Labour in labour

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


Visitors to this blog, including the contestants themselves, are cordially invited to post their comments below. Comments should, ideally, be signed by their author and the latter’s identity should, ideally, be a real one. We are not always in a position to verify identities and we appreciate that there are situations that justify the use of a pseudonym. We trust commentators exhibit the good taste that has, so far, characterised the overwhelming majority of contributions to Labour in labour.

Nominations received by the MLP’s Electoral Commission:

· President : Wenzu Mintoff, Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi.

· Vice President : Louis Gatt, Alexander Sciberras.

· Secretary General: Gino Cauchi, Keith Grech, Alfred Grixti, Jason Micallef, Joe Vella Bonnici, Joe Chetcuti.

· Secretary Finance: Frans Chircop, Tommy Dimech, Jeffrey Camilleri, Joseph Cordina.

· Secretary Public Relations: Ray Azzopardi.

· International Secretary: Lorna Vassallo, Joe Mifsud, Alex Sciberras Trigona.

· Secretary Education: Anthony Degiovanni, Aaron Farrugia.

· 10 ordinary members of the National Executive: Nikita Zammit Alamango, Simon Saliba, Claudette Abela Baldacchino, John P Bonnici, Charles Cassar, Gino Cauchi, Frans Chircop, Michael Cohen, Roberto Cristiano, Aaron Farrugia, Anthony Degiovanni, Nettu Farrugia, Keith Grech, Alfred Grixti, Darren Marmara, Charles Marsh, Paul Pace, Salvu Seychell, Antoinette Vassallo, Lorna Vassallo, Christian Abela, Ray Azzopardi, Saviour Bonnici, Josephine Cassar, Joe Chircop, Chris Cilia, Frans Debono, Roberto Debrincat, Ancel Farrugia Migneco, Leonard Falzon, Charlon Gouder, Manuel Rocco, Alexander Sciberras, Jennifer Tabone.



  1. Hi Guys,

    first of all I wish to congratulate myself for this very interesting website. As probably you know, I’m one of the contenders for a post in our Party’s National Executive. Originally, I was going to contest for the post of Public Relations Secretary but after discussing with my colleague Ray Azzopardi, we agreed that in the interest of the party we’ll better unite our forces and work together instead of contesting each other. Thus, apart from contesting for the above mentioned election, I will assume the role of Deputy Public Relations Secretary of the Party and would like to invite all those who can contribute in the function of this department so that the party’s message will be delivered in the most efficient way. All of you are invited my friends and let’s all be united so that when the general election comes, we will be prepared so that we can give our country a new breath and all labour supporters a joy to live for!


  2. Aaron Farrugia said

    Many thanks to the editor for promoting an open discussion on the above mentioned administrative and executive elections. This blog is designed to enable us to learn more about what the Labour Party is doing on local, national and international level. All visitors will find several contributions to a whole range of debates on important national and local issues.

    Whether anyone would like to contact me about a political issue or simply interested in finding out more about the work that I do within the Party, then I invite him/her to contact me on


    Aaron F

  3. Aaron Farrugia said

    Wara l-ghazla tat-tmexxija, l-Partit Laburista ghandu ghazla importanti ohra, dik ta’ amministrazzjoni gdida.
    Il-hatra ta’ Joseph Muscat wasslet biex il-Partit Laburista qabad il-mixja lejn Stagun Politiku Gdid. Fiz-zmien li gej rridu nikkonvincu lill-elettorat Malti, li l-Partit Laburista huwa tim sod u li lest jisma. Irridu
    nikkonvincu li l-partit jaspira serhan il-mohh, li ghandna partit stabbli, fdatu fuq kollox Gvern alternattiv. Il-hsieb progressiv u moderat li rridu nilqghu fi hdana ghandu jwassal biex nattiraw nies godda lejn il-partit,
    mhux l-inqas liz-zghazagh. Nemmen li ghandi l-ENERGIJA u l-IMPENN biex nikkontribwixxi ghal dan kollu.
    Bhal hafna Maltin inhossni parti minn dan il-moviment u anke parti minn Generazzjoni Rebbieha. Tinhass hafna x-xewqa li l-Partit Laburistajkompli jiggedded, ghalhekk fl-ghazliet taghna rridu nharsu ‘l quddiem.Mat-tajjeb li diga jezisti nemmen li nista nintroduci ideat godda u mezzimoderni ta` hidma. Ghandna nkomplu niggeddu b`hidmiet cari u popolarimal-poplu izda fl-isfond tat-twemmin Socjalista Demokratiku. Nemmen li ghandi l-kwalitajiet akkademici, professjonali u anke politici biex inservi fl-amministrazzjoni tal-Partit bhala Segretarju Edukattiv.
    Fil-jiem li gejjin se nkun qieghed niltaqa` mad-delegati u ma’ kull min hu interessat biex niddiskutu l-inizjativi li jistghu jitwettqu biex l-ufficcju tas-segretarjat edukattiv ikun wiehed effettiv u li jhalli r-rizultati mixtieqa.
    B`mod innovativ, izda organizzat u effettiv rridu nahdmu bhala familja, biex inwasslu lill-partit u lill-pajjiz ghal Stagun Politiku Gdid.

    Aaron Farrugia


    Edukazzjoni u Xoghol

    Ekonomistà. Twelidt San Giljan fl-ewwel ta’ Jannar 1980. Hadt l-edukazzjoni tieghi fil-Junior Lyceum tal-Hamrun u fil-kullegg Gan Frangisk Abela. Issoktajt bl-istudji tieghi fl-Università ta’ Malta fejn
    f’Novembru tas-sena 2002 ksibt Honours Degree fil-Kummerc u l-Finanzi (B.COM). It-tezi tieghi kienet iggib it-titlu ta’ “Foreign Direct Investment in Malta- A review of Measures of Attraction and Problems in
    Tliet snin wara, proprju f’Dicembru tas-sena 2005, ksibt Masters Degree fis-suggett tal-European Studies. It-tezi tieghi bit-titlu “Welfare Policy Reforms in Contemporary Europe: The Ideological Shift in the European Social Democrat Parties” kienet approvata mill-Università ta’ Malta.
    Bejn is-sena 1996 u s-sena 2000 servejt bhala Segretarju Edukattiv fil-kumitat lokali tal-Partit Laburista f’Ta’ Xbiex. Fl-istess zmien kont involut sew fl-ghaqda ta’ l-istudenti socjal demokratici–Pulse, fejn servejt ta’ Segretarju Finanzjarju u Segretarju Generali. Dhalt fil-Forum Zghazagh Laburisti (FZL) fis-sena 2001 bhala Vici-President. Is-sena ta’ wara kont elett bhala President, kariga li zammejt
    sas-sena 2004. Gejt elett fil-Kunsill Nazzjonali taz-Zghazagh (KNZ) f’Jannar tas-sena 2004. F’Marzu 2005 kont elett bhala Vici-Sindku tal-Kunsill Lokali f’Ta’ Xbiex . Lejn tmiem is-sena 2006 regghet nhasset il-htiega li flimkien ma Zghazagh ohra mmexxi l-FZL. Mexxejt diversi delegazzjonijiet barra l-pajjiz. Fis-sena 2004 kontukoll appuntat bhala parti mill-grupp li fassal il-politika gdida tal-Partit
    Laburista dwar l-Unjoni Ewropea. Fuq dan il-grupp, li kien appuntat mill-Mexxej Laburista ta’ dak in-nhar, kien hemm ukoll il-Mexxej tal-lum Joseph Muscat. Nikteb artikli fuq il-gurnali lokali b’mod regolari kif ukoll irrapprezentajt lill-Forum Zghazagh Laburisti fuq l-ezekuttiv Nazzjonali ghal diversi snin.

  4. Drummer Boy said

    Hi guys,
    let’s face it, there is only one game worth watching in this championship: the fight for the place of General Secretary. Makes no difference who becomes president or vicepresident or education secretary, but it makes a bloody big difference who will be the next General Secretary.
    There are six contestants (Gino Cauchi, Keith Grech, Alfred Grixti, Jason Micallef, Joe Vella Bonnici, Joe Chetcuti) but the real fight is between only two of them, Jason Micallef and Joe Vella Bonnici. Cauchi, Grech and Chetcuti don’t stand a chance full-stop; in any case they’re just not up to the level required. Grixti is a thousand times better than the three of them together but he doesn’t stand a chance either; pity because he is deep down an intelligent and very experienced political animal.
    That leaves Jason Micallef and Joe Vella Bonnici. Jason will not give up easily and he has the advantage of incumbency. Also, he is media-savvy and will smile even under torture. He may have nothing important to say but he will always say it well. Even when he puts his foot in it. His “Gvern Laburista ghal Laburisti” or whatever it was that he really said clashes with Joseph Muscat’s New Political Season of broad alliances (the Moviment tal-Moderati u Progressivi). Joe Vella Bonnici has considerably more brains than Jason but does not have Jason’s charm. Joe is a very experienced team worker and a professional manager but does not have Jason’s flamboyant charge-of-the-light-brigade gumption. Joe has grey hair, thinks a lot before he speaks and when he does he says it all in two or three words, whereas Jason is young,dashing and handsome and speaks for two or three.
    The question is what does Joseph need: a methodical organizer who works hard backstage or a swell guy who you get to like and who cuts a good figure when he stands next to you on the stage?

    Drummer Boy

  5. Jean Claude Borg said

    Dear Aaron,
    I have been a faithful visitor to this virtual tazebao from day one and I would like to correct your impression about what it does.
    You wrote that “this blog is designed to enable us to learn more about what the Labour Party is doing on local, national and international level”. Well this is only very partially true. If there is a blog designed for that purpose, then that is the Labour Party’s website ( and I do not think that Labour in labour wants to duplicate what the Party’s website is or should be doing. Moreover Labour in labour is not a news website; that’s the job of where our friend Kurt is doing a very good job.
    From what I have seen so far, Labour in labour has a different vocation, it is mainly ‘designed’ (to use your words) to provoke and host a discussion on what the Labour Party is NOT doing and on what its leader Joseph Muscat IS doing to bring it into the twenty-first century!
    I am delighted that you have decided to candidate yourself for the post of Education Secretary and I think I will vote for you because you are young, but keep in mind that the Party of the future must learn from the mistakes of the Party of the past including its branches and Labour-friendly organisations. You have militated in the Forum Zghazagh Laburisti and in Pulse…I am sure that you have already reflected on the utter lack of political intelligence and creativity that these two organisations have shown in recent years. I am confident that you have learnt a lot from these frustrating experiences and will use what you have learnt to contribute to the goal of promoting a movement of moderates and progressives.

    Jean Claude Borg

  6. Pawlu said

    This machine needs to be silent in order to get the PN by surprise.

    It also needs to be attractive in order to pull on board progressive passengers who need a lift to reach their destination.

    Although silent it needs to be very visible and noticeable in order that passengers know it’s coming their way.

    Once this machine arrives close to these progressive passengers, it needs to stop and let the passengers board the machine.

    Please let us have an administration machine which can
    1. attract through its work as a united office.
    2. convince through its intelligence and readiness to hear and listen.
    3. filter, analyze and activate any beneficial suggestions.
    4. do all the above calmly without any forceful imposition but with great conviction.


    [Pawlu posted this comment a few hours ago under the editorial What Joseph needs: A machine so frictionless as to be almost silent. We copied it here for ease of reference]

  7. Drummer Girl said

    @ Drummer Boy

    From what everybody is saying, Drummer Boy, you are right that the only match worth watching in this election is Jason Micallef vs Joe Vella Bonnici for the place of Secretary General.

    I have no vote as I am not a delegate but if I had a vote I would give it to Jason. Joseph needs a team of persons he knows well and they tell me that Joseph and Jason are very good friends. What better people in Joseph’s team than friends he knows well?

    Drummer Girl

  8. Marlene Zammit said

    @ Drummer Boy and Drummer Girl

    How unfair to say that the only contest that matters in the coming elections for the Administration and the Executive is that for the place of General Secretary. Isn’t the contest for President important? What about the contest for Education Secretary?

    Marlene Zammit

  9. Old Teacher said

    What’s your agenda Drummer Boy and Drummer Girl? Why single out the election of the General Secretary as the only important one? They are all important! Take the position of Education Secretary! You read the first comment in this section, then look at me straight in the eyes (without laughing)and tell me that we don’t need a good Education Secretary in the Labour Party!

    And by the way Drummer Girl, I have it from a very well informed source that Jason is not the only contestant for the post of General Secretary who Joseph Muscat knows very well. Joe Vella Bonnici was Chief Executive of the Institute for the Promotion of Small Enterprise IPSE when Joseph worked there during the Labour Administration 1996-1998. They know and respect each other’s professionalism. Well, at least from this point of view then, we are now draw.

    Old Teacher

  10. Delegat Moderat said

    Qrib il-Mexxej – huma min huma l-hbieb tieghu fil-hajja privata – jrid ikun hemm biss persuni li jaqghdu il-Partit. Persuni li bil-presenza taghhom ikattru il-firda ghandhom jghamlu sagrificcju u jwarbu. Biex issehh il-holma ta’ Joseph li naqghdu madwarna moviment tal-moderati u progressivi kollha ta din l-Art Helwa, jrid l-ewwelnett jkollna Partit maqghud. Fl-ahhar elezzjoni konna mifrudin. Issa, li nbidlet il-folja u bdejna Stagjun Politiku Gdid, mhux importanti min kellu ragun jew it-tort. Dak li ghadda, ghadda. Imma il-protagonisti tal-firda ta l-imghoddi, huma min huma, ghandhom jkollhom il-maturita’ politika li ma jikkontestawx ghall-Amministrazzjoni il-gdida. Dan ma jfissirx li ghandhom iwarrbu mill-hidma politika. Hemm hafna xi jsir u hemm post ghal kulhadd. Min huwa genwin lest li jahdem anki jekk ma jkunx il-hin kollu fuq it-televisjoni. Pass bhal dan zgur li jkun apprezzat u ppremjat meta jasal il-waqt.

    Delegat Moderat

  11. Abraham Agius said

    I would ike to take my turn here to look at this new contest from a different perspective and even include my personal experience so far of the labour party.

    First of all, should one have a look at the list of contenders for each of the posts, especially the members of the administration, one will notice that most of the people contending already have more than one psot of the party structures and TV stations. It also seems that most people first use the local councils or TV station as a trampoline for a high position within the party. AND THIS WAS THE ERROR WE HAD IN THE RECENT PAST PARTY STRUCTURES. People occuplying decision taking roles were occupied by a clique of people with a particular mentality and with limited contact with the people in the street or with a one way contact. For examples a journalist or TV program presenter maybe be the perfect man for that job, but even though most people know him becuase of his role it does not mean that he is good as an administration person. Even though he may be loved by TV viewers, it does not mean that he is in touch with the people. Same applies with local councilors. EVen though they are elected by the people, it does nto mean that they know the feelings of the people as most vote according to how much the face is familiar with them. And that is something that is easily achievable with the number of local TV stations. This clearly shows that either the party is not attractive to new blood or else is more comforatble working with the same clique.

    Just a small story….after the last election, I met a member of the local party committee to offer my assistance to the party especially now thatthe new leader is requesting for people that have remained in the dark to come forward and give their contribution. This committee member, who is also a delegate representing me and others in sensitive party decisions, did not even decently thank me or at least take note of my personal details to contact me. Nothing….I am sure that this is not what our dear leader wants from our clubs spread all over the island.

    I sincerely hoep that reason prevails to the delegates and they choose fresh blood and hoepfully make space for fresh blood to make it victrously to the date of the next election.


  12. Skipper said

    Drummer boy you just described what a good PRO and a good General Secretary should be like. Unfortunately the post up for grabs is one for General Secretary.

    Drummer girl, I would hope that friendship has nothing to do when electing members of the administration. What we need is a lean clean working machine that can WORK together as one team. By the way did you know that Joseph Muscat and Joe Vella Bonnici worked together when the Labour Party set up IPSE?


  13. El Matador said

    Summarizing on the previous posts, comes out inevitably that the main spotlight is going to be lit on the post of Secretary General. To tell the truth unlike 90% of the Malta Labour Party followers I’m not in favour of the beheading of Jason Micallef. I think that he has been demonised too much for the comments he said. However this is politicalandia and the people’s opinion is fundamental for success in a general election. We already know what happened in the past years with Alfred Sant beeing depicted as the guy who is destroying MLP and in the end this rumour became partially true because people never chose MLP in the last elections. SO WE CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE CHANCES. Jason maybe a nice guy, charming and with a good image but there is a big fraction of the elactorate who don’t even want to hear mentioning his name. So the formula is one:

    People don’t want you = You Leave
    i.e. Jason don’t want you = Jason Leaves

    I don’t want to be too cynical in my comments but this is how things should be made if Labour would like to have a minimum chance of winning the next election. We can’t embrace anymore in a policy of accepting people who are not well seen by the general public.

    Everybody is good at making criticisms and above I made mine however everybody should also be abble to offer solutions for the problem. My solution is one. I’ve went through the names who decided to put forward their name for this post. Going through these names I was going to say that “Hey, I’m going to eat all of what I said and say that Jason still is the best choice” until I couldn’t believe what I saw. Joe Vella Bonnici ,one of the best Economists we’ve got on the island running for this post. I’ve worked together with this guy at the Instistute responsible of Promoting Small Enterprises and I can simply say that he is brilliant. He is a guy of few but well thought words.

    This is my advice, finally at MLP we’re having well-educated and bright people wanting to join and help to the running of this party. Pls let’s don’t loose the chance and keep Joe Vella Bonnici with us. This is not only a vote for Joe Vella Bonnici but it’s a vote for the entire party. The post of secretary general is not a joke. We know what results Joe Saliba acquired to his party. Practically he made Pn win the elections by himself. Now we can have one like theirs and with a better level of education and etiquette. So, what do you want more? PLS go and vote Joe Vella Bonnici, the only guy for the post who can make us improve as a party.

    El Matador

  14. Nicky Cini said

    El Matador means “the one who kills” in Spanish. El Matador wants to kill Jason’s future to promote somebody that has never made any sacrifices for the Labour Party. The Labour Party doesn’t need economists (El Matador please note) and managers (Drummer Boy you too please note). We are not a commercial company. The Labour Party needs likable persons who can communicate well with the people and who can lead us to victory as soon as possible.


  15. Caretaker said

    We read your story (quote):

    “Just a small story….after the last election, I met a member of the local party committee to offer my assistance to the party especially now thatthe new leader is requesting for people that have remained in the dark to come forward and give their contribution. This committee member, who is also a delegate representing me and others in sensitive party decisions, did not even decently thank me or at least take note of my personal details to contact me. Nothing….I am sure that this is not what our dear leader wants from our clubs spread all over the island.”

    Will you authorise us to forward your e-mail address to Joseph Muscat? We are certain that he will want to communicate with you directly about this disappointing and frustrating experience.

    The Labour in labour Team

  16. skipper said

    Nicky Cini once again you are mixing the role of a good PR man with that of an administrator. In any case, Joe is a lecturer at the university and has a regular column in The Times. Two places were Labour is not strong and were we can gain from his presence.

    Also you are wrong to say that Joe has never made an any sacrifices. He has done many studies for the Party and has spent the last two years knocking on every door in the 2nd district trying to convince voters to vote MLP.


  17. Old Teacher said

    @ Nicky Cini

    You got it all wrong mate!

    1. The Labour Party does not need managers? How can you say that when it is 100% clear that mismanagement (or, more precisely, the total lack of management) cost us two elections? Take the last electoral campaign, wasn’t that a monument to disastrous management? Why,the Centru Nazzjonali Laburista in Hamrun had become the very symbol of mismanagement…couldn’t even keep, l-i-t-e-r-a-l-l-y the toilets clean!

    2. We have already chosen our Leader and that’s Joseph Muscat. And we have already chosen two deputies to help him lead. We are now going to vote for the Administration of the Party, not for more leaders. Administrators administrate and the leader leads. So what’s this crap about choosing “someone who can lead us to victory at the next elections”, Ms Cini?

    In an earlier comment I insisted that we should not forget that we are also going to vote for other members of Administration, for example an Education Secretary. With confused ideas around such as those expressed by Ms Nicky Cini, it is even more important that we choose a good Education Secretary!

    And now to bed, partaking of Ms Cini’s dazzling wisdom has tired me out and somewhat demoralised me.

    Old Teacher

  18. August Mantra said

    Why must we Maltese be so bloody manichean? Things don’t have to be black or white. There are colours too. Of course the General Secretary election is the most important one but the others are not unimportant! I am a kannol bla krema (ie a non-delegate) but I am doing my damn best to make sure my dream team wins. So here comes:

    President: Lawyer Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi doesn’t strike me as capable of understanding Joseph’s vision and approach. There are light years between them. Also, he is being taken by Jason on canvassing visits to districts and localities. Not terribly wise. This SZA ‘inherits’ Jason’s enemies, and they are not a few. The guy wants to lose, so why vote for him. Wenzu? Doesn’t excite me at all, but I recommend him as the lesser of two evils.

    General Secretary:
    Pretends he is endorsed by Joseph Muscat but I am ready to bet anything you like that if any delegate were to ask Joseph if it is true that he wants Jason the answer will NOT be a Yes. A princess, even one with a very sensitive posterior, will not notice a thing if she inadvertedly were to sit on his head. Doesn’t have what it takes. Alfred Grixti: now, an absent minded princess would notice if she sat on his head. Alfred is very intelligent but is not the ruthless organizer Joseph needs. Too much of a good boy for the job. Joe Vella Bonnici: I am told he is highly quoted in industry. Rumour has it that if he doesn’t make it to General Secretary, he will be offered a top job by one of the bigger foreign-owned companies in Malta. I think he is what we need but I don’t think we should lose Alfred Grixti. Grixti and Vella Bonnici should come to an agreement: Grixti steps down on condition that he Vella Bonnici appoints him immediately as Assistant General Secretary with special responsibility for Human Resources (Employees and Volunteers), which is what Grixti is best at. And the others? If it is true that they want to prevent Jason from holding on to his seat, then they should give up now. Vella Bonnici should talk to them now and promise them an worthwhile role in his team. One of them, the proudest, will not accept, the other two might.

    Finance Secretary: Joseph Cordina, high time we had a Gozitan on board, and an accountant to boot. Tommy has held the fort for years, even when nobody wanted the responsibility. No reason why Joe Cordina shouldn’t keep Tommy on board. No reason why Tommy should be humiliated at the ballot boxes.

