    Malta, 9 Thermidor

    I had a look at and it ain’t bad at all.
    Thing is, are the visitors to this – as they call it – “unauthorised tazebao” (wall journal with an ancient chinese pedigree)”of Labour’s quest for a new leader” a representative sample of Maltese Lejburisti? From the output – continuous and substantial, with frequent essay-lenght contributions by visitors and posts that admittedly put editorials of our English language press to shame – they are not quite a ‘banda ta’ Indri’: qualitatively, the product is there online for all to see and judge for themselves, quantitatively certainly not insignificant.
    Then there is the issue of who are they siding with? It’s almost certainly Joseph Muscat but I would not exclude Evarist Bartolo, although there have been comments pushing forward all the others. Admittedly, the chap who praised Michael Falzon was laughed out of the blog.
    Whatever, watch these guys…watch them very closely.
    Gaetano Mercieca
    Gaetano Mercieca | 04.21.08 – 12:02 pm | #

    It shouldn’t come as such a revelation that the Labour party has articulate and intelligent voters.

    Yes it is a very good blog and I’m sure it’s serving it’s purpose.

    Jennifer Galea

  12. Marie Abdilla said

    Read Danny’s Post No. 9. A good analytical breakdown with the sole exception being that I don’t think that you did Varist enough justice. I always perceived his message to be to make Malta a liberal open society where we are all equal. True social democratic values! Bartolo had an excellent, very eloquent article in l-orizzont today titled “Stmati Ndaqs” which I think says it all. For those who would like to read it please go to

    Marie Abdilla

  13. Wendy Brown said

    First, I would like to congratulate the Caretaker of this Tazebao. It has become quite a famed topic of conversation within our circles. I try to keep up to date with the latest news on the MLP leadership contest when I have time to spare. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I got this link from a friend of a friend who’s into local politics. I read with particular interest the editorials (which have now reached legendary status among us) and look forward to them with relish. The editorial ‘a bow in the clouds: unity, diversity and the Movement’ is the best so far! This doesn’t diminish the merits of all the other editorials, notably ‘a short history of war wrecks in Maltese’, ‘a regatta or an open confrontation of ideas’ andgames contestants play’. They all kept me thinking long after I finished reading them, and sometimes had me question pre-established ideas and challenge pre-determined thinking – well isn’t this what good journalism (and any writing) is supposed to do?

    What prompted me to write was J.Galea’s (the editor?) amusing comment on Ellul’s post, (see # 4). It is true as you say Jen, that when people focus on the fanfare of the (leadership) parade they fail to see the naked Emperor striding on horseback (a horse I took to symbolise the media itself, of which the Tazebao is also part). After all, as the saying goes, there is none so blind as those who will not see…What you fail to note however is that the Emperor himself was the first one to be oblivious to his nudity, to his weaknesses, and if we had to extend this metaphor a little more, to the problems and struggles of his kingdom because enchanted only with himself. This may either be due to the fact that he thinks only of what ‘robes’ make him look his best or maybe because being surrounded by ministers and courtiers a dozen(see also the appointment of Gordon Pisani as Head of Communications, OPM) so occupied in pleasing him, he fails to see beyond the reality they present to him day in day out.

    In this case, a justified question to ask would be, doesn’t the Emperor feel cold parading down the streets during this procession? Doesn’t he realise that he is unclothed? Or could it be another show the Emperor himself puts up for all of us to engage in and consequently, disengage us from our ‘reality’?

    “Mitsu, do you think that young man doesn’t feel the cold?”, Natsumi, the narrator’s wife asks in a low voice so that Takashi and the others shouldn’t hear.
    “He feels it all right. He’s shivering terribly. But he wants to impress on everyone that he’s an unusual, stoic type, so he refuses to wear an overcoat or jacket even in midwinter. That in itself mightn’t be enough to win people’s respect even here in the valley, but his whole appearance and the show he puts on of ignoring other people help to set him apart.”
    “If that’s enough to make someone the leader in a young people’s group, then it’s all rather primitive, isn’t it?”

    from the chapter The Emperor of the supermarkets, THE SILENT CRY, a novel by Kenzaburo Oe.

    When all has been said, I’d like to think that in our own modest way we are discussing the credentials and the ‘vision’ of that boy who one day will lift the veil from our eyes, and very candidly point his finger towards the Emperor while crying out, “But he hasn’t got anything on”. Then one will whisper to another what the child has said, until the whole town is speaking about it and laughing at his Majesty’s nudity…because then, their eyes can see once again.

    Wendy Brown, Goldsmith’s College, UOL
    P.S. I used a pseudonym. I hope that’s ok with you Caretaker.

  14. Eskimo said

    Minn gaj ta’ ghoxrin Maltin li qeghdin il-Libja fux-xoghol ta’ refrigeration plant maintenance madwar mija u hamsin kilometru fin-nofsinhar ta’ Tripli, jekk tnehhi hamsa nazzjonalisti, is-simpatiji fil-kontest ghall-Mexxej tal-Partit Laburista huma maqsumin hekk:

    Abela, George 3
    Bartolo, Evarist 1
    Coleiro, Mary Louise 2
    Falzon, Michael 1
    Muscat, Joseph 8

    In-nazzjonalisti fostna (li huma l-enginjera u il-manager) difficli tghid x’jahsbu tabilhaqq (bhas-soltu) imma lil Joseph Muscat ma jahmluhx. Quddiemna ifahhru lil George Abela imma meta jkunu wahedhom (jew jahsbu li mhux qed nisimghuhom)anki lill-George imaqdru.

    Ahna wara it-telfa kelna depression qawwija u hadd ma kellu aptit jitkellem fuq il-pulitka imma issa din tal-kontest ghal Mexxej qed tghamlilna kuragg kbir. Jitla min jitla ahna fiducjusi li jekk imexxi sew, Gonzi ma jasalx sa l-ahhar. U ahna ilkoll, anki it-tlett iqriema ta’ George, lin-Nazzjonalisti nghidulhom biex ma jindahlulniex fuq kif nivvotaw ghall-Mexxej. U jekk il-manager taghna hawnhekk jaqra din il-kitba u jaghrafni jista jmur jitnejjek.

    Ghoddni dejjem tieghek,


  15. Caretaker said

    Go to the page PHOTO ALBUM for some interesting 1st May photos. We posted them after reading yesterday’s comment by ‘Tar-razza u ‘r-radika’ who said “Curiously enough, Joseph Muscat and George Abela, whom the media want us to believe are the worst of foes, seemed to be quite at ease with each other. They were seen chatting at lenght, joking and waving at people together. They also waited for each other when climbing down the stage.”


  16. Andrew Sciberras said

    [I never thought I’d say this before, but reason must always overcome emotions]

    Perhaps it is not so far-fetched to assume that whereas all contestants have got a certain amount of weight; the most pronounced of the lot are Joseph Muscat and George Abela. They accuse and vilify Joseph because they believe he will retain the same faces and the same norms even though he is stating time and time again that he is AGAINST the status quo whist insisting that an EARTHQUAKE of change is needed in the MLP. On the other hand they accuse and vilify George for his dishonesty, disloyalty and the image/idea that he gives of wanting to win for the sole purpose of kicking everybody out and drive Labour to the ground yet he says he is all for INCLUSIVITY.

    So, yes, it is quite strange to see these two “mortal enemies” be at ease with each other. But these two so-called enemies depend on each other. They appeal to different sectors. Whereas Joseph garners great support amongst Labourites and, I’m sure, the majority of youth; George is more acclaimed amongst the moderate floating voters and he is adored amongst PN voters for some obscure reason that one has yet to determine (or has already drawn conclusions). If Joseph wins he’ll have deep support amongst today’s Labourites but will have to work hard to reach out to the so-called floaters who seem rooted with the idea that Joseph = Alfred Sant (the mortal enemy of mankind it seems) or pro-Status Quo even though Joseph said, and I quote,

    “I stated during a televised interview on national television that I do not stand for status-quo” and also “If the Party is not ready to change, then it should not vote for Joseph Muscat as its next leader.”

    Change & Unity –

    If George wins he might draw in a considerable slice of floaters and perhaps disgruntled PN voters (the majority of which did not vote for any party last election) but may cause a malignant earthquake within the MLP and perhaps it is not far fetched to state that he might cause a deep rift 1998-style or worse. He would have to work REAL hard to unite the Labour party.

