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Rodent truth: How will the old man divert attention from the big trouble once young Labour gets going?

Posted by fcb on May 23, 2008


Within days the Labour Party will have a chosen a new Leader. Every decent woman and man in this Country is looking forward to seeing this done. Labourites, Nationalists, Greens as well as those that have lost faith in the existing political parties or have, quite frankly, never had any faith in any of them, all want Labour to make its choice without further ado and then do what an Opposition is meant to do. Never more than today did Malta need an Opposition.

Gonzi’s cabinet may have a number of (fast-ageing) young elements in it but it is the latest edition of an old and decrepit government, heir to two decades of incestuous political trading and unable to do much more than to churn out tired old ideas in ill-fitting new garments bought on the cheap in the great liquidation sales of twentieth century ideologies and end-of-the-century fads. It’s an old government, one condemned to become older by the minute.

With Labour busy squeezing its own blackheads (rarely an appetising sight), the old man at the head of the old government has had it easy since the Elections. With big trouble moving fast towards him from the four corners of the horizon, not less menacing than the horsemen of the Apocalypse, he must be very grateful for the way that national attention has being diverted from the tidal waves threatening our minute vessel (and from the aight of his own utter helplessness in the face of danger) to Labour’s quest for a new Leader.

What will the old man do once Labour has chosen and, rejuvenated by a new determination and an innovative vision for the second decade of the 21st century, shows him and his government to be what they are? There is no doubt that this prospect is gnawing its way through the brains of the PN’s strategists…truth, the venerable Maw-Zu says, is a rodent.


37 Responses to “Rodent truth: How will the old man divert attention from the big trouble once young Labour gets going?”

  1. Abel Abela said

    Great work Mawzu – That’s a good deMISTRAtion of rattish wit to boot!

  2. Abel Abela said


    Whoever had the ‘bright idea’ to bring Martin Schulz to Malta to campaign for Joseph Muscat (was it Joseph himself??) should keep one thing in mind – Martin Schulz is chairman of PES, and this way he is directly interfering in the Labour leadership contest on behalf of one candidate, to the detriment of the other four. Mr Schulz may choose to see no conflict of interest there. That’s his problem, he may live with that. But many will see this for what it is – apart from the conflict of interest for Schulz, who should be representing the interests of the WHOLE MLP – a PES member party – this is an act of disrespect towards fellow contestants who serve and militate in the MLP – a party which has given PES in the European parliament 3 MEPs out of 5 seats assigned to Malta – and a manipulation of the MLP’s democratic process. Joseph represents thousands of Maltese citizens as an MEP. No one needed to be reminded about Joseph’s abilities. Why don’t you let people judge for themselves? Do we need Martin Schulz to tell us that our MEP is great?

    So – the famous wisdom of the party delegates is not enough after all, we don’t need to listen to Party members by giving them a chance to indicate their preference in a poll “basta ma naqghux fin-nassa” but we do need Martin Schulz to instruct delegates on what to do on 5 June**??

    Mousetraps anyone?

    (**Will someone please tell Joseph the election is on 5 June not 5 July – as in his website. I hope it’s a mistake!)

    Abel Abela

    [Caretaker’s comment: This comment was posted last night but is only being published now because it was caught in the spam net. Meanwhile, Abel – who understandably suspected censorship – protested. His protest is being duly published, as a matter of course.]

  3. Anthony Borg said

    As a small time businessman, I follow business news from around the world, and most of the CEOs in business are chosen under 40 or 50. Why? Because when one is young working hard becomes natural and what’s more important the shining star of optimism still leads the way; cynicism and vengeful actions are better left for those over 50 who have kilos and kilos of baggage to carry. Joseph Muscat, at this point in time, is the best candidate amongst the lot. It just happens to be so; it is not due to cliques, party machines and Dali’s surreal conspiracies. Besides, the most important thing, he is doing the leadership not for himself, as the oldies generally do, but because he means it. Recently, I shook the hands of one of the contenders; his hands were firm, but his eyes were miles away. We want leaders to do it for us and not for them. The future beckons Joseph, the man who will rid us of this Gonzi government.

    Anthony Borg

  4. Abel Abela said

    Dear Moderator
    I trust in your ‘moderation’ to publish my message posted yesterday at 21:24 on your website.
    That is, unless you want this blog to be the Fan Club of one particular person. In which case, please say so, so that we know there is no chance for an open discussion around here. It will be sad, but I can live with that.

    Whoever had the ‘bright idea’ to bring Martin Schulz to Malta to campaign for Joseph Muscat (was it Joseph himself??) should keep one thing in mind – Martin Schulz is chairman of PES, and this way he is directly interfering in the Labour leadership contest on behalf of one candidate, to the detriment of the other four. Mr Schulz may choose to see no conflict of interest there. That’s his problem, he may live with that. But many will see this for what it is – apart from the conflict of interest for Schulz, who should be representing the interests of the WHOLE MLP – a PES member party – this is an act of disrespect towards fellow contestants who serve and militate in the MLP – a party which has given PES in the European parliament 3 MEPs out of 5 seats assigned to Malta – and a manipulation of the MLP’s democratic process. Joseph represents thousands of Maltese citizens as an MEP. No one needed to be reminded about Joseph’s abilities. Why don’t you let people judge for themselves? Do we need Martin Schulz to tell us that our MEP is great?

    So – the famous wisdom of the party delegates is not enough after all, we don’t need to listen to Party members by giving them a chance to indicate their preference in a poll “basta ma naqghux fin-nassa” but we do need Martin Schulz to instruct delegates on what to do on 5 June**??