    Public Relations: No contest, so pointless commenting on it. But it is high time we split Mass Activities from Branding & Marketing. Same person can’t do both.

    International Secretary:
    Hairy issue because this is the only post whose holder is allowed to contest national elections! The three (certainly two) are seeing this as a step into Parliament or the European Parliament. Would go for Lorna Vassallo because it is absurd that a progressive party has no woman in its day-to-day operations committee (a fair definition of Administration for the information of those who would make us believe that it is an extension of the leadership…it ain’t!), but I know absolutely nothing about her. Why doesn’t she use this site to introduce herself? As for the other two, the delegates will probably prefer Joe Mifsud.

    Education Secretary: Anthony Degiovanni, experienced and dependable, former teacher (or still a teacher?). Aaron, enthusiastic and young, has a lot to learn but seems willing to do so. Why not a team?

    August Mantra

  19. Cicero said

    Dr. Stefan Srinzo Azzopardi should not be sacrificed for the sins of others. Serious, balanced and loyal, he was steafast when others around him panicked and despaired. What else do we want? We need change but we also need an element of continuity. Dr. Srinzo Azzopardi can provide that element.

    Marcus Tullius Cicero

  20. Abraham Agius said


    there is no need to publish this. I was expecting that on such a matter you would have contacted me directly via e-mail. Te tell you the truth I had the intention of informing the leader and secretary once the administration is chosen as I do not think that it is currently the right moment.

    On the other hand I would ike to thanks you for your interest and hope that I will be chosen to give a better contribution to the party than just being a member that is only called for his services whenever there is an election for the party club administration or for the local elections.

    But is there is any way you can provide me with an e-mail address through which I may contact the leader, I will be grateful to send the mentioned case to him directly.



  21. J. Borg said

    It’s a pity there are no female contestants for the posts of gen. sec. & president.

    @ other commentators….can we be a little bit less destructive? Do you mind avoiding sarcastic comments on other commentators? Let’s not turn this into another DCG-style blog. Please. 🙂

    @ Nicky Cini……i think it would be better to leave out of this debate the contestants’ current job / previous job before being elected in this post……

    @ Delegat Moderat. Probably the most sensible comment in this section.

    Anyway. I think what we need right now are people capable of thinking outside of the box.

    J. Borg

  22. cleopatra said

    Cicero: Dr. ‘Srinzo’ (sic) Azzopardi was indeed ‘steatfast’ (sic) especially in handling misprints in Labour’s last electoral manifesto and in permitting Jason to have a freehand in highjacking MLP’s electoral strategy. Although he formed part of ‘the group of 5′,’Dr. Srinzo’ was ineffective and completely innocuous. ‘Balanced’ indeed, as a matter of fact completely taken over by and tilted heavily towards Jason’s whims and practices.


  23. Emmanuel Mazzitelli said

    I must say that this is a very interesting blog and would like to congratulate its organisers.Its gives scope to frank, open discussions where people can air their views and contribute towards a constructive dialogue which will benefit the Party and all those who wish to speak their mind freely. Let’s kickstart some energy and enthusiasm in our writing. I send my regards to all.

    Emmanuel Mazzitelli

  24. Cicero said

    @ Cleopatra

    It’s all very well for Cleopatra to poke fun at misprints in the comment I posted in this blog about 26 hours ago. What’s that got to do with Dr. Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi? And what has my respected colleague got to do with the misprints in the last electoral manifesto? The gentleman was, and still is in fact, the President of the Labour Party, not a mere proofreader. Let’s be serious, Dr. Zrinzo Azzopardi, has always been loyal to all his colleagues in the Labour Party. He deserves better.

    Of how one ought to behave towards one’s political enemies, Cicero said: “Neither must we listen to those who think that one should indulge in violent anger against one’s political enemies and imagine that such is the attitude of a great-spirited, brave man. For nothing is more commendable, nothing more becoming in a pre-eminently great man than courtesy and forbearance” (De Officiis). How much more courtesy and forbearance should one show towards leading members of one’s own Party? Cleopatra, please note.

    Marcus Tullius Cicero

  25. Voice of Justice said

    I have been following this blog for two whole weeks and I have come to the conclusion that it is prejudiced against Jason Micallef and Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi. It must have been set up on purpose to damage them. The minds behind it should be exposed and thrown out of the Party…if they are Labour after all!

    Voice of Justice

  26. Another voice of Justice said

    Voice of Justice is right. This blog shows that there is a conspiracy against Jason. I am not sure that the plotters are also against Dr. Zrinzo Azzopardi but they are certainly against Jason. Zrinzo Azzopardi was not on bad terms with the Michael Falzon faction and these will support him now. I am sure that all or most of the Michael Falzon people are helping to throw Jason out but they will not betray their friend Zrinzo Azzopardi.

    Another Voice of Justice

  27. Mark Anthony Galea said

    I must admit I was confused but I am now finally beginning to understand. Before (and even after) Joseph Muscat’s election, this blog was accused of being part of the big institutional conspiracy orchestrated by the Alfred Sant Establishment to use all the power of incumbency to ensure that Joseph be elected because he (Joseph, that is) was meant to be Alfred Sant’s poodle.

    We had this on the authority of nothing less than Daphne Caruana Galizia and because Daphne is always right many Labourite geniuses accepted it. Remember the comments by Harloc and Charles Cassar (whatever happened to them, by the way?).

    You will all remember that Jason was accused of being one of the master-minds and instruments of this Santian plot to elect Joseph Muscat, Sant’s alleged poodle and political clone.

    And now that Joseph is leader, so-called voices of justice are accusing this blog to be part of a conspiracy to eliminate. If your read the editorials and many of the comments closely, however, you will have to agree that one thing is clear: this blog was and has continued to be fervently but intelligently pro-Joseph Muscat. If this is true, and you can easily check it out by reading back all editorials and comments from April to today, then you must agree that someone must have got it all wrong.

    Can this blog be at the same time pro-Joseph Muscat and anti-Jason Micallef if Jason Micallef was (and presumably still is) pro-Joseph Muscat? Could this simply mean that the whole story about Joseph being an instrument of the Santian establishment (an establishment which includes this blog?) was just a spin planted by the Nationalists and eagerly adopted by whoever in the Labour camp had an interest in damaging Joseph Muscat?

    The truth is that Joseph Muscat was never a tool of Labour’s establishment. Joseph always made it clear that he was out to shake Labour awake, to bring about a cultural revolution within the Party, to create (quoting him) an Earthquake! Those that backed him, this blog included I am sure, did so because they saw in him the only chance of re-inventing Labour (that explains the new sub-title of this blog).

    Jason, I believe, was never part of the equation. The pro-Joseph current, the reformers, saw him and continue to see him not as part of the solution but as part of the problem.

    Mark Anthony Galea

  28. Closely Observed Observer said

    @ Mark Anthony Galea

    If what you are saying is true, a lot of things that have been said since we lost the elections [and even before…] have to be turned on their head if we are to understand what was really going on, what is going on now and what could happen in the coming weeks and months.

    For example, could it be that those that accused Joseph of being a puppet of the Party Establishment who were backing him to ensure that nothing would change in the Party organization and the Party mentality, were saying so precisely because they were those that wanted nothing to change? Or worse, could it be that these were the ones that wanted to turn the clock back to an even worse stage of the Party’s history, that of before Alfred Sant and perhaps also to that of before Karmneu Mifsud Bonnici?

    Could it be that these were against Joseph because they feared that he would really do what Alfred Sant unfortunately failed to do, that is really modernise Labour from its very roots? By the way, I think that Alfred Sant really supported and supports Joseph. I think he did so because he saw that the new circumstances of today are such that Joseph may well succeed to do what he failed to do, re-invent Labour.

    I think that many that opposed Joseph’s election have now come to understand how wrong they were and how misled they were by the few that led them astray. But not all have been converted yet. Some of these, luckily for the Nationalists, have no scruples and will now try to use the Administration and Executive elections due next month to plant a few booby traps and landmines for Joseph to step on. They will, if I have understood their tactics, for example, back the election of individuals that they previously did their best to torpedo. They will do their best to ensure that as many as possible of the old administration stay in power.

    All of us who support Joseph’s determination to reform the Labour Party should keep our eyes wide open and not be duped by those that want everything to remain the same.

    Why can’t I sign this comment? My livelihood depends on an organisation that has a stake in what happens in the Labour Party. If the conservatives win at the Administration & Executive elections, then their friends in the organisation I am employed with will make my life hell. If the reformers take over, the organisation’s opportunistic bosses will have to adapt themselves to Joseph’s New Political Season and I will be able to speak openly. And I am not the only one.

    Closely Observed Observer

  29. Shipwright on pension said

    Vote for experience! This is my line up: Jason Micallef for General Secretary, Stefan Srinzo Azzopardi for President, vice-president is irrelevant so vote as you please but if you really don’t have a clue then vote for Louis Gatt, Finance Secretary Tommy Dimech, Public Relations Ray Azzoppardi, International Secretary Alex Sciberras Trigona (a former Foreign Minister who did not allow Alfred Sant to push him around), Education secretary (Anthony Degiovanni, experienced teacher, Aaron is just a boy).

    Shipwright on Pension

  30. Yet Another Voice of Justice said

    Jason Micallef deserves another chance to prove himself. He may not have been the brightest kid on the block but he meant well and was loyal to his leader. Yes, he committed mistakes but who hasn’t. If he wins he will know that there won’t be another reprieve. If he is as inept as his enemies say he is, he will certainly do something stupid early on in the legislature and the delegates will still have a chance to kick him out when he comes up again for election by the General Conference. I don’t think he will do any big mistakes, precisely because he knows that this time around nobody will shed many tears for him. Moreover, I repeat, there is his unquestioning loyalty towards leaders. That is a big plus in his favour. A heavier weight than Jason might be tempted to outshine the leader or his deputies.

    Yet Another Voice of Justice

  31. Tug of War Athlete said

    Jason Micallef’s decision to cling to his place as secretary general of the Malta Labour Party is an indication of his political immaturity. Irrespective of whatever qualities he may boast of, his is a divisive figure inside the MLP. Many Labourites, delegates, members as well as plain voters, are convinced that he contributed to Alfred Sant’s humiliating defeat at the last elections. He is as inappropriate for the position as General Secretary as Michael Falzon was unthinkable for the top job. Sorry Jason but for the MLP’s sake, for Joseph Muscat’s sake, you must go! That you do not seem to appreciate this, confirms that you are not the right man for the job.

    Think with your head, not your heart. That’s what the GonziPN brigade do, and that’s why they win.

    Tug of War Athlete

    Tug of War Athlete

  32. skipper said

    Is it so difficult for people to understand that after the defeat at the polls there are those who would like to see changes within the administration?

    Why does everything have to be taken personally? This is not about Jason, Stephan or anyone else. This is about the MALTA LABOUR PARTY period. We have elections and fortunately for us there are many valid candidates in various positions. This gives us a choice to IMPROVE AND CORRECT on past mistakes. In real countries people involved would have stepped down after such a defeat to show real maturity and leadership. It goes with the job. This does not mean that everyone must be changed just for the sake of it. Changes should only be done in areas that need improvement, when better candidates present themselves, I hope that everyone acknowledges that many mistakes where made which cost us the elections. We cannot afford to ignore the facts once again.

    Nevertheless, those who worked during the last years should be thanked for their efforts and the party should help maybe by offering them alternative employment if they are not re elected. Being replaced by better or more qualified people is not a disgrace.

    This attitude of a person being ta dak jew ta l-iehor is pathetic. I believe that it was the main reason we appeared unattractive to many voters. Each man should stand alone in front of the delegates and declare that he is there to serve in the best interest of the party and to follow the leadership to the full once decisions are taken. Having Unity and integrity with competent players is the only way we can give the party and the leader a chance to bring about STAGUN POLITIKU GDID.

    NO ONE can be bigger than the party and the delegates must realize that we are up against a team that will be once again prepared and organized. We have to be up to the challenge and select those best for the job.

    This is the time to strengthen our team for the long road ahead

    Don’t vote with your heart but with your head and whilst doing so flash back to the 9th of March I am sure you can still feel the pain.

    As for the blog keep it up. Whoever you are it is great.


  33. CARETAKER said

    ATTENTION ‘DUSTY’: Please contact us as soon as possible at regarding the comment you posted this morning. THE CARETAKER

  34. Cory Greenland said

    Re Comment by Shipwright on Pension. I personally know Aaron Farrugia and totally disagree with your suggestion. A boy or not, he is qualified and has alot of experience in working with young people. I believe labour party delegates chose young leaders and officials in its selection, so the boy argument should not feature. Aaron’s profile would be an asset for the Labour Party that today speaks of a new generation and a good involvement amongst the younger voters. Thus Aaron’s contribution in Labour’s administration is important. The post is one that deals with political education. Something that both candidates can probably do. However I remain in favour of a young and energetic candidate that has worked in organising structures and with a fresh approach to politics.

    Cory Greenland

  35. Charles J Buttigieg said

    Sustanza,mhux apparenza.

    L-iblah biss jifrah bil-hmerijiet li jaghmel. Anzi jizzattat biex jidher helu. M’hemmx aghar milli jipprova jimpressjona, jirtokkja u jahbi d-difetti tieghu, Isir popolari ma’ min ihobb ix-xalata, mhux is-serjeta’. Hekk hsibt meta qrajt l-ittra ta’ Elena Mizzi “Ghaliex mhux Jason” fi “illum” tal-Hadd, 20 ta’ Lulju.

    Semmiet “l-isforzi kontinwi ta’ Jason…” Fejn huma? X’rizultati taw? Hawn huma: falliment fil-finanzi tal-Partit, amministrazzjoni tad-dilettanti, ‘team-building’ mank jaf xi tfisser, paprata wara l-ohra kull darba li jiftah halqu. L-unika kapacita` – jaf jimpressjona lil min jehda bix-xejxi!

    Il-media tal-PN ma tiqafx tikkrita lil Jason Micallef ghax taf li ghaliha dan l-aqwa garanzija biex l-MLP jibqa’ mwahhal u stagnat. Jaqblilhom jibqa’ hu u allura jhaddmu dik li tissejjah ‘reverse psychology’ – jikkritikawh biex isibu min jithassru, jiddefendih u jappoggjah. Tal-PN ikomplu jattakkawh biex ta’ madwaru jiddefenduh u jibilghu s-sunnara li juruh solidarjeta’ u jistinkaw biex izommuh hemm! Ovvja li ladarba qed fil-kariga ihalluh juzu l-poter intern li ghandu biex jitkarrab ghall-hniena tad-delegati.

    Bhala Laburist genwin m’ghandi ebda xewqa li nappoggja l-isforzi tal-PN li jhallu l-Partit taghna mwikki b’nies bhal Jason. Il-mexxej gdid taghna Joseph wera bil-fatti li jrid jibdel il-mod kif jitmexxa l-Partit u diga’ kiseb l-ammirazzjoni taghna u ta’ min ma kienx jarana sbieh. L-aghar mazzra tkun li nitqannew b’nies bhal Jason li kapaci biss biex jimpressjonaw biex jahbu l-inefficjenza u d-dilettantizmu taghhom.

    Ovvja, m’hemmx lok ghal paragun bejn is-serjeta’ tal-mexxej gdid u l-opportunizmu ta’ min tana prova li mhux kapaci jamministra – anqas biss jaf minn fejn jibda! Imma – ghax hekk kien jaqbillu – appoggja lil Joseph, biex jirkeb fuq il-popolarita’ tal-mument, meta fil-fatt kien il-kagun tal-misthija ghall-partitarji serji!

    Il-professjonalita’ li qed juri Joseph qed tkabbar l-ghaqda fil-Partit. Dan fatt car ghal kulhadd, inkluz ghad-delegati. Issa d-delegati jridu jiddeciedu jekk jappoggjawx din is-serjeta’, jew idardruha bil-medjokrita’. Min qed ipingi lil Jason bhala favorit ta’ Joseph ikun qed iqarraq bil-Partit. Il-kapacita` impekkabbli ta’ Joseph ma thallihx jiccappas bi hmerijiet bhal dawn. Joseph huwa l-mexxej ta’ generazzjoni rebbieha, imnaddfa mill-elementi telliefa bil-provi.

    Veru li hemm post ghal kulhadd fil-Partit, imma kulhadd f’postu, mhux skarpan f’post ta’ manager, mhux attur f’post ta’ amministratur! Jien naf sew x’qed jghidu l-partitarji barra, ma fadalx zmien noqghodu ninhlew li niggustaw lil dak jew l-iehor, nillapazzaw u niddubbaw!

    Naf li din il-kitba ma toghgobx lil min hu dilettant u jara sa mniehru biss. Imma hemm bzonn li dawn il-fatti jinstemghu u nitkellmu bis-serjeta’, nahsbu b’mohhna u mhux b’saqajna! Zgur mhux il-waqt li noqghod indur mal-lewza: kulhadd fil-post li jixraqlu, kull wiehed / wahda fil-post fejn l-aktar ikun/tkun ta’ gid ghall-Partit, mhux mazzra ghall-Partit!

    Fl 4 ta’ Awissu d-delegati se jaghzlu lil min se jghin lill-Partit jirbah ma’ Joseph, mhux lil min se jfixklu.Id-delegati se jaghzlu li l-Partit ma jibqax kollezzjoni ta’ primadonni u indivdwi li mohhom biss li jzommu posthom akkost ta’ kollox!

    Il-gid tal-Partit biex inkunu kapaci nirbhu jigi qabel kull forma ta’ gost ghall-individwi!

    Charles J. Buttigieg

  36. Don Barzagli said

    @ Shipwright on Pension

    I guess you better enjoy your pension and stay quiet. We need an administration made up of some new faces like Alex Sciberras as Vice-President and Aaron Farrugia as Education Secretary. If we retain most of the old guards then we’re guaranteed another legislature during which our party structures remain stagnant as they currently are. You mentioned ‘experience’.. in what? In losing consecutive elections? We need fresh thinking, that’s why I’ll be supporting the upcoming winning generation.

    Don Barzagli

  37. Aaron Farrugia's CTeam said

    AT Shipwright on Pension

    Whilst we appreciate the experience of other contenders for educational secretary of the Malta Labour Party, we suggest that Aaron is judged on his strategic vision and proposed measures. Aaron Farrugia has the energy and vision to eloquently reposition the post that the Educational Secretary of the Malta Labour Party should have been. Aaron’s vision can only be implemented with the help of both experienced individuals and others willing to work. Whoever is interested will be entrusted with parts of Aaron’s vision to support Labour’s team with a more professional base.

    Aaron Farrugia’s CTeam

  38. CARETAKER said



  39. Abel Abela said

    This Party is no party without the girls!
    Seriously now….
    I’m glad to see so many bright ladies competing for a seat on the National Executive…but a bit disappointed to see only one female candidate among the twenty contenders for the administrative posts. Anyhow – good luck to all!

    Abel Abela

  40. philip borg said

    Going through these comments makes me think that aome people opt to exclude some contestants for lack of experience and support others that equally lack experience. This is somewhat confusing and proves that some people still go for names and not really for the crux of the whole issue: what (and who) is best for the building of a winning generation ably led by our Joseph!

    Sympathies, friendships, closeness and personal gratitude are to be put aside when choosing the right candidate to fill up any of the posts contested. Ignoring or covering up past deficient performances will be equally damaging. Calling any contestant as “too young” is just as childish as those who pointed same fingers prior to Joseph’s election.

    I happen to know quite well most of the contestants and i have my own well-informed opinion, which i will disclose as per my duty when casting my vote. The well-being of the party comes first. I go for people with substance and proved efficiency, rather than exciting looks. Brandishing names and favourites at this stage is a futile exercise that may favour some for the wrong reasons and eventually create a ‘block’ within a blog – haha!

    I have worked along with Joseph when he was Education Secretary, who succeeded Alfred Grixti and was followed by Alekx Farrugia and Wenzu Mintoff. I must say that they all worked hard at initiating activities that proved useful, albeit the chronic unattendance of participants.

    Looking at the interesting mix of young and less-young Education Secretaries we had for the past decade or so, we should all focus on the need of selecting the candidate with the best affinity to Joseph’s ideals and strategies, not ignoring his academical background and within-party experience : Aaron Farrugia! When years ago he contested my post as Vice-president i had thought that he might have been young at that point in time. Since then Aaron proved me wrong… his performance within FZL and other areas have added years of experience and knowledge to his credit. Yes Aaron, our party which is Joseph’s party and the people’s party needs you in a top post for the building of a winning generation!

    In wishing Aaron success, i am wishing OUR party well!

    Philip Borg

  41. Charmaine Calleja said

    Huwa vera li l-ghajnejn ta’ bosta se jkunu fuq il-kariga ta’ seg gen imma nahseb li hemm bzonn li anke fil-karigi l-ohra jkun hemm persuni ta’ kwalita.

    Nemmen li d-delegati m’ghandhomx jitilfu l-opportunita li jeleggu persuni bhal aaron farrugia jew alex sciberras. Kwalifikati, intelligenti u li jistghu jghinu bil-kbir biex dak li qieghed jipproponi Joseph Muscat i.e stagun politiku gdid, nghixuh tassew.

    Charmaine Calleja

  42. Andrew Sciberras said

    Dear all,

    I chose to support Joseph Muscat out of pure personal belief and conviction that he has what it takes and that he comes closest to what I politically believe in (even though we do have some points of divergence). It may be the case that this blog was overtly pro-Joseph at times but I would like to make things clear that in no way did I support Joseph for any personal gain whatsoever. I am merely, as some of you may know, a 21 year old University student, a paid-up member of the MLP and a free citizen of Malta. No more, no less. So before rushing to judge all and sundry, I hope that you understand that all my comments are genuine and have not been influenced by anybody else, not even my brother Alexander Sciberras who is running for Vice-President. I may have a lot of faults and weaknesses, but I am not ashamed of what I believe in and no one shall dictate what I ought to say or not say.

    Regarding the elections for the administration and elections I sincerely hope that whoever is elected is thorough, honest and knowledgeable in his position and that he or she forms part of only faction or clique: That of the MLP led by Joseph Muscat.

    Andrew Sciberras

  43. Monica Brown Muscat said

    @ Philip Borg et al

    But isn’t this, at the end of the day, what this is about, proposing a block within a blog ?!?! This is my line-up for the key Admin. posts:

    President: Wenzu Mintoff
    Vice-President: Alexander Sciberras
    General Secretary: Joe Vella Bonnici
    Finance: Joe Cordina
    Education: Aaron Farrugia
    International: Joe Mifsud
    PR: [no contest]

    Some I chose because they are truly good, others by elimination as the less mediocre of what was on the menu. Don’t ask me which is which, for Godot’s sake!