    So, emotions aside, reason dictates that the two of them together would make somewhat of a dream team. The question is: But who of them should be Leader and the other sidekick? In my opinion it is Joseph Muscat that should take the top spot because he has what it takes: the charisma, the vision, the intellect, the determination, the ambition, the deep support from his own people and the perfect age to fulfill his 15 year term plan (5 years in Opposition and we all hope 10 years in Government). You cannot have a leader that is frowned upon by his own people and who wants to win simply be default only to spend 5 years in Government and then resign. Moreover it is bizarre that he is considering leading outside of Parliament for some time (during which Alfred Sant is still the Leader of the Opposition??)

    But that is my opinion.

    Whoever wins from the two (for all we know, one of the other three may win) has to include the other 110% in his team and must be given some sort of ‘central role’. They must equally work together if they truly want to win Government in 2013. Joseph Muscat already offers this peace of mind:

    “The thing that keeps me serene in affronting this leadership campaign is the unequivocal fact that all contenders, George, Evarist, Marie-Louise, Michael and myself have only two interests at heart: the good of the Party and the Country. We respected each other before and I have no doubt in my mind that our respect will continue and even grow after the election.” (ibidem)

    Andrew Sciberras

  17. Abel Abela said

    L-ahwa araw dan l-artiklu STUPEND ta’ Dr Michael Falzon fl-Orizzont tal-lum is-Sibt 3 ta’ Mejju. Min ghandu widnejn, ha jisma’!

    “Nagħtu lura daqs kemm jagħtuna”
    minn Dr Michael Falzon

    “META l-Partit Nazzjonalista jkollu r-riħ fil-poppa ma tantx għandu rispetti. Huwa biss meta jsib denbu taħt il-blat li jiddeċiedi li jiftaħ idejh u jilgħabha li jrid id-djalogu u l-interess nazzjonali.

    Wara r-riżultat tat-8 ta’ Marzu, il-Partit Nazzjonalista reġa’ sab ruħu fis-siġġu tal-poter. Għal ftit aktar minn 1,500 vot kiseb is-siġġu parlamentari li kien meħtieġ biex imexxi lill-pajjiż. Fl-istess ħin, iżda, jaf li l-maġġoranza li għandu mhix waħda komda biex jista’ jmexxi kif irid. Għalhekk, bħal speċi ta’ garanzija, irid jilħaq ftehim ma’ l-Oppożizzjoni Laburista dwar il-‘pairing’, biex jelimina r-riskju li jinqabad b’xi deputat nieqes u l-maġġoranza tiegħu tkun fil-periklu.

    Meta fl-1996 il-Gvern Laburista kellu siġġu wieħed, minkejja li dak in-nhar il-Gvern kellu maġġoranza ċara u leġittima ta’ kważi 8,000 vot, il-PN ma kienx daqstant ħerqan li jagħti l-‘pairing’. Anzi, meta feġġ is-sħab iswed, kompla żied il-melħ fuq il-ferita.

    Dak in-nhar, in-Nazzjonalisti ma ħarqithomx qalbhom favur l-istabilità tal-Gvern. Anzi ftaħru li fi 22 xahar kienu waqqgħu l-Gvern. Dan qed infakkru, mhux biex neħlu ma’ l-imgħoddi, iżda għax huwa meħtieġ li nagħrfu l-mod li bih in-Nazzjonalisti, meta jkun jaqbel lilhom, tassew jafu jkunu xħaħ… u mbagħad meta tinqaleb il-folja, jippretendu l-ġenerożità ta’ ħaddieħor.

    Lanqas irridu ninsew li matul il-leġislatura li għaddiet, kellna Ministru li kien naqqas mill-importanza tal-Parlament, għax skond hu l-Gvern kellu maġġoranza ta’ ħames siġġijiet u kull ma ried seta’ jgħaddih faċilment mill-Kamra tad-Deputati. Issa reġa’ sar importanti l-Parlament, għax is-saħħa tal-Gvern hi mhedda minn maġġoranza fjakka?!

    Jien nemmen li l-‘pairing’ għandu jingħata biss jekk il-Gvern ikun lest li jagħti lura – mhux xi Speaker li taparsi jidher rigal għall-Oppożizzjoni u li fil-fatt m’huwiex għajr rigal ieħor sfaċċat lill-Gvern innifsu.

    Irridu azzjonijiet konkreti biex tissaħħaħ id-demokrazija f’pajjiżna u li jassiguraw li l-aktar minn 140,000 li taw fiduċja lill-Partit Laburista, ikunu rappreżentati b’mod xieraq fil-pajjiż.

    B’hekk jekk irid il-‘pairing’, il-Gvern irid jiggarantixxi t-twaqqif ta’ “Whistleblower’s Act”, jirranġa l-iżbilanċ fix-xandir pubbliku, isir ftehim fuq kif jinħatru l-membri tal-bordijiet ta’ awtoritajiet u entitajiet governattivi u fuq il-finanzjament tal-partiti u fuq kollox jagħti karigi ta’ importanza lil membri ta’ l-Oppożizzjoni fil-ħidma Parlamentari mingħajr kundizzjonijiet. Irid jassigura wkoll li dawk li rebħu każi quddiem l-Ombudsman jew it-Tribunal għall-Investigazzjoni ta’ l-Inġustizzji u baqgħu b’xejn, jingħataw dak li huwa tagħhom bi dritt.

    Wara li jagħmel dan, inkunu nistgħu nibdew nitħaddtu dwar ‘pairing’. Spiċċa ż-żmien li l-Gvern Nazzjonalista jippretendi li l-Oppożizzjoni se tibqagħlu rasha baxxuta biex jgħaddi minn fuqha kif irid hu.

    Lill-Gvern Nazzjonalista ngħidulu: li tagħtina nagħtuk lura. Dan ma nitolbuhx għalina bħala membri ta’ l-Oppożizzjoni, izda għan-nofs l-ieħor tal-poplu Malti li fit-8 ta’ Marzu kien favur il-bidla.”

    Abel Abela

    [Il-Caretaker qed tassumi li is-Sur Abela huwa persuna reali u mhux pseudonimu. Konna nippreferu kieku dan l-artiklu kellu jintbghat, kof tlabna, biex jitqieghed fil-pagna “STATEMENTS BY CONTESTANTS”, fejn s’issa m’hemm xejn ta’ Dr. Falzon. Fil-fatt iddecedejna li, bla ma nigu mitluba, ser nqieghdu kopja tieghu hemmhekk ukoll.]

  18. danny attard said

    Hi Marie, I did summarise Varist’s agenda as a liberal agenda with social democratic underpinnings, so I think we do agree with his agenda with perhaps the sole exception that he wants to make every one equal. Should that not be providing all with equal opportunities?

    Warm greetings and I look forward to what I find to be your valid and interesting contributions.

    Danny Attard

  19. Marie Abdilla said

    Hello Danny,

    Thank you for your kind words and I enjoy reading your posts too.

    Yes you are right what Varist wants is equal opportunities for all. He writes,

    “Irridu nsaħħu s-soċjetà ċivili tagħna fejn għaqdiet u individwi bla ma jkunu kkontrollati mill-partiti, mill-Gvern jew mill-kumpaniji kummerċjali, isemmgħu leħinhom u jkunu attivi bit-tamiet u l-ħtiġijiet tagħhom dwar l-ambjent, il-wirt storiku, id-drittijiet tal-ħaddiema, id-drittijiet tal-konsumaturi, id-drittijiet tal-persuni b’diżabilità, id-drittijiet ta’ persuni omosesswali, il-ħarsien ta’ l-annimali…”

    But what struck me most from his article were his comments on how if Labour should apologise for hurting people in the 80s, Nazzjonalisti should apologize for the 60s. Also Varist says that they should apologise FOR THE INJUSTICES PERPETRATED FROM 1987 TO DATE. He says,

    ” Mhux se noqgħod immur lura u ngħid li l-PN għandu jitlob maħfra għal meta kien jappoġġja lid-dittaturi Adolf Hitler u Benito Mussolini għax ma tantx baqa’ nies ħajjin minn dawk iz-żminijiet ta’ 60 sena ilu. Iżda naħseb li l-PN għandu jitlob maħfra għall-vantaġġ politiku li ħa meta saret vjolenza kbira fuq il-Partit Laburista fis-snin 60. Meta għax taqra ġurnal Laburista, tivvota għall-Partit Laburista, toħroġ bħala kandidat għall-partit kont tkun ikkundannat għall-infern.

