Labour in labour

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

Lessons for the young

Posted by fcb on May 17, 2008


These are great times for aspiring politicians. The past few weeks have been pregnant with lessons in practical politics. Young and ambitious and unscrupolous men and women thinking of a political career should thank their lucky stars for the privilege of being able to witness at first hand the brilliant maneuvres unfolding in the pitch darkness in front of their very eyes. Above is the first of a series of Mawzu vignettes (you will, of course, have heard of the venerable Maw-Zu…) intended for the delectation of the weary and for the instruction of the foolish.  



8 Responses to “Lessons for the young”

  1. Andrew Sciberras said

    Successful Maltese Politician Recipe:

    (1) Crack two eggs of turbulent past and beat them well so as to hide what is white from yellow;
    (2) Pour some credible milk of good personality and nice face and mix in well with the distorted turbulent past;
    (3) Make sure you cover up what could not have been properly beaten and distorted with 2 cups of deceitful and manipulative flour;
    (4) Make sure that this mixture doesn’t really stick to the tray so as to avoid having any rebellion should it find out something nasty and thus apply some butter of slippery smooth mind control to the tray. The best brand for this occasion is called “Manufacturing Consent” and the best person to apply it are independent journalists and columnists because they have the best fingers for the job.
    (5) You should now proceed to add a lot of exaggerated sugar promises which will not have affect the way the politic cake is baked but is just there to make it sweet and impossible not to taste or try at least once, or twice, or…

    Place the politic cake in the oven and let it bake for 4 and three-quarter years to ensure the finest texture. It’s ok to use as much electricity and oil as you have to as long as it is done right. Thats what counts.

    In the last quarter of the fifth year make some parties and invite Kuntratturi, Kacatturi, Kmamar tan-Nar enthusiasts and all the Korporazjonijiet possible. Make them taste the cake. When they tell you they like it promise them that you’ll bake unlimited supplies for them and that they can only get better. It is ok to raise taxes, lower wages, lay off workers and spoil the environment as long as the politic cakes are done. Thats what counts. Before the KKK(K) leave give them a guarantee that with unity everything is possible. That will make them even happier.

    If you are capable of cooking this you are a natural born Maltese politician.

    CAUTION: Make sure you keep this recipe out of reach of children. In fact ages 55 – 75 recommended. Use at your own risk and peril if you are younger.

  2. Joe Vella said

    When is the truth not the truth? When is a contract not a contract? Ask Pullicino Orland. What are Xarabank politics? Ask the PN media strategists? When is a sin not a sin? When is corruption not corruption? ASK Father Borg and the Rev Sarracino.
    When is environmental degradation not degrading? Ask all those environmental Nationalists in the pocket of the PN party machine. When is it good for the Kaccaturi to get in-namra abolished in spring? Ask the Nazzjonalisti first, kaccaturi after, PN administrators of the namra people. Who is the media gatekeeper, in charge of damage control? Ask the conservative devious Independent, Times generation. Who should be the leader of the MLP? Ask in-Nazzjon, ask Xarabank politics, ask the Times and Independent! They will give you a truthful, honest well-meaning answer! But for those who are in the Ghetto, those who feel day in day out the discrimination of the PN state machine, those who are given transfers, those who are not given contracts, those who never get consulted, those who never get a promotion, whom should they have as a leader? Meditate gente, meditate, whom you choose can be beneficial or dangerous to your physical, financial and political well-being.

    Joe Vella

  3. danny attard said

    Joe Vella’s contribution provides much food for rumination.

    The leadership contest is, in my opinion, characterized by a phenomenon that is specific to this campaign:

    The ‘pro-government’ voice and that of a lesser voice-mass, that conveniently sits in the grey area in between blue and red, ALL happen to agree that refusing to elect anyone other than their favorite candidate is tantamount to MLP political suicide.

    Now this suggests one of at least two possible reasons:

    The suitability of this particular candidate is infinitesimally superior to that of any of the other four candidates.

    No matter how much one may inflate the positives and deflate the negatives of the ‘obvious’ choice, this option does not have a frail stump of decomposed twig to stand upon.

    This leads to a second possible option. Common interest.

    “The twentieth century has been characterised by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.” (Carey, ‘Taking the Risk out of Democracy’, University of Illinois Press, 1995, p.18)

    Historians talk of business’s attack on the public:

    “Few key business interests orchestrated multi-million dollar public relations campaigns that relied on newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, to re-educate the public in the principles and benefits of the economic system… This involved convincing workers to identify their social, economic, and political well-being with that of the … free enterprise system.” (Fones-Wolf, ‘Selling Free Enterprise – The Business Assault on Labour and Liberalism, 1945-60,’ University of Illinois Press, 1994)

    The above observations hint at the unreported nature of ‘democracy’ where state power and business power operate in tandem, systematically fighting tooth and nail against public interest and creative business/cultural potential that is stifled by destructive raw business interests.

    This is the HIDDEN HISTORY and the missing context from news reporting on the inexistent Power Inquiry.

    Existing tensions that refuse to go away post 8th March may demand that this inquiry will get off the ground post 5th June; even if a few decades overdue.