    Monica Brown Muscat a.k.a. Momuska

    (PS: friends call me Momuska and we’re all friends here except for the occasional provocateur…can smell the buggers a mile a way)

  44. Charles J Buttigieg said

    Il-Partit issa qabad il-mixja lejn Stagun Politiku Gdid. Flimkien mal-Mexxej Joseph Muscat u d-Deputati Mexxejja, Anglu Farrugia u Toni Abela, d-delegati, l-Membri Parlamentari, l-kunsilliera, u l-attivisti fil-ferghat u l-kumitati jridu jahdmu id f’id. biex b’ENERGIJA u IMPENN fiz-zmien li gej nikkonvincu lill-elettorat Malti, li l-Partit Laburista huwa tim sod u li lest jisma. Irridu nikkonvincu li l-partit jaspira serhan il-mohh, li ghandna partit stabbli, fdat u fuq kollox Gvern alternattiv. Il-hsieb Progressiv u moderat li rridu nilqghu fi hdana ghandu jwassal biex nattiraw nies godda lejn il-partit, mhux l-inqas liz-zghazagh.

    Tinhass hafna ix-xewqa li l-Partit Laburista jkompli jiggedded, ghalhekk fl-ghazliet taghna rridu nharsu ‘l quddiem. Mat-tajjeb li diga jezisti nemmen li nistghu nintroducu ideat godda u mezzi moderni ta` hidma. Ghandna nkomplu niggeddu b`hidmiet cari u popolari ma` l-elettorat izda fl-isfond tat-twemmin Socjalista Demokratiku li ahna nhaddnu. Jien nikkonferma li hafna partitarji jemmnu li Aaron Farruga ghandu l-kwalitajiet akkademici, professjonali u anke politici biex iservi fl-amministrazzjoni tal-Partit bhala Segretarju Edukattiv.

    Energija dinamika mzejna w ikkonsolidata b’mohh zaghzugh, frisk,modern u progressiv huma l-ingredjenti mehtiega biex jassistu fl-isforsi li qed jaghmel Joseph biex il-partit taghna johrog rebbieh. Aaron Farruga hu mzejjen b’dawn il virtujiet .

    Charles J. Buttigieg

  45. martin baron said

    i wish to reply to shipwright in pension.

    without wanting to sound trite, a pension exists because as one gets old, very often one cannot meet the challenges as effectively as a younger person. i disagree totally with voting for someone just for experience as you say, for with the same argument there would be no pension system and one would work on and on amassing more and more experience till one drops dead. i am no teenager myself and therefore have no bias for the young expect in my respect for their energy and drive. young persons still need to prove themselves very often and are hard-motivated to do so. had we used the same argument in electing our leader we would have gone to the candidate with the most experience. instead we wisely chose the youngest candidate and the one with the most drive, vision, fresh ideas and lack of baggage. the time when one was promoted on seniority has long been buried in the majority of organizations. rightly so, one is promoted on drive, merit and potential.

    Martin Baron

  46. Dusty said

    After all its the 900 or so delegates that will chose…. an average age of 67, most are politically illiterate. We truly love our party but need to change the way delegates are chosen. Its mediocre and against modern and progressive thinking. Be factual and just take a look at them……..Sorry to say but we need the new administration to overhaul the statute and include people (with voting rights) who make sense…. this blog (with its various ideas) is a clear indication of the resource MLP has but is not using. Most contributors are not delegates. Why???? We need people who can discuss politics, who can debate – not beer bellies and old widows who simply manage to be delegates since they give a helping hand in the Kazin.

    And dear caretake – if you don’t want to get my previous comment do not.. its called freedom of speach and of opinion. This will be my last contribution.

    Dusty Serracino

    [CARETAKER’S COMMENT: See our view below Dusty’s original comment, to be published later today]

  47. Anthony Licari said

    I agree with those who are encouraging Aaron Farrugia to continue being politically active. I have met Aaron Farrugia a number of times and discussed at length with him. We agreed and disagreed about a number of things but I felt that I was talking with an intelligent adult. I think that he has a lot to contribute.

    Anthony Licari

  48. Dusty said

    Well well well… we have finally reached a stage in which some of the administration candidates have ALSO to reply to their past fiascos and failed allegiances.

    1. Take Dr Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi. Sorry to say but he looks quite plastic, not lucid, highly ineffective, too much of a Michael Falzon boy (even though now he’s trying to detach from his clan – as he did with the PN soon after university). I’ll go for Wenzu.

    2. Louis Gatt vs Alex Scibrras…… no competition. Alex is young and fresh but has to keep to his age. Louis is visibly boring – a european Borat.

    3. As to the other (minor) posts – Joe Mifsud repels me and a lot of people I know. He utters different tunes in different scenarios and seems to try and unsuccesfully please whoever he needs. Cannot be trusted. As to Aaron and Anthony – yet undecided. Aaron is also young but has always failed to impress me. Anthony is not young but has a lot of experience. Needs help on his dress code yet he is a walking library. Less european then Aaron but more educationally prepared… don’t know yet. Joe Cordina and Tommy. Tommy is a dear but…… we need a qualified young Gozitan as well.

    4. Finally – Secretary General. I will limit my comments on Jason, Joe and Alfred Grixti. The others will unfortunately surely not make it even though i would probably go for Keith Grech. Well well well… word has it that Joe VB is being pushed by George Abela and Lino Spiteri. Eyes wide open. On the other hand Alfred Grixti is a thin joe mifsud… cannot forget him canvassing Anglu Farrugia and Toni Abela in order to [DELETED] punish and destabilise Joseph!!!!!!!!! Was in pain after Michael Falzon’s humiliating defeat and vowed revenge. Please Fred.. get back to your statues. Labour needs man.
    Jason will make it. He has to change a lot – a metamorphosis….. will you Jason?

    Dusty Serracino

    [CARETAKER’S COMMENT: this comment was posted over 24 hours ago. We exchanged e-mails with the author – we are not certain about her/his identity – concerning a particular passage in #4. We finally agreed to publish it without the said passage. Having said this, the whole comment is, for our tastes, far too personal in its attacks on individuals. If it is true that, often, political attacks are based on personal agendas, then this mail smacks of a personal agenda. In a later comment (we have already published it), Dusty Serracino threatens not to post further comments unless we publish this one. This is the sort of attitude we do not appreciate. So, we are publishing this but minus the above-mentioned passage. If Dusty thinks this is undemocratic censorship, he is free to do so and to act accordingly. We are proud of our record of tolerance, of fair comment and respect for facts, whatever some may think. Another point: we cannot understand the attack on Dr Zrinzo on the grounds of his past party-political history. If we had to hold a Labourite’s political origins – when these are not Labour – against him/her, then we will never be in government…for the simple reason that unless we win over to Labour a fair number of Nationalists, we are condemned to languish in opposition for ever. This is not what Dusty Serracino wants…or is it? ]

  49. Observer said

    I cannot be more in agreement with Don Barzagli’s and Mr Licari’s thoughts. A New Political Season does mean a fine blend of proficient individuals owning a profound experience along with talented, fresh and “ready-to-do” persons coming from the younger generations. I can perceive a lot of exceptionally gifted fresh people embracing innovative ideas and a well framed vision for the MLP’s bureaus. I do strongly believe that Mr Alex Sciberras and Mr Aaron Farrugia are two of these chief elements within the MLP, being more than sure that both have the right drive, aspirations and will to implement their initiatives in a new approach.
    Instead of staying within a conservative and conventional mindset, let’s get our minds on the progressive fast-lane, thus endorsing and encouraging the contribution of younger generations within the political sphere!
    The young generation’s contribution in today’s and tomorrow’s Politics will reveal itself to be a crucial one.


  50. Louise said

    Excuse me but what does being a Gozitan have to do with being able to do the job of Finance secretary? Besides there are other well qualified contestants such as Frans Chircop, who is just finishing his Doctorate in Management and Business Administration. Delegates should vote for the best interest of the party, thus choose the most capable, not those whom they might like or know.


  51. Michael Cutajar said

    I read with interest the comments posted above. While some of them are funny if not comical, some others are worth reading. First of before commenting, one has to decide on wether he or she is choosing on meritocracy or else just because the person running for office is on the leaders good books. I served the Party for 25 years and was a delegate until a few years ago. I will comment on each and every post keeping in mind both meritocracy and how I guess the Delegates will vote, many of which are my age and been friends with them for so many years.

    PRESIDENT – It is an open secret that Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi was part of Michael Falzons clan. But he did work with all people during the last 5 years and served faithfully the Party especially during the Leadership elections. Wenzu Mintoff in intelegent but boring though he will give a challenge to Stefan. Stefan will win with a small number of votes.

    VICE PRESIDENT – A challenge worth following. Alex Sciberras is a young lawyer and mayor of Msida. He campaigned for Joseph Muscat during the leadership election. He will be facing incumbent Louis Gatt. Louis, like Wenzu is boring and in my humble opinion didnt really serve the PArty well as Vice President. Having said that I still think that he will win just because Alex Sciberras is not well known within the Party structures. Pity.

    SECRETARY GENERAL – The best candidate is definetely Keith Grech, intelligent but lacks charisma. Alfred Grixti might give a serious challenge to Jason but Gino will for sure take a handful of votes from him. Joe Vella Bonnici will be sharing Jason`s traditional support and thus makes this post very unpredictable. Joe Chetcuti is also worth following though many are saying that he stands no chance. Jason might finally make it again but as many others commented above, he needs to be humble

    INTERNATIONAL SECRETARY – Will Sciberras Trigona return to the Party fold or will Joe Mifsud, the incumbent win again. Sciberras Trigona has alot of charisma but his euroscepticism will loose him alot of votes. Lorna is a non starter unfortunately because I would have liked to see a woman in the administration. I guess Joe Mifsud will win.

    PRO – Ray Azzopardi again. No contest. Gino Cauchi would have served much better.

    EDUCATIONAL SECRETARY – Aaron Farrugia, like Alex Sciberras, was within Joseph Muscats Campaign Team during the Leadership election. He is well qualified and charismatic. He lead the Forum Zghazagh Laburisti and is one of the best youngsters within the Party. Like Alex Sciberras, he is very promising. Tony Degiovanni is intelegent and rumour has it that he will be retiring very soon. From the feedback I get, Aaron Farrugia will win. That is why he should invite Tony to join him and work together.

    FINANCE SECRETARY -I know Tommy but like many I think that time has come to gve this psoition to someone much more qualified. Joe Cordina will be an excelelnt choice. A gozitan and an auditor by profession. Go for it Joe.

    Michael Cutajar

  52. Ronnie Mercieca said

    The very first comment posted in this section of this blog is the self-advertisement by Robert Debrincat who begins by congratulating himself for this very interesting website. Mhux bic-cajt! He actually says that! Quote: “I wish to congratulate myself for this very interesting website”. Didn’t know Robert Debrincat was responsible for creating and maintaining Labour in labour. If he is on the Labour in labour team, he ought to tell us because that would be good for him. If delegates knew he was (at least partly) responsible for this blog, they would be more motivated to elect him to one of the 10 places available in the National Executive. Moreover, as Debrincat is also aspiring to become Ray Azzoppardi’ number two, some publicity with the future members of the Executive will help him when the Public Relations Secretary will have to ask them to approve his assistants.

    So, Roberto, if you are (at least partly) responsible for this blog, by all means congratulate yourself (it is Labour’s finest blog and almost certainly Malta’s leading one) but take full credit, don’t be too modest! But then, perhaps Roberto is NOT interested in assisting the PR Secretary; he is interested in another post, that of Deputy Public Relations Secretary. Moreover he needs nobody’s approval, in fact he says: “I will assume the role of Deputy Public Relations Secretary”. He WILL assume that role. It is decided. He has decided. There is a problem, actually two. One, there is no such post as the Deputy Public Relations Secretary. Two, the Public Relations Secretary needs to get his assistants (not the same as Deputy) approved by the Executive. So Roberto cannot assume that he will assume a post that does not exist.

    Having said this, I am told Roberto is energetic and enthusiastic. Also Ray needs all the help he can get. But he (Ray) needs to teach Roberto a thing or two about…personal public relations. This has not been a great beginning.

    Ronnie Mercieca

  53. Charles J Buttigieg said

    @ Administrator. You are not making it very easy for us to peruse the latest posts. Common sense tells you to file the latest contribution on top and you are doing the contrary. Grumpy people like me have problems to stomach these silly shortcomings and would log off your portal and go to Bocca’s which is very user friendly. Why the hell do we find it so difficult to get it right the first time. We’ll be voting for Jason next, we’re naive enough!

    Charles Buttigieg

    [CARETAKER: You’ve hardly been here a week and you’re already complaining! As explained to those who have been around for much longer, we use standard proprietary software that can’t be modified.
    Moreover, as also explained to those who have been around much longer, we want newcomers to each editorial section to read through what previous visitors have pasted on this tazebao on the same subject. So, it is a matter of both choice and necessity. Needless to say, if you ask Bocca for his view on the matter, he will certainly agree with you. You are, of course, free to migrate anywhere of your choice. Enjoy Bocca if you do.]

  54. Martin Buttigieg said

    @ Charles J.Buttigieg

    You are right, Charle J., when you ask “Why the hell do we find it so difficult to get it right the first time?” Why the hell do so many of us find it so difficult to be positive and constructive? How can you have the “wicc tost” to speak like this about what is without the least shadow of doubt the best progressive blog on the Island and one highly regarded by a considerable number of persons of good will who only now are beginning to take Labour seriously? I don’t recall seeing your name on these pages in late March, April, May, June and the first two weeks of July.

    Although I am particularly allergic to cocky Johnny-come-latelies, your absence is an attenuating circumstance in your favour. Had you been around you long enough you would have noticed how many of the ideas of the New Political Season were bounced on this blog before they hit the headlines and before the leadership election. Had you, on the contrary, been around and had noticed these developments, then we would have no alternative but to conclude that your comment of earlier today was not the fruit of ignorance but of intentional destructiveness.

    You are of course perfectly free to suggest that latest comments should appear on top of the page, but many of us – who discussed this issue openly ages ago – finally convinced ourselves that nudging new readers to go through the whole string of comments encourages them to take in the bigger picture and to respond holistically. Most other local two-bit blogs end up being collections of mostly unrelated witticisms, the fruit of a clash of titanic egos on a trip to nowhere. Yeah, I imagined you would threaten us with Bocca! Reminds me of those voters who threaten to tear up their vote or to vote for the others if they don’t get everything they want.

    You say: “Why the hell do we find it so difficult to get it right the first time. We’ll be voting for Jason next, we’re naive enough!” With your destructive approach “We’ll be voting for Gonzi next, we’re naive enough!”

    Martin Buttigieg

  55. Danny Attard said

    A clearish definition of the word Klikka emerged when the ‘klikka’ issue came up post March 8 : Individuals who are willing to hold on to positions for dear life at the expense of party interests.

    The bottom-line impact on party performance would:

    1. Keep ‘valid’people away from active contribution as these would be seen as potential threats to existing roles

    2. Promote unilateral action that is more concerned with self-preservation than positive party action for the common good.

    The proof of the apple-tree is in the eating of the apple.

    How effective were we in evolving structures (from party clubs upwards) that make Labour a slick social-justice machine?

    How committed are we to ensure that leadership will have be served by such a machine?

    Why does the election process of party officials remind me so much of russian dolls? (leadership followed by mini-leaders)?

    Without a resilient, technically competent, apolitical (with a small p) loyal core of elders (of all ages), our ‘elections’ may remain amorphous and personality-focused.

    A little bit more vocation, more meritocracy and a little bit less careerism please.

    Danny Attard

  56. skipper said

    Dusty, you imply that you support Joseph but show no sign of being moderate or progressive. May I remind you and others that on the 4th of August there will be neither winners nor losers. The date is one when delegates are being asked to choose the best candidate for each position. As labourites we can only win together by overcoming the PN in a general election. One does not have to rubbish any candidate to promote another because every labour supporter/delegate/candidate/ is valid and required on board.

    The trouble with us is that we waste too much energy on petty things and are always “tired” come election time.
    We need to unite and use ALL resources at our disposal. It is encouraging to see so many people put their money where their mouth is and stand for office, however if we are going to lose or discard those not elected we will be reducing our chances at the polls come E DAY.
    As from day one, Joseph our leader tried to bring back to the party those who have been “distant” for one reason or another. Many, including myself, consider the return of many party stalwarts as a very positive step towards unity. On the other hand, you try to discredit one of the candidates by stating that he is being pushed by George Abela and Lino Spiteri. I find this ironic especially on the day when Joseph selected George Abela to represent the MLP on the Malta-EU Steering and Action Committee. One would hope that the next Gen Secretary, whoever he is, is supported by a very broad selection of our society including and not limited to the two valid gentlemen mentioned by yourself.
    Without mentioning names, I can assure you that Joe Vella Bonnici is being encouraged and supported by many many people , but being PUSHED by no one.


  57. Charles J Buttigieg said

    @ Caretaker. Had I been using this blog longer I would have made my criticism earlier. I spent the best part of my working career listening to people’s complaints and suggestions some stupid some smart but I was trained to listen and never attack the complainant as that will deter others from giving an input. This is your blog and naturally you are free to administer it the way it pleases you best. I made my point you made yours.

    @ Martin Buttigieg. I find it difficult to understand why you had to come down on me like a ton of bricks. Were you really annoyed with the way I posted my comment? What do you find so destructive about it? Maybe a trifle strongly worded but certainly not destructive. I have militated in Labour since the age of 15 and that’s a very long time ago. I have always done my level best to enhance our public image and due to my enthusiasm I may have sounded aggressive sometimes but God knows that my criticism was always well intended. Do I detect a hidden motive for your trying to cut me to size?

    Now down to some pertinent business.

    I am one for a young Party but I do not think it would be wise to discard the not so young. A good administration is composed of a marriage of young and old and academically equipped. The romantic years of the Harold Wilson and Calcidon Agius era are nostalgic and to be treasured however in the different world which we are living now a country has to be driven with brain power and an open mind to change.

    Maybe there is some truth in the saying that you cannot put an old head on young shoulders however old heads do have a tendency to preserve old habits to the point of clogging modern and more efficient systems.Having stated that I should also quote C. Darwin “ It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” I am prepared to take Darwin’s word for it.

    During the leadership campaign I wasn’t shy to express my opinion about the contenders and highlighted Joseph Muscat’s assets while others were criticising him for his inexperience due to his youth. Joseph’s greatest asset is his response to change and we can now see the results.

    I had a few occasions to meet with Aaron Farrugia,Nikita Alamango and one or two other young people from the Forum, the enthusiasm of these young activists left me spellbound, this is the spunk required to revamp Labour,
    a good mix of young enthusiasm and experience.

    Charles J. Buttigieg

  58. Emmanuel Mazzitelli said

    I’m missing out on some of the posts. They are excessively long and leave me breathless to read through. My suggestion is to keep short and concise. It’s the substance, the quality of the content that counts!

    Emmanuel Mazzitelli

  59. Danny Attard said

    Hello Charles,

    As long-standing socialists/social democrats/ labourites I suppose you will join me to celebrate Labour-in-labour that provides thinking social democrats with an excellent forum where to exchange views and opinions.

    My ‘body language’ may at times be erratic and nervous yet I have nothing but gratitude for the persons who manage a forum that energises political discussion in Malta.

    As you may know, squaring up to political prejudice on other sites does little to promote healthy debate. While this tazeboo does attract skeptics, its openness to all ideas and the quality of its stimulating posts, ranks it as a top debating forum.

    I for one am relieved that social democracy in Malta remains so vibrantly young, energetic, and so full of purpose.

    Danny Attard

  60. Ian Buhagiar said

    If I was a delegate I would opt for the following administrative team:

    President: Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi. Although he played a central role in the “losing 5” team, his attitude compliments Joseph’s positive vision.

    Vice-President: Even though I find Louis Gatt to be a very valid candidate, I would still opt for Msida’s mayor Alex Sciberras. Remember we must propel valid youth into the top echelons of the party!

    Secretary General: Definitely Joe Vella Bonnici – a qualified economist with an impressive background in the managerial sector. As has already been written, the role of the Secretary General is that of managing the party, both political and administratively, a task which Jason Micallef failed miserably in carrying out.

    Financial Secretary: Tommy Dimech has been in the post for ages. In light of the financial problems the party is facing, I believe that it’s high time that a professional takes over this job.

    Secretary for Public Relations: Even though Ray Azzopardi has been there for ages, he is still doing an outstanding job in the traditional media sector. Having said this, the party must master new forms of media such as the internet. In my opinion Ray is somehow weak in this area.

    International Secretary: Again, even though he is part of the “losing” administration, Joe Mifsud did an excellent job in the past five years. This has mostly been seen in the extensive collaboration which the party has developed with its European affiliate.

    Education Secretary: I believe Aaron Farrugia fits into this role perfectly. He is well equipped with good academic and political credentials – precisely what the post entails.

    I hope that my two cents’ worth helps the delegates in making the right choice 🙂

    Ian Buhagiar

  61. alex said

    as a young student who watched carefully most of the steps taken by both the labour party as well as the nationalist party throughout the last election, i am safe to say that the post of secretary general needs to be filled by someone who is not only a public figure appealing to the eye yet who has good managment skills, experience as well as the charisma to go with. in my opinion joe vella bonnici is the best candidate for this post as he is all of the above and an amazing person once you get to know him, as a past student i give joe 2 thumbs up and hope the delegates make the right choice. the youth of today are not only attracted by jeans and snazzy shoes yet by intellect and commitment.