    Mousetraps anyone?

    (**Will someone please tell Joseph the election is on 5 June not 5 July – as in his website. I hope it’s a mistake!)

    Abel Abela

    [Caretaker’s comment: Abel, we confirm that you posted a comment yesterday evening. Rest assured, however, that the reason why it did not appear has nothing to do with anything as dramatic as censorship or conspiracy. It’s got more to do with dirty nappies and sleepless babies. Read further. As many other contributors to this blog as well as all bloggers will confirm, comments often get caught in the anti-spam net and are quarantined until the blog administrator checks them out. We had no Night Editor last night (she is studying for finals) and I woke up late this morning – I have two kids to take care of, one of which is a baby – and so it was only now that, alerted by your second comment, I was able to free your first comment from the spam net. To make amends, we’ll approve both your comments, OK? Permit me, however, one little comment. Why all this distrust and suspicion? Incidentally, I don’t think that Schulz can add anything to anyone’s value in the present contest.]

  5. Abel Abela said

    Thank you so much. And good luck to all young people sitting for exams!!

  6. Zeppi said

    Viva Schulz! Viva Schulz!
    Hej! Hej! Hej!

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

  7. Abel Abela said

    Thanks again and apologies for jumping to conclusions.
    Further on Martin Schulz’s press conference in Malta:

    Dr Michael Falzon’s Letter to PES Chairman Rasmussen
    on behalf of four contestants for the MLP Leadership

    “Dear Mr Rasmussen,

    “As you might remember, my name is Dr Michael Falzon, Deputy Leader for Party Affairs of the Malta Labour Party.

    “I am writing to you on behalf of the four contenders for upcoming Labour leadership election: George Abela, Evarist Bartolo, Marie-Louise Coleiro-Preca, and myself, to express our disappointment and dismay, at the fact, that Mr Martin Schulz, was in Malta today, to endorse the candidature of Joseph Muscat, the other contender for the post of Leader of the Malta Labour Party.

    “We are sure you agree that it is deeply offensive, totally irregular, and highly unethical (and uncalled for), to have an official of the Party of European Socialists endorsing one particular candidate, to the detriment of the other four Party members contesting for that same post within our Party.

    “This act, in our opinion, amounts to interference in our Party’s internal matters. Not only so, but we are sure you would agree, that it is the Malta Labour Party as a whole which is a member of the PES, and not just one particular individual, and therefore we expect the PES to disassociate itself categorically and promptly from, and to condemn Mr Schulz’s actions.

    “We feel that we do not need “Big Brother” to tell us who we should elect as Leader.

    “We would be grateful if you could kindly pass on this communication to the other members of the PES, whilst awaiting your reply.”

    Abel Abela

  8. Andrew Sciberras said

    I honestly fail to understand why the endorsement Martin Schulz made in favor of Joseph Muscat is causing such a ruckus. I find absolutely nothing wrong in it and I don’t see why Joseph Muscat has to be ashamed of having the honor to work with some prominent European figures and having made a success in the European Parliament. I cannot understand how Joseph’s EU credentials and the acknowledgment of such is such a threat to the Labour Party. I have absolutely no doubt that if any of the other contenders had been in the stead of Joseph Muscat they would also have acknowledged such an endorsement. This is so normal in politics. But unfortunately the Labour Party is characterized by cliques, enmity, ignorance and hatred. It has been made obvious in the defeat report and in the letter the 4 contestants wrote to the President of the PES.

    Andrew Sciberras

  9. Reno Hili said

    Proset Joseph Muscat!
    Schulz’s endorsement has shown that your a somebody in Europe! That’s the sort of Leader we need. Someone who is respected and recognised by his European peers. Rather than complain u jwaqqawlna wiccna fl-art mal-barranin, the others should endeavour to do the same. Show us who your friends are! International political networks are precious assets in Europe and the world the world today.
    Reno Hili

  10. Alistair Borg said

    It is inconceivable how envy can change a man to a five year old spoilt child. Mintoff and Miriam Spiteri Debono the president of Labour s women section, had the pleasure and the liberty to endorse Dr. George Abela, while Louis Gatt the vice president of the MLP also had the pleasure and liberty to endorse Michael Falzon. So what, good luck to them. Has anyone complained – no. That is how it should be.

    But hey Dr Joseph Muscat besides being endorsed by the respected Godfrey Grima and others, was also endorsed by a bigger fish that is by Mr.Shultz! envy envy envy envy.

    Childish arguments cropped up in the local press, like:

    Mr Shultz might influence the delegates.

    If anyone besides Dr Joseph Muscat is elected as leader – God forbids – will Mr. Shultz speak to him or her?

    Using the same arguments

    Would Mintoff ex leader of the MLP, Spiteri Debono president of the women s section and Louis Gatt vice president of the Labour Party also influence the delegates?

    If Dr Joseph Muscat is elected as leader will Spiteri Debono and Louis Gatt speak to him as Mr Shultz speak to the other four contenders.

    I have absolutely no grudges against any of the above mentioned people and I consider them to be very valid persons in the Labour movement. I just mentioned them to evolve my argument against childish behaviour within our party.

    I feel confident that Dr Joseph Muscat will work comfortably with all of them.

    Dr. Joseph Muscat is the only contender that has not uttered a single disparaging comment against the other four contenders or against the Party. This brings me to the conclusion that although Dr. Joseph Muscat is the youngest he is the most mature and the most suited for the post of Leader.

    Dr. Joseph Muscat does not have to communicate with Europe and ask them if they remember him. They know him and his abilities. They respect him.