    Għax Laburist tindifen fil-“miżbla” flok f’post sagru. Għax Laburist ma tistax tiżżewweġ fil-Knisja u tieħu s-sagramenti li ridt tieħu bħala Kattoliku. Ħafna Laburisti Kattoliċi għad għandhom feriti li ma ngħalqux minn dak iż-żmien.

    Naħseb ukoll li l-PN għandu jitlob maħfra għal dawk in-nuqqasijiet li għamel ma’ persuni ta’ twemmin Laburista tul kemm ilu jmexxi li għax huma Laburisti sofrew transfers vendikattivi, inqabżu fil-promozzjonijiet, ma ngħatawx impjieg, ma ħadux kuntratti u ma ngħatawx rimedju ġust anke meta ngħataw raġun mit-Tribunal għall-Inġustizzji u batew xi diskriminazzjoni minħabba t-twemmin politiku tagħhom”.

    I couldn’t agree more! Anzi I would go a step further and say that they should not only apologise but make amends or the MLP should make them make amends as Michael Falzon suggests in his article today posted by Abel Abela.

    Marie Abdilla

  20. danny attard said

    Hi Marie, I hear you ask an important question – what should happen if Government continues to ride roughshod over one and all?

    In my opinion the question of apologies should only matter when life in Malta becomes reasonably all-inclusive.

    What is the value of apologies if the Maltese continue to experience discrimination coming in so many shapes and forms?

    There are at least two levels where this Government needs to show itself to be of all the people:

    1. at the individual level when it treats all individuals with respect irrespective of beliefs and circumstances.

    2. on a national level whereby this Government should treat the population as a whole as being all Maltese.

    Let us take a look at Government’s performance in its first fe days at the second level:

    Having only a relative majority, with the majority of the voting public not endorsing, for a first time, its Government, one was expecting a more reconciliatory stance. Yet from what we have seen to date, this government has actually, in my opinion, upped its intolerant attitude towards all hues of opposition. We may have seen the PfP incident as some kind of price this Government had to pay for some unknown obligation towards the US Government. Yet its bulldozing strategy continued with appointments that bear no sign of reconciliation, the last one being that of the Nationalist Party’s Director of Communication who has been appointed no less than a new role, not least, that of Head of Government Communications!

    The opportunistic ploy by the PM to relegate May Day celebrations to a conference, moreover, beggars belief! Are the interests of the population to be now relegated to a once-a-year conference? For a Labour party, the interests of all families are pursued daily, each hour, and certainly not in one conference a year. The first of May activities are only an opportunity for families to come together to strengthen the bond. The PM’s ‘offer’ reminds me of the maxim – united you stand, divided we rule. Why does he want to take away such a good opportunity for families to stand united?

    This state of affairs, as I see it of course, and i may be totally wrong, reminds me of what Primo Levi once said:

    A new Fascism, with its trail of intolerance, of abuse, and of servitude, walking on tiptoe calling itself by other names..To be let loose from within with such violence that it routs all defenses. At that point, wise counsel no longer serves, and one must find the strength to resist…

    Unfortunately, this may strike a cord with those who have to face with anguish hostile realities on a daily basis.

    Reconciliation must start now, with urgency, at ground zero.

    It is with great sorrow that I say that, to date, I have seen no evidence of this happening.

    This notwithstanding, I am fully in favour of the likes of varist and Joseph taking a moderate view. The two-thirds society is in fact a reality and the abandoned one third need to find new solutions if they can retain some level of mental and physical energy to search.


    Danny Attard

  21. El Azarus said

    With the day of judgement drawing near, the candidates for the leadership of our Party will be increasingly tempted to sound tougher and tougher on the assumption that the tougher they sound they more likely they are to be elected by the members of the Labour Party or a part thereof namely, the Delegates to the General Conference.

    We will hear more declarations suh as “Spiċċa ż-żmien li l-Gvern Nazzjonalista jippretendi li l-Oppożizzjoni se tibqagħlu rasha baxxuta biex jgħaddi minn fuqha kif irid hu” and “Naħseb ukoll li l-PN għandu jitlob maħfra għal dawk in-nuqqasijiet li għamel ma’ persuni ta’ twemmin Laburista tul kemm ilu jmexxi li għax huma Laburisti sofrew transfers vendikattivi, inqabżu fil-promozzjonijiet, ma ngħatawx impjieg, ma ħadux kuntratti u ma ngħatawx rimedju ġust anke meta ngħataw raġun mit-Tribunal għall-Inġustizzji u batew xi diskriminazzjoni minħabba t-twemmin politiku tagħhom”.

    The effectiveness of this sort of statement is based on the assumption that this is what the majority of Party members and delegates want. Frankly, I doubt they are very impressed. Firstly, you must have already heard reactions of the sort “Where were you guys when, since 1987, we were treated like shit by the PN big-heads and their minions?”. Yes, since 1987, because during the period 1996 and 1998, we didn’t much by way of setting wrongs right. I am sure that we’ll get one or two candidates attempting (pathetically and conveniently) to reconstruct their political virginity by blaming it all (again) on Alfred Sant for their failure to find solutions in 1996-1998.

    The main point, however, is a different one. Those that will soon be voting in the new leader to 2013, are not salivating at the prospect that “isir ftehim fuq kif jinħatru l-membri tal-bordijiet ta’ awtoritajiet u entitajiet governattivi” or that the PN will “jitlob maħfra għal dawk in-nuqqasijiet li għamel ma’ persuni ta’ twemmin Laburista tul kemm ilu jmexxi”.

    What they want is for the Labour Party to be in government sooner than later so that they too may get something of what they have been missing out on for the past 20 odd years. The more active amongst our members and delegates, those that will in fact vote when and if asked, are no fools. They will not be impressed by sabre rattling of the village-hall theatre type and even less by passionate duels with monstrous wind-mills. They want a leader that will be not only be taken seriously by Gonzi and his cabinet but by the majority of voters at the next election.

    By all means let’s get whatever we can out of this government but let’s be careful not to shoot our foot in the process. They can keep their unctuous apologies and stuff you know where their places on government boards, authorities and corporations, if this will help them portray themselves as fair and conciliatory and, worse, if it will blunt the effect of our criticism of bad governance and mismanagement. One seat on a board is not enough to even scratch the surface of power, and yet it is enough to be seen to share the blame of power misused and abused.

    Moreover, if to obtain something inconsequential or downright politically counterproductive, we will be forced to be excessively shrill and hysterical (and sure as hell they will do their best to provoke us to be excessively shrill and hysterical as only we know how to), then I’d rather we said thanks but no thanks. The last thing we want is to continue to reinforce our image as the guys who spoil your lunch. I don’t know about the candidates for leader but I can assure you that delegates are no fools.

    Finally, another word of caution. I was inspired by your editorial post of April, A Short History of Maltese Wrecks. Wrecks are notoriously a hazard to shipping. Especially when powerful undersea currents shift them around. Let’s by all means make waves, but let’s do so carefully.

    So far, Joseph Muscat has been the most credible one on this score. He has made it amply clear that cooperation comes at a price, but he has expressed himself soberly on this issue without melodrama and in a business-like manner. One or two of other candidates will have no scruples to present themselves as champions of a substantial tribal minority (thus reinforcing its image as the natural party of opposition). Another one will be very cautious but will himself become a shrill bully if and when he feels that victory is slipping out of his hands.

    El Azarus [Author’s name known to Caretaker]

  22. Andrew Sciberras said

    One of the main critiques in respect to Labour’s downfall, along with complacency and a shoddy electoral campaign, is that it offered nothing different than the Nationalist Party. There was no true, credible and viable alternative party for the voter to choose from. This is highly evidenced by the actions of those 21,143 persons who decided not to vote and those 3,415 persons that decided to invalidate their vote. 2008 had the lowest voter turn out since 1971 where in 2008 93.30% of the electorate voted and in ’71 92.93% voted. If the Malta Labour Party was a true and viable alternative than there would be no reason for those tens of thousands of eligible voters to stay at home.