  62. Memorja ta' l-Azzar said

    Jien delegat xih u (kont ser nghid ghal grazzja t’Alla imma ahjar nghid grazzi ghall-Labour) jien ghandi pensjoni u jekk noqghod attent sa’ l-ahhar tax-xhar nasal. Ghax pensjonant ghandi l-gurnata (u il-lejl) kollha ghaliha u sentejn ilu dahhalt computer u internet. Proset ta’ dan il-blog. Mhux ghax f’wicckhom imma Labour in labour l-ahjar blog Malti, mhux biss mill-blogs Laburisti (fil-fatt l-ohrajn mhux xi granke’…), imma mill-blogs kollha (li mhux kollha tan-nejk, anzi). Insomma, jien ha nivvota ghal Wenzu Mintoff ghal post ta’President u nghidilkhom ghaliex. Mhux minhabba il-kunjom tieghu, anki Wenzu wiret kunjom mnaqqax fil-kuxjenza pulitika ta’ kull Laburist veru. Mhux minhabba li hu Segretarju Edukattiv tal-Partit, ghax ma jidhirliex li ‘bbrilla f’din il-kariga. Ha nivvotalu ghaliex snin ilu kellu il-kuragg flimkien ma Toni Abela li jitlaq mill-Partit biex jipprotesta kontra il-barunijet li kienu jahkmu il-Partit. Dak iz-zmien dort kontrih. Nqerr li stajt nobzoqlu. Imma nistqarr li matul is-snin bdilt fehmti. Kien gest erojku. L-istess nahseb li messu baqa’ fil-Partit u ggieled minn-gewwa kif ghamlu Guze Abela bhala chairman tal-Bord ta’ Vigilanza u Dixxiplina (meta kien bord ta’ veru u mhux bhal dak ta’ illum hsiebu fin-nejk), George Vella, Joe Azzoppardi, Mario Vella, Sammy Meilaq, John Vassallo, Evarist Bartolo, Mario Cutajar u ohrajn. Imma l-istess gest erojku kien. Joseph Muscat u il-Partit nies bhal Wenzu ghandhom bzonn.

    Memorja ta’ l-Azzar

  63. O cosi o cosà said

    Emmanuel Mazzitelli is perfectly right. Let’s be brief. So here comes. The choice is clear. Either Jason or Joseph.

    O cosi o cosà

  64. Papillon said

    It is not true that Joseph Muscat wants Jason Micallef to stay on as General Secretary. It is true that a handful of former Muscat canvassers are now canvassing for Micallef but they are doing so without Joseph’s authorisation and against his wish. Joseph Muscat has evidently and wisely decided to keep out of the contest, if for no other reason than the embarassment and aggravation of possibly having to work with persons other than the ones endorsed by him. A pity he cannot speak his mind openly…solitude is, alas, the price of leadership.


  65. Charles J Buttigieg said

    Hi Danny
    Of course I’ll join you, I also celebrate all the other efforts to empower our party.
    We know each other on other blogs and therefore my occasional outburst will not surprise you. I can behave diplomatically as much as the next person however ‘at home’ I have a tendency for bluntness to drive my message home clearly. One may only be rude with the ones s\he loves.

    Charles J. Buttigieg

  66. Goddy said

    We labourites have been plagued by the very bad habit of critisizing (to say the least) former people who have occupied posts in the Party. This goes on today. For example you find labourites saying thing about our last leader Dr Sant which they never said while he was active.
    This same thing is now happening in the case of Jason Micallef. Why ? We have the choice, let’s use it decently and properly I say. I for one do not wish that Jason is elected, so what do I do ? I definetly do not try to damage Jason who after all is still a staunch labourite. What I do is support with all my strength another candidate, and in my case it is Joe Vella Bonnici.
    May I bring to your attention, dear labourites, what a brilliant history this man has in the party. He has been active since Dom Mintoff’s reign in the 70’s, then in the oil administrtion in EneMalta, later at IPSE and much much more. He has always worked for the party in a silent way. Now in the last election he decided to go more public than he ever was and contested the elections. For a first timer in a pretty hard district for new labourites he did really well with a 600 tally of No 1’s.
    Let me ask you dear delegates to think about this and more and when you go voting for general secretary you remember that Joe Vella Bonnici could be a very good general secretary both to the party and as a very good compliment to the rest of the administration and of course to our leader Dr Joseph Muscat.


    PS: Tks and well done on the blog. Keep it up.

  67. skipper said


    CARETAKER’S NOTE: We are not sure why Skipper has posted this link with a previous editorial and its string of comments. Skipper, care to illuminate us?

  68. Charles J Buttigieg said

    @ Papillon & Co.

    Our Leader is unique and we must keep him on the pedestal of honour, he is our Knight in shining armour. Joseph will definitely not take a side in this contest and he will respect the delegate’s choice. True Labour loyalists should think twice before supporting any contestant who tries to get on Joseph’s back as that tarnishes his good reputation.

    Charles J. Buttigieg

  69. Therese Zammit said

    Hi all,

    I’ve been following your comments on this particular message board and can’t help smiling at the fact that there seems to be a pretty obvious hidden agenda by some of your anonymous contributors in order to project and underline one specific contestant for the post of General Secretary.

    Let’s stop this whole hallabaloo and go for the facts:

    Fact no.1: It is pretty obvious that the race for General Secretary, albeit having six pretenders to the throne, is only and specifically a race between two contestants, namely Jason Micallef (the incumbent) and Alfred Grixti. Any votes spread and wasted around the other four contestants are, in fact, a vote for the incumbent.
    Fact no.2: The MLP Leader, who everyone just loves to throw his name around, has very good rapports with ALL the GS contestants and not just one of them. As it should be, he is keeping out of influencing delegates, with ex-canvassers of his backing three major names, namely Jason Micallef, Alfred Grixti and Joe Vella Bonnici.
    Fact no.3: There have been a lot of whispering campaigns going around that one of the contestants used to be a ghost – writer for the ex-Leader, Dr. Alfred Sant and that he was on the good books of the party leadership because he personally was involved in a lot of huha behind the scenes. The sorry truth is that all this is, to say the least, a very long stretch of the imagination.
    Fact no.4: The feedback and surveys presently being carried out on the delegates (not by the chaps commissioned before the General Elections who were forseeing a 15,000 Labour victory!)all assert that this race has two up-front contenders, namely Jason Micallef and Alfred Grixti. The rest is rhetoric that is basically brushed up so as to interpolate matters.

    My point? Very simple. If the labour party delegates wish to continue with the tradiion of losing all the general elections (six lost out of the last seven), then all they have to do is ignore the findings of the ‘rapport tat-telfa’ and vote for Jason and/or the minor incumbents. If, on the other hand, they wish to give our MLP leader a professional General Secretary with an extensive experience of how the Party actually works, together with a proven track record in both his educational, academic and professional successes, then the delegates should opt for Alfred Grixti.

    It is basically as simple as that.

    Therese Zammit

  70. Joe Deguara said

    Dear Therese,

    Finally, someone who can read the real situation instead of high hopes!!!

    I totally agree with you that Alfred Grixti should be the obvious choice as Secretary General of the MLP. He has passed through all the ranks within the Labour structures with flying colours and is indeed one of us. His loyalty to the leadership is unquestioned and his HR and management skills are unquestioned and buttressed with impressive qualifications from top international universities.
    He is indeed a breath of fresh air in this administration contestation and I am sure that the delegates will acknowledge him as such.

    The Labour Party is not a company, where you need the skills of a board secretary to take care of paperwork. The role of GS is to lead by example the thousands of delegates and activists across Malta and Gozo. To be successful in this means to be part of them and not to be parachuted in the contestants’ list with absolutely NO track record of active party work with the grass roots.

    Good luck, Alfred. I’m sure that you and the present leadership will give us a victory in the next elections.

    Joe Deguara

  71. skipper said


    it was posted after i read comment no 64 by papillon. The post dealt with who or better still what type of a General secretary Joseph would like. As Charles J wrote, Joseph cannot take sides in the selection process but in my humble opinion the linked post outlines perfectly the qualities required and wanted by our leader for this role and this is what delegates should look for.


  72. alex said

    @ goddy… small correction joe vb got a total of 1638 first count votes on the 2nd district


  73. X said

    Dear Friends,
    I feel that ALFRED GRIXTI or as he is better known FREDU GRIXTI is the best choice for general Secretary.

    Those who know Alfred know how much he has contributed to the Party over the past 30 years. Alfred was one of the few who was proud enough to call himself a Socialist whilst a student at the University of Malta. This was no easy task as it not only meant that he suffered the consequences socially (and some say academiccaly) but had a continuous uphill battle of debating with a strong PN group – most of whom are now either MPs or leading the PN. One thing for sure is that he never lost a battle on campus and his unshaken ideology, well read and calm demener always prevailed. Its thanks to people like Alfred that the Socialist ideology still reins within the student policical scene at Tal-Qroqq.

    Alfred has excellent credentials when he was the General Secretary of the Young Socialists and it is to his credit that systems like the computerization of membership, streamlining of data and good campaiging were established. His years in the GhZS also saw the transition from the Mintoff years to the KMB years and here Alfred showed how he was a real Party Man – as he gave all his efforts and talents to support KMB in the rough days of the mid-eighties.

    Alfred showed again that he was a Party Man when even though he had campaigned for Lino Spiteri in the last leadership election as soon as Alfred Sant was elected he pledged his full support to the new leader. So much so that Alfred Sant invited him to contest the Executive Elections and he became the Party Education Secretary.

    In this position Alfred rose to the occasion once more and many within the Party structures today know their political and electoral knowledge to the various courses and training camps that Alfred organised over the years. He has never said NO to the Party and whenever called for a task he always performs with with precision and with a 100%+ commitment. Be it the Local Council Elections, Electoral Campaigns, EU Referendum, Super 1 radio Programs, MaltaStar (for which he even received a journalistic award) etc etc. And all this to the detriment of his personal political gain. Alfred contested the General Elections twice but was on both occasions called to work within the Party structure and thus ignore his personal campaigns.

    This is truely a Party Man but not only he is also a good Political Animal and an intellegent organizer and a meticulous planner.

    This is why I think he is the best candidate for the post of Party General Secretary.


  74. The Truth said

    President : Wenzu Mintoff, Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi.

    · Vice President : Louis Gatt, Alexander Sciberras.

    · Secretary General: Gino Cauchi, Keith Grech, Alfred Grixti, Jason Micallef, Joe Vella Bonnici, Joe Chetcuti.

    · Secretary Finance: Frans Chircop, Tommy Dimech, Jeffrey Camilleri, Joseph Cordina.

    · Secretary Public Relations: Ray Azzopardi.

    · International Secretary: Lorna Vassallo, Joe Mifsud, Alex Sciberras Trigona.

    · Secretary Education: Anthony Degiovanni, Aaron Farrugia.

    All those who wrote and mention one candidate who is better then the other … I know most of them, but alias…they had some personnal conflit with the other contender. This election has nothing to do with personnal agenda but the future of the party. If I were to give my vote on a peronnal basis I would opt for people who really knows how to support the leadership, and not at every instance of a mis-guideance they tend to go and form a pressure group of their own or stamp their feet as a protest. Delegates use your vote proper and vote to peole whomyou think they really can give a shoulder to the leader, whenever he will be needing it in future. In politics one can eihter go along the current or fight againts all odds. Some might say, so my bother to elect people to guide us if we are not being guided. YES we have been guided to whom we should trust………. When I read certain blogs I understand why we are an opposition party………. We need people that left a trade mark on themselves not someone who only wants HIS personnal agenda…… Some comments mage by Dusty I agree on…..

    The truth

  75. Alexia said

    @ August Mantra

    Please note that Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi is campaigning his own campaign. Your allegations and assertions are completely unfounded.


  76. Dominic Ellul said

    I am not a delegate and I am not a Labour supporter but I enjoy games of strategy. One thing is glaringly obvious from the above. One player, Mr. Jason Micallef, the incumbent, is in the extraordinary situation that the bigger the effort of the other five contestants to increase their market share, the bigger are his chances of survival. In practice, Micallef, needs to keep quiet and to keep his head down, and let the others fight it out amongst themselves.

    This should be easy to understand. The market is divided into two main segments: those for the incumbent and those against the incumbent. I don’t know what the MLP is doing by way of surveys of the voters (only delegates vote, right?), nor do I know if individual contestants are taking headcounts. I do know that there are other non-MLP stakeholders who need to know which way it’s going because they have to finalise their strategy to counter the Joseph Muscat phenomenon by not later than the day the MLP announces the new administration line-up.

    No sooner they will know who is General Secretary (quite frankly they don’t care who the others will be) that they will attack. And this time round it’s going to be attack, attack, attack…24/7 until they bring you down on your knees. This time, mark my words, it will be the mother of all political battles. No holds barred, no prisoners taken. They can’t afford to be mercyful. They will not be.

    They will NOT let Joseph Muscat set the agenda and choose the battlefield. They know he wants to fight on policies and visions, so they will do their best to shift the fight onto the personal terrain. They are already compiling databases with gigabytes, terabytes, brontobytes and geobytes of personal information detailing anything from physical defects, economic interests, peccadillos, quircky tastes, down to which opposition MP picked his nose prior to his first holy communion thirty years ago.

    They will begin with the planets furthest from sunny boy Joseph and proceed slowly inwards to his closest aides and then finally they will hurl all they have at the smiling sun-king himself. They will NOT hurt everybody equally. Standard tactics in these cases is to leave one or two independent minded bigwigs alone. The idea is that when the central target’s position becomes untenable, there will always be a couple holier-than-thous ready to step forward to take his place.

    So that’s what coming to you and it will begin to come as soon as they know who the General Secretary will be. That’s why they have already conducted at least three surveys amongst your delegates (frequency of once weekly), possibly near-complete censuses, and have at least as good an idea of where it’s at as the best designed survey done by people on your side. I wouldn’t put it past them that they also have access to the same data. The world of opinion surveying in this country has become somewhat murky.

    I am not party to this very well guarded information but my guess, based on rumours circulating amongst the survey mafia, is that Jason Micallef began low then peaked with around 35% on the last day nominations were accepted. One of the other five contestants, Mr. Vella Bonnici, accounted for another 33 – 35% and the rest were unevenly distributed with one of them hardly taking off. I understand that Mr. Micallef is expected to bottom out at around 30 – 33%. In other words, what he has he will keep.

    Not so the others. There is little the others can do to improve their individual market share except eating away at everybody’s cake…except Jason Micallef’s. His supporters are compact and are fighting for their hold on Hamrun HQ and all that means in terms of status, power, and privileged access to Joseph Muscat and his two deputies. Some of his older supporters, I am told, have been around for generations and we all know that if you have one foot in the grave you will fight hard to keep the other one out of the grave. Mr. Micallef will, repeat, keep his 30 %, at worse.

    There is no guarantee that Vella Bonnici will keep his present subtantial share. With Mr. Grixti and Mr. Gino Cauchi realising that they have been too smug and self-complacent, they will rush Vella Bonnici’s camp and try to win back some of those delegates they regard as theirs by right. Your blog already indicates that Grixti has finally mobilised his canvassers. Grech and Chetcuti, I am assured, do not stand a chance. Chetcuti, at least, tries very hard. Dr. Keith Grech, on the other hand, seems to think that he need not make an effort as delegates will be inspired by the Holy Ghost in the polling booth and vote for him in any case. As a result we might end up with a 33/33/34% situation with a couple of votes deciding if its either Mr. Micallef or Mr. Vella Bonnici.

    If I had to put any money on this, it is on Jason Micallef. He’s smart. He is, as I already said, keeping low. If I was him I would be asking friends of friends to post comments on this blog. No need to say vote Jason. Not important what they say as long as it generates panick in the camp of his opponents and urges them to work harder and chip away at Vella Bonnici’s share. I say, Jay-san wins with photofinish. And the day after you better run for cover.

    Dominic Ellul
    PS Not my name of course!

  77. m.portelli said

    @ august mantra

    So it’s ruthless organisers Joseph needs. Why have you reduced everything to what Joseph needs? Has the Malta Labour Party made up of thousands of paid up members disappeared off the radar? Are we talking about some small enterprise here? A select private members club perhaps ? How about what the Malta Labour Party needs? The party that unless you are all stuck in some revisionist mirage has lost three successive elections. Seems most of you agree on the non-suitability of the highly unethical and underachieving present incumbent. However that you have decided to map out the rise of (by your own admission) a promising ruthless organiser Mr. Vella Bonnici (judging by his web site not much of a one, comments have not been updated since the 12th of March) at the expense of the very valid labourite Alfred Griscti , is enlightening. Playing piffling little Machiavellian games are we. I’d rather bet on Mr. Griscti’s excellent talents and intelligence (Unless of course the MLP once again decrees that intelligence and sound political argument are undesirable traits !), Did you ever really take in to account the misuse of human resource in the MLP? Seems this blog of politologues has decreed that ruthless organisers are the only ones that will get us elected. So that’s what, 4 top ruthless organisers busy organising the 4 corners of ‘Joseph’s’ club? Has any one thought of the strategy skills necessary to weave all the different entities together, something glaringly missing last election? Sure bank on efficient management, why don’t you think in terms of effectiveness for once. Haven’t you had enough of the ultra managerial model, much good it did us. I will bank on strategy with informed political and philosophical argument.Ability to Strategise does not feature highly on your list of traits for a successful secretary general, what did you have in mind that compliments a new way of doing politics in Malta? Efficient organisation missing the strategist? Been there haven’t we?
    Interesting that you would have Mr. Griscti step down and then appoint him assistant general secretary with special responsibility for human resources. Why? won’t the ruthless organiser be able to handle that side of the job? Would employees and volunteers be beneath his consideration? What do you think kept the MLP going these 10 years in the wilderness? Armchair sociologists and politologues or thousands of volunteers? At least Mr. Griscti has no qualms about the worth of volunteers, he’s to be spotted on the shop floor working as hard as the next one. Keep on missing the wood for the trees, Mr. Griscti has been active in the MLP since the ’70’s he was visibly part of that winning team at the only New Labour victory; remember that one back in 1996?

    If on your own admission, good boys are not what the MLP needs than are you implying that we need bad ones?

    M. Portelli

  78. Jamme Jamme Jamme Ja said

    Comrade O cosi o cosà is right. Pass the word around – shhh, not too loud – vote Jason sink Joseph.

    Jamme Jamme Jamme Ja

  79. ratatoui said

    Charles J Buttigieg is absolutely right (comment 68). Joseph will not and should not get involved in this frankly sordid butchery. The Leader is and should be above all of this. Ideally all those in any way identified with the Leader should also keep at arms distance from the administration elections, to make sure nobody interprets their taking of this or that sign as a veiled attempt by the Leader to favour this or that contestant.

    Unfortunately there are individuals very close to Joseph, utterly irresponsible idiots if you want to know what I think, who are taking sides and they are making sure that everybody knows that they are doing so. This is confusing and irritating delegates. Certain individuals are like time-bombs. Better defuse them. If they can embarass their Leader now regarding relatively ‘small’ internal affairs, imagine what damage they could do later on…say in the middle of National Elections.


  80. Danny Attard said

    The selection/election of Secretary General has got us hot under the collar as lobby-groups act and counter-act with arguments, grape-vine vibes and soft endorsements.

    I do agree that management capabilities should top the list of attributes. It is leadership that promotes vision through culture/membership/population.

    Strategy follows. To suggest that strategy can be propelled by one person is in my opinion singularly naive. Strategy demands a wide range of inputs and requires a team that is able to deliver. The role of Secretary General is that of ensuring performance at the cutting edge of delivery.

    Selecting a SG is indeed a conundrum even to ‘floating’ delegates.

    Incumbent has two elements working for him and two against: 1. as incumbent he is able to mobilise a hardcore of support who acknowledge his loyalty to leadership and commitment. 2. The number of candidates will fragment the other hardcore that want a change.

    Working against him are two main factors: 1. His performance in the crucial month was hugely disappointing. We will never know if this is down to his failings or to his commitment to leadership. Yet the guy who carries the can has to carry the fallout. 2. For a number of reasons, not all of his making, he has a core of antagonists that will limit his performance no matter how reconciliatory he may be. Baggage is indeed working against him.

    But here comes the headache. While we can look critically and deeply at incumbent, we can not do the same with other contestants. The array of skills and personal qualities needed by a GS are endless and there is no way that we can evaluate the qualities of contestants.

    The best way to obtain a reasonable opinion is perhaps for each contestant to obtain endorsers who can attest to their ability to take on this significant role.

    One final note. Whoever is elected must be the leading servant of the party.

    Danny Attard

  81. Veritas said

    Will Dominic Ellul or whatever he is really called please illuminate us on how he dishes out numbers after numbers and percentages after percentages which might look good on paper but are miles away from the actual faring of the race? From the beginning of the race for GS, most of your ghostly contributors had a uniform message to churn out – vote for Joe Vella Bonnici!

    In real terms, delegates put Joe together with contenders such as Joe Chetcuti, Gino Cauchi and Keith Grech, ie. with no real chance to be elected. The game is pretty obvious to anyone with a grasp on party politics: Jason Micallef for more of the same or Alfred Grixti for a real change. The rest is just dead wood.

    Ellul’s comments on Alfred Grixti’s mobilisation of his team ‘as indicated by this blog’ is, to say the least, far-fetched, as is his fanciful ideas of his choice for GS having ‘a substantial share’ of the delegates. I have it from very reliable sources that Alfred Grixti’s team have been constantly focussed on the MLP delegates and not wasting time trying to convince JVB canvassers on this blog that they should change horses.

    MV, you should know better!


    CARETAKER: Private messages [to MV?] aren’t welcome, Veritas, please!

  82. Emmanuel Mazzitelli said

    Wenzu Mintoff does certainly not need my commendation. Nevertheless I must say I admire him – he is outspoken, gifted, a competent, analytical and capable person. He had battled all way, back in 1989, in his quest to free the Party from unwanted, undesirable and violent elements who were the main cause of Labour’s successive defeats in 1981, 1987 and 1992. Then he had challenged the staus quo, was unjustly censored and he sacrificed his political career in defence of his principles for change and transparency within the Party.
    So all considered, can the Party Administration have a better candidate with full marks credentials other than Wenzu Mintoff for the post of Party President? I sincerely wish Wenzu the best of luck. I have no doubt in my mind that the delegates will vote judiciously – for Wenzu.

    Emmanuel Mazzitelli

  83. Charles J Buttigieg said

    I am most unhappy with the set-up of the five General Secretary contestants that seem to be a collection of individuals in competition with each other whilst the appalling incumbent though having his problems, seem to work with more purpose-though actually doing very little.

    I do not mind repeating myself interminably that the incumbent General Secretary, to be clearer Jason Micallef, proved to be a liability to the party and because of his lack of management and political abilities Labour loyalists like us came out bruised and hurt. The sad fact is that empowered by the typical Mediterranean pique he still has a hold on a good number of delegates.

    I had been called an alarmist before its true but I can see us heading for a collision course. The grass root doesn’t want to see Jason Micallef reinstated in his present position and for good reasons, the vast majority of our delegates want new blood to administer and a good number of our MPs are passing on subtle messages to show their antagonism for him. Yet despite the malevolent situation, if Jason Micallef can garner a minimum of 16.66% (150+1) support in the conference it may be enough for him to be crowned king. And then 84% of the General Conference will live unhappily ever after. A fact which is more sad is that Jason’s supporters are putting our future at risk with their high hopes that vinegar might mellow and turn to wine.