    On a lighter note. How about Dr. Michael Falzon communicating with the Jungle and ask Tarzan to endorse him as the champion of the lions!

    Dr. Falzon, is your letter to Europe a weak attempt to deviate attention from the damaging election report ?

    Alistair Borg

  11. Madeleine Pavia said

    Michael Falzon’s letter to Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, president of the Party of European Socialists (PES), indicates how little he has understood what we need to leave behind and which way we have to go.

    I do not say this only, or even mainly, because the President of the PES cannot (and will not, as he will inevitably have to inform Dr Falzon) tell Martin Schulz (who is the president of the PES group in the European Parliament, and, as such, not subordinate to the president of the PES)what to do and what not to do. Falzon’s letter indicates a lack of familiarity with the statutes and workings of the family of parties we belong to, the PES, and its relationship with the European Parliament.

    Nor do I say this only, or even mainly, because Martin Schulz came to Malta to express his suppport for his good friend and colleague Joseph Muscat on a purely personal basis.

    I say it mainly because Dr Falzon’s letter ignores fundamental considerations. Malta is now a member of the European Union and the Labour Party is now a full member of the PES. The PES strives towards ever increasing integration of the European Union, and as such citizens of different EU countries are not ‘foreigners’ in each other’s countries. The PES is the Party of European Socialists; it is not a federation of European socialist parties; it is One party and as such it is a constant reminder of the truly One Europe we should all be striving towards.

    Martin Schulz came to Malta to express his support for a member of his Party, the PES, and to tell us that how highly he thought of this comrade. He did not come to tell us what to do. Certainly he does not need Dr Falzon to tell him what is and what is not permissible in these situations. He has done nothing that is not done in such situations. If Dr Falzon does not know this, then it is up to Dr Falzon to familiarise himself with what is and what is not customary and permissible within the context of the Party of European Socialists. Assuming, of course, that he agrees with its European customs.

    But what is most distressing is the fact that Dr Falzon fails to see how grateful we should be that someone of Schulz’s caliber (this is the man who, on July 2, 2003,stood to criticise Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi – one day after the latter took over the rotating presidency of the EU Council of Ministers – because of Berlusconi’s domestic policy and who was, as a result, undiplomatically insulted by the latter)came to confirm to us that Joseph Muscat is indeed highly regarded by his European colleagues. Isn’t that relevant to our search for the best possible person to lead us to victory in 2013 and to govern the country after that?

    Finally, allow me to express my utter disappointment at the other four contestants who chose to allow themselves to be coinvolved by Dr Falzon in this pityful manner.

    Madeleine Pavia

  12. Winny Zahra said

    Thanks to the president of the Socialist group of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, for certifying Joseph Muscat’s standing as a European politician! As for Falzon’s letter…I am without words!

    Winny Zahra

  13. danny attard said

    Dr. Muscat’s European credentials were questioned by a number of quarters. This endorsement is relevant to the campaign. Endorsments within the EU firmament come in many forms and hues. The EU is reported to have spent a massive Euros 5.4 million to prop up the 2003 ‘yes’ campaign in Malta. I seem to recall that even Tony Blair, a Labour Leader and UK Prime Minister, endorsed the yes vote. I may be mistaken, but I can not understand the fuss.

    Danny Attard

  14. Alfred Calleja said

    Dr Michael Falzon’s letter to Rasmussen is a disaster both in form and substance. I am astonished that the other three contestants added their names to such a poorly written and weak letter Let us star with the form first. Dr Falzon wrote

    “We are sure you agree that it is deeply offensive, totally irregular, and highly unethical (and uncalled for), to have an official of the Party of European Socialists endorsing one particular candidate, to the detriment of the other four Party members contesting for that same post within our Party”

    He added: “Not only so, but we are sure you would agree, that it is the Malta Labour Party as a whole which is a member of the PES, and not just one particular individual, and therefore we expect the PES to disassociate itself categorically and promptly from, and to condemn Mr Schulz’s actions”

    Dr Falzon declares that the signatories of his clumsily drafted letter that they are sure that Mr Rasmussen agrees with their allegations, condemnation and demands. This is extremely arrogant language and reflects very badly on the diplomatic nous of the man who would be leader.

    As regards substance. Mr Schultz came as a member of the European Parliament to endorse one of his colleagues pure and simple. Dr Falzon and the other signatories are not makng any distinction between the parliamentary group from the Party of European Socialists and the Party as a whole. This smacks of ignorance of how aprliamentary groups work in Europe.

    One final comment. The use of words like “Big Brother” and “interference” put the signatories of this letter in an even poorer light. It seems that pronouncements against “siege mentality” and proclamations extolling openness and inclusivity are just hollow words and empty rhetoric.

    Alfred Calleja

  15. Tanya Pisani Smith said

    I agree with Caretaker that in itself Schulz’s endorsement does not add any value to any of the contestants, but Michael’s letter of protest to the PES makes me blush with embarassment. X’kisra!?!?!

    Tanya Pisani Smith

  16. Paul Micallef said

    L-endorsement ta’ Joseph Muscat minn Martin Schulz qajmet tant agha mhux daqstant ghaliex hija haga hazina. George Abela kien l-ewwel li beda b’sapport ta’ pubbliku ta’ MPs laburisti u personalitajiet ftit jew wisq maghrufa, u sahansitra bl-endorsement pubbliku ta’ Duminku Mintoff. Joseph Muscat ukoll diga’ kellu endorsements pubblici ta’ George Vella u personalitajiet ohra fosthom il-gurnalist Godfrey Grima u professjonisti maghrufa. It-tlett kandidati l-ohra ma kellhomx l-istess appogg pubbliku. Allura ghaliex inqala’ tant kjass bl-endorsement ta’ Martin Schulz?