    Today, the Malta Labour Party is truly in the cross-roads. These are extremely fragile times for the Party and if the situation is not handled reasonably (i.e. where the heart overcomes the mind) it risks being shattered once and for all. It risks being eradicated from Maltese politics, if not definitively, for a very long time to come. The Party and its people truly need to sit down, unlock the shackles that have both bound it and led it astray, and re-invent itself. It needs to embrace change; however it must do so carefully without risking losing its soul. We, the people, want a party that truly stands for a better society, better opportunities, a better world. We, the people, are not afraid of change. We are not afraid of letting go of obsolete traditions that hinder our progress and solidarity. We are not afraid of straying from the status-quo. We are not afraid of reforming ourselves to the world of today but neither are we afraid to let go of our social and democratic principles. The past twenty-one years (my age) did not truly see a New Left in Malta. But the time has come and it has been long overdue.

    Therefore, I equally appeal to party delegates, party members and the common man. Do not abandon reason. Do not let the past dictate your future. Do not let a handful of men and women dictate who your Leader ought to be but don’t be afraid to listen to what people have to say. Let us give Malta an alternative that it sorely needs. Let us, in unison, elect a Leader that will truly invigorate Malta with an all inclusive…winning generation.

    Andrew Sciberras

  23. fabrizioellul said


    The ‘MaltaToday’ published a survey on the MLP leadership election. I think it is important if you dedicated a post to it.

    Fabrizio Ellul

    [Welcome brother blogger Fabrizio of! Earlier this morning we contacted 24 friends, half males and half females, from all over Malta and Gozo, of different ages and occupations. The group includes Nationalists – contrary to what some people many think, we have a lot of Nationalist friends who are perfectly ready to have political conversations with us in complete mutual respect, self-declared floaters and AD militants. We asked them for their views on the Survey results. We especially keen to hear what they have to say about Nationalist’s preference for George Abela: what does it really mean? We hope to have their views by late tonight or tomorrow. As soon as we do, we will write a summary of them as an editorial blog! We think this is the way things should be done seriously. Meanwhile individual comments have been coming in.]

  24. Andrew Sciberras said

    Dear caretaker,

    I would like to correct a syntax error in my recent post.

    “We are not afraid of straying from the status-quo. We are not afraid of reforming ourselves to the world of today but neither are we afraid to let go of our social and democratic principles.”

    Should read as follows:

    “We are not afraid of straying from the status-quo. We are not afraid of reforming ourselves to the world of today but neither are we afraid to retain our social and democratic principles.”

    Andrew Sciberras

  25. Clive Fenech said

    So, have you all read the results of the Malta Today survey?
    What do you make of it?

    The main findings seem to me to be:
    * Joseph Muscat comes out as the most likely winner.
    * Joseph Muscat is the favourite of Labourites (all Labourites, not just delegates).
    * Joseph Muscat is the favouritte of the young.
    * Nationalists and ‘floaters’ prefer George Abela.
    * Older respondents prefer George Abela.
    * George Abela has pulled the carpet from beneath Michael Falzon’s feet.
    * Evarist Bartolo and Marie Louise Coleiro Preca hardly appear on the radar.

    I think we need a clearer picture of:
    * Why Nationalists prefer George Abela.
    * Who is the ‘floater’ and what does she/he want.

    Clive Fenech

  26. Green Militant said

    I am surprised and disappointed that nobody has seriously followed up my suggestion (originally posted in March) that if Joseph Muscat becomes leader Alternattiva activists will seriously consider migrating to Labour.
    Their job would be to concentrate to bringing the green vote to Labour.

    Green Militant [author’s identity known to Caretaker]

  27. Richard Abela and Co. said

    Our morale is very high! Malta Today’s survey results published today shows that Joseph’s hard work with the young (meeting hundreds of them all over Malta and Gozo in meetings, events but more importantly one to one, eyeball to eyeball)is giving results. Let nobody think that the young automatically prefer a young candidate! The young will vote for a young candidate who in their INDIVIDUAL view is ready to listen to them and to work hard to turn this tacky rock into a cool decent country not to be ashamed of!

    Richard Abela
    Roger Busuttil Cutajar
    Marvin Tonna
    Joanne Fenech

  28. Jules Briffa said

    Green Militant!

    I would be happy enough for Alternattiva Demokratika to keep its identity as Alternattiva Demokratika (I think it should not dissolve) and to hold talks with the Labour Party as soon as Joseph Muscat is elected leader (it is not a matter of IF he is elected, but of WHEN he is elected) with the intention of forming an electoral alliance for all elections: local councils, European parliament, national elections. A representative of AD should be invited to address Labour’s annual general conferences as a fraternal delegate of our sisters and brothers and one of us should, to reciprocate, be invited to speak at your conferences. Nobody should feel she/is the bigger/smaller sister/brother of the other. Red + Green = Absolute Majority.

    Jules Briffa

  29. Raymond Grech said

    Haven’t been following Labour in labour properly over the past week, I’m afraid, but I cannot resist commenting on some of the more recent posts.

    1. Richard Abela & Co. are perfectly right – it’s not the age, it’s the attitude that counts (especially since I’m approaching 50 myself and don’t appreciate being written off on grounds of age);

    2. Green Militant [no. 26] and Jules Briffa [28] are on to something here – I have no idea which of the two options (absorption of AD into the MLP or an electoral alliance) will deliver the better result but both are worth considering. The electoral alliance should have been tried ages ago – as soon as the EU issue was out of the way, in fact. The hunting and anti-illegal immigration lobbies wouldn’t like it, of course. AD’s support of gay rights could be a problem, too – on marriage/civil partnership, but especially adoption by gays. None of these is a good enough reason for not trying, however – we just need to think harder.

    3. Clive Fenech on the The Malta Today survey [No. 25]. Haven’t seen the paper, so I can’t really comment, but I do agree that a lot depends on the definition of ‘floater’ and why these prefer George Abela. Why PN supporters prefer GA? Also very interesting, but not a central issue at this point.

    Won’t say more at this stage because I’d like to see the results for myself first, except to suggest that, irrespective of methodological validity, the best that ANY one-off survey can deliver is a snapshot of a population’s views at a a given point in time. Respondents react to questions on (among other things) the basis of their knowledge/perceptions of the past. My point: surveys are valid, useful and respectable tools but no substitute for fresh, original and forward-looking thinking – surveys are static, politics is dynamic.

    Will post again once I’ve had to look at the survey results.

    Raymond Grech

  30. fabrizioellul said

    I wouldn’t be to hasty on MLP+AD; I don’t agree that MLP should absord AD, it would make much more sense a coalition between the two parties. After all, they are both Left parties. But the MLP has to show that it is a real Left party and not some open club.

    Even on a coalition, there would be a lot of problems. It is risky from a lot of point of views. Personally, I would be concerned for certain AD member’s safety. I don’t think that the Nationalist hooligans will see it with good eyes.

    Besides all of this, there is the element of pride. the MLP is too big and the AD is too small.

    Having said this, the fact that the MLP never tried to absorb the AD’s supporters was only because the AD always ‘took’ the PN’s votes (as if votes are of anyone …) and that was just a mistake. The AD is more left than the MLP.

    Now, on George or Joseph … I hate to choose, you always end up losing something. Lino Spiteri at the very beginning of this campaign said: the winning tandem is ‘Abela-Muscat’. the survey justifies his statement.

    I think that people should also reflect on the fact that Labour needs to win the 2013 election … it can’t afford not to win it! it does not need a big long term project but an immediate one … Abela, is 60 and is gambling everything on this. Muscat, at 35, will have his chance, the future is his. Besides, even Abela on dissett said that he has no intention to keep going more than 10 years (he is no Berlusconi :P) so already by 2013/15, the MLP will be looking for a new leader.

    It is something to reflect upon.

    Fabrizio Ellul

  31. Andrew Sciberras said

    Defining the ‘Floating Voter’

    In an election, there are “certain” or “lock” votes — voters who are solidly behind a particular party and won’t consider changing their minds no matter what the opposition says. On the other hand, floating voters are undecided about how they will vote. They are sometimes referred to as undecideds or undecided voters. They may be dissatisfied Labourites or Nationalists who are open to the idea of voting for other parties, or they might be people who have never had a strong party affiliation. Others might be people who have not voted before, such as those just reaching voting age. Because the votes of swing voters are “up for grabs”, candidates direct much campaign effort toward them, although they must also be concerned with voter turnout among their political base.