    This is the moment of truth, the time when men have to be selected from the boys, when the well being of the future of our party must outweigh personal ambitions. Now is the time to see four of the contestants rescinding their candidature and endorse the fifth with their support. In the absence of this noble meander Jason Micallef will be reinstated for another year.

    Charles J. Buttigieg

  84. skipper said

    So, six valid persons decide to contest the post of general secretary of the Malta Labour Party. Most, if not all of the contenders stress on the need for UNITY within the party. But amazingly the latest arrivals to this blog come riding in shooting everything in sight calling all but their favourite candidate dead wood. Wow you do for unity what Godzilla would do for ballroom dancing. They boast of their candidates’ academic qualification but poo poo those of others.

    They also imply that 4 candidates should withdraw from the race because the contest should be reserved for two. Wow now that is really progressive thinking don’t you think?

    But the cream of the crop must be the quote” To be successful in this means to be part of them and not to be parachuted in the contestants’ list with absolutely NO track record of active party work with the grass roots.”

    Based on this wisdom I guess we should not encourage any young talent or anyone from outside the party to contest any post until they have worked within the ranks for a three or four decades. And for a moment there I thought we were supposed to try and attract more youth and open up the party to new ideas.

    Good thing that the delegates did not take this advice as we would never had elected Joseph as leader.

    Could we not start this healing and unifying process by just praising our favourite candidate without attacking others?

    Come 5th August whoever is elected will be OUR LABOUR GENERAL SECRETARY and the more mud is thrown towards the candidates the more ammunition is put in the Gonzi Cannons.

    I like many others prefer Joe Vella Bonnici. Having said that i pledge to offer all the help I can give to the party and however we select to represent us.


  85. Banana Republic Citizen No. 0.347,999 m said

    After a day’s work a large tumbler of concentrated Charles J. Buttigieg (no ice, neat & quadruple) is just about unbearable. I am worrried that if his in-your-face style puts many of us (his brothers and siters in the Party) off, then God knows what effect he has on those cousins who are not quite with us yet but are no longer PN either. But, having stated where I stand vis-a-vis Charles’ style, I must congratulate him for his insistence on returning to the fundamental issue facing the delegates of the General Conference in less than three weeks: do we keep the present General Secretary or do we tell him thank you – sincerely and without acrimony – but please go. Whether it will be Alfred Grixti or Joe Vella Bonnici or any of the others is not the main issue. The main issue is Jason. Let us please focus on this, for the Party’s sake.

    Banana Republic Citizen No. 0.347,999 m

  86. X said

    Dear Delegates,
    We need someone who knows the Party. We have already tried putting in the GS seat someone who came from the outside and look what we got ….. GonziPN.
    We need someone who knows the grassroots, who has a history within the Party, who knows how the administration should be run, who was in the Winning Team (2 elections ago and in the Euro Elections) ….. We need ALFRED GRIXTI as Secretary General of the Party.

    We need people who are loyal to the Party and not only to their personal agendas we need STEFAN for President.

    We need people who have worked within the ranks and who know the system and who have worked tirelessly to build an electoral office machinery – something that didnt exist before Louis Gatt et al started it. We need Louis GATT for Vice President.

    This will support the current leadership with knowledge, know-how of the Party machinery and above all LOYALTY.


  87. Charles J Buttigieg said

    @ Skipper. Going to battle disunited is a guarantee for defeat,you think that I’m such a hot head that am blind to that fact. I am also of the conviction that with a spoonful of sugar you will attract more bees than with a barrel of vinegar.

    During the Leadership campaign I openly supported Joseph and battled with other activists to stop their negative campaign against the other contenders. You and other bloggers will have no difficulty to attest to that fact. I believed, and naturally now more than before, that Joseph was the best amongst a group of honest,reliable,trustworthy and valid contestants. Besides,and this is of utmost importance, at the end of that contest the winning candidate would need the power which the absolute majority would give. At the end of that day the best man won the race and we are now all proud and happy with our knight in shining armour. Skip, do you see the same situation now? If you do try to convince us. From where I stand I see a replica of the 2003 situation and look where that has got us.

    Difficult situations require us to take actions that would be considered extreme if taken in other situations, actions which are more extreme than we normally take are considered “drastic measures”

    On the 6th November 1605, Guy Fawkes is reputed to have said “The desperate disease requires a dangerous remedy”… which is very similar to “extremis malis extrema remedia”. In 2003 we totally ignored Guy Falks and burnt ourselves instead. And Gonzipn are still laughing.

    Charles J. Buttigieg

  88. Dusty said

    caretake? or whoever?

    am i right in assuming that Massimo Ellul is Alfred Grixti’s main sponsor cum campaigner?


    [Caretaker’s Note : No idea, ask the man himself! And in any case, so what?]

  89. Dusty said

    Dear X,
    please don’t be so blatantly obvious. What’s this – the expected block vote?? NA again…… some people never give up!

  90. Eolus said

    @ M. Portelli

    Unlike you I am not rooting exclusively for Alfred Grixti. But that is besides the point. Like you I am worried by the ‘technicist’ tendency of many/most of the visitors to this blog are adopting. Let me explain myself plainly: technicist discussion of politics is not concerned with contents and visions, but only with the technique of doing politics. A technique is good if it works. If a gun is good to kill a human being, then it is a good gun irrespective of whether killing a human being is a good thing or not.

    Of course, we need a Gen Sec who’s the best we have as a political technician (it is in this sense, I suppose, that he must not be a ‘good boy’, a bahnan, but astute and technically ‘ruthless’) but we also need a person who is up to Joseph’ cultural level, who can appreciate Joseph’s radically new vision and style, as well as the depth of his analysis of Maltese society, its problem, its potential.

    Jason fails on both counts. Technically and intellectually. Alfred Grixti and Joe Vella Bonnici are not ideal but the closest to what is required.


  91. Joe Deguara said

    Hi Skipper,

    Some of the comments on this page are surreal. We have had ten days of JVB fans carpet bombing every other contestant on site, including a mixed batch of fallacies, innuendos and downright lies.

    This does not seem to bother Skipper. Only messages extolling other contestants’ virtues seem to bother him! And to have the temerity of even attempting to equate JVB to the proven track record of our leader’s constant work in all the party structures prior to his being elected leader is like trying to compare Lawrence Gonzi to Che Guevara!

    Charles Buttigieg is absolutely correct in his up-your-face messages. It seems – and I am definitely not pointing fingers to Skipper here (who I don’t know due to his pseudonym and could very well be a valid party activist of mine) – that some of the backers of contestors for the post of GS are quite happy to leave the situation as is, with the incumbent in place.

    It reminds me of a phrase that a very good friend of mine – who also happens to be a party delegate – told me: some people really believe that the MLP was bestowed to them as dowry! No wonder we’ve lost six elections out of the last seven.

    Joe Deguara

    PS. In the only election we won in 1996, it so happens that the contestant who Skipper seems to worry so much about was indeed part of the winning team in the Party Administration.

    The post of GS in 2008 is not a joke. Experimentation with unproven and unhardened materiel – like the 2003 tragi-comedy – should be left for the lab and not for the post of GS!

  92. Dusty said

    Mela, dear delegates…. i am quite sure you have had the opportunity to meet Alfred Grixti. Always accompanied by his loyal guru Massimo Ellul sic Chevalier Doctor Massimo Ellul… now have a look at this :

    And oops for those who have not as yet been convinced Chevalier Doctor Massimo Ellul is also one of the outstanding individuals of the 21st century. Please feel free to hit me any time :

    Ma min rajtek xebbahtek.


    CARETAKER’S NOTE: OK, so we clicked and we noted and, yes, we could not suppress a smile. But what’s this got to do with Alfred Grixti? Look, man, many of us have known Fredu for decades and he’s not into knights’ orders and that sort of thing. Assuming Massimo Ellul, who is perfectly free to do what he likes, is helping Alfred Grixti, it still does not follow that Grixti shares Ellul’s interests and tastes, or is in any way responsible for them. You sure you don’t have a chip on your shoulder?

  93. Roberto said

    Dear Ronnie Mercieca,
    I think I have to reply to your comments posted earlier this week.
    First of all I have to make it clear that I don’t have any connections with this site. Therefore who ever gave this information is not correct and pls verify things before writing! Did I tell something wrong by congratulating myself with the persons responsible for this site?
    Secondly, regarding your comments that I am aspiring to become Ray Azzopardi number 2, I think you’re mistaken. I have prepared several proposals for the PR Department which I think they would be useful not for myself, but for OUR party! If you’re thinking I posted that comment as a self-advertisement, once again you’re not correct. I’m not interested in what I can achieve, but more in what the party can achieve in the coming years. I’m fed up being in opposition and I think you too. I’m sorry, but if we will continue to criticise people who offer their free time to the party instead of staying with their family or do a part-time job, I think that we will stay where we are!
    I would like to precise that I mentioned I met Ray Azzopardi and we agreed to work together instead of confronting each other. Did I do something wrong? And yes, I have to be approved by the executive to be Azzopardi’s assistant. But I have to declare that I don’t want to be an assistant just to say that I hold that ‘post’. I want to work hard to help wherever there is the need so that our party will be in a postition to win the next general election!!!
    And if you are so grateful for the same reason, why don’t we meet and give a hand also! This is an open invitation my friend – hope you accept it.
    To conclude, I have to admit that I’m not interested in any post, but just to give my contribution. If I where interested in the post, I would have contested Ray.


  94. Nelson Delaman said

    @ Eolus, Papillon, O Cosi’ o Cosa’, Closely Observed Observer, J. Borg, El Matador, Delegat Moderat, Drummer Boy, Charles J. Buttigieg, Danny Attard, Mark Anthony Galea, Skipper and all those others who are appealing to us to focus on fundamentals and not miss the wood for the trees!

    @ Therese Zammit, x, Verita, M. Portelli, Joe Deguara and the others of the Alfred Grixti team!

    @ August Mantra, Goddy, Alex, Ian Buhagar, Old Teacher, Monica Brown Muscat aka Momuska and the others of the Joe Vella Bonnici team!

    Dominic Ellul is right about one thing. The incumbent General Secretary must be jumping with joy. We who side with Vella Bonnici or Fredu Grixti or the other contestants for the job of General Secretary are so busy beatifying our respective horses and flinging fresh dung at each other, that we forget that by doing so we are increasing Jason’s chances of getting away with it. Let’s put aside our differences (after all the delegates by now have a good idea of the strenghts and weaknesseses of Joe Vella Bonnici, Fredu Grixti, Gino Cauchi, Keith Grech and Joe Chetcuti) and let’s concentrate on explaining to the delegates why the Labour Party must have a General Secretary with the qualities required by the New Political Season. And why it cannot be Jason.

    May I propose a truce to August Mantra & co and to Therese Zammit & co? Come back to this blog as soon as possible with a 4-point statement:

    1. Jason Micallef must go, with honour and no shame.
    2. Delegates should choose whichever of the other five contestants (Gino Cauchi, Keith Grech, Alfred Grixti, Joe Vella Bonnici and Joe Chetcuti) they think has the best qualities to be General Secretary for the New Political Season inaugurated by Joseph Muscat and to serve the Party under Joseph’s leadership.
    3. We will help and support the General Secretary chosen by the Delegates, whoever it will be.
    4. From now on, unity at all costs.

    There is, finally, nothing to stop Therese Zammit, August Mantra and everybody else to tell us that they prefer Alfred Grixti, Joe Vella Bonnici or anybody else fo Gen Sec, as long as they begin with 1,2, 3 and 4 above.

    Do not, I appeal to you, ignore this proposal.

    Nelson Delaman

  95. Joe Deguara said

    @ Nelson Delaman,

    Just a short note to congratulate you on a very valid email contribution you just posted. I totally agree with your reasoning and is indeed a breath of fresh air from the broadsides being fired from all sides.

    The vast majority of the delegates, I am sure, have already decided on who to back. No amount of pontificating from me or from any other contributor would change this.

    The reasons for and against a particular choice have been made in most of the available fora and the delegates know this.

    The choice, as democracy wills it, is in their hands. Obviously, everyone including the undersigned have their own favorite contestant. What matters most is the result at the next general elections. That is why I have already stated that the choice of GS is not to be experimented with.

    Joe Deguara

  96. Charles J Buttigieg said

    @ Roberto

    If you do make it to deputy to Ray Azzopardi please make certain to get the assistance of a good proof reader and possibly a good letter writer. English language is not about literal translation from Maltese to English. Zmien id-delettantizmu spicca.

    Charles J. Buttigieg

  97. Dusty said

    There you go…..yet again the conspiracy theorists. Is this an anti-Jason smothering blog site or what? I have already floated my ideas on who should be elected for the adm. posts but now its too much. Sorry to say but i’m deeply worried and think my vote for Keith will prove futile. I’d rather have Jason then any of your draconian plans. Shame.

    Dusty Serracino

  98. Ronnie Mercieca said

    @ Roberto Debrincat
    @ Charles J Buttigieg

    Joseph’s strategic aim to promote “a movement of moderates and progressives” around Labour and his insistence that we should establish a presence in every nook and corner of civil society – a necessity, in this day and age if we want to be in government long enough to make a difference – will require us to break the cultural and psychological barrier that separates most of us from those Maltese who feel more comfortable communicating in English. Some of us may find it distasteful and nationally undignified, some of us may smile at the quaintness of the local varieties of English (especially the more pretentious ones), some of us simply can’t speak/read/write it (and some of us are plain illiterate in any language including Maltese, period). The point is that if we are to lead this society (which, as the Nationalists teach us even when they are in opposition) is more than having a governing majority, then we need to be as comfortable with the English language as we are with Maltese. Friends who have been visiting this tazebao from its birth just after the latest electoral defeat, may recall the discussion we had on why the use of the English language was more than welcome here [*].

    But now to the point. Roberto, I was shocked at your reply of earlier today [Comment 93] to my comment of a couple of days ago [Comment 52] regarding your posting of July 18 [Comment 1]. which posting kicked off with the the words: “first of all I wish to congratulate myself for this very interesting website”. It only makes sense to congratulate yourself for something if you are yourself responsible for that something, at least in part. What you meant to say, of course, was: “first of all I wish to congratulate those responsible for Labour in labour” or “first of all I wish to congratulate myself with those responsible for this blog”. The whole spiel about suggesting you actually had something to do with Labour in labour was intended to nudge you gently and affectionately to do something about your English. Any other approach would have been unkind.

    I was, as I said, shocked by your reply of today. Why? Because evidently the gentle nudge was far too gentle. You did not understand. On the contrary, you protested that you had nothing to do with Labour in labour ! Do you really believe that we had the slightest doubt that you didn’t? I decided to comment again after reading Charles J.Buttigieg’s characteristically blunt comment [No. 96] addressed at you. Evidentement, zmien id-dilettantizmu ma spiccax, Charl.

    Look, Roberto. Please do not take my and Charles’ comments badly. Your innocent gaffe is not an isolated incident. We experience it everyday and we could draw up endless lists of examples from throughout the Party. Often, when ‘our’ people courageously confront popular opinion leaders of ‘the other side’ in the English language print media, they are perceived as hopeless losers by the audience…even when ‘ours’ are armed with powerful arguments. We have to learn to consider English as a political weapon…not to insult ‘the enemy’ [thereby increasing the number of those against us] with but to convince men and women of good will who have so far kept clear of us, to come closer to us.

    I couldn’t pretend I had not noticed that you, personally, need to improve your skills in the handling of this powerful weapon. You are after all, aspiring to become nothing less than the Assistant to the Public Relations Secretary. After the Executive approves your appointment as Ray’s assistant, let’s get together and discuss ways and means of reaching out to those sections of Maltese society where English is the prevalent language of everyday social communication. High on the agenda of such a project there will certainly have to be an EFL programme to upgrade – across the board – the quality of the Labour Party’s English. I have no doubt that Joseph Muscat will support and encourage this idea.

    Ronnie Mercieca

    [*] To make it easy for you, I cut and paste these two comments from the string

    Lino Meli Says:
    March 25, 2008 at 11:05 pm

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

    Lino Meli

    Jeanette Borg Abela Says:
    March 25, 2008 at 11:19 pm

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

    Jeanette Borg Abela

  99. skipper said

    Joe Deguara the only thing that bothers me is that many labour supporters (well i assume they are anyway) seem to have better words to say about Gonzi and co than for labour admin candidates. What worries me (definitely not that AG might be selected GS) is that my two kids have never lived in a Labour Malta.

    I want drastic changes to the party and i believe we need a change of the guards to accomplish this.It is a pity that it is not mandatory for officials to immediately resign after a defeat. They can then stand for re election after acknowledging and accepting responsibility for their mistakes. i am sure that delegates can identify those who deserve a second bite.

    Just in case you are not aware, one of the biggest problems we had last election was that we were not united. This was obvious to anyone registering the slightest of a pulse. This resulted in uncertainty and many did not trust us with their vote. I still cannot get over the fact that so many supposedly labour supporters did not vote. Allow me to also remind you that Way back in 1996-1998 we also “threw away” the government due to the same problem. Are we going to do this all over again?

    Will we continue to bash our fellow labour supporters just to get “our” candidate elected? Net news had a field day during the campaign and seemed to have a live feed direct from our HQ dirty linen cupboard. I guess their current silence is due to their stock taking of things to attack us with next winter.

    You started your post by accusing others of carpet bombing every other contestant on site, including a mixed batch of fallacies, innuendos and downright lies, only to resort to twisting my words.

    Joseph Muscat was the youngest and had with least party “flying hours” when compared to the other leadership candidates, but the delegates still showed their faith in him. He has given labour supporters new hope and the country a breath of fresh air. His campaign for leadership was clean and positive never resorting to any personal attacks even when on the receiving end.

    I just wish others would do the same.


    Ps could you kindly define what ” a valid party activist of mine” is supposed to be like?
    Allow me the liberty to evaluate myself and give you an answer on that at a later stage.

  100. Jeanette Borg Abela said

    @ Ronnie Mercieca
    @ Charles J. Buttigieg
    @ Roberto Debrincat

    Thanks Ronnie for taking up again the issue of the importance of English as a powerful political tool to broaden our social base. I fully support the idea of an across the board programme to upgrade the quality of the English language used by the Labour Party. Needless to say, we will need to abandon the national illusion that for the average Maltese irrespective of social origin, English is a first language that may be taught in the same manner as one would teach it to native English speakers. I don’t know if this was ever the case, but it is certainly not the case today.

    A word of caution, however. If we insist on attempting to teach English to the average Maltese child (and adult) as if it was her/his native language, then in a decade or so (and as sure as the polar cap will melt in the summer)our average national English language competence will have deteriorated to such an extent that the status of English as one of the two languages of Malta will be a mere constitutional formality. The damage this will mean for our already dwindling national competitiveness will be as colossal and irreversible.

    By the way, why pick only on Roberto Debrincat? Ask all contestant for the various posts to tell you why, briefly and in writing, in plain English, we should vote for them. What do you think the result would be? Would they all (or any of them at all) pass the test with flying colours. You know the answer. Pity, because I agree with you Ronnie about the importance of mastering the English language as a powerful political weapon. Guts and boldness are no longer enough. The elves are useless if their English is unconvincing.

    Finally, thanks for reprinting my reply to Lino Meli of March 25, 2008. Four months have already gone by. Truly, time flows faster in exciting times. Joseph has filled us with hope and politics is again exciting, creative and worthwhile. This is not to say that some things do disturb anyone with daqsxejn melh fl-iskutella ta’ rasu. It took only 72 hours to fill this section of Labour in labour with 100 comments…apart from a handful of galant exceptions, it has been an orgy of insults and shameless brown-nosing, of pathetic posing and ineffectual self-advertising…and yet other sections of our proud tazebao are dormant. It is as if the campaign for the Administration has drained all our resources or – worse – that it has alienated the many brains that migrated to this blog since March…to the surprise of ‘the other side’ and, let’s admit, to our own surprise too.

    Jeanette Borg Abela
    St. Julians

  101. Charles J Buttigieg said

    @ Lino Meli . Sorrowfully I find the English language, the lingua pura, lingua franca, more powerful to portray my spiritual feelings expressively.This does’nt mean that my English is perfect. You will find typos too if you look for them.

    I am as patriotic as the next person and ‘Malta l-ewwel u qabel kollox’ was always engraved in my heart, however I wasn’t as fortunate like most to master the written Maltese the way I would have loved to. Does this make me a Nationalist supporter? Hallina habib.

    Charles J. Buttigieg

    CARETAKER’S NOTE: Charles, Lino Meli’s comment was posted about 120 days ago, way back in March of this year, when we were all still reeling from the blow and numbed by shell shock. A lot of water has flowed under our bridge since then. I am pleased to inform you that Lino has meanwhile become one of our most precious volunteers. He is responsible for recruiting and liasing with Labour in labour correspondents amongst the Maltese student communities in Europe. The lingua franca of ‘his’ network will, needless to say, be English. Proset, Lin.

  102. Clive Fenech said

    @ Therese Zammit, x, Verita, M. Portelli and the others of the Alfred Grixti team!

    @ August Mantra, Goddy, Alex, Ian Buhagar, Old Teacher, Monica Brown Muscat aka Momuska and the others of the Joe Vella Bonnici team!

    Why don’t you guys take up Nelson Delaman’s suggestion. Joe Deguara has come pretty close to doing so but did not dare go all the way.

    The argument put forward by Mandela (sorry, I meant Delaman)is foolproof. You disagree about who you want to see as Gen Sec BUT you agree absolutely about who you do NOT want to see as Gen Sec, namely Jason Micallef. Then say so. It will be an important step forward and a strong signal to the delegates. And it costs you nothing. On the contrary, it is a win-win initiative. You all win something and none of your horses loses anything.

    If you continue to fight amongst yourselves, the only one to gain will be the incumbent, Jason Micallef. Not only because of the fragmenting of votes not for him. But also because delegates will be so tired by your aggressiveness and negative attitude, that they will prefer for the devil they know…at least he is showing himself to be relaxed and non-aggressive.

    A repeat of the last elections…we were perceived as too aggressive. Also, he has learned from Joseph’s own leadership campaign: when all the others were complaining and attacking him, he kept smiling and assuring us that he had no enemies.

    So go on, take up Nelson Delaman’s suggestion. Now!

    Clive Fenech

  103. Roberto said


    first of all I appreciate your comments. I must admit that the English language is not my best as I prefer to communicate in Maltese and/or Italian.

