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

“The way to continue is to take our energy, our passion, our strenght and do all we can to help him”.

Posted by fcb on June 8, 2008

“The way to continue is to take our energy, our passion, our strenght and do all we can to help him,” said Hillary Clinton yesterday as she officially quit her quest to become the Democratic candidate for the White House and thus her bid to be America’s first woman president.  She urged her supporters to back Barack Obama. “I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him.”

The support of Hillary Clinton, 60, especially the large number of women’s and white working class votes she commands, will boost enormously Obama’s chances of defeating Republican candidate John McCain, 71, at the election in November. If he does, Obama, 46, will be the US’ first black president. “I will work my heart out to make sure that Senator Obama will be our next president and I hope and pray that all of you will join me,” she told hundreds of fervent supporters at a rally in the National Building Museum in Washington. “Today I join Barack Obama to say ‘Yes, we can!'”


22 Responses to ““The way to continue is to take our energy, our passion, our strenght and do all we can to help him”.”

  1. Anthony Pollacco said

    There has never been a more loyal, wise and able deputy leader of the MLP as Dr Anton Buttigieg. Deputies always had strong arguments with their leader, but only to make him a better leader. Above all, the Deputy must not be a prima donna trying to outshine the leader but, on the contrary, he must be his shoeshine boy, polishing the leader constantly, to improve his image. If the contenders are not willing to play this role, they should not apply. Together, only together, we can make it happen!

    Anthony Pollacco

    [Caretaker’s note: Contenders have already submitted their nominations…so the point about applying or otherwise is now purely theoretical. It’s up to the delegates to make their choice. We trust they will choose with great discretion.]

  2. Pierre Lautier said

    Joseph Muscat has repeatedly praised all the other contestants for the post of leader, most especially George Abela. He rightly pointed out that the Labour Party needs them all. Joseph wants a united party in which all can contribute for the benefit of the party, the people and Malta.

    One understands that after weeks of campaigning it is hard to shed off the disappointment and to forget ‘what could have been’. I myself was disappointed to hear George Abela on PBS. He spoke of the following he had garnered around the country and among the delegates in what he said were difficult circumstance; he thanked his helpers some of whom he said had risked a lot (hargu ghonqhom). George failed to give a clear answer to Joseph’s invitation to work within the Party even though he did mention that he was always open to help if he can.

    George Abela failed to congratulate Joseph publicly. He failed to endorse Joseph as Hillary Clinton did towards Obama. Come on George, as Hillary Clinton told her supporters, lets not think of what could have been and instead rally behind our leader for the good of the party and the good of the country. Malta needs a strong opposition and we cannot waste any resources.

    Pierre Lautier

  3. Richard Borg said

    I agree with Tony Pollacco that we don’t need any primadonnas for deputy leaders but that the ideal deputy leader should be the Leader’s shoeshine boy…well, that is a bit reductionist, mhux hekk Tony?

    Richard Borg

  4. Leli said

    Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch Joseph on TV. So far so good. I am going to take what I am going to call “The Mark Montebello approach”. Fr Mark, who is one of my heroes, criticizes the church because he loves it. I am going to do the same. I love this party. I will be critical and harsh, not necessarily correct, but fair. And I expect you to contradict me and disagree with what I have to say.

    I don’t expect favours from the Party. I believe in true meritocracy. I come from a workers’ family. I have studied hard and now I have a steady job which permits me to enjoy a good life. I am not rich but I am financially sound (with a very moderate house loan). I have said this because I want to make it clear that my only motive is that as a citizen I feel I have a right and obligation to do politics (with a small p). I want to contribute to help Joseph and the party do what they should know best – Politics, which I define as good and effective policies for the people, in line with our social democratic values but in the context of today’s harsh economic and social realities.

    What I really saw as breakthrough were Joseph remarks to Marlene Pullicino. I don’t know this lady but I admire her guts. This is exactly what we need at the moment. Then, when there is enough trust and the necessary reforms are done away with, time would be ripe for a serious code of ethics which, while promoting discussion and giving space for everyone to try to convince, then once a decision is taken, then everybody would be expected to toe the party line. I sincerely believe in self-regulation. One way of achieving this is by giving those who oppose your ideas a voice and attention and reason for your disagreement.