    However, in a two-party system, those who become disillusioned with their favored party are more likely to vote third-party or abstain than cross over. One of my best mates, who was born and raised in a PN-based voting family, and who was sick of PN this time round did not vote MLP but AD. Another thing to ponder is what I said in my previous post (#22) where 21,143 voters, rather than crossing over to one party or another just did not vote. Are these the floating voters? Malta Today classed the floating voters as those that did not vote for the same party in the last 4 general elections which is quite a reasonable classification. But my personal opinion about what constitutes the majority of floating voters are those “people who have not voted before, such as those just reaching voting age.” I say this because I personally feel that (as opposed to other major European countries) in Malta, politics is highly tribal especially amongst the elder generations who in the past were immersed in a deeply heated and irrational political scenario where emotions overcame all sense of reason and free will (seriously no offense intended – watch and read “Il-Gagga” by Frans Sammut and you’ll see what I mean).

    Andrew Sciberras

  32. J. Borg said

    Regarding the Malta Today survey…it’s interesting to note that while 63.4% of those who identified themselves as nationalists said they prefer Abela as Labour leader, just 42.8% of them think that with Abela as leader Labour would stand a chance of winning the next general election. On the other hand, while just 4.1% say they would like to see Muscat as leader, 14.5% admit that they think Labour is most likely to win if Muscat is leader. Thus, there is a big chunk of nationalists who want Abela as leader since they know that with him as leader Labour doesn’t stand a chance of winning, while another (or the same) chunk doesn’t want Muscat as leader since they feel that with him as leader Labour would have a better chance to win.

    While not doubting the nationalists’ honesty, I must say that my suspicion is that, in reality, less than 40.3% of nationalists think that Abela would give Labour a better chance to win. I also suspect that more than 14.5% of nationalists fear Muscat as Gonzi’s main rival. Anyway, the fact is that a) nationalists want Abela as MLP leader because they know that he would be a weaker rival to Gonzi and b) nationalists don’t want Muscat as leader because they know that he would be a strong rival for Gonzi.

    It is also interesting to note that while just 17.7% of “floaters” prefer Muscat as Labour leader, 24.2% of them think that with him as leader Labour would be most likely to win. On the other hand, 50% prefer Abela even if 40.3% think that with him as leader MLP would be most likely to win. 16.1% of floaters prefer Falzon, even if just 9.7% of them think that with him as leader Labour would have a better chance to win. Here, one can notice the same pattern found in the nationalist grouping. I wonder who these “floaters” are…

    This survey also shows that Muscat is the most popular contestant among those in the 18 to 34 age bracket. Here, Muscat is the favourite of 49.1% of respondents. Abela comes second with 26.2%. Here one should consider that there would be respondants who know that Muscat would be a better leader but who prefer Abela due to their political allegiances (as the answers from the nationalist grouping have shown). We’ve been hearing, ad nauseum, that Labour has found it harder than PN to attract younger voters in this election. Thus, I presume, the best way to attract young voters would be by choosing the contestant they prefer most.

    J. Borg

  33. Paul Degabriele said

    How will Labour reach the floating voters and disgruntled intelligent labour voters? Certainly not by listening to what one of the contestants for the place of deputy leader had to say on Super one last week! Labour, he said, had to reach out to voters to give them its message.

    What message dear? The problem is the other way round. You got it feet up and head down! It is the voter that is despairing of Labour. The voter has been constantly sending messages to Labour, often crystal clear messages, but Labour – or, better, its leaders, including (I hope) all except one of the contestants for the post of leader – are too blind or too deaf or too blind and deaf, to get the message.

    So the problem is not that of finding new ways of passing on the message to the voter a couple of months before an election, but of finding ways of receiving and understanding the messages sent to us 24/7 by the voters.

    Our leaders and our MPs are too busy talking too listen. That’s real arrogance for you! The typical arrogance of the old-fashioned populist left. We know everything, we have all the solutions, we are the guardians of the good values and if you doubt that we are qualified to dispense our wisdom to you, we will show you our pedigree certificate to prove to you that we are the sons and daughters of working people, of Pinu ta’ Haz-Zghir and of Tina ta’ Rahal Ckejken, and if you doubt that “iz-zghir is always on our mind” then you are a Nationalist xewwiex or a Godless green who wants to deprive us of the right to defend Din l-Art Helwa from the aerial attacks of foreign birds. Good thing there are no Communists left today…wouldn’t be surprised if they are still there working their way through the foundations of our glorious Party like patient woodworm. Would not be surprised if many of our MPs and of our aspiring leaders and deputy leaders really think like this.

    In fact, the MLP knows nothing and listens to nobody except to its own self-justifying chatter. Just you listen to the self-declared experts-on-everything that are invited by our media (TV, Radio, Press and Internet) to vomit ignorance onto our shoes, day in and day out, always the same crap. We get lawyers, doctors, notaries, djs, journalists, travel agents, cooks, entertainers, pots and pans sellers and not further defined ‘personalities’ who can speak about everything…a whole avalanche of mediocre messages thrown onto the voter who has been keeping his finger up patiently waiting to tell us that it cannot go on like this for ever.

    So, I am not one of those know-alls that infest our media. But I do know what is good for ME, and I do know that I detest anyone preaching at me, whether in Chrurch or at a meeting or from the television screen ot from the radio in my dashboard.

    ” What is to be done?” Well, to start with the Labour party should invest in a couple of elephant ears and START listening to the noise amongst the bushes, the walls and the shrubs of Maltese society. The fig will fall to the ground when it is ready to fall. Take action when it falls, but do not shake it, cause it will fall prematurely, and the taste will not be to the likening of the one who shook it!

    Who is the best amongst the “new” leaders, in other words who is the most likely to finally listen to the voters? Who will build the great bridges that connect us to the people? Political fossils? Alas, I also fear that lurking in the wings of this magnificent show there are Brutus’ and Cassius’ lurking in the sadows.

    Did all of you study the Malta Today survey results yesterday? If that wasn’t the electorate talking to us, I don’t know what is. Anyone of thoise concerned got the message? I have not heard of anyone resigning from the race yet…

    The message from the voter, especially the young voter, is that it’s time for some to bow out gracefully and with dignity. So if any of you guys and girls decides to go, please don’t forget to take away with you those galantomi of the Party administration – nobody excluded, including those that after five years of keeping their mouth shut, now that we have lost are suddenly wise and ready to condemn their colleagues for a job badly done. Do not leave Jason behind please and, above all, do not forget the president in a cupboard either.

    Good luck MLP , you need it!

    Paul Degabriele

    Paul Degabriele

  34. fabrizioellul said

    I think that Andrew Sciberras is quite correct. Sometimes, I think that ‘Free Will’ is the biggest ever fabrication ever invented by humans. Free Will is not something that is given at birth, but something to struggle for …

    I like to think that a ‘floater’ is just a ‘clearer headed’ person who does not fall under one church but tries to evaluate objectively what the two parties are saying. I think it is positive that the number of ‘floaters’ is on the increase. It means that more people are moving away from tribal politics.

    The moderator said: ‘…contrary to what some people may think, we have a lot of Nationalist friends who are perfectly ready to have political conversations with us in complete mutual respect…’

    It means that the number of moderates are also on the increase. That can only be a positive thing.

    I find it insulting to think of the voters as sheep in need of a shepherd’s guidance.

    F. Ellul

  35. J. Borg said

    Dear Mr Degabriele, you said that Labour is arrogant and that this is typical of the “old-fashioned populist left”. You also said that this is manifest in Labour projecting itself as guardian of the good values. If there’s a Party which does that in Malta, it’s the PN. All the talk about bringing Christian values back into Europe and all the talk about defending “our” Christian values.

    When it comes to listening…Labour met with civil society when compiling its Pjan Ghall-Bidu Gdid, a summary of which was the Party’s electoral manifesto. Who did PN, AD and AN consult when doing their manifestos?

    Mr Degabriele, you also said that Labour needs to reach out to “disgruntled intelligent Labour voters”. It might be that I misunderstood, but are you implying that intelligent voters can’t feel comfortable within the Labour Party? I wouldn’t be surprised. After all, in Daphne’s encyclopaedia, Labourite females are described as big-breasted hamalli and Peter (forgot his surname, the one who got money from the good causes fund for his “red ads” firm) when sharing some of his wisdom with the rest of the population enlightened us by telling us that Laburisti are hamalli injuranti.