    Apart from this, regarding my first statement I placed a wrong word and I excuse myself. But, after the election is over, pls contact me so that we can share our ideas for the benefit of our party.


    CARETAKER’S NOTE: We are delighted that Labour in labour is generating synergies. Proset, Roberto! That’s the spirit we like to see in the National Executive. Harbours no hard-feelings, practical, forward-looking, forward-moving, inclusive.

  104. Marvin Tonna said

    Clive! Jeanette!

    Haven’t seen you guys for ages! Am back for the summer holidays. Thesis is almost ready. Amsterdam is fun but Nadur is not for burning 🙂

    I see you haven’t done too badly without me. Joseph is doing us proud. I am a bit worried by the big gap between the Leader and everybody else. To outsiders it might appear as a style gap but we all know that it reflects a vision gap. In other words, it’s not an issue of mere form but also one of content. But I am confident. Toni Abela is adapting fast and I feel that what he wants more than anything else is to support Joseph in his immensely complex task. Anglu Farrugia too is not exactly the Anglu Farrugia of a few weeks ago. The body language will change and the rough edges will become smoother in time, more in line with Joseph’s positive magic.

    And now for the Administration. I think what needs to be done is obvious. The last thing we want is an administration of political dinosaurs…and remember a baby dinosaur is in any case a dinosaur. We need a competent administration that will be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Dinosaurs had teeth but they became extinct anyway. Perhaps because they had very small brains in relation to their size.

    A drink? When? Where?


  105. Dusty said

    I happen to know personally Roberto Debrincat. And i must say the lad is a young, energetic, loyal, trustworthy person. Hats off Roberto and keep your good worK!!!! Spelling mistakes or not, the party needs people like you – and you will surely be on my list for the party’s national executive together with other valid members such as Salvu Seychel, Guza Cassar, Michael Cohen, Mario Azzopardi, Salvu Bonnici, Nettu Farrugia, Roberto Cristiano…………


  106. skipper said

    I agree with Nelson Delaman on is 1,2,3,4 theory and also with Jeanette Borg Abela regarding the the sad fact that other sections of our proud tazebao are dormant. The contributions were of a very high standard and I beg all to continue.

    May I also suggest that another thread is opened to discuss changes to the Statute that we all would like to see from the new Admin whoever is elected. The Labour in labour page title states that it is about Re-inventing the Malta Labour Party (and Maltese politics). Where better to start than to revise/re-write the statute.

    Here goes a few to start off with.

    Are you happy with the voting rights during party conferences?
    Would you increase /decrease / change those who can vote?
    Do you agree with the “first past the post” in the selection of admin candidates?
    Should there be positive discrimination in favour of youth and woman in the Administration?
    Should we keep /change /abolish il- Bord tal-Vigilanza u Dixxiplina?


  107. Clive Fenech said

    @ Therese Zammit, x, Verita, M. Portelli, August Mantra, Goddy, Alex, Ian Buhagar, Old Teacher, Monica Brown Muscat aka Momuska etc etc

    You have all disappointed me and many, if not most, of the blog surfers that have been visiting this tazebao since it was opened after the last elections. Remember that Labour in labour is rumoured to receive on average of about nine hundred hundred visits daily excluding repeats from visitors originating from the same ISP address (the administrators are in my view unnecessarily secretive about themselves, about vital blog statistics and their objectives). This means that you have an enormous responsibility towards the Labour Party when you post anything on this blog, or when you fail to face up to the consequences of what you have posted. Not responding to Nelson Delaman’s challenge is tantamount to failure to face up to your responsibilities. Remember that many of the visitors to this particular blog are floaters, young non-committed voters, greens in search of an electable party and pale blues.

    To make it easier for you to recall what Nelson proposed to you, I have cut and pasted below his original appeal:

    Dominic Ellul is right about one thing. The incumbent General Secretary must be jumping with joy. We who side with Vella Bonnici or Fredu Grixti or the other contestants for the job of General Secretary are so busy beatifying our respective horses and flinging fresh dung at each other, that we forget that by doing so we are increasing Jason’s chances of getting away with it. Let’s put aside our differences (after all the delegates by now have a good idea of the strenghts and weaknesseses of Joe Vella Bonnici, Fredu Grixti, Gino Cauchi, Keith Grech and Joe Chetcuti) and let’s concentrate on explaining to the delegates why the Labour Party must have a General Secretary with the qualities required by the New Political Season. And why it cannot be Jason.

    May I propose a truce to August Mantra & co and to Therese Zammit & co? Come back to this blog as soon as possible with a 4-point statement:

    1. Jason Micallef must go, with honour and no shame.
    2. Delegates should choose whichever of the other five contestants (Gino Cauchi, Keith Grech, Alfred Grixti, Joe Vella Bonnici and Joe Chetcuti) they think has the best qualities to be General Secretary for the New Political Season inaugurated by Joseph Muscat and to serve the Party under Joseph’s leadership.
    3. We will help and support the General Secretary chosen by the Delegates, whoever it will be.
    4. From now on, unity at all costs.

    There is, finally, nothing to stop Therese Zammit, August Mantra and everybody else to tell us that they prefer Alfred Grixti, Joe Vella Bonnici or anybody else fo Gen Sec, as long as they begin with 1,2, 3 and 4 above.

    Do not, I appeal to you, ignore this proposal.

    Nelson Delaman

    At the risk of irritating all of you, I will repeat what I said in my last posting. Why don’t you guys take up Nelson Delaman’s suggestion? Joe Deguara has come pretty close to doing so but did not dare go all the way.

    The argument put forward by Mandela (sorry, I meant Delaman)is foolproof. You disagree about who you want to see as Gen Sec BUT you agree absolutely about who you do NOT want to see as Gen Sec, namely Jason Micallef. Then say so. It will be an important step forward and a strong signal to the delegates. And it costs you nothing. On the contrary, it is a win-win initiative. You all win something and none of your horses loses anything.

    If you continue to fight amongst yourselves, the only one to gain will be the incumbent, Jason Micallef. Not only because of the fragmenting of votes not for him. But also because delegates will be so tired by your aggressiveness and negative attitude, that they will prefer for the devil they know…at least he is showing himself to be relaxed and non-aggressive.

    A repeat of the last elections…we were perceived as too aggressive. Also, he has learned from Joseph’s own leadership campaign: when all the others were complaining and attacking him, he kept smiling and assuring us that he had no enemies.

    So go on, take up Nelson Delaman’s suggestion. Now!

    Clive Fenech

  108. Charles J Buttigieg said

    Just in case you missed the Sunday Times today.
    Charles J. Buttigieg

    Sunday, 27th July 2008

    No room for divisive, controversial figures
    Leo Brincat, MP (Labour), St Julian’s

    Tomorrow week the Labour Party will be electing its new officials.

    While I pledge to respect the verdict of the party delegates, I appeal for deep reflection on their part before casting their vote.

    There should be no room for divisive and controversial figures.

    There are people who eminent contenders for the leadership race have made it publicly clear all along that they feel, and would continue to feel, uncomfortable working with.

    Our judgment must be solely based on criteria of efficiency, competence and reliability, as well as proven track records – in full respect of the ‘healing’ process that the new Labour leader has launched from day one of his election to unify the various elements within the party, including those who felt dejected, rejected, snubbed and ignored in recent years.

    We cannot afford to see the political ‘earthquake’ that Joseph Muscat unleashed upon his election as party leader ending up halted, or even worse aborted.

    Some of the arguments brought forward by certain incumbents to try to hang on to their role offend one’s intelligence.

    They ran as follows: If I am not elected I risk ending up without work. I am more or less the same age as the party leader. I apologise for past mistakes. I will mend my ways. I still have much to contribute to the party. And so on, and on, and on.

    When I recently expressed my opinion (and that of many delegates who have supported Dr Muscat throughout the leadership campaign) to a key official that his position had become untenable in the wake of the electoral defeat analysis report, I was unpolitely told that when the time comes and I am proven wrong, I should not even bother to congratulate him.

    This is the kind of arrogance that I hope delegates will push aside.

    The party can ill-afford to make such risky and counter-productive choices in the coming days.

    Leo Brincat

  109. CARETAKER said


    I agree with Leo’s clear and unequivocal view that there “should be no room for divisive and controversial figures” in the Labour Party’s Administration, the organ responsible for the implementation of party policy.

    The new leader’s vision and style, based on the recovery of (quote) “the various elements within the party, including those who felt dejected, rejected, snubbed and ignored in recent years” are part of Party policy, given that Joseph (whose vision and style were known to the Conference Delegates before they chose him) was elected by the Party’s highest policy-making organ, the General Conference.

    To be “divisive and controversial” in these these circumstances means, therefore, to place obstacles in the way of the implementation of policy.

    Joseph’s bold project is being put at risk by individuals who are too politically immature to realise that their very candidature damages the new leader. There is still time to bow out with dignity and with honour. This need not mean self-imposed exile from the Party. On the contrary.

    With the full awareness of the moral responsibility of a former president of the Party, I join Leo in his appeal to the Delegates.

    Mario Vella

  110. Godfrey Casha said

    Hear hear to Leo especially, and Mario. To put it in a crude way, Jason please don’t contest the post of GS. It damages our Leader’s new way. You can do other things in the Labour Party but not GS, you have failed there, try something else, I am sure you will be supported


  111. Maria Vella said

    One reason for current apprehensions is the fact that we have at least two credible contestants vying for the same post in Alfred Grixti and Joe Vella Bonnici. These two gentlemen come across as reasonable intelligent persons who have the interests of the party and our country at heart. They have the power to provide a noble relief to said apprehensions. If push comes to shove please do not let us down.

    Maria Vella

  112. Abel Abela said

    No damage allegedly or purportedly incurred by freely accepting the present secretary-general’s participation in the democratic race for the post of secretary-general could equal, in any way, the far greater damage which might be wreaked by this determined and concerted campaign to put pressure on the incumbent to withdraw from the race, and therefore to rob him of his fundamental right to be democratically confirmed or replaced by party delegates, as well as to deprive the latter of their democratic mandate on behalf of the whole party.

    Abel Abela

  113. Maria Vella said

    … the 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of incumbent power/influence, and the growth of incumbent propaganda as a means of protecting incumbent power against democracy…

    Maria Vella

    CARETAKER’S NOTE: This, I think, is oversimplifying, but this is hardly the time and the place for a scholarly debate. Maria’s point, however, is loud and clear. Power of incumbency, unchecked, is a threat to democracy. This applies equally to states and institutions. The Malta Labour Party is not, of course, an exception.

  114. Dusty said

    Amazing. This is ending in a far worse attack on JM than DCG has ever dreamt to unleash. What about incumbency….. did Jason chose the date for his election? Does he have access to party finance? Some are giving the impression that these posts should be only open seats, and yet they advocate and campaign for other candidates in other posts who are seeking re-election!!! This contradiction leads me to one conclusion – a hidden agenda.

    Jason’s sole accessory in this campaign is what is termed as name recognition – but if his performance was so bad (as some contributors are implying) isn’t this factor also to his disadvantage? Isn’t there also the anti-incumbency factor. You lot should decide – has Jason proven himself not worthy of office during his tenure? His performance indicators show otherwise…….He will prove you wrong.


  115. Godfrey Casha said

    Dear Abel Abela, in different circumstances I would fully agree with you on the point of participation. However this contestation is taking place under old rules – the statute badly needs revising – and the fact that the 50+1 rule does not apply in this case may give the party a GS who will have very little support. Can we risk this, simply to say that we have been democratic ? I say Jason, please please see what’s good for the party and step out of the race, NOW before it’s too late.


  116. Charles J Buttigieg said

    Barring the potential risk of Jason Micallef pulling it through, the most likely contestants to win the race are Alfred Grixti and Joe Vella Bonnici in that order. The other contestants although valid do not have much support. Had I still been managing a company and looking for a capable person to take on a senior position I will have no problem to appoint any of the two favourites as they both have the required capabilities. Our dilemma is however a little more complex.
    Difficult situations require us to take actions that would be considered extreme if taken in other situations, actions which are more extreme than we normally take are considered “drastic measures”
    A solution albeit drastic exists and must be considered seriously. It would be too patronising for me to spell it out and would also create an unnecessary revolution. What we are after is the evolution of a progressive political party without the need of heads to roll. Nor are we after humiliating any party member.
    Now is the time for a respectable personality to come forward ,mediate and offer an amicable compromise. Not an easy task but we do not have an easy situation.

    Charles J. Buttigieg

  117. Delegat Moderat said

    ideja tajba, imma kun aktar specifiku. X’tip ta’ kompromess/i u bejn min?
    Delegat Moderat

  118. Glorianne Dimech said

    @ Charles J. Buttigieg
    Re: General Secretary

    I am not sure I understand what you are proposing. I can understand that you do not want to jump the gun, or prejudice any contacts that may be already underway. On the other hand, give us a clue, please. This is hardly the time to be coy. With Micallef again as General Secretary, Joseph Muscat will be severely handicapped.

    Are you thinking of an honourable way out for Micallef? Or a deal between Alfred Grixti and Vella Bonnici? Or a deal (collective or bilateral) between Grixti and/or Vella Bonnici on the one hand AND the contestants that seem to stand a lesser chance? Or a combination of two or more of these?

    Glorianne Dimech
    graduate student

  119. Realist said

    ATT: Charles J. Buttigieg

    Are you contemplating this sort of compromise?

    A precise re-definition of the roles of Deputy Leader Party Affairs and General Secretary, whereby the latter becomes effectively the general manager of the Party as an organisation, assisted by divisional managers (what are now the finance secretary, public relations secretary, international secretary). He will be responsible to the Leader of the Party through the Deputy Leader Party Affairs. The latter will effectively assume all the political responsibility and ensure that Party policy is faithfully and efficiently executed by the general manager and divisional managers.

    Within this organisational framework, the role of general secretary will have been effectively depoliticised. Personally I am not particularly troubled by the possibility of Jason scraping through (his chances are not bad) because I feel that he has learnt his lesson and will grow up fast. On the other hand I am also aware that many others, who came forward as soon as Joseph was elected, will be disappointed and will help the party with much less enthusiasm. However, Jason within the framework I am proposing would be acceptable to many that would otherwise never accept him.


  120. Charles J Buttigieg said

    @ Delegat moderat,
    Glorianne Dimech,

    Spoon Feeding is not my style, call me coy demure if you like, applying it here to a proposal that is supposed to comprise of purely a possible solution would open up a can of worms. With our characteristically Maltese temperament that would start a never ending debate.
    Spoon-feeding is drawing conclusions, I only wanted to describe the subject in a descriptive statement.
    Directness in sticky situations like these does not offer any additional description of the possible solution and instead help polarize the delegates’ opinion. We are, in effect, drawing conclusions for the delegates before they can even interpret the information they have just read and come to their own conclusions, thus “spoon feeding” them these conclusions or beliefs.

    Charles J. Buttigieg

  121. danny attard said

    Hi Dusty, you ask a question and made a statement that made me stand up:

    has Jason proven himself not worthy of office during his tenure? His performance indicators show otherwise……

    I am of the (strong) opinion that the party needs fresh blood to fill the GS role.

    1. The party’s performance in that crucial month was comparatively dreadful (going into detail will only please our opponents so let defeat report stand as guiding light). The GSs role is central to performance hence I can not see us embarking on the road to a General Election with the same GS in the driving seat. Nothing personal, love the guy to bits, but that is how I see it.

    2. The second reason is that he has, in the process, burnt too many (especially internal) bridges.

    These two reasons make a call for change a strong one.

    His (role’s) performance indicators and only his (role’s) performance indicators guide my opinion. I agree that there would be others who may have other reasons for wanting him out, yet that is only an unfortunate co-incidence. I believe that Leo’s and Mario’s voice is representative of a significant core-opinion that is driven only by what is best (always in own opinion) for party and country.

    He no doubt has significant abilities, but we need to ensure that this time round each round peg fits into a round hole.



  122. Clif said

    @ v. cauchi

    I disagree with you that Dr Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, did not serve the party well. Stefan, gave his utmost to MLP during his term in office. He is a person who actively gave all his energy and time to see that everyone in the Party is given space to work within the Party. Stefan surely fits well within the new politics advocated by Joseph Muscat. In my opinion Wenzu Mintoff given his proven attitude and style in politics is no match to Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi.


  123. Mike said

    If the delegates want new faces and new people in the administration, is wenzu mintoff new? wenzu mintoff failed miserably as an education secretary can you trust him as president?


  124. Clive Fenech said

    @ Mike:

    No Mike, not new faces, but the faces of technically and politically competent people. The individual or individuals you are defending are objectionable because they are not competent enough, either technically or politically. Assuming you are right about Wenzu’s performance, how relevant is this to the competence or otherwise of the individuals of the individuals you are defending?

    Clive Fenech


  125. Dusty said

    dear danny,
    i cannot agree with your reasoning even though i respect fully your ideas. In my opinion Jason’s performance was highly productive for Labour and his faults were clearly attributed to his disbelief of the general election result. However it is crystal clear that THE election result is not Jason’s performance indicator!!! We all privately discussed and agreed on what was the main (if not sole) reason of Labour’s failure to garnish the necessary vote to be elected to government. His media performances were impeccable, has power of speach, clean presence, organisational skills, is smart, lucid and clear. He has been earmarked and targeted by PN strategy and this has led us to believe what they want us to…..


  126. Neville Micallef said

    @ non-Labourite visitors:

    Let me begin by assuring those visitors to this site who are not Labourites and are not familiar with our way (admittedly, sometimes a naive way) of arguing amongst ourselves openly without bothering about what non-Labourites may think, that this is not a sign of internal division, as our enemies strive to show, but a sign of our open-ness and sincerity. We do not plot against each other in closed rooms, we trash it out in the open! Sometimes, true, we go overboard and let our emotions take over. But this shows our profoundly democratic attitude. We have nothing to hide and even if we wash our linen in public, we are not likely to be shamed by it. Those that would rather not do so, are generally people who don’t wash their private parts often enough.

    Having said this, I can now address my fellow-Labourite Dusty.

    @ Dusty:

    I disagree with you. It is NOT “crystal clear that THE election result is not Jason’s performance indicator”, as you say. Although Jason is NOT to be made the sacrificial lamb to atone for the many mistakes that led to yet another electoral defeat, we cannot pretend that he carries no responsibility for what happened or, more importantly, for what did not happen.
    Let me be crystal clear: the election was not lost on voting day (although we may have scraped through had we been less stupid), nor was it lost during the campaign (although the sheer stupidity of certain elements of the campaign helped us lose). We lost mainly because of our strategy, or lack of a consistent one, during the whole legislature.

    I blame Alfred Sant, an otherwise brilliant person, for having been too soft on his two deputies. In my view none of the two was competent for the job. Charles Mangion was loyal but out of his depth in the sectors in his shadow portfolio. Michael Falzon’s idea of politics never rose above demagogy and his loyalty was uncertain. The administration was a shambles with nobody on speaking terms with anybody else.

    For this, also, I blame Alfred Sant. He ought to have made an example of Michael Falzon and Jason Micallef by banging their heads together and warning them that unless they worked together he would declare to the Executive that he had no confidence in either of them. Done in good time, this would have caused a medium-sized crisis but it would have sent a message to all and sundry that nobody screws around with the Leader of the Labour Party. Dictatorship…no, just discipline.

    Dusty, have you got any idea what a mess we had at CNL during the five years preceding the last elections? Calling it chaos and anarchy is a mercyful understatement. No administrative coordination. Management by crisis and incompetent crisis management. Major structural cracks in the organisation were repaired with a light dusting of plaster and a lick of paint. We couldn’t – and this is no ducking joke – even keep the toilets clean! Management – good ordinary everyday management – was conspicuous by its management. If the general manager (ie the General Secretary) had the “organisational skills” you say he did…well, then he was great at hiding them.

    I quote you: “His media performances were impeccable, has power of speach, clean presence, organisational skills, is smart, lucid and clear.” We have already dealt with his supposed ‘organisational skills’. Let’s look at the rest.

    – clean presence? Yes, absolutely. Always well dressed and groomed. No problem here. Pity, it’s not the greatest asset for an administrator. His ‘clean presence’ does not seem to have helped him in bringing administrative order to the chaos that reigned supreme at CNL.

    – impeccable media performances? power of speeech ? Yes, a good speaker, his words come across clearly and distinctly, doesn’t chew his words, well-modulated voice, right timbre, powerful voice. But what about the content? Given to improvisation. Gets over-confident and, at that point, over-extends himself and becomes vulnerable to ambushes by interviewers. Is not always well prepared and not in full command of facts and figures. As a result, sometimes comes across as an amiable amateur. Is this bad? Yes but only if you expose (and, in his case, over-expose yourself to the media). Had he stuck to his substantial statutory role as General Secretary, that of managing the Party, of organising it, it would not have mattered. He looked for exposure, got over-exposure, and – in net terms – did more harm than good to himself and, what’s worse, to the Party. Had he kept his place and concentrated on his real job (rather than neglecting it), it would not have mattered that the content of his media-appearances dod not match his physical appearance.

    – smart? Yes, absolutely, if you mean smartly dressed. Yes, perhaps, if you mean the ability to reply quickly and wittily to an unexpected question or provocation. No, not really, if you mean the intellectual competence and the culture necessary to understand a strategic vision such as that Joseph is proposing.

    – lucid and clear? Yes, often, when he speaks. No, or more often not than yes, when he has to size up a situation and act consistently and effectively to get things done. The disorganisation that bled the Party to death is undeniable evidence of this. So, ‘lucid and clear’ with words but confused and confusing in practice.

    So, Dusty, these are the facts (you are of course free to say that none of what I said is true and that I must have been living on another planet or that I am prejudiced against Jason or whatever). It gives me no pleasure to say them. Jason is, at the end of the day, a thoroughly nice chap and a great sport. But the emergence of Joseph as a Leader that inspires confidence in persons that had completely lost hope in us and in the country, is too good and unique an opportunity to throw away. Sorry, we can’t take the risk you are asking us to take.

    Neville Micallef

  127. clive fenech said

    Well said Neville!

    I am glad that you finally decided to take part in this debate. I have always appreciated your analytic approach. I know you are not a delegate but I know that your voice carries far. What’s your line-up?

    Clive Fenech

  128. Mike said

    @Clive Fenech

    Dr. Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, has proved himself to be the person that can serve the party best as party president. He has been loyal to the party and always strived to help people work together within the party. He has shown qualities that labour needs to achieve a stagun politiku gdid. I beleive that given the choice, he is the best option the delegates have?