    “See you” soon.

  5. Minotaur said

    What side is Lou Bondi on, anyway? The way he pumped Joseph Muscat yesterday evening on TVM was shameful and smells of monkey business. The whole show was designed to make Muscat’s adversaries, Dott. Abela and Dott. Falzon, look like bitter brooding losers. Admittedly a sharp and experienced visual communicator, he literally showed them to us in the worst possible light. Think: he interviewed them in a darkened studio with the camera searching their faces for each and every inevitable sign of ageing. He pressed them into a corner with questions intended to elicit the darkest negativism, forcing in their mouth statements they were reluctant, if not unwilling, to make. Yesterday evening Mr. Bondi presided over the utter annihilation of Dr. Abela’s and Dr. Falzon’s image.

    On the other hand, he interviewed Joseph Muscat, again literally, in the best possible light. In a brightly lit studio, the camera feasted on Joseph Muscat’s cheerfully solar face and sparkling eyes. Bondi even praised Muscat’s “celesti” eyes (ta barra minn hawn!) and cracked jokes with him, giving the camera several opportunities to show the guest laughing and smiling…a picture of optimism! Muscat, evidently well trained to exploit every such opportunity, sported a rainbow-striped tie straight into our face…here look at me, I am everybody’s Mexxej, a ‘statesman’ for all political hues.

    I am not normally into conspiracy theory but some of us do remember that before Bondi returned to Malta from Canada some years ago he was a Marxist. In Malta he joined the Nationalist Party and appeared to be giving a significant hand to develop its means of communication. Many of us, however, will also remember how many Nationalists blamed the defeat of 1996 on his evidently inadequate handling of the party media. Putting two and two together, ma nghamlux li

    I know you evil elves will not dare publish this comment but just in case you have the decency to do so, here it is anyway.


    [I have no idea who Minotaur is but will not treat him differently from others who have also expressed possibly controversial ideas on this blog. The Caretaker]

  6. Marie Abdilla said

    Was JM superb or what!!?? Even Bondi ended up showing admiration for Joseph, well deserved I must say. Not once did he waiver although Bondi threw it all at him, Falzon & Abela clips,Evarist article, questions re Debono Grech, tried to ridicule “I love you” part of his speech yeterday, but JM just remained focused. He had obviously done his homework but even so I think he did so well and spoke with such conviction because he really does believe what he says. JM made me so proud to be a Laburista this evening!

    Marie Abdilla

    [We are copying Marie’s latest comment from another section of this blog to facilitate access. Caretaker]

  7. Jackie Borg said

    Hey Minotaur!

    Aren’t you the Bull of Minos – half human half bull? Weren’t you killed by Theseus, legendary king of Athens, with the sword of Aegeus, who then led the Athenians back out of the labyrinth? Theseus was the Ionian founding hero (much as Heracles was the Dorian hero) who fought and defeated an archaic religious and social order. The Athenians considered him as their own great reformer. Theseus unified Attica under Athens and is credited as the source of the idea of synoikismos (the “dwelling together” of different political interests in one house) and the cult Aphrodite Pandemos (“Aphrodite of all the People”), the unifying divinity. You are free to delve in your maze of conspiracy theories (Bondi as a Marxist mole secretely assisting Joseph Muscat? By my ex-Royal Maltese Bottom, that’s real bull’s bull!) and we’ll keep our Theseus!

    Jackie Borg

  8. Leli said

    Yesterday I commented as follows: “What I really saw as breakthrough were Joseph remarks to Marlene Pullicino. I don’t know this lady but I admire her guts.” Please give some more space to show my admiration for Marie-Louise Coliero Preca. I can only imagine how bitter and hurt she is. Yet, she suffers in silence. Not that I am against people showing their true feelings. I have read Evarist Bartolo’s contribution “The day after”. This is the kind of attitude I wish to support, Stand up, Speak up and Shut up. The responsibility eventually falls on those who lead by serving.