    J. Borg

  36. Abel Abela said

    You keep talking of ‘floaters’.
    7.5% of the electorate did not float.
    They flew away.

    Total Vote MLP/PN: 285,356

    Uncollected Votes: 5,266
    Non-Voters: 14,802
    Invalidated Votes: 3,415
    Total: 23,483 (7.5% of 314,282 voters)

    If one were to add non-MLP/PN voters that figure
    rises to almost 29,000 voters.

  37. Lillian Grech said

    The latest editorial is entitled And now back to the future, please…!
    Certainly the editor gave it that title to encourage us to look forward. You will all recall that the debate in this blog began with a focus on what the various contestants had in mind for the future…their ideas, their programmes. And then Mintoff’s appearance at Qormi hijacked our attention and took us back to the ‘fattaccio’ of 1998. An opportunity to get to know George Abela better, of course, but it certainly did not help me understand what he has in mind regarding environment, jobs, tarzna, bad governance, national health etc.

    Now, that we had begun to speak about a possible opening towards Alternattiva – remember MLP + AD would have meant an absolute majority at the last elections – we go back to discuss the elections! Let’s try to move forward again. Let me try to give a push in that direction myself.
    Abel Abela, J. Borg and Paul Degabriele, do you see Alternattiva coming our way, somehow, sometime?
    Lillian Grech

  38. Clive Fenech said

    Good post, Fabrizio, proset!

    Post on survey:

    Clive Fenech

  39. Marie Abdilla said

    El Azarus (Post 22) has a point. If we’re just going to hear words to soothe the anger that most Laburisti feel, whether it’s from the contenders or from Gonzi PN then stuff it. If we can’t get tangible results to our grievances like the PN granting and executing sentences handed down from the Tribunal tal-Ingustizzji then there’s nothing left to do than leave no stone unturned to get Labour elected as soon a s possible.

    Marie Abdilla

  40. marie abdilla said

    Green Militant (Post 26) you might not have seen my post so the following is what I wrote about AD. Altru that your suggestion hasn’t been noted. Welcome on board says I !! You mention Joseph and I’m sure he’d be the first one to welcome ex-ADs and anyone else who’d like to migrate to Labour.

    Marie Abdilla Says:
    April 26, 2008 at 11:13 pm
    Like James Debono and Michael Briguglio I agree that political parties and NGOs on the left-side of the political spectrum should come together. Many of my friends and collegues are Alternattiva and in discussions I find that we have much in common. I also always find comments made by Zminijietna to be very close to my line of thinking. It has always saddened me that unlike other leftist movements in other countries, the left in Malta has never come together. But since March 08 several Alternatttiva members that I know are starting to show interest in Labour. Welcome on board to all “Progressives and Moderates” as Joseph Muscat says, both on an individual basis as well as regards more collaboration between the MLP and leftist parties/NGOS/groups.

    Marie Abdilla

  41. Maria Vella said

    Appointing the Nationalist Party’s Director of Communication to a new role, that of Head of Government Communications, is to democracy pure arsenic that does not even try to pretend to be honey as did the now famous ‘speaker’ offer . One assumes that this Department has to work closely with all Government Departments and should certainly be a Civil Service Department that seeks National Interest over partisan interests.

    The core values of any civil service are honesty, objectivity, integrity and impartiality. No matter how much an individual person can have all these attributes, committed party individuals are not perceived as civil servants. In my opinion, the party/government line has never been as blurred and this makes the life of a new Labour Leader even more onerous.

    Maria Vella

  42. Rudi Azzoppardi said

    I have several questions for each of the candidates for Labour’s top job. I’ll put one to them every couple of days. I don’t expect them to reply, but I expect you boys and girls hanging around Labour-in-labour to comment.

    First question is for George Abela and concerns MEPA. If he were to be asked to sign a popular petition to the Prime Minister to stop pretending that nothing improper ever happened at MEPA in the run-up to the elections, what would he do?

    Rudi Azzoppardi

  43. J. Borg said

    It would be a good idea if MLP and AD cooperated in some way or another. However, you have to see if 1) these two Parties are willing to take such a step and 2) if they are ready to pay the price for such a step to be taken. I think that a possible “deal” could be that AD doesn’t contest the elections and encourages its members to vote Labour. The AD chairperson could also be invited to address MLP rallies etc. Than, in return Labour would give one of its seats in parliament to AD after the elections take place. AD would have to agree to vote as a bloc with Labour. This can be very risky for Labour, especially if elected into government with a one-seat majority. For AD, it would also mean that they loose some of their independence. However, it would give Labour more support + an image of a moderate Party. AD would get the seat, which they long for. If such an alliance had to take place, it’s essential, for harmony within such an alliance to be maintained, that both Parties are treated equally.

    I’m not convinced that a Red Green alliance would get all the votes that AD got on 8th March. I see AD as an organisation with two different and distinct personalities. There are those in AD who are liberals but who are slightly centre-right, especially when it comes to economy and fiscal policy. Than there are those within AD, who are left wing, probably more left wing than MLP itself. I’m not that sure that the former group would feel comfortable in a Red/Pink/Magenta-Green alliance. I don’t think that AD is the typical European Green Party, but rather a liberal Party with a green perspective. This is just my opinion/perspective, and it might be wrong.

    If such an alliance had to take place, both Parties would have to revise their policies. I think that MLP would have to start focusing also on the relation between the individual and the environment rather than just putting an emphasis on the social and economical progress of the individual. MLP would (and I think it should do this anyway even if it has no deal with AD) have to focus on how, for instance, environmental depletion effects the physical and mental health of people. On the other hand, I think AD would have to be less demanding. For instance, they would have to start promoting sustainable hunting instead of demanding the banning of hunting. I think AD would also have to change those policies, which view the free-market as a panacea to all problems (such as their policy on public transport, which says that problems in the public transport system would be solved if contracts were given to private bus companies to operate the bus service).

    I’m a little bit sceptic if such a union between AD and MLP will ever happen, and if it will bear any fruits (primarily electoral victory and stability once, and if, in government). Nevertheless, if it does take place, I am convinced that it would help us make changes after 25 years of conservatives.

    J. Borg

  44. danny attard said

    Good question Rudi. Mepa is in fact the sacred cow treated with distant caution because its bite is more awesome than that of a great white. I would go one step further: who would endorse a request for an independent audit that will list sites/properties whose value and post permit, exceeded its pre-permit value by say Lm1,000,000. This would not imply that those on the list benefited from any irregular practice, yet a complete list would perhaps be helpful to identify trends and help one understand better political agendas beyond party lines. The list would also create popular understanding as to why Mepa is at the centre of so much energy and contention. Discussing such a list would enhance democtratic practice.

    Danny Attard

  45. Marie Abdilla said

    Maria Vella (Post 41) I couldn’t agree with you more. Kemm kien iparla Fenech Adami fuq ir-Rule of Law, Division of Party and Government, Jobs for the Boys, Integrity and Autonomy of the Civil Service fl-1987. Ba bla bla bla …..

    Fejn huma d-difensuri tad-demokrazija Tonio Borg u Guido Demarco …… more bla bla bla.

    Fejn huma l-opinjonisti bhal IM Beck il-Bocca ….. more bla bla bla!

    Jew id-demokrazija trid tigi imharsa biss meta jkun hemm il-Partit Nazzjonalista fl-Opposizzjoni? U meta jkunu fil-gvern in-Nazzjonalisti kollox jghodd??!!

    Indeed as you say Maria the new Labour Leader will have a great responisbility to stand up for the rule of law and ensure that the PN Government does not get away with these anti-democratic moves. But not only the Leader himself can do this. He must rally all the Parliamentary group to take a stand in Parliament and if needs be also take a stand in court where possible.