  129. Phil said

    why is manwel cuschieri actively campaigning for Wenzu Mintoff? what is he after?


  130. Dusty said

    @neville micallef

    Have to point out i can perfectly understand your argumentation even though not agreeing with it. This debate is clearly showing our strong beliefs in having an ever stronger left in Malta. We desperately need a true Labour party made up of intelligent, moderate and frank contributors – I have lived more than half of my life under an arrogant, selfish and ultra conservative regime led and directed by the opinions of people like Austin Gatt, Richard Cachia Caruana, Daphne Caruana Galizia and close families. They consider us children of a lesser God – we cannot and will not let them treat our childrn this way.

    Logicalley we also have different point of views as to some internal issues. This does not bother me – we shall unite all our forces and make this new poltical season of moderates and progressives a success. We have the best elements in the local political scene – apart from the leadership. Gavin Gulia, Chris Cardona, Helena Dalli, Charles Buhagiar, Karmenu Vella, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca are just a few of our true and loyal parliamentarians. Let us embark on this project – together we can – together we will.


  131. Abraham Agius said

    Well said Neville.

    We need people like you within the party structures who state the facts and not hide behind the bush and praise their guardian angels. Unless all party structures start deciding with their mind rather than their heart with regards to party matters, it will be very difficult to leave the opposition seats. I think the leader and deputy leaders, are doing their part in the current circumstances, but hope that things will gain momentum once the party administration is chosen wisely by the party delegates.

    We need new blood in the party structures, starting from the local committees and continuing at CNL. We need new blood to bring forward new and progressive ideas and be a catalyst for the new winning generation lead by our leader. We Labourites of good will must come forward and do our best to merge into the party structures to help our leader in this task of renovation.

    I am doing my part…..hope that those of good will that do not side with people but have only the interest of the party and the nation at heart to do the same.

    Abraham Agius

  132. Godfrey Casha said

    Neville Micallef, I do not know you, but you sure put your finger on the problem. I was trying to answer our friend Dusty, but you said it all, and so well too. Well done.
    Dear delegates, here you have the real reasons why you should not vote Jason back as GS. Even those who think like Dusty on Jason should now, that they have this very good explanation, change their minds.


  133. Charles J Buttigieg said


    Who is this man Neville Micallef? What a peach! What a scholar? What a credit to Labour! He left me breathless. I had worked on a SWOT analysis for the past two days. I was going to use it as the finale of my posted arguments. In my analysis Alfred Grixti came out smelling of Roses while Jason Micallef didn’t fare so good. ( Jason is one of us, I want to be kind to him). Neville said it all and if that doesn’t convince, my SWOT wouldn’t have a chance in hell. Call me buddy on I’ll buy you a drink to celebrate.

    Charles J. Buttigieg

  134. Neville Micallef said

    @ Dusty:

    Your comment will inspire those that appreciate political sincerity. We debate hard and agree to differ but when we finally decide on a course of action, we are one. I respect you for your straightforwardness, my friend. Wish we had more like you in our beloved Party.

    @ Goddy:

    I don’t think we should impose our views on Dusty. He is obviously an intelligent person and a loyal labourite. I think we have said what needed to be said. None of us can claim infallibility. Now let’s all draw our own conclusions. One thing is certain, Dusty and Abraham and Charles J. Buttigieg and I, are loyal to the Party led by Joseph and we would never dream of doing anything that would decrease Labour’s chances of getting rid of this tired old government as soon as possible.

    @ Abraham:

    I have no doubt that as you say, the Party “will gain momentum once the party administration is chosen wisely by the party delegates”. Thanks for your kind words.

    @ Charles J. Buttigieg:

    Whichever way it goes. You choose the watering hole and I’ll be there. I am certain we will have no difficulty in recognising each other.

    Neville Micallef

  135. Dusty said

    This is the spirit of true labourites… we might not agree on all issues but pursue the same ideals… let us try and instill this feeling among all our friends.


  136. Abel Abela said

    Neville Micallef wrote:
    “I blame Alfred Sant, an otherwise brilliant person, for having been too soft on his two deputies. In my view none of the two was competent for the job.”
    What a big thank you to two hard working individuals who sacrificed their time and health to serve this party and its leader – only to be told now that they were not ‘competent for the job’.

    Abel Abela

  137. Dusty said

    To all :
    Can we now extend our discussion on other post within the adm. election?


  138. Dusty said

    @ abel abela

    Michael Falzon competent for the job??????? come on – with his lions of change and the OHe Ohu Ohe Ohu. Grasp reality buddy. Its so jolly obvious the man DOESN’T READ. His political crescendo stopped at a locality level. Nobody is saying he didn’t sacrifice his time (part of his job anyway) or that he’s not a decent lad – his problem is that even though he is a splendid person his political knowledge is circumvented and parametered. Moreover the guy is surrounded by people who tried all their best to annihilate his political career at an embryonic stage and when it should be flourishing……. the likes of NA. Madonna sends shivers down my spine. Well you can also read it in Joseph’s decision to appoint him spokesperson for a non-controversial, poltically harmless topic – the police, passport office etc..
    As to Charles Mangion any comment from my part will be extremely prejudiced in his favour so I say nothing.


  139. Norman Dalli said

    My favourites for the National Executive:

    Because we need to convince a majority of Maltese women of all ages and walks of life that Labour is their ‘natural’ party, we need to half as many women as possible in the Executive. I am backing all women candidates. If we get less than for elected, we will have failed to take a first step in the direction of a broad movement of Moderates and Progressives…a strategic goal Joseph is working hard to achieve in good time before the general elections. If we get four elected I would be happy and will work harder to get five women next time around. When we finally can boast that half of the National Executive is made up of women, at that point we will now that the Party will have caught up with its leader. At the moment he is miles ahead and the party is lagging behind.

    Here are the names of the women candidating themselves. Make it a point to vote for at least five of them.

    Claudette Abela Baldacchino,
    Josephine Cassar,
    Jennifer Tabone.
    Antoinette Vassallo,
    Lorna Vassallo,
    Nikita Zammit Alamango,

    Here are the men I will be canvassing for, the list below is made up of five names. I would prefer Fredu Grixti to be in the Administration, but just in case he does not get elected, we cannot afford him to be out of the Executive. The only relatively new face is Roberto Cristiano. We need him on board because of his first hand knowledge of the GWU and because of his experience of industry and industrial workers.

    Michael Cohen,
    Roberto Cristiano,
    Nettu Farrugia,
    Alfred Grixti,
    Salvu Seychell.

    Norman Dalli

  140. Abel Abela said

    With friends like these…
    will someone stop the character assassinations, vicious personal attacks on individuals, dishonest accusations …
    What a sad abuse of an otherwise excellent blog.

    Abel Abela

  141. Roger Endawt said

    @ all
    @ Abel

    Re: DUSTY

    I think I have understood Dusty’s game.
    Why has he been provoking from day one? He’s been here for 3 weeks or so.
    Look at the pattern of his comments.
    His aim is to get all contestants for the position of general secretary except one (the incumbent) to bite and insult each other (ikeskishom biex jinfexxu f’xulxien!). His calculation is that if they end up hating each other, they will never agree to a united front against him. All those delegates who do not want him will vote for one or other of the other contestants. He cannot hope to get any of those votes, so he wants these votes to be broken up, so that no one of the other contestants will get enough votes to oust him.
    Don’t let Dusty, the incumbent’s agent, provoke you. Whoever you voted for in the leadership contest, that is now over and done with. Whether you voted for Joseph, Michael, George, Varist, or M’ Louise, that is now irrelevant. Joseph has led the Party to overcome that episode of our history and all former contestants have gallantly put it behind them. Someone wants to open those wounds…ma npaxxuhx!

    Abel, did you read me?

    Roger Endawt

  142. Dusty said

    Wrong Roger, very wrong.
    don’t try and burden others with your little sins…. we all have our own right to express opinion, to opine on a public figure. On the contrary to what Roger is alleging I have not singled out any disparaging remarks vis a vis JVB, Joe Chetcuti, Gino Cauchi or Keith Grech.
    i am willing to provoke yes – intelligent debate. If it doesn’t suit some quarters well……

  143. Godfrey Casha said

    Ok guys, it’s almost over. I think we all said what we wanted to say in this excellent blog. Let’s rest. Let’s let the delegates think, maybe they want to change their opinion and vote for someone else from what they had in mind. The last comments have been, in my opinion, superfluous, and that’s because we don’t seem to have anything new to say.
    So, again, I say, let’s rest and wait for the result which will be accepted by all of us.


  144. Charles J Buttigieg said

    An appeal by a Mr. George Carbone to s support Jason Micallef’s candidature and a counter reaction by other Labour activists myself included, are public domain and therefore no national secret would be broken if the Caretaker will allow it.

    I had made my feelings on this issue very clear from the outset so further comments from my side will be superfluous.

    Hope all would read all and ponder.

    Charles J Buttigieg


    Dear colleague,

    As a long-standing delegate of the MLP General Conference I must confess that I was at a loss as to whom to vote for the post of Secretary General of the Party from the list of some very valid contestants for the post.

    My mind is now thankfully and finally made up.

    I shall be voting for Jason Micallef – the present incumbent.

    In reaching this decision I feel that I must thank the NP inclined press and the so-called opinionists such aas I.M.Beck and the editors of the Times and the Sunday Times for their unsolicited advice not to vote for Jason Micallef. This has helped me to reach my decision to do the contrary and vote for Jason Micallef.

    Their message has been loud and clear : Jason Micallef is obviously a thorn in the P.N.’s side and they do not want him to bne re-elected. Ergo, I shall do the contrary and I shall be voting for him because as the Maltese saying goes :

    ” hadd ma’ jahsillek wiccek biex tkun ahjar minnu ”

    George Carbone

    Delegat San Gwann

    Ghaziz George,

    Jien bhalek “a long-standing delegate” sa mis-snin sebghin, mill-Freedom Hall tal-Marsa. Rajt hafna gejjin u sejrin, min jahdem b’mira wahda li jghin lill-Partit, min iwarrab ghax hekk kien qabillu u mbaghad jerga jitfacca, min jirkeb biex jakkiwsta impjieg jew promozzjoni x’imkien, min jindiehes biex jidher sakemm ikun jaqbillu u min jahdem bil-kwiet u bil-qalb. Nies bhal dawn kellna u jibqa’ jkollna ghax dejjem issib min jirkeb il-karru politiku ghall-avvanz personali. Jaghmlu hoss dawk li jirkbu biex jakkwistaw. Dawk li jahdmu bil-kwiet malajr jinsihom kulhadd.

    L-argument li gibt inti zgur ma jistax jaghmel sens, ghax l-istrategija ta’ min “mhux se jahslilna wiccna” huwa ezatt li jattakkaw (taparsi) lil min ikunu jriduna nibqghu iffissati fuqu… ghax fir-realta’ jkun komdu ghalihom – mhux ghalina! Min jifhem jghidlek li din hi ‘reverse psychology’ fejn imaqdru lil min ikun komdu ghalihom, u ahna innocentement jew b’nuqqas ta’ ghaqal, ninghaqdu qaqocca warajh u naghmluh eroj… u nkunu precizament inqbadna fit-trabokk li nasbulna!

    Infatti, la darba ghogbok iggib dak l-argument biss, jien se nahseb iktar fil-fond u nfittex BISS x’jisthoqqlu u x’ghandu bzonn il-Partit!

    Hemm wisq u wisq iktar argumenti li d-delegati jridu jifhmu u jahsbu sew fuqhom u zgur mhux il-parir jew il-kontro-parir tal-PN!!! Irridu nkunu AHNA u AHNA BISS li nifhmu u niznu u nixtarru sewwa x’inhu l-ahjar gid tal-Partit u x’ghandna bzonn biex nibnu generazzjoni rebbieha b’sahhitha! Il-kriterji qatt m’hu se jaghtihomlok l-ghadu tieghek! Delegati intelligenti jridu jifhmu wkoll l-istrategija ta’ “ghaliex” qed jghidu hekk tal-PN…

    Delegati intelligenti ghandhom jifhmu wkoll ghala xi kontestant jew tnejn qed jinqdew b’delegati ohra li jiktbu elegji li jikkunslawhom u jibghatuhom b’email lill-bqija tad-delegati… speci ta’ ‘qed nghidlek jien u jien nifhem hafna’! Pariri bis-sens dejjem apprezzati, imma pariri mhux mitlubin ihawwdu l-ftit sens li jista’ jkun hemm! Id-delegati jaghzlu skond ma jiggudikaw huma indidvidwalment, u mhux ghax jghidilhom jew ihajjarhom xi hadd iehor! Bdejt nemmen li d-delegati immaturaw hafna bl-ghazliet li ghamlu s’issa u r-rizultat jidher car! Ma jkunx ta’ gid ghall-Partit li wara operazzjoni maggura bhal dik, inhallu t-tajjar il-qadim fuq ferita li bdiet tistejqer sewwa!!!

    Ghaziz George siehbi delegat, jien ukoll “I made up my mind” u ilni mill-10 ta’ Marzu li ghadda, mhux dwar il-kariga li semmejt inti biss, imma dwar kollha! Nhar it-Tnejn 4 ta’ Awissu, bi dritt u bi pjacir, immur nikteb ezatt x’nemmen li hu ghall-gid tal-Partit illum u ‘l quddiem – minghajr pressjoni ta’ hadd, la ta’ min jirraguna bhalek u wisq inqas tal-PN!


    Philip borg

    Delegat – MOSTA


    Mr .George Carbone

    Dear George

    This is in reference to your letter to the Labour Party conference delegates a copy of which was sent for my perusal.

    Like you I am a lifelong activist in the Labour Party. I also pride myself for being a free thinker and never finding it difficult to criticise constructively when my conscience so dictates. Professionally I had a long career in senior management which gave me the fortunate opportunities to learn the difference between a real leader and a hanger-on .

    Although some of our conference delegates might not have all the required ability to recognise a good Manager when they see one, the situation as presented to them today is so clear that they can see in Jason Micallef a really nice and vivacious person however the sad fact is that he has proved over and over again that he simply does not have the strengths required for this high office, and his weaknesses do not need vivifying

    Your interpretation and arguments implying reverse psychology by, the PN (Hadd ma jahsillek wiccek biex tkun ahjar minnu) do not hold much water. The PN are in fact using all their arson on Jason only to promote a sense of ‘esprit de corps’ which translates to a common spirit of comradeship, enthusiasm, and devotion to a cause among our delegates and hence voting for him. Because his lack of abilities work to their obvious advantage.No more no less.

    A good number of Labour well wishers, myself included, are currently very active to minimise the danger of the 2003 infamous strategy and its attendant fiasco which only brought us tears while the Nationalists are still smiling. Surely dear George, the red Socialist blood running in our veins prompts you to remind our delegates to deliver us from the potential risk of another electoral defeat and not vice versa! That diabolical thought would send shivers down the true Labourites spines. Do you really and truly can’t foresee the consequences of your actions that may take us to that infernal situation?

    One of the things we hate acknowledging in us is a critical spirit. We want to put the best spin on ourselves, of course, so we give this quality nice names like “reflection,” and “being properly analytical.” Like the rest of the world I want people to access me as,diplomatic,nice and positive all the way however I have too much love for the Malta Labour Party and very little personal ambition to stay tranquil and untrue to myself to sit pretty and look nice when I suspect the menace of another electoral defeat.

    With my eyes wide open I shall therefore appeal to our delegates to think twice before taking heed of your recommendations because they are harmful to our Leader’s efforts for a “New political season..”

    Best personal regards to you and wishing good luck and a successful conference to our delegates. May God stay with us.

    Long live Labour

    Charles J Buttigieg
    Lifelong Labour activist.


    From: Dr André Borg ‘
    Subject: The Nationalist Code


    Unfortunately you have it all wrong, sorry to say. The Nationalists’ strategy has to be deciphered the opposite way. I can tell you for certain from well informed sources that the Nationalists actually criticise the person whom they want to be re-elected. They know well enough, that if they make a victim out of anyone be it JM or XYZ for all I know, Labourites tend to unite and support their comrade under attack.

    This strategy worked perfectly when Manwel Micallef contested Tony Zarb way back. PN criticised Tony Zarb continuously whilst praising Manwel Micallef in order for GWU delegates to – and in fact they did – argue that TZ must be giving the Nationalists a hard time so let’s vote for our man! Eventually they ended up roping MM on their side..

    Same happened when the US criticised Bin Laden, Ahmadinejad, Saddam et al. Their core / populist support rose significantly. (I mean no resemblance between such leaders and local personalities) but it’s just the way politics works everywhere.

    This is what I call strategy, and we always seem to lack when it comes to such reasoning unfortunately. No wonder we’ve been in opposition for so long and never seem to learn basic tactics on how to win a general election even when the wind is in our sails.

    As regards JM and other candidates, I’m sure that each one has his own pluses and minuses so delegates should think hard before rushing to a decision. Yet the argument put forward that we should/not vote for someone just because the Nationalist media is sending some form of message, simply doesn’t hold in my opinion.


    Dr André Borg B.A. LL.D.

  145. Dusty said

    to all

    gino cauchi just gave up his candidature…..


  146. Dusty said

    also Joe Chetcuti…..amazing what a shame and insult to our intelligence!!!!!!

    was right from the very beginning. Hidden agendas and plans. This counter productive move will enhance Jason’s possibilities. Proset to whoever masterminded the campaign. Have same names in mind but won’t mention as some contributors are very sensitive to opinion. Can sleep well tonight.


  147. skipper said

    Mr Carbone,

    Philip is partially right. As usual the PN are trying to put themselves into a win win position poking their finger into our pie. Yes I agree that they are trying to use ‘reverse psychology” to get people to vote as Philip indicated. They would then go with the story that Labour has kept the same team and there is nothing new, thus attacking Joseph’s slogan of “Stagun gdid “. They would continue to attack us bringing out the clips of the mistakes made during the last years and by spreading all sorts of rumors and conspiracy theories. This is PN strategy NO 1.

    On the other hand ,if this doesn’t work and delegates do go for a change in the guard, the PN would turn 180 deg hoping that the contest would leave a bitter split in the party and once again we will see more rumors and X Files. PN strategy NO 2.

    Whoever we select they will attack. This is why they have given more coverage to our contest than to their own GS panto. We are sometimes too naïve jahasra.

    I must once again stress that we need not attack any of our candidates in this or any other internal contest. They are all labour and deserve our backing. Do not fall into the PN strategy team traps as we have been caught out on too many occasions. Our candidates are all valid and should be thanked for contesting.

    The latest news that two have withdrawn from the race is also a sign that people are using their head and not their heart. I guess we should all thank Joe Chetcuti and Gino Cauchi firstly for having the courage to stand and secondly for withdrawing in the best interest of the party. I would have preferred to see the statute changed bringing in the 50+1 rule as the winner should have a vote of confidence with at least 50%+1 for such an important post.

    As my friend Philip put it, we should only vote on the merits of the candidates and on what the party and our leader needs. This is a job interview for a post within the party administration. A job, that requires various talents and skills and qualifications. A job that deserves the best we can get. Put yourself on the interviewing board, ask the relevant questions and listen carefully to the answers. Then match what you extract from those interviews to the post /job description. The score sheet will then give you the answers you need without using the PN machine anywhere in your equation.

    Scroll up and you will find my choice based on the above criteria.

    At this late stage let me to once again offer my services and loyalty to whoever is selected.


  148. Roberta Briffa Gatt said

    I really think we have said enough about the General Secretary’s position. It has been one of the bitterest contests Labour has ever experienced, but not, to my mind, as bitter as the last leadership contest. I find the discussion about who the PN and its propagandists support and why, rather contorted and convoluted. Do they attack A because they want B or do they attack A because they want A? I think they simply want us to waste energy in attacking each other. I also think that they want to plan the seed of discord between us, hoping that the bad blood created duirng the contest will continue to poison the atmosphere inside the Party throughout this legislature. Think of all of this spin as the planting of booby traps timed to blow up in the run-up to the next general elections. I am shocked at the way some of us allow themselves to be influenced by PN spin. George Carbone is at least 30 years older than me. How could he have written what he did? He says he will vote for Jason Micallef because he has come to the conclusion that the Nationalists do not want him to vote for Jason! I can’t believe that a person of his intelligence and experience can reason like that and, what is worse, say so aloud!
    The Nats will love it! Now they will be able to boast that George Carbone, a former distinguished civil servant known and respected by all for his intelligence and competence, does what he does not because of his own deliberation and volition but because he is easily provoked. Now, before Dusty jumps to any conclusions, may I announce that I am four-square for Jason and against spin of all sorts, including that of his own supporters.

    Good night.

    Roberta Briffa Gatt

  149. Abel Abela said

    Congratulations to FZL for supporting Joanne Cassar’s right to be recognized by the State for who she really is.

    I suggest an e-mail campaign – write to
    to support Joanne Cassar’s right to marry her partner, and her partner’s right to marry her.
    Prosit FZL!!!
    Shame Malta “Ewropeja”!!

    Abel Abela


  150. Andrew Sciberras said

    Dear all,

    I have been following this election, especially for the post of GS, with moderate to keen interest for the past couple of weeks. Needless to say there has been extensive lobbying, meetings, receptions and several contenders did not stay back to splash the cash on leaflets, booklets and fancy letters. This is absolutely normal for an election that takes place in any democracy and we must be proud of our openness and democratic credentials.

    But at times it tends to go to far. When democratic and amicable rivalry turns into convoluted bitterness with candidates and their canvassers defaming and maligning each other, sometimes openly, sometimes more subtle and behind the scenes, I think that the alarm bells should go off. Although this is probably part of the process, especially after a third electoral loss, I cannot but express my disappointment as naïve as it may be.

    I therefore urge contestants and delegates to keep their heads cool and tempers calm and to take heed of Joseph Muscat’s call for party unity. There is nothing wrong in publicly expressing one’s favored candidate and the reasons thereof but I don’t think it should go beyond that. Personally, I always favor the rational method of choice; carefully weighing the pros and cons of what each candidate is offering, his/her long-term political vision, capabilities, shortcomings amongst other things fundamentally keeping the welfare of the Party in mind. This, as opposed to emotional and blind guidance out of spite and personal interests.

    Andrew Sciberras

  151. skipper said

    Mr Carbone just in case you missed the latest PN news on our Gen SEC appointment read below.

    When will we ever learn??????????????????????????

    l-ġlieda bejn il-gruppi differenti fil-Partit Laburista li jridu jwarrbu jew, min-naħa l-oħra, li jridu jżommu lil Jason Micallef bħala Segretarju Ġenerali Laburista, f’dawn l-aħħar ġranet saħnet sew hekk li issa żbruffat f’ittri qawwijin li qed jintbagħtu lid-delegati Laburisti.