    As for those who want to continue serving, I honestly feel that the person who presently occupies the post of General Secretary has to go. And the sooner, the better. This is not something personal. He is not helping the leader who is trying unify the party. Besides, he committed very serious mistakes and he should be bold enough and immediately offer his resignation. For the good of the party he should not seek re-election.

    Please, give the new leader some breathing space. He already has enough on his plate.


  9. Pawlu said

    First of all I wish Joseph Muscat (JM) all the best of luck in his determination to overcome these initial hurdles.
    Now for heaven’s sake, let us not increase these hurdles for him. He is showing us the way to go.
    I believe that the future deputy leaders and administration team should see that they feel comfortable with these plans.
    I feel that if any of the contenders feels uneasy with JM’s plans let him/her speak now and clear things now with JM.
    Then let him/her decide if to continue the race to the finish.
    I feel that in Joseph’s team there should be no room for ill feelings to the past. The past should be there to teach us humility and correct mistakes. JM is the true gentleman MLP needs to do away with past mistakes.
    The future should be there to work in harmony and mitigate new fruitful ideas how to serve Malta and its citizens.
    I hope I hurt no one but please let us not hinder our new leader from working on his plans and eventually setup the system going.


  10. Maria Vella said

    Leli says:

    “As for those who want to continue serving, I honestly feel that the person who presently occupies the post of General Secretary has to go. And the sooner, the better. This is not something personal. He is not helping the leader who is trying unify the party. Besides, he committed very serious mistakes and he should be bold enough and immediately offer his resignation. For the good of the party he should not seek re-election.”

    I am in total agreement. The shared opinion is purely performance based. Performance lacked political acumen, interpersonal relationship skills, vision, ability to motivate, and above all, ability to deliver. He may be offered a role that is in harmony with his skill-levels and should be provided with all the necessary emotional support as he must be passing through a torrid time. He did his best no doubt and we thank him. I do not believe he is that politically stone-deaf to represent himself for the post.

    Maria Vella

  11. Cikku Poplu said

    I cannot understand this idea that some deputies or ex deputies or ministers for that matter, have when they speak as if MLP owns them something! As far as I am concerned, they are in debt with the Labour Party. Indeed, if it were not for the Labour Party, they would be MR Nobody, which is what we all are, but please, stop playing, as if you are God’s gift to the Labour Party. In order to be eligible for credit, you should have been down under ( not in Australia) at least 50 years, and then, it will be history, and the historians that judge whether the Labour Party should be grateful to you, and not yourself. This goes as well for the PN, but none of them flaunt this absurd idea becausue they will be ostricized.
    In the Labour Party, we count few people who are known outside little Malta; in the PN, the same thing can be said, except perhaps, the ex President of the World, Dr Demarco.
    So let us clean our act, together; those who are in debt with the Labour Party,( because most of us were neither born rich, noble or professors) but were empowered by the social conditions when the MLP was the only catalyst of opportunities) should stop harming the common Labourite.Having a PERSONAL axe to grind give you no right to harm the party; if you are unflexible and a bad loser you have no talent to lead people.!

    Cikku Poplu

  12. J. Borg said

    It’s great that Joseph is asking for an apology for past mistakes and at the same saying that the Nats should ask for an apology “for the 60s”. However, PN has much more than “the 60s” to apologise for. They should apologise for the support they used to give to the various fascist regimes around Europe in the inter-war period. They should ask for an apology for having served as agents for Mussolini (what can you call them if not agents when they used to have their newspapers subsidised by the duce?). They should apologise also for the way in which some sections of PN reacted to the bombardement of Malta during the war…Carlo Mallia (who at the time was living in Italy) was happy that the martellamento di Malta continua. PN should also aks an apology to women for having opposed female suffrage. It should also ask an apology for having been so destructive in the 1970s and 1980s, for instance they should ask for an apology for having filmed the late Gemma Portelli (who of course was acting) picking rubbish from trash cans and then broadcast the filming abroad to give the impression that people here live on rubbish…now that’s what I call promoting the national interest! PN should also ask for an apology for the transfers and other forms of political discrimination which took place under the PN, especially in 1987 and the following years. Likewise PN should ask for an apology for having forced so many labourites to leave Malta in the 1960s, for instance by using the system of putting a red cross behind the names of labourites in unemployment registers and thus making it very hard for labourites to get a job.