    Danny Attard

  4. Abel Abela said

    He who knows his enemy and himself well will not be defeated easily. He, who knows himself but not his enemy, will have an even chance of victory. He, who does not know himself and his enemy, is bound to suffer defeat in all battles. (Sun Tzu, The Art of War)

    While the Labour Party is a PARTY, or works hard to be one, the PN is a MULTI-PARTY – it is a political supermarket attracting different buyers shopping for all sorts of different things. Pushing their shopping carts along its aisles, it is hard for shoppers to tell where PN shelves end, and Malta Ltd shelves begin. But they will shop anyway. Shoppers return again and again because they think that’s where they can get what they need. In addition, those who don’t yet know what they want are told what they don’t want. Labour helps them do that all the time. Shareholder loyalty is guaranteed so long as the management has a vast web of public goods from where to match interests and satisfy individual needs. There are all sorts of goodies for shoppers with different tastes, inclinations, and pockets. Its managers have perfected the art of grasping the ‘even chance of victory’. The PN supermarket strategy knows that shoppers will come again if only to redeem vouchers or collect points. Moreover, it’s open for all shoppers – liberal or conservative, ultra-catholic or atheist, puritan or debauched, minimum wage earner or businessperson, servant or baron. You name it, they have something you want. Perhaps you don’t know it yet, but make sure they will tell you about it. The supermarket is a self-contained world. What more could shoppers want? The best part of it is that the PN supermarket stores some of its best assets in Labour’s warehouse. Their competitors, perhaps without even suspecting it, and surely against their wishes, are the PN supermarket’s key salespersons and shopping assistants.

    Abel Abela

  5. Green Militant said

    Dear all,
    I suggest you visit and read Harry Vassallo’s unsettling comment A Bolt from the Blue on the mysterious death of Nicholas Azzoppardi. Two brief excerpts:

    “The very fact that this has not taken place in a time of political upheaval and anarchic
    mayhem should invite us to take a greater interest in the proceedings and to recognise our interest in ensuring that sufficient safeguards are put in place. The next time somebody is
    summoned to a police station and shouted at we should take an interest too. It is a matter of civil rights, not politics. If we thought everything was put right in the 1987 election, it may be time to have a rethink.”

    “Whether we like it or not, it is the police force which is on metaphorical trial in this case. Conservatives who quiver with anxiety whenever anything connected with law and order is put in
    question should quiver now. Sceptics who always nourish their paranoia with regard to anything in authority can begin their I-told-you-so mantras. Once we have all knee-jerked to our
    satisfaction, it may be useful for us to realise that we are on trial together with our police force. Have we been guilty of complacency? Have we minded our own business too much and never
    wondered about the rights of detained persons? Have we absolved ourselves of any duty to take an interest in such matters too easily, assuming that all was going well? Did we leave it to some vague figure in authority somewhere to make sure that everything is done properly? If we do not safeguard our civil rights, who will? If by his death Nicholas Azzopardi wakes us up to our share of responsibility, he will not have died altogether in vain. If we only follow his case out of morbid interest and forget it once the din subsides, we may become accomplices in the death of the next Nicholas Azzopardi.”

    Green Militant

  6. J. Borg said

    What Abel Abela talked about is a kind of new fascism. It is the formation of a political movement which is supposed to meet with the aspirations of all of the nation’s members. It was fascism which aimed at pleasing both the unskilled labourer and his boss. The Social Pact is a modern version of corporatism, one of the pillars of any fascist system. A Social Pact is, in my opinion, quite a good idea if it serves as a forum where different groups representing different interests meet. However I’m not very commited about a Pact in which, for instance, Unions surrender their right to take industrial action for a given period. The balancing out between various factions within the same movement was something fascists were good at. Franco was particularly able at keeping under control the various conflicting factions within his movement. It was also fascism which borrowed ideas from the left and chipped them in a way that they wouldn’t be too harmful for the establishment. After all Mussolini described his coup as a proletarian revolution. The establishment used its heavy weight over society to keep everything plain-sailing for the movement. Well, after all, fascism in a democratic form might not be that bad after all. Most people seem to like it. Maybe the establishement of a system which, in someway ar another, kept everyone happy with right arms raised is not as impossible as it might have seemed 63 years ago. I might be totally wrong, but there similarities between populist Christiandemocracy and fascism do exist.

  7. Domenic Abela said

    Carl von Clausewitz, in his treatise “On War” specifically says:
    The results of a battle, will be greatest when combat UNITE themselves in one great battle.
    The question is, was the MLP UNITED against PN in the last electoral battle? The answer is NO. Why NOT? That is the hundred dollar question. If, those who did not want to unite with the Party, then, are they willing to unite with the party now that Sant has resigned? Hopefully, the answer is Yes, if the new leader understands how the PN supermarket works, and benchmarks the MLP in order to win a greater market share than our competition.The greatest segment, yes, those can be satisfied, but not everyone, and therefore it will be later possible to ignore those “altruistic” Labourites who are to be obeyed, no matter whether they are in majority or not. MLP’s new administration, must be smart, intelligent, and forward looking. It must also be confident enough and positive enough to let bygones be bygones, and include EVERYONE, even those who felt they did not belong, as long as they work UNITED to win our next electoral battle. Lets all unite!

    Domenic Abela

  8. Abel Abela said

    Hi J Borg, the essential difference is that the PN system is based on the clever management of ‘democracy’. In the 1970s it managed to reinvent itself as a ‘democratic movement’, and Mintoff (unknowingly? surely unwillingly?) was exactly what they needed – a ‘pocket dictator’, an Antichrist. What would the PN be without its Labour Antichrists (Mintoff, KMB, Alfred Sant…)? Indeed the PN credits itself with having “restored” democracy in Malta (vide e.g. Fenech Adami’s victory speech, May 1987) It submits itself to electoral tests and wins many of them among other things by reminding voters about this (1987, 1992, 2003, 2008). It credits itself with all the positive aspects taking place in Malta since 1987 – and, by the way, Anno Zero is May 1987 – as if it’s only PN voters who pay taxes and go to work (!!!). Plus = PN, Minus = Labour, Fullstop.

    Wondering why the PN government doesn’t like to be reminded that its share of the vote is less than 50%.

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