    Inghad li Schultz barrani u ma kellux jindahal f’affarijiet Maltin. Mela qed ninsew li llum qed nghixu f’dimensjoni Ewropea u rridu nirragunaw f’termini Ewropej? L-interess ta’ personalitajiet mill-Unjoni Ewropeja ma jistax hlif ikun pozittiv. Wara kollox Schulz ma gie jmaqdar lil hadd u llimita ruhu li jitkellem fuq il-kwalitajiet ta’ Joseph Muscat. Jekk kulhadd jaqbel li l-mexxej laburista ghandu jkollu kredenzjali ewropej, tajjeb li nkunu nafu li wiehed mill-kandidati ghal mexxej diga’ ghandu kuntatti tajbin fl-Ewropa u li jgawdi rispett minn personalitajiet maghrufa.

    Inghad li Schulz ghandu kariga ufficjali importanti fl-Ewropa u allura kellu joqghod lura milli jesprimi ruhu fuq affarijiet interni tal-Partit Laburista. Dwar dan l-argument hemm xi tghid, pero jidher li Schultz tkellem biss fuq bazi personali u zgur li fil-pulitika ma tistax tippretendi li xi hadd jahbi l-fehmiet tieghu. Bil-maqlub, il-fehmiet ta’ nies pubblici hafna drabi ghandhom ikunu maghrufa pubblikament bi dritt, u mbaghad il-pubbliku jaghmel l-ghazliet tieghu. L-endorsements fil-politika moderna huma xi haga normali. Bizzejjed inharsu lejn il-kampanja tal-primaries Amerikana biex nifhmu kif il-kandidati jfittxu l-endorsements ta’ personalitajiet u mhux biss f’karigi politici.

    Ghal min kien qed jipprova jpingi lil Joseph Muscat bhala tajjeb hafna pero li ghadu zghir (tant riduh bhala number two ta’ George Abela sakemm jikber!), l-endorsements li qed jircievi Joseph Muscat minn personalitajiet Maltin, u issa anke minn politiku prominenti ta’ l-Unjoni Ewropeja, tikxef il-verita’ li Joseph Muscat ghandu esperjenza u kwalitajiet li l-kontendenti l-ohra m’ghandhomx. Ma kienx hemm bzonn li jigi Schultz biex jghidilna dan, izda l-fatt li dan il-politiku qaghad isib il-hin biex jigi Malta biex juri s-sapport tieghu ghal politiku Malti li hadem mieghu f’dawn l-ahhar snin fil-Parlament tal-Unjoni Ewropeja, jixhed l-istima li Joseph Muscat diga’ igawdi. Michael Falzon jidhirli li ghamel xi ghaxar snin segretarju internazzjonali tal-Partit Laburista. Kellu opportunita’ li jiltaqa’ ma diversi personalitajiet. M’hemm hadd li jiftakru? Jekk xi hadd jista’ jaghti xiehda tal-kapacitajiet tieghu welcome!

    U ejja mhux ahjar inkunu pozittivi u kull kandidat juri hu xi jsarraf flok nipprovaw nahbu l-kwalitajiet tal-kandidati l-ohra!

    Paul Micallef

  17. Noellie Theuma said

    Martin Schulz’s support for a colleague he knows well and evidently respects makes me, a supporter of the Labour radical renewal, very proud indeed. Small insular minds may call Schulz’s initiative, foreign interference. Other Labourites, with whom I share a European vision of our future, are excited by the fact that European socialists think so highly of one of our youngest politicians that they took the trouble to bear witness to the high esteeem in which they hold him.

    Michael Falzon’s letter (style apart, “…my name is Dr Michael Falzon, Deputy Leader…”)does not do me proud, not one bit. It is small minded and provincial. Why, nobody would have objected had the many friends he certainly made during his years as International Secretary of the Labour Party come to Malta to tell us how highly they thought of him. And we would have appreciated it!

    The respect that the contestants for Labour’s top job enjoy internationally, especially in Europe, is relevant. We want a Leader that is immediately recognised in Europe, a Leader with European visibility. One that will fight Gonzi on all fronts, in Malta and in Europe. Having said all this, I now have a problem. So far, when asked by friends with a vote in the General Conference what I thought they should do, I always said Evarist Bartolo. I like the guy. He is persuasive and the urbane twinkle in his eyes appeals to those amongst us who are stifled by our provincial small-village politicking outlook.

    Dr Michael Falzon’s letter worries me. He says he is writing it in the name of all the contestants for the leadership of the MLP (except Muscat of course)…including my own favourite, Evarist Bartolo. Did Evarist really agree to Falzon’s letter? I don’t believe it! I don’t want to believe it! Please, someone, tell me it’s not true!

    Noellie Theuma

  18. Marie Abdilla said

    I can’t understand what all the fuss is about the Schulz endorsement. Mr. Schulz endorsed Joseph as someone who has come to know him personally and is impressed by his capabilities.

    With that silly, puerile letter Falzon has sure put his foot in it this time. First he seriously needs lessons in English syntax, second he comes across as some backwater uncouth ignorant who has no idea of what political endorsement means, third this isn’t the first time that he’s let his emotions get the better of him but he’s outdone himself today showing that shooting from the hip is certainly one of Falzon’s major character flaws, fourth the arrogance of the man saying to Mr Rasmussen “We are sure you agree that it is deeply offensive, totally irregular, and highly unethical”. Finally I am appalled that he signed off as DEPUTY LEADER. How dare he!!! If he wants to make a laughing stock of himself personally well that’s his problem but when he signed as deputy he made a laughing stock of all of us! Shame Michael Falzon. I hope the delegates give him a good trouncing because I shudder to think of what he’d be like as Leader.