    Marie Abdilla

  46. Andrew Sciberras said

    Dear all,

    This site has been linked on my blog Progressive Malta in which I kindly ask you to participate if you so wish 🙂

    Andrew Sciberras

    [We are pleased to include Andrew Sciberras’s blog in our roll of links and blogs on our Home page, Caretaker]

  47. Il-Kugin ta' Robi t' Arras said

    Fit-tiġrija sfrenata għal-ħatra ta’ Mexxej tal-Partit Soċjalista Malti smajna kważi lil kandidati kollha jargumentaw li għandhom l-esperjenza biex irieġu ‘l quddiem il-kawża tal-ħaddiem Malti u effettivament jirbħu l-elezzjoni ġenerali li jmiss.
    Din l-istqarrija fiha nnifsiha tinkwieta lil min bħali jemmen li, biex it-tim li jmexxi jkun tassew jirrapreżenta “lill-ġenerazzjoni rebbieħa” jew inkella jkun tassew il-“Gvern naturali għal kulħadd” jeħtieġ li sa mill-bidu jixhed li se jkun dinamiku u b’rieda soda li jdaħħal mentalità u stil ta’ tmexxija aktar moderna, kif ukoll li jkun qrib il-poplu.
    Il-kelma ‘esperjenza’ fiha nnifisha tqanqalli ċerta biża’ għaliex fiha nilmaħ it-tlugħ u l-inżul reċenti ta’ Partit li mill-1979 kważi qatt ma ħa ruħ. Mal-kelma esperjenza jiġuni f’moħħi kliem oħrajn: passat, ripetizzjoni, staġnar, nuqqasijiet oħra marbutin ma’ politika li xejn ma rrendiet lil pajjiżna.
    Jekk niġu biex nevalwaw is-sitwazzjoni fit-taqtigħa għal Mexxej mill-ewwel nintebħu li l-kandidati hekk imsejħa anzjani qed iħabbtu s-snin ta’ esperjenza politika tagħhom ma’ dawk ta’ żagħżugħ, Dr. Joseph Muscat.
    Ejjew nieħu bħala eżempju tagħna l-kandidatura ta’ Dr. Ġorġ Abela u ta’ Dr. Joseph Muscat. Żewġ kandidati li, għalkemm ivarjaw wieħed ma’ l-ieħor f’dik li hi età, naħseb li bħala esperjenza diretta mal-politika jikkumparaw tajjeb ma’ xulxin. Filwaqt li Dr. Abela qed jibbaża l-kandidatura fuq il-popolarità li jgawdi mal-poplu, kif ukoll fuq is-snin li għamel bħala Deputat Kap Soċjalista fis-Snin Disgħin (meta l-Partit għadda minn riforma u tiġdid qawwi sa ma rebaħ l-elezzjoni ta’ l-1996) min-naħa l-oħra, Dr. Muscat, qed jibbaża kollox fuq dak li jista’ joffri bħala żagħżugħ b’esperjenza pjuttost qasira. Kulħadd jaf kemm Dr. Muscat kien suċċess bħala MEP, iżda x’isarraf verament fix-xenarju politiku Malti għad irridu niskopruh.
    Ħafna jistqasu: Lil min nistgħu nafdaw fit-tmexxija? Lil min hu mxekkel (mhux mogħni) bi snin kbar ta’ esperjenza? Lil min wera li hu dixxiplinat mal-linji tal-Partit fil-passat? Lil min tkellem u ħa stand drastika għax ra li l-Partit Laburista se jkun ikkastigat intortament għal ħafna snin fl-Oppożizzjoni mingħajr ma ddejjaq li hu jitlef mill-appoġġ li kien igawdi mingħand kulħadd dik il-ħabta? Mistoqsijiet li biex ikunu mwieġba sewwa jeħġtieġ li b’mod mill-iżjed imparzjali tiġi mistħarrġa l-Istorja reċenti tal-Partit Soċjalista Malti, xi ħaġa li la għandi l-ħin u lanqas il-kapaċità li nagħmilha.
    Nemmen li l-kandidati kollha għandhom jiġu ġġudikati għal għemilhom u l-prinċipji tagħhom u mhux għal dak li jippossiedu. Mhux kemm għandhom dottorati jgħodd. Mhux kemm huma sinjuri huma u qrabathom iġibhom eliġibbli għall-ogħla karigi fl-Partit. Jekk immorru ftit ‘l hinn minn artna (l-Italja) nafu bil-konfuzjoni politika li teżisti għax dawn iġġudikaw lill-politikanti tagħhom b’kemm irnexxew bħala negozjanti u allura abbinaw is-suċċess ta’ xi wħud ma’ kif ser tiżvolġi l-mixja mmedjata tal-politika f’pajjiżhom.
    L-għan aħħari ta’ Gvern mhuwiex li jagħmel il-qliegħ iżda li jżomm postu fis-setgħa għal ammont ta’ żmien. Din aħna llum insejħulha stabbilità politika. (Xi ħaġa lil l-partit Soċjalista għal raġunijiet varji naqas li jkollu bejn l-1996 u l-1998.) Għalhekk, f’soċjeta kemxejn korrotta bħalma hi dik tagħna, kandidati b’anqas esperjenza nemmen li għanhom ikunu l-aktar nies fdati bis-setgħa. Għal grazzja ta’ l-argument nista’ nafferma li ħadd mill-ħames kandidati ma għandu ismu marbut ma’ xi negozju li jrendilu l-miljuni a la Berlusconi… Riħa tfuħ tfewweġ madwarhom u xejn iżjed.
    Kulmin għamel xi żmien f’xi ħatra għolja pubblika daq is-setgħa xi tfisser. Il-ħames kandidati għall-post ta’ Mexxej, kif diga’ sħaqt, m’hemm xejn xi tmaqdar fihom. Anzi. Kollha onesti. Kollha kapaċi u bieżla. Kollha taw ħafna għall-kawża tal-ħaddiem Malti, lil Malta u lill-Partit. Biss, ma nistax ma ngħidx ukoll li kważi l-kandidati kollha esperjenzaw ċerti daqqiet jew diżullużjonijiet kemm mill-bankijiet ta’ l-Oppożizzjoni u kemm meta kienu jifformaw parti mill-Gvern Laburista. Kollha jafu x’seħħ fil-kamp edukattiv, il-problemi bl-għeluq ta’ tant fabbriki u n-nuqqas ta’ investiment, kif iddeterjora l-qasam tas-saħħa u kif sefa’ mgerrem mill-ispekulaturi l-ambjent ta’ pajjiżna. Anki l-morali tal-pajjiż raw tixxaqqaq. B’daqshekk ma rridx nalludi li kienu kompliċi f’dan kollu. Iżda lanqas ma jistgħu jaħslu jdejhom kompletament… għax dawn l-esperjenzi għexuhom!
    La semmejt lil Dr. Abela u lil Dr. Muscat ma nistax ma nagħlaqx dil-kitba bihom. Ġorġ għalaq sittin sena riċentament. Is-snin li għamel fil-politika Ġorġ ma ssarfux f’esperjenza negattiva. Għadni niftakru meta jien, daqxejn ta’ żerbinott, attendejt għall-konferenza tal-Partit u hu, wara li temm id-diskors tiegħu, niżel jistaqsi li sieħbi b’dik it-tbissima tipika tiegħu u bl-umilta’ kollha jekk kienx mar tajjeb dakinhar. Episodju ħelu li fawwar mill-ġiebja tal-memorja reċentament meta smajtu jgħid li anki jekk ma jinħatarx Mexxej se jagħti sehmu xorta biex il-partit jerġa’ jieħu l-post li jixraqlu. Dil-ħaġa s’issa ħadd għadu ma semmiha mill-midja sfukata ta’ barra l-Partit. Din forsi hi s-saħħa ta’ Ġorġ. Forsi wkoll hi n-nuqqas ta’ esperjenza tiegħu fil-politika – liema politika kapaċi tbarri lil min l-onestà ma jxellifha għall-ebda raġuni. Iż-żgħożija ta’ Joseph, min-naħa l-oħra, tawgura ċertu ftuħ, arja ġdida u freskezza. Lil Joseph nafu xi ftit ukoll. Naf xi jsarraf u kemm hu abbli. Il-kandidatura tiegħu tawgura fejqan għal tant ġrieħi li sofra l-Partit anki minn ta’ ġewwa stess. Joseph wiegħed ukoll li se jaħdem mal-erba’ kontestanti l-oħra, jiġri x’jiġri wara… u lest li jinvolvihom bis-serjetà.
    Li ridt ngħid f’dan la-rtiklu hu dan: f’politiku bl-esperjenza hemm xamma ta’ ġibda għas-setgħa – xi ħaġa li ma tantx tawgura tajjeb għall-pajjiżna. Għal grazzja t’Alla l-għażla bejn dawn iż-żewġ kontestanti (u anki t-tlieta l-oħra) qatt ma tista’ tkun imtebba’ b’dan l-għelt.
    Kulmin se jivvota għal-ħatra ta’ Mexxej għandu għadma iebsa tassew xi jgerrem.

    Il-kuġin ta’ Robi t’Arras

  48. Paul Degabriele said

    Regarding a Social Democratic-Green alliance, I’ll say that this could only be a natural alliance. In our homeland, Europe,all the Greens are somehow allied with left of centre parties. Why has Malta been an exception so far? Could this have bee due to MLP’s arogance and/or AD infantile political project, or could it be to something else. Suggestions welcome!

    Paul Degabriele

  49. Night Editor said

    Quiet night. Have been going through comments to all posted editorials since the beginning.
    Some early visitors from the furthest reaches of cyberspace have been faithfully coming back to us regularly since the very beginning, Danny Attard is a classic example! Maria Abdilla and Victor Cuschieri are two others.

    Some came in, pasted their bit on our tazebao once or twice at the beginning but then disappeared (actually we are reasonably certain that they visit us often, but they evidently resist the temptation to comment): IM Beck alias ABC LLD alias ‘il-boccja’ is a good example and Josianne Cassar is another.

    Then there are those that came in, scratched their name on our wall and left. Charles Cassar and Harloc, for example.

    Of the more recent regulars, too many too mention them all, but two names that come to mind (perhaps because they tend to write whole volumes) are Raymond Grech and Andrew Sciberras.

    Night Editor.

  50. marie abdilla said

    Hello, Andrew (Post 46) I think you have an excellent blog. A lot of food for thought. I read what you dream of and it reminded me of Alfred Sant’s dream for a progressive Malta in 1996. Too bad that the reactionary forces within the Party and out put paid to that. Maybe the time wasn’t ripe then. Maybe it will be soon.

    And who are we if we are void of all hope and dreams? As a progressive, I dream about the following changes for Malta:
    A secular State where the Freedom of Religion is endorsed and whereby it is wrongful to have a particular belief imposed on the citizen.
    A radical division between State and Party

    A free and inclusive society where citizens, by working together, are able to determine their own lives.
    A non-discriminatory society of equals regardless of being black or white; male or female; straight or gay; Christian or atheist; pro-choice or pro-life; young or old; of sound mind or mentally infirm; working class or middle class; and the list goes on.

    A society that promotes peace and combats injustice and oppression of freedom and civil liberties

    A State and society that oppose the destruction of nature at all costs and highly promotes the use of alternative and clean sources of energy
    A State where the best Health care and Education are free for all
    A State based on meritocracy; which rewards hard work and guarantees job security
    A society where women are more involved with work and have a higher representation and participation in the political sphere.

    Marie Abdilla

  51. danny attard said

    Hello night editor, I think that all that had to be said has been said, we all have obtained an idea of what the 5 contenders are all about. As I had occasssion to say in early posts: none of them is the finished article…unless the eventual leader gets a team that will groom him/her politically to high heaven, we shall have to go through the usual pain of demonisation…labour would still be potentially capable to secure victory at the next election yet the path will be full of shards of all shapes and sizes.

    So the mood now is one: get the ballot boxes and votes out so that a leader is elected and we may carry on with life.

    Hope that this blog wall will continue to allow us to scribble our little thoughts post election. It is an excellent way to communicate; and there will be so many things that’ll come out which I am sure will get us all hot under the collar 🙂

    Regards and thanks

    Danny Attard

  52. fcb said

    We have just received new material from Evarist Bartolo relating to the leadership contest and his vision for the Labour Party. We have published them in the order we received them. You will find these texts on the STATEMENTS BY CONTESTANTS page.


  53. fabrizioellul said

    Paul, you said on post 48:’…Could this have bee due to MLP’s arrogance and/or AD infantile political project, or could it be due to something else. Suggestions welcome!’

    Yes. That is one thing.

    Yet, are they compatible to join forces? Seriously, could you imagine the MLP of Sant with AD? Personally, I couldn’t recognize a left in the MLP, let alone a union of ‘Lefts’. Especially, since Sant was quite centre-right and some of his decisions like cutting half the surchage was contrary to the Euro-socialists policies.

    However, I can see Abela/Muscat (I am of the idea that these two should lead the party…) + AD working together quite fine.

    Two good things that came out from the MLP defeat were that Sant resigned. He should have done that in 2003. The British LP is considering removing Brown, because he is starting to be unpopular and risking the general election. The MLP, should have done the same. Why do you think that floaters and others did not vote MLP or stayed at home? Yes, Alfred (of course one has to give hime credit for the good things too eh) was that bad.

    The second good thing was that finally the MLP has opened up and is becoming a really interesting party to watch. This is the first time that I got interested into it. I always felt that Malta was lacking a serious left party; I’m glad that it is finally going into that direction. Alas, with its hiccups and the usual crop of mis-guided conservatives into its ranks, but altogether interesting to watch…

    I think, if you are in your twenties, like myself, you’ll realize that you have spent all of your life under a Christian conservative democratic party and its phoney morals. I do not want my children to be born under this party too 🙂 So it becomes important now to rally behind the mainstream branch of the left for 2013 and see that it has a good chance to win this time.

    It was the PN, that got Malta independent. Yet, it was the MLP who actually kicked the British out.

    It was the PN, that got Malta into the E.U. True. But with its conservative thinking we are nowhere near being a European country. It is the responsability of the MLP to change this.

    Fabrizio Ellul

  54. marie abdilla said

    Hello Caretaker. I came across Tini Abela’s blog and thought you might wish to add it to your blog list. Cheers. Marie

  55. Wendy Brown said

    I refer to the comment of Il-kugin ta’ Robi ta’ Arras (whatever that means and whoever that is) whose perspective I found interesting. Referring to this leadership election, he claims that ‘experience’ is not always laudable when contesting for the top job in the MLP. By this statement, I took it that he could be rooting for JM. Maybe not. No matter, we all have our sympathies and this blog has offered everyone his space and right of opinion. What was interesting however is how his argument unfolds. Experience, Robi says, means repetition, stale policies and political perspectives.

    “Il-kelma ‘esperjenza’ fiha nnifisha tqanqalli ċerta biża’ għaliex fiha nilmaħ it-tlugħ u l-inżul reċenti ta’ Partit li mill-1979 kważi qatt ma ħa ruħ. Mal-kelma esperjenza jiġuni f’moħħi kliem oħrajn: passat, ripetizzjoni, staġnar, nuqqasijiet oħra marbutin ma’ politika li xejn ma rrendiet lil pajjiżna.”

    He see experience in some of the candidates as being more of a ball and chain around their ankles than an advantage, as the majority of people would normally consider it…experience he continues could ultimately prove fatal to the aspiring candidate who gloats of it.

    “Ħafna jistqasu: Lil min nistgħu nafdaw fit-tmexxija? Lil min hu mxekkel (mhux mogħni) bi snin kbar ta’ esperjenza? Lil min wera li hu dixxiplinat mal-linji tal-Partit fil-passat?”

    Robi is not the only one to put this argument forward. Lately, I came across an article in which also discusses the so called ‘political experience’ of Hilary Clinton. In this article, the journalist lists the 5 biggest mistakes that in her opinion could cost Hilary the Democratic nomination and endorsement in the next elections. Topping the list of Hilary’s political blunders is this ‘political experience’ that breeds a certain smug overconfidence. She says, and I quote, “In a cycle that has been all about change, Clinton chose an incumbent’s strategy, running on experience, preparedness, inevitability…” As we were saying this experience that some keep wavering to the winds as their ‘cavallo di battaglia’ is not necessarily conducive to victory. She continues, “Clinton completely misread the mood of Democratic-primary voters, who were desperate to turn the page.” Quoting David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, this writer seems also to question the real intrinsic value of ‘experience’: “Being the consummate Washington insider is not where you want to be in a year when people want change”, says Axelrod.

    As my fellow commentator implies, the political experience of a person may not always play to his advantage. On the contrary, it may be the nail in his coffin. This may depend on many factors: time, the mood of the people, the average age of the voters, the issues addressed and so forth. Perhaps, if one takes the etymology of the phrase ‘cavallo di battaglia’ we could begin to understand why so many politicians use it in their speeches and manifestos when their agenda clearly lacks foresight, vision and a well-organised action plan. This phrase originated from jargon historically used within the theatrical setting and indicated the play or the specific scene in which the actor plays the given role as best he can, expressing himself to his full potential…What more can I add? 😉

    Good Night
    Wendy Brown

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