    Some might argue that the Church, and only the Church, was responsible for what happened in the 60s. Well, it wasn’t the Church who took a political advantage (rikba politika as we might say) of the sad situation. Neither did the Church own the Addolorata were labourites where buried in the infamous mizbla, it was the Government which owned (and still owns) that graveyard. It was a PN govt. which banned Il-Helsien from public hospitals, not the Church. It was the PN which allowed the police to use brute force on labourites. PN should also ask for an apology for the incidents during the Freedom Day Regatta on ’89…oh yes nice way how to celebrate the 10th anniversary. PN should also ask for an apology for havign described as “ewforija” the actions of Nats in 1998 when they started breaking down Labour Party property such as bill boards. There are so many things that PN should ask an apology for that the list goes on and on. But than how can the Nats ask for an apology for acts of political discrimination, when they still do it? Well yes they can do it, they’re used at playing the saintly and act devilish 😉 As they say, mangia santi cacca diavoli. If the season for apoligies is open, than Labour has to make sure it make it clear for what PN has to apologise, they don’t have to be asked to apologise just “for the 60s”

    N.B. Excuse me if this post is long, but the list is long…


  13. Ganni said

    I refer to what Leli and Maria Vella said earlier, regarding the post of General Secretary.

    I totally agree that the current incumbent should submit his resignation IMMEDIATELY. However, he is not that kind of person. He is trying to cling to his position, and is doing his utmost to show himself (something he excels at) with the new leader.

    As for Maria’s comments that be rated on performance, I fully concur. And the best way to judge one’s performance is when he/she is under pressure. Remember the ‘xarabank’ outburst versus George Abela? Remember his comments of never hugging the nationalists, aimed at Michael Falzon?

    Given that Mr Micallef is definetly NOT going to resign, I think it’s up to JM to give a clear sign to the delegates that he does not want him around. How about Alfred Grixti? He’s young. Energetic. Worked with Joseph already at the Maltastar. Highly intellectual and hard working.

    Come on delegates. Let’s continue to change… for the better.


  14. Abel Abela said

    Abel Abela

    According to Maltatoday, MLP delegates think that Jason Micallef should step down from his post as secretary general as he is believed to be a divisive element within the party.” (Wed 11 June).
    This is rubbish. Jason Micallef should not be a scapegoat. He has done his best as secretary general, all things considered. Despite all the things some of the media are saying about Jason, he has done a very good job.
    Yes, he’s blunt, he smiles a lot (but he’s got nice teeth!) and he made quite a few mistakes – who doesn’t? Let’s put the record straight once and for all – Jason’s performance did not cost Labour the election, and definitely did not cost particular individuals the leadership. Jason should stay.

    Abel Abela


  15. Abel Abela said

    Don’t be so unfair with Jason Micallef please. He’s done a great job as secretary general, considering the odds. Yes, he’s made mistakes – who doesn’t? especially with today’s media which pick on the odd sound byte and deliberately bin the rest of whatever anyone has really said and done?

    Abel Abela

  16. fabrizioellul said


    Jason had one job to do: to win the MLP the general election. He failed.

    He has to resign.

    You can’t really argue against that.

    Fabrizio Ellul

  17. Leli said

    Jason has to or must be made to resign. Full stop. He simply did not deliver.

    I think the post of a Secretary General is much like that of a CEO. I opine that ideally, it should be filled by an intellectual with good managerial skills. However, I have another idea within this context. How about transfering more political responsibility on the Deputy Leader for Party Affairs and advertising the post in the media? Then leave the responsibility for selection on a properly constituted selection board which may include people like Alfred Mifsud, Dominic Fenech and Godfrey Pirotta?


  18. Ganni said

    Has Abel Abela been living in Malta in the last few years ???