    Noellie, I too can’t believe that such a polished politician and accomplished man as Evarist Bartolo would ever even dream of being part of such stupidity. Could MF have possibly stooped so low as to present the other contestants with a fait accompli?

    Marie Abdilla

  19. Tarcisio Gatt said

    Here we go again. Conspiracy theories abound and are hatched inside the Labour Party by the hour, ney by the minute!
    How can we win elections with so many potential “leaders” ready to instil suspicion in every process of the elections? We live in a democratic society, and the party should reflect this freedom. Do you think that party delegates are going to vote, A,B or C because of Mr Schulz ? And, if yes, in that case, they are not worthy of being party delegates.
    If Labour contestants are not going to endorse new tools and ideas found across Europe, the MLP will head for trouble. On the other hand, those helping Joseph Muscat should be more sensitive to apply new ideas that might “shock” people used more to traditional party politics. But then again, who is going to win elections for the MLP, with traditional tools?

    Tarcisio Gatt

  20. Tommy Vella said

    It’s nothing but sheer envy. Certainly the president of the second largest group in the European Parliament (213 seats) does not travel to personally endorse any Tom Dick and Harry in Europe. Schulz did it for Joseph Muscat (
    Michael Falzon’s protest letter is a matter of sheer envy. It’s endorsement by Bartolo, Coleiro Preca and Abela (?) I can’t understand…a matter of sheer lunacy (if it is true they approved it).

    Tommy Vella

  21. Natu xih imma mhux zmagat said

    I disagree with Tommy Vella (comment 19). I don’t think that Michael Falzon wrote that stupid letter protesting against Schulz’s endorsement of Joseph Muscat out of sheer envy for Joseph. I think it was an act of frustration and anger. The cause is the following extract from the
    MLP Election Report just published today: “Jidher li kien id-Deputat Mexxej ghall-Affarijiet tal-Partit li qabel mad-deċiżjoni ta’ l-estensjoni. Kemm il-Mexxej u d-Deputat Mexxej l-iehor qalu li ma kienux ikkonsultati qabel ma ttieħdet deċiżjoni.” p.68

    Natu xih imma mhux zmagat [Identity of the commentator is known to the Caretaker]

  22. Dennis Camilleri said

    Dear all,
    it’s been a long and certainly not glorious day. Another day during which Gonzi’s government has had it easy thanks to our tearing each other to bits. But, then, perhaps this is all necessary if we are to put our house in order before ridding this sad land of ours from the bunch of presumptuous clowns that rule it as if it was their personal property.

    Two final thoughts for the night…more like doubts that gnaw through my own brain like ravenous rodents: most thinking Labourites today kicked away at Michael Falzon, laughing or swearing at his admittedly hilarious open letter to Poul Rasmussen and citing the MLP Election Report as a confirmation of Falzon’s responsibilities.

    But are we kicking the right person? Falzon and the Electoral Office over which he certainly exercised a pronounced influence, almost certainly have a lot to answer for in relation to our defeat. But shouldn’t we look further upstream for the structural causes of that defeat, in our insufficient understanding of society? I know that when Joseph Muscat is finally elected leader in a few days, he will given primary importance to the long-term causes of our defeat and that he will immediately work on eliminating them.

    And as regards ‘the letter’. Abela and Bartolo canvassers this evening (Saturday)have been busy downplaying their respective champions’ role in the whole story in an obvious attempt to direct the widespread disapproval of ‘the letter’ amongst Labourites to Michael Falzon and only to Michael Falzon. The situation was different up to the late morning (Saturday) when the same canvassers were hitting at Joseph for having accepted Schulz’s endorsement. Clearly, when they noticed that ‘the letter’ failed in its intent and turned into a political liability, they tried to wash their hands off the whole thing and let Falzon sink on his own.

    Good night, or is it morning?

    Dennis Camilleri

  23. Abel Abela said

    To All:

    Some people are poor letter-writers. Others have poor judgment, and that’s much worse.
    I wonder why the party is going on with this farce of a leadership contest, when a new leader has already been anointed?!

    Personal capacity? Pull the other one.
    Il-Mexxej tas-Socjalisti Ewropej Martin Schulz, dalghodu kellu laqgha mal-Membru tal-Parlament Ewropew Joseph Muscat li matulha Schulz esprima l-appogg tieghu ghall-kandidatura ta’ Muscat bhala Mexxej Laburista.

    Just give me one example where the incumbent Chairman – repeat, Chairman – of a European party showed up in any country to back a particular leadership contestant at a national level, treating fellow candidates like zeros.

    Some fine leadership.

    Abel Abela

  24. Marco Naudi said

    we may not be as able as you in the epistolary arts but, admit it, you are delighted that this Schulz thing (whatever one might make of it) came your way. It gave you and Abela’s supporters the opportunity of slinging a pebble or two at Joseph. Will it turn the tide in George Abela’s favour? Hardly. On the contrary, we have a young man who has managed to get a senior European politician to come over to Malta for a few hours to endorse his candidature. The delegates – and the broader electorate – think this is no mean feat and that it augurs well for the future.
    Marco Naudi

  25. danny attard said

    Time-out to reflect on these interesting times. What follows is a personal reflection that may be neither here nor there.

    Malta 2008 saw a Nationalist Party (read eclectic conservative coalition) earn a third term in office. For a first time, however, victory at the polls was a relative one as the Malta Labour Party failed to earn an absolute majority. The population wanted a change in Government, yet the Labour Party was not good-enough alternative. The public had nowhere to go. We live in a vacum.

    Why did the Labour Party fall short of being a credible alternative in 2008?

    As a new leader of the MLP, Alfred Sant weeded out violent elements lingering in its various crooks and crannies. New Labour was able to earn a modern dynamic tag that was strong enough to run a gauntlet of institutionalised hostility to win the 1996 elections.

    A new labour government had to negotiate its obvious learning curve carrying at least three weaknesses:

    1. The labour majority was in fact a coalition between new and a small but powerful faction of old labour (most old labour become worthy new labour exponents).

    2. Gerrymandering meant that labour had only a one-seat majority, meaning that old labour could take its demands to the brink

    3. Leadership lacked charisma and aptitude to widen its consensus base.

    The MLP leadership had one of two options:

    a.Drive-on looking over its back, knowing that its agenda will be derailed

    b.Go back to the polls hoping that what it loses from old labour it would gain from the middle-class who mistrusted old labour that was now the principal opponent of new labour…

    Option “b” was the obvious route. Labour lost the 1998 elections. Despite being free from its violent elements, the historic coalition of opposing interests not only failed to respond by dismantling its own ‘violent’ brand of pseudo-intellectual rhetoric, but actually strengthened it. This coalition was further strengthened by old-labour individuals who gently floated into a grey area within the gravitational pull of eclectic conservatism because of MLP leadership’s lack of charisma, its unbending conviction that only it knew the way forward and the bursting ego of the wanderers who very often lacked the humility demanded by the circumstances.

    Labour leadrship. now past its sell-by date, hung on.

    Thus a strengthened coalition of eclectic conservatives consolidated its grip on the media, hence on power, leading Malta into the EU without an effective debate. It papered over social and economic problems which it continues to deny and cover up. The root of problems such as widespread pollution, brands of corruption, the second-rate position of women, poverty and poor housing, dodgy infrastructure (who dares drink tap-water?) and a reinforced lack of intellectual and cultural openness, remain embedded in a dark recess of non-debate.

    On the other hand and in contrast to the mask culture, the MLP has now come to finally replace an uncharismatic and beleaguered leadership through an amazing glasnost process, even as the eclectic conservatives continue to reside behind dark walls of secret silence wonderfully decorated with colourful petards and silver nights.

    The way is long, very long.

    The coalition of eclectic conservatives is a grand coalition with its silent principles cast in iron. It has to be the MLP to take Malta into a modern Europe.

    Forget the slim margin of defeat. The way is long, very long. A new MLP can only modernise Malta when it:

    1.Clearly and concisely confirms what the party stands for allowing for the broadest possible platform

    2.Creates sufficient momentum to tame the ‘violent’ brand of pseudo-intellectual rhetoric of the eclectic coalition that it dispenses through its hold on key sectors of the media.

    3.Creates sufficient space between itself and old labour strategists that have become an integral part of eclectic conservatism. No one should be allowed to continue to bore from within. Prune back to become truly strong. MLP can not spend its life tending wounds inflicted from within. Structures have to be respected. a. Debate to high heaven. b. Respect decisions. c. Follow or jump. Staying on sulking/boring is not on. Here I need to say prosit to Evarist for his efforts to unite. Yet let us be bold enough to prune.

    4.Within this context, welcome all of good-will who want to find their place within the labour party and who do not harbour Napoleonic complexes.

    5.Replace careerism with vocation

    6.Honesty is the best policy

    7.This honesty will hopefully lead from this exciting MLP glasnost to a National glasnost that will free the Maltese individual knowing that without a solid nation we can never be individually free.

    Glasnost is always bound to go out of control. Yet this process provides a basis for renewal. Look at Russia now. It actually won the Eurovision 🙂

    I’m afraid there seems to be no short cut. Whoever fails to respect and commit to a new leadership, whoever s/he may be, the only way should be OUT, myself included of course.

    Danny Attard

  26. Rino Ceronte said

    Abel Abela’s comments provoke the biblical question: And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    This is asked in the light of George Abela’s endorsement by former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff, Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Myriam Spiteri Debono, Member of Parliament Marlene Pullicino and Mr David Caruana, Executive Director of Guze Ellul Mercer Foundation (GEM).

    Rini Ceronte (Caretaker knows the author’s real name).

  27. J. Borg said

    So other contestants can get endorsements, but JM can’t. Right. So MF will now try to convince us that he didn’t use his post as Deputy Leader as a spingboard to get elected from two distircts? Wasn’t MF abusing of his position as co-ordinator of all candidates (one of the Deputy Leader’s roles) when he himself was a candidate? From what I understood, Schulz is more like the whip of the parliamentary group, while the Leader as understood in the Maltese context is Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. I might be wrong on this but that’s how I understood the PES structure. I think that MF’s letter smells of an anti-colonialist legacy. Maltese society, and in particular Labour, might still be, probably unconsciously, influenced by anti-colonialism. European Socialists are not our “big brothers”, nor do they want to dominate Malta (at least I hope they don’t:)). They’re just our *equal* partners, and as such no one should feel intimidated if a European Socialist endorses his colleague. I’m sure (nowadays everyone speaks in “I’m sure” terms…)that if MF or any of the other contenders would have had the opportunity to get Shulz’s endorsement, they would have grasped such an opportunity. GA got Mintoff’s, Spiteri Debono’s and Marlene Pullicino’s endorsements, JM got Shulz’s, Vella’s and Grima’s. Quoting Macchiavelli, “the first opinion that is formed of a ruler’s intelligence is based on the quality of the men he has around him”. Enough said 🙂

    J. Borg

  28. Andrew Sciberras said

    It should be inconceivable that in this day and age quarrels should arise because of the so-called notion of ‘indhil barrani’. I thought that 30 years on we have moved past such a state of affairs and are mature enough to recognize that we are part and parcel of the European Union. If the Labour Party is going to consider EU members and citizens as foreigners who have no business here then we shall remain an insulated and ignorant party where EU-skepticism continues to prevail. Martin Schulz came here on his personal capacity and as a friend of Joseph Muscat to express his support of the latter who is obviously a very capable politician. I’m shocked to hear that the other four contenders have united under one banner in a bid to exterminate Joseph from the race. This, to me, is nothing but a message of jealousy, a message against unity, and yet another puerile attempt to remove any capable, intellectual and young person from the party quarters. The other four contenders should have thought this through because now it is more than evident that they are power-hungry individuals(since they consider this move as a threat to their campaign) who want to win at all costs, even if it splits the party.

    My friends, when will we ever learn?

    Andrew Sciberras

  29. Abel Abela said

    Ghax ghandna lix-Schulz maghna, ahna maghqudin!
    Ghax ghandna lix-Schulz maghna, ahna maghqudin!
    U maghqudin, ghax ghandna lix-Schulz maghna
    Ahna maghqudin!!!

    M’hawn ghalih ix-Schulz, ma jridx wisq biex jidhol flok Hoj Hoj Verhojjgin – dak li baqa’ jibza’ min-nemel ta’ din il-blata Mediterranja ghax ghal ftit ma gidmulux ilsienu,1518,550941,00.html

    Viva Schulz, Viva Schulz
    hej hej hej 🙂

    Famous Schulz quotation:
    “Brussels is not a dumping ground for domestic politicians.”

  30. John Mifsud said

    Tearing itself apart is Labour’s great talent. I wonder what the reaction is going to be when the new leader is elected. The Defeat Report said it in black on white that back-stabbing the leader was an important factor in Labour’s defeat. We are having the same re-run in the leaders’s election.
    Perhaps Abel Abela can answer whether any future contestant who is reported to have ordered his voters to vote yes to Labour for Local Councils, but NO to labour for the General Elections is deemed fit to be a Labour future leader? I have been suffering for the last 20 years blatant descrimination as a civil servant, so that future “moral” leaders, and other ” ex-labour” leaders, continue to wreak vengence on the Labour Party of ex-leader Dr Alfred Sant, and doing it and having it their way! Only able, immoral and selfish people are willing to play this game, but for us 20 years of suffering, is not a game. WE need a leader who takes care of those who have been suffering at the hands of PN and not leaders who collude with them! The sooner this “politically correct” electioneering farce ends the better it is for us who are suffering, and for the Labour Party and its supporters.

    John Mifsud

  31. Maria Duluri said

    Listen up everybody,
    I’m getting sick and tired of all your whimpering. What a bunch of babies you all are. I’m going to use my wooden KARKUR on every one of your thick heads. Enough is enough now! Stop this childish bickering between you. This mud wrestling is a sad spectacle to witness I tell you. What has been said has been told, so now enough! The Nats are having a ball watching us squawk over this and that every other day, and we are the ones that are giving them this pleasure-‘gratis’. As Maw Zu says in his infinite ratty wisdom “the old man at the head of the old government has had it easy since the Elections” with all this alienation going on in the country.

    Let’s put our heads together and use all the mental energy (that seems so abundant in here) to generate positive ideas to renovate the party and make it stronger, more progressive and well-organised. We should focus more on a long-term plan for the party’s renewal that will win us the next elections so that we can finally see some radical changes appear in this country. Those who aren’t ready to surf the wave of change that will inevitably happen once the new leader is elected can leave now and be silent, for Pete’s sake. Instead of so much auto-criticism, we should become active participants in this new exciting venture that the party has undertaken and help in any way we can. I would think that in the end it might prove to be more useful than all these endless discussions.

    Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, my nanna used to say, only then can you allow yourself the luxury of being critical!

    Maria Duluri (pseudonym, author’s real name known to Caretaker)
    Caretaker’s note: Mind her wooden karkur friends. This lady means business 😉

  32. danny attard said

    ‘…jekk il-Partit se jkun qed jaghzel lilu, se jitlob lil shabu (i.e. present contenders) biex ikollhom rwol centrali fil-Partit Laburista, fejn ihossu HUMA (my cap) li jistghu jaghtu l-ahjar kontribut’.

    Therein lie the seeds of a repetition of the current state of affairs and a basis for little empires working independently from the rest. A manager does not play Ronaldo at full back just because Ronaldo wants to play in that role. The way to hell is paved with little compromises. It all depends on big vision, managerial vision, and ability to rally the majority around this vision. All leaders from a youth club leader to the president of the usa have gremlins munching at their heels. It is the role of a leadership to ‘interalia’ keep them at bay. Look at the ‘Schulz’ attaparsi debate. Opportunism right through. A leader needs to be open, receptive and all that, but must also be resolute at the moment of decision and implementation.

    ballec min taghni daqqa karkur 🙂

  33. harloc said

    I was expecting that the leadership contest would have been fair as much as possible with all contenders collaborating so that they win with their proposals and not with any other force. Unfortunately it is now clearer than ever that this is not the case and some are retorting to anything and anyone who can give them a boost to look better and give them some more air time in the local media and fill more pages on the net.

    We can start with George Abela. First he started with the voting of the members, then we saw him trying to convince the leftist wing of the party and including some long standing party people to back his submission. His convincing of the leftist faction even brought back Dom Mintoff to support him. But with Mintoff he has convinced a lot of people within the party that have not voted in the last 2 or 3 elections. Then he attached party decisions taken after he left the party administration. But after he lost the delegates vote on the member’s party leader vote he lightened his attacks cause maybe he realized he was doing more harm than good to the party image and that the delegates where not appreciating such comments.

    And then we find Joseph Muscat. He went on all fours to win this leadership contest and is making use of all the party machinery to gain the vote of the delegates. He is certainly made use of the Super One machinery to make people follow his interview on Dissett, he gained the support of people such as George Vella, who was as always one of the central faction of the party similar to Alfred Sant, Jason Micallef and others that have come into the party slowly but steadily. Then last week he tried to make the big bang by convincing the Schulz to back his campaign. The issue with this is not that Schulz is a foreigner, but what will happen in case someone else becomes leader. Or is he so sure that he will win that he does not care what will happen in case he lost the leadership contest. I believe the gravest mistake was made by Schulz himself as I cannot understand what he may say in case someone else wins. The other problem is the way the party is attacking the other best contestant against JM by issuing statements that are only intended to harm him. Statements that are not neutral in their content similar to the report just issued by the party regarding to the loss of the election that blames only some quarters of the party and is discriminate on the real issues that made the party loose the election. But this requires a whole page for itself though the main reason for the loss of the election was just one…..the party leader.

    To conclude, I know most of you here think that only JM will win, but all surveys indicate that in case the delegates want to choose someone who is loved and appreciated by the people, there is only one person for the role. Maybe the people in the street are right and that he may be the only one capable of bringing the party back to what it was way back in 1996, with all the factions working in close collaboration, and winning the next election. With a party as we had between 1998 and 2008, there is no way we can get close to the PN as they know how and what to offer.


  34. danny attard said

    Hello Harloc, may i comment on your observation:

    ‘all surveys indicate that in case the delegates want to choose someone who is loved and appreciated by the people, there is only one person for the role’.

    Note the following:

    From the outset, ‘the eclectic coalition of conservatives’ embarked on a pro-GA and an anti JM campaign. GA is a safe person to bet on. They may calculate that with his long-standing anti AS stance and his problems with the Union, the party will have wobblier times ahead if he be elected.

    Their campaign addressed all, be they floaters labourities and especially Nationalists

    Now any person having some marketing knowledge will tell you that such a campaign will produce the said results because respondents include a chunk of people who will never dream of voting labour yet will obtain the perception that ‘He is the only one’.

    Therefore, among all those who believe that GA is able to attract ‘floaters’ to MLP are diehard members of the eclectic conservative coalition who will never dream of voting labour…you may know a couple of pen-pushers of the sort…fat good that will do to labour’s chances

    Now their strategy has worked very well. When AS was elected leader, they did not have enough time to build a head of hate against the guy (in respect of all his failings real, inflated or imaginary). This time around they are making sure that the demonisation momentum picks up steam even before labour selects their leader.

    What they want all to be saying is that ‘he is the only one…’ knowing that the delegates will not elect him, or if they do, he will spell the highest level of discord possible.

    ‘Labour will choose Joe Muscat but George Abela makes a better leader’ shouts the headlines…read those moronic delegates will mess it up for labour/klikka/konfuzjoni and heqq m’hemx x’taghmel ikolna nergaw nivvutaw PN ghal darba ohra…Watch Xarabank next Friday and you will see what I mean.

    Now look again at the polls…87% say that GA appeals to hardcore labour while only 50% of hardcore labour find JM appealing. So how come JM will get the vote from a hardcore delegate mass? Possibli these 900 are all part of a klikka and they do not represent the hardcore? …amazing!

    There are aspects that do have a solid footing. George Abela is by far the best person to knock the structures in place. I have been saying for a long time now that GA will best serve the party as General Secretary; remove the deputy head for party affairs role to boost this role that is easily the second most important role after that of leader.

    There is a lot of hard work to be put in. Both persons are weak on rhetoric, and that is considered to be the most important ingredient that a leader should have.

    If only some old wise bunch can get the five together to give us a solid team…without going through the passjoni of election and post election fallout. If they stop for a moment and think of the thousand who have suffered year in year out because of the antics of a serial of score-settling old men, we may perhaps wake up one morning to the news that : Only one nomination for Leader, deputy leaders, GS received by closing time.

    What a party we would have. With egos the size of a last hurrah (and possibly unknown strategies to match) I’m afraid that the bubbly will have to be used to water weeds.

  35. J. Borg said

    Harloc, did the MPs who endorsed GA, and the President of the Women’s Section (Miriam Spiteri Debono), stop and think what will happen if GA is not elected leader? Well nothing exceptional would happen, they can still work in the Party. In the same way I don’t see why there should be problems between MLP and PES in case JM is not elected as leader.

    J. Borg

  36. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Hemingwayesque!!!

  37. Please note that I was booted out from Dpahne’s blog because I have differebnt opinion from hers, her sisters and her partners.

    Daphne as always can’t stand anyone with a different opinion from hers and ‘freedom of speech and expression’ is limited to her sisters, her partners and her friends.

    The lady who quoted here what I commented at Daffy’s blog didn’t understand what I was referring to.

    Daphny’s spite towards the MLP in general and the MLP Leaders in particular is demonstrated in her weekly scibblings.

    Anyway her credibilty is well below freezing point.She is well aware of this and is doing all she can to survive.But nothing and no one can stop her doom.

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