    Ftit tal-ġranet ilu, id-delegati Laburisti rċevew ittra mingħand George Carbone, li kien uffiċjal f’diversi Ministeri ta’ gvernijiet Laburisti u li hu missier il-ġurnalist ta’ Super One Matthew Carbone, biex iħeġġiġhom jivvutaw lil Jason Micallef.

    Iżda din l-ittra malajr kellha risposta qawwija mix-Shadow Minister Laburista għall-Intern u s-Sigurta’, Michael Falzon, li wieġeb u bagħat kopja lid-delegati li kienu rċevew l-ittra oriġinali ta’ George Carbone.

    Ix-Shadow Minister Laburista jgħid għala hu MHUX se jivvota lil Jason Micallef. Hu juża lingwaġġ qawwi ħafna li jista’ jkun strumentali biex il-kampanja ta’ Jason Micallef issofri d-daqqa ta’ l-aħħar fil-kampanja għall-ogħla kariga fl-amministrazzjoni tal-Partit Laburista – kariga li Jason Micallef reġa’ ħareġ għaliha minkejja li ngħata l-parti l-kbira tal-ħtija tat-telfa elettorali Laburista.

    L-ittra titfa’ wkoll dawl ġdid fuq il-kundizzjonijiet li bħalissa jgawdi Jason Micallef fl-impjieg tiegħu kif ukoll fuq in-nies li hu mdawwar bihom f’din il-kariga li jżomm s’issa.

    L-ittra tax-Shadow Minister Laburista Michael Falzon se tkun ippubblikata sħiħa u kelma b’kelma għada fil-websajt


  152. fabrizioellul said

    to the sceptics of Joseph Muscat:

    the conservatives of the MLP need to get either in-line with the programme or join the PN or AN.

    Jason Micallef will only damage the image of the new Labour.

    Fabrizio Ellul

  153. Marie Abdilla said

    I’ve just finished reading MF’s response to George Carbone on maltarightnow. So sad and disheartening to see someone who is a senior MP be so vindictive and still harbour such bitterness and sheer malice for another Labour official and who blatantly defied Joe Mizzi, MLP Whip’s directive for MPs not to discuss race in the media. How convenient for MF that it was leaked. LOL! Tghid mhux se nemmnu li mhux hu kien jew xi hadd qrib tieghu li bghattha lil Mument!

    Whoever wins Joseph is going to have a hard time cleaning up the mud that’s been thrown and restoring unity. Truly so so sad!

    Marie Abdilla

  154. Charles J Buttigieg said

    Jason- the way to Murphy’s Law.

    As a lifelong activist in the Labour Party, and as forthright as one can be, I do not have much difficulties to think freely, speak frankly and criticise constructively when my conscience so dictates. On more than one occasion Labour supporters suggested to me to shut up and to restrict my comments between four walls. However a greater number of individuals lauded my openness and encourage me to press- on- regardless. Work wise I had a long career in senior management which gave me some mental empowerment to learn the difference between a real leader and a hanger-on .

    Although some of the Labour Party conference delegates might not have all the required ability to recognise a good Manager when they see one, the situation as presented to them today is clear; Jason Micallef projects the cool and superb image of a really nice and vivacious person, but the sad fact is that he has proved over and over again that he simply does not have the strengths required for high office, and his weaknesses do not need vivifying.

    Although not blasting away in top gear mode, the PN propaganda machine is geared up to demonise Jason as they did to Alfred Sant. This is a common political trick, reverse psychology, no brain child of the PN. The PN are in fact using all their arson on Jason only to promote a sense of ‘esprit de corps’ which translates to a common spirit of comradeship, enthusiasm, and devotion to a cause among the Labour Party delegates and hence voting for him. Because his lack of abilities work to their obvious advantage. No more no less.

    A good number of Labour well wishers, myself included, are currently active to minimise the danger of the 2003 infamous strategy and its attendant fiasco which only brought us tears while the Nationalists are still smiling. The red Social Democratic blood running through my veins prompts me to alert the delegates of the dangers and to deliver us from the potential risk of another electoral defeat. That diabolical thought sends shivers down my spine. It really beats me how some delegates can’t foresee the consequences of their actions if they choose what has been tested and tried and failed on all counts.

    One of the things we hate acknowledging in us is a critical spirit. We want to put the best spin on ourselves, of course, so we give this quality nice names like “reflection,” and “being properly analytical.” Like the rest of the world I want people to access me as,diplomatic,nice and positive all the way, however I have too much love for the Malta Labour Party and very little personal ambitions left to stay tranquil and untrue to myself to sit pretty and look nice when I suspect the menace of another electoral defeat.

    With my eyes wide open I shall therefore remind delegates of their important responsibility to give Labour the General Secretary it deserves. A bad choice will be harmful to our Leader’s efforts for a “New political season..”

    Charles J Buttigieg

  155. alex said

    well done delegati… ur all so clever i m amazed


  156. danny attard said

    Ok, so some of us feel crushed by the result. The light that started to seep through the cracks has been cruelly extinguished with one mighty thud. We have managed to put a one almighty smile back onto the faces of Nationalists even when the timber all around them creaks like a sinking galley. And yet we are buried in total darkness unable to make heads or tails of our situation that seems to be devoid even of hope.

    The drill in such situations of overwhelming helplessness and emotional despair is to do one thing: nothing…

    hold one’s horses, hold one’s breath, sleep over it …

    Danny Attard

  157. Andrew Sciberras said

    I am disappointed with this result and although my sympathy and support for Joseph Muscat remains strong; my personal association with the MLP has dwindled considerably. Sour grapes? Perhaps. But I simply cannot accept the fact that the majority of delegates choose to vote simply with their hearts forever neglecting the use of their mind.

    Having said this, there are yet 5 years remaining for the tables to turn and for the support to come trickling back. I sincerely wish that this will be the ultimate outcome.

    Andrew Sciberras

  158. harloc said

    Believe me…..I am flabbergasted and really shocked with the way the party delegates have decided. How can our party go through such a phase and from all the contestants for general secretary choose the person that for the past five years performed the worst and was also a mentor behind the loss of the last election. How can we convince the other half of Malta or at least a floating voter that our party is changing….and changing for the better and in the best interest of the country?

    To say the whole truth I must admit that at first I was not that convinced with Joseph Muscat. I was sceptic because of his age and maturity; about his leadership skills and most of all I was sceptic on what he was saying he will do….that is bringing change in our party. And to be again sincere he really brought change and seemed that the floaters started to change their mind.

    Then the election of the deputy leaders came about and even though they were also “new” faces in the administration. But Joseph Muscat compensates for their lack of charisma and even though the PN machine tried to ridicule them, they were still acceptable for the floaters. Hence the daring of the delegates to choose die-hard deputies was accepted by the general public.

    Then the election of the party administration was here and is already past. And this time from the comments of most floaters, I think that we lost all the ground gained with hardship by our leader. The most contested and notorious choice was that of general secretary. Most cannot understand how the delegates have chosen such an irresponsible person when the other contestants were clearly better equipped and more experienced for such a position. We cannot expect a person with a CV filled only with a position of a TV program presenter work in a management position that should make all the party machine work synchronously. One cannot vote to a party secretary simply because he does not have any other job or because he is being attacked by the PN media. Everyone knows the outcome of the 2003 re-election of Alfred Sant as party leader when he was chosen from the delegates for compassion due to PN media attacks. But it seems that our delegates never learn or are not in touch with their members and most of all the general public.

    But besides this the delegates made another gross mistake….the choice of Alex Sciberras Trigona as international secretary. I had thought that one f the reasons for choosing Joseph Muscat was to project a more credible image that the party has now accepted EU membership and that the party intends to make the most of it. And I think that this really worked from the comments of floaters and PN supporters. And now….look who the delegates have chosen!!!! A person who is totally against EU membership and will surely not make any positive contributions as regards to EU membership. Why did they choose him from the people contesting? Don’t they think that this contrasts the ideas of our leader? I am not sure what they think, but it seems that most are still reminiscent of the 80’s labour governments and think that old politicians are better than any new blood. This is the fruit of the lack of change the party has actually gone through in the past 30 years whereby most of the delegates continued to keep their positions year after year after year.

    In sincerely hope that our dear leader will bring the necessary changes in the party structures so that no one, even himself, will have a position within the party that is given to them forever.

    Furthermore I would like to say to all progressive people that contribute to his blog, that they are to work hard to gain positions within the party structures so that next time there will be a decision to be taken, they will be part of the people who will vote in the party’s interest and not in the interest of any one person.


    [CARETAKER’ S NOTE: Good to see you back Harloc! Hope to see you more often now…]

  159. J. Borg said

    Yet another proof that the first-past-the-post system used to elect members of the Administration should be scraped. There can be some re-thinking also as regards to the way in which delegates are choosen. I must admit that my first emotions after hearing the results where dismay and shock, even if I was much more dismayed than shocked. I was really disappointed that Alex Sciberras didn’t make it. I’d rather say nothing as regards the post of SG. At least the delegates choose well – in my opinion – when voting for the post of Financial Secretary. Anyway, I think it’s time to have some reforms in the Party’s structures, such as having an unelected board responsible for PR. Such a board should be made of people who have some academic background in the sector of PR.

    I guess Labour will have to work even harder if it wants to win next time around….

    I guess reformers within the Party will have a harder time than they had thought they would have when Joseph was elected as leader. Reforming this Party will not be a piece of cake….

    Could it be that progressives within the Party lowered their guard after Joseph was elected?

    J. Borg

  160. fabrizioellul said

    Andrew said what most of us are thinking at the moment.

    All the best for the MLP; apparently it enjoys to suffer.

    Fabrizio Ellul

  161. Abel Abela said

    Congratulations to the winners and good luck to all.
    It was clear from day 1 that the strategy of divide and rule would work. The anti-Jason tidal wave switched on the defence mechanism of reverse psychology and enabled its main ‘victim’ to harvest a large vote. Was it a vote of confidence or a sympathy vote? Or both? Who cares now. Divide and rule is like that. Look at the GS votes –
    Jason Micallef 370, Alfred Grixti 229, J Vella Bonnici 224, K Grech 14. Between them A Grixti and J Vella Bonnici got 453 votes
    – but instead of joining their forces they permitted the incumbent to play the game.
    Look at the VP votes – Alex Sciberras 373, Louis Gatt 459.
    We all know what these figures mean.
    I have defended Jason in this blog in the past as you know.
    Mainly by appealing to one and all to stop the character assassinations. Those who wrote in his favour were helping him. But those who wrote negatively about him were helping him a lot more. In the political carnival of the past few weeks people out there could no longer distinguish one thing from the other.
    They were all caught in the same Net, Lions and Leos included. By attacking him they were – poor devils! – sealing his success.
    That’s the game.

    Don’t forget one thing – there are 140,000 Labour voters out there who are enthusiastic about Joseph’s youthful leadership but watch in dismay whenever the party tears itself apart at every opportunity. Plus 20,000 other voters who could not be convinced to vote – but may be able to do so when they appreciate that Labour can be trusted to bring about the progress they desire. Plus thousands of young people who will be voting for the first time in 2013. They are all watching.
    Labour voters are scarred by three consecutive defeats, and the animosities which have surfaced in these elections of June and August have opened wounds.
    We all need some healing now – pretty fast. Don’t try to leave this healing simply to time – do something about it, the wounds are festering and it’s no use licking them, they won’t go away by themselves.

    Abel Abela

  162. Stephen Mizzi said

    Labour should better focus on who they choose as general secretary than such nonsense. Labour will never learn, not even the hard way. Weren’t all these general electoral enough?? You may boast of winning the EU elections and the lcoal councils but you will lose the general election yet again. I am not a PN supporter but MLP is leaving floating voters with no choice and now I can only conclude that: Min jitwieled tellief ma jmutx rebbieh.

    Stephen Mizzi

  163. Eyes wide open. said

    There are thousands of young Labourites (some young in age and all the young at heart) like me and 99% of the regulars who write on this blog, that will NOT allow anybody to frustrate Joseph Muscat’s determination to be Prime Minister in 2013 at the latest.

    Nobody is going to stop us and our young Leader!

    No member of Labour’s Administration is going to stop us!

    No member of the National Executive is going to stop us!

    No misguided delegate is going to stop us!

    No parasite from our prehistory posing as helper, old friend, admirer, childhood chum, activist, personal assistant, bouncer, benefactor or whatever, is going to stop us!

    So, stop moaning all of you and back to your battle stations.

    Eyes wide open.

  164. Charles J Buttigieg said

    @ Eyes wide open. I can suggest better pseudo-names for you- try ‘The Ostrich’
    Back to battle stations? Yessssss but preferably led by a fresh General. When wars are lost they change Generals don’t they?

    Charles Buttigieg

  165. J. Borg said

    @ Stephen Mizzi…yor last line (the one in maltese) is sooooo pathetic…..

    J. Borg

  166. Leli said

    My standard of living is decreasing………..I am paying taxes out of my nose …………. the state of the art hospital has just given a relative of mine an appointment for 2011……Dockyard workers who a few weeks ago were given a personal guarantee by the par idejn sodi are being asked to voluntarily accept the schemes……. JPO has represented me abroad…… the San Pawl by-pass is not up to standard….. and the delegates of the Political Party who has just suffered the 3rd defeat in a row when it should have won hands-down has reappointed the top 3 executive officials. Any suggestions where can I bang my head in peace please?


  167. fabrizioellul said

    Finally we have a leader who is pro-divorce and who is ready to give strength to the progressive faction of the Island and we are ready to throw that away because of a lousy administrative election?

    We all wished for a different outcome. But somehow, people are of the impression that the party’s administration will form part of a future government. Really and truly, the administration is only accountable to the party and not the country. It is their problem. We can hope that they do not screw up the next election too.

    As far as I know, we vote for issues and ideas and not for the parties’ administration.

    Fabrizio Ellul

  168. Eyes wide open. said

    @ Charles J. Buttigieg

    I thought I was clear enough. We are saying the same thing. Let me be more explicit. We are not going to allow anybody [INCLUDING & ESPECIALLY JASON MICALLEF AND THE HANDFUL OF IDIOTS IN JOSEPH MUSCAT’S OWN PRIVATE SECRETARIAT WHO SUPPORTED JASON MICALLEF THUS GIVING THE IMPRESSION THAT JOSEPH WANTED JASON TO HOLD ON TO HIS ARMCHAIR)to stop Joseph Muscat from freeing us from Gonzi’s incompetent government by 2013 at the latest.

    And you call me an ostrich? Re-read what I wrote in my previous post, my friend.
    And as for my pseudonym. Unlike you I am not a pensioner. But I have to go to work everyday. In the same building where the guys I am attacking sit from morning till night, celebrating their short-sighted victory. I was hoping that with a change on the Floor 3, I too would have ben able to sign with my real name. Unfortunately, things have not changed enough. Until they do, it is too risky for me to be a hero.

    Eyes VERY wide open.

  169. Charles J Buttigieg said

    @ Eyes wide open. I read you right the first time my good friend. My remark was meant to highlight the danger when Generals are reappointed after they had lost battles hence minimising the chances of winning an upcoming battle. Anybody who cannot see that risk is living the life of an ostrich. Nothing personal siehbi, it was just metaphorical.
    At any rate I shall press on regardless and wait for better days. Good luck to all of us.

    Charles J. Buttigieg

    CARETAKER’S NOTE: when you first visited and posted a comment on this blog, we took exception to your style! Admittedly it does tend to rub one against the grain…but we have grown to love your style, Charles J! Labour in labour will always welcome you and the likes of you, man!

  170. Abel Abela said

    Let’s cut the bullshit. No leader gives the impression of doing or wanting something unless he WANTS it.

    Abel Abela

  171. Charles J Buttigieg said

    @ Caretaker. What a very nice complement. Thanks a bunch me old fruit and I reciprocate.

    My initial visit was meant to be a ‘one off’ but after meeting so many intelligent people here it grew on me and I kept coming.

    The nature of my first job gave me a solid character formation as working at airports in control towers doesn’t allow you to accept nonsense. That was followed by a different genre dealing with people’s finances and their future which again wasn’t conducive to gobbledygook. At Air Malta I had a long spell in Marketing and in senior management leading situations and people in positions that could make or break a company where discipline had to be the order of the day. The worst time of the period 1987-2006 was spent fighting the Nationalist Government’s discriminations and injustices at the Constitutional court legally aided by KMB and George Abela. When I retired I dedicated my life practically, full time, to see our glorious Labour Party in government. In short my entire life was uphill and in battle.
    I remember an old movie entitled ‘How to succeed in business without really trying’ I always apply that sitcom in reverse order as success is damn hard to achieve and you will never get there unless you prove your worth and rejecting bullshit and nonsense.. You know how it goes…
    “You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
    Nowadays it seems that some of those who have a “feeling” of power have lost sight of this simple proclamation, especially pseudo politicians who think that with a pleasing personality alone they can get away with murder.
    By this medium if you allow me Caretaker, I shall have the absolute pleasure to be able to work with a determined effort in increasingly putting the end to this crap these folks attempt to confuse us with! The playing field is getting leveled, and rightfully so! But the likes of Jason Micallef keep turning their eyes the other way when they see the writing on the wall. Or, with apologies to our good friend, they play the game of the ostrich.( @ Eyes very wide open. I’m not pulling your leg, you are sincere and I love you.)
    Evarist Bartolo had a superb article in L-orizzont today where he is once again demonstrating his courage to warn us of the risks we are facing by appointing losers in key position. I laud Varist for his spunk and recommend our fellow bloggers to read and ponder on it.

    Thanks for accepting and welcoming me on your ship Captain, I shall try to mellow a bit more but my battle cry will not alter. We now have a statesman leading us and we must strive to assist him with the best available resources. The time of dilettantism got us sorrow we now need professionalism and more change.

  172. Charles J Buttigieg said

    @ Caretaker.Trust you would’nt find difficulties to post Varist’s article which I made reference to before. I have some reservations about his comment “X’jiswa li jirbħu huma u nitilfu aħna lkoll?” Dan il-kliem issa jgħodd iżjed minn qabel, mhux biss għal dawk li baqgħu fil-ħatriet li kellhom iżda wkoll għal min reġa’ ġie lura.” It is felt that it’s too generic as I would have opted for a more categorical approach.
    Stephan Zrinzo-Azzopardi although part of the old team was not party to the electoral defeat and definitely not a wonnabe. He is a winnable and loved and respected as much as he loves and respects others. Min rega gie lura? Alex Sciberras Trigona returned from the old Labour but he definitely is not antiquated and ought to be hailed in the new Labour. His diplomatic experience, his suaveness and his special appeal to the middle class are necessary ingredients to enhance a good mix in a political party.

    With regards to his constructive criticism I have no qualms about them and I feel that solutions exist if tackled zealously even though it’s a tall order. However the difficult element remains the king pin of administration-Jason Micallef because he is disliked by the vast majority of
    delegates and party supporters are not enthusiastic about his deportment. The man hasn’t got what it takes. No more no less.

    From L-orizzont.August 8,2008.
    U issa?

    minn Evarist Bartolo

    Nistqarr li jien diżappuntat bir-riżultat tal-votazzjoni li kellna nhar it-Tnejn biex nagħżlu l-uffiċjali ta’ l-amministrazzjoni tal-Partit Laburista. Xahar ilu f’din il-kolonna appellajt: “Mhix biżżejjed bidla fit-tmexxija tal-partit biex nirbħu l-elezzjoni li ġejja. Għandna bżonn ukoll bidla fl-amministrazzjoni tal-partit. X’jiswa li xahrejn qabel, fl-ewwel ġimgħa ta’ Ġunju, id-delegati vvotaw għall-bidla fit-tmexxija, jekk imbagħad fl-ewwel ġimgħa ta’ Awwissu se jivvotaw biex ma jkunx hemm bidla fl-amministrazzjoni tal-partit?”

    Appellajt lid-delegati biex ibiddlu l-uffiċjali ta’ l-amministrazzjoni mhux għax kelli jew għandi xi ħaġa persunali kontra tagħhom. Fuq livell personali mmur tajjeb magħhom u fosthom hemm min għenni ħafna. Għalhekk żgur li ma kelli ebda nteress personali li nagħmlilhom xi ħsara.

    Appellajt lid-delegati biex jivvotaw għall-bidla għax hekk kien jaqbel għall-partit. Ir-rapport dwar l-aħħar telfa elettorali Laburista li ħareġ tliet xhur ilu u li suppost ivvotajna wara li rriflettajna fuqu jagħmilha ċara ħafna li uffiċjali tal-partit li din il-ġimgħa ġew konfermati fil-ħatra tagħhom kellhom responsabbiltajiet kbar f’din it-telfa: “L-amministrazzjoni f’ħames snin ma rnexxielhiex tgħaqqad it-truf kollha tal-partit biex il-fazzjonijiet kollha flimkien niġbdu ħabel wieħed għalkemm ngħidu li ħadd mhu għar-rimi.” “Morna għall-battalja b’riġment imfarrak minħabba l-klikek u l-piki ta’ bejnietna.” “Partit organizzat madwar l-uffiċjali u mhux madwar l-istrutturi.” “Partit immexxi min-nies li huma jiġu qabel il-partit.”

    Ir-rapport jgħid ċar kif l-amministrazzjoni m’għamlitx użu mill-ħafna persuni li offrew li jagħtu sehemhom fil-partit. “Kien hemm min irċieva madwar 70 email minn professjonisti li ħassewhom imwarrba mill-partit.

    Dan meta nħass li kien hemm xogħol li żgur seta’ jsir aħjar b’aktar nies bħal per eżempju l-abbozzar b’mod mirqum u fil-ħin tal-Manifest Elettorali, ħafna aktar materjal fid-djar permezz ta’ ittri personalizzati lill-votanti, informazzjoni dwar il-kandidati eċċ.”

    Ir-rapport jagħmilha ċar li l-uffiċjali tal-partit kienu parti mill-problemi li wasslu għat-telfa. Il-fatt li din il-ġimgħa reġgħu ġew konfermati fil-ħatriet tagħhom ma jagħmilhomx issa awtomatikament parti mis-soluzzjonijiet li għandna bżonn biex inbiddlu l-partit u nirbħu l-qlub u l-imħuħ tal-akbar numru possibbli ta’ Maltin u Għawdxin.

    Issa li ma nbiddlux l-uffiċjali