    Who is being unfair to Jason? Was Jason fair when he was touring the MLP locality clubs and lobbying for JM? Was he fair during his outburst on Xarabank? Was he fair trying to ridicule Michael Falzon because he ‘hugged’ Joe Saliba, conceding defeat after hours and hours of tension at Naxxar? Where was Jason at that moment? Was he brushing his teeth?

    “He has done a great job… considering the odds”!!! What odds!!! The Labour party should have won this election hands down.

    “He’s made mistakes…” Of course! Telling everyone on television that the Labour party won is one big mistake. Not showing the surveys to the strategic team, even though requested, is another mistake. Refusing all the help offered (ask Wenzu Mintoff) is yet another mistake. He thought he could run things all by himself (well… maybe with a little help from Charlon)… and one can see the results.

    Today’s media is doing its job… yes picking on the odd sound byte and … and i’m afraid we’re spoilt for choice whenver jason is around.

    Let’s hope that what Maltatoday is saying is true. Let’s hope that the delegates open their eyes. We’re not looking for good-looking guys. We’re looking for good administrators, to do a good job.


  19. Paccikku Cekkek said

    Any person applying for a secretary general,SHOULD NOT be chosen by elections; he should be chosen by the leader. After all he is his secretary,so to speak.All administators are political appointees, and unless he is chosen by the CEO for his skills, a secretary, will be a burden on the leadership. I am a small business man, with a secretary. But I would never choose my right hand helper and confidante unless I have interviewed her and read all the references and experience. Now this is small business, can you imagine, the MLP ( representing half the population ) not having a professonal, trusted, secretary. Any fault of Jason Micallef lies not with him, but in the system. Through elections we are going to have a political appointee ( as it has always been) but not a professonal efficient secretary. This comment is not meant as a criticism towards persons, but towards an inefficient and inneffectual system. Good Luck Labour.

    Paccikku Cekkek

  20. Abel Abela said

    Ganni, in 2003 the party failed to win the EU referendum and subsequently lost the elections. The result was a disaster – The encounter was lost by those “who should have won”. The battleship hit the bottom. Yet the defeated Admiral stayed on. And the ship was steered back on course after that. The young commodore placed in command of the battered ship made many mistakes. But the boat remained afloat. And let’s not forget – he reflected his Admiral’s leadership style and strategy.
    It is very easy to blame the commodore for sinking the ship.
    Shipwrecks leave a long trail of flotsam and jetsam. Those “who should have won” lost again in 2008.
    Admirals go, commodores go with them. That’s all. It’s a question of different leadership styles and strategies. A new leader has to form a new team, fullstop.
    The easiest game to play is the blame game. As has been repeated ad nauseam, victory has many parents, but defeat is always an orphan.

    Abel Abela

  21. Ganni said

    Dear Abel Abela,

    welcome on board the “Jason-must-go” team.

    As you rightly said: “Admirals go, commodores go with them.” I’m not playing the blame game. I leave that to the commission that prepared the report for the MLP. It was them who pinpointed with his name Michael Falzon while no reference was made to Jason Micallef.

    Some people can do away with murder, and after all his f**k ups, I wonder how the delegates should even consider him for the post.


  22. Noel Galea said

    you made your point. Perhaps you, sorry…we, should now devote more energy to work out ways and means of broadening our Party’s support base. The Party’s third consecutive electoral defeat cannot be explained mainly by what individuals in the Administration did or did not do in the campaign, voting day and even less after the ballot boxes were sealed. The reasons are much more fundamental and, quite frankly, the Commission Report came nowhere near tackling them seriously. Alfred Sant must take the blame – and he did, to his honour he resigned immediately – for being the only person in the Administration (and in the leadership, itself a part of the Administration)with the intellectual capacity to understand what was not being done to broaden the mass base and to have failed to act consequently. The others, Charles Mangion on the borderline but Michael and Jason certainly included, were/are simply not sufficiently acute intellectually to have made much difference anyway. None of the others, including those who complained they were not not involved, can be said to be brilliant. So, let’s start afresh and when the time comes let’s make sure we elect the finest possible brains we have access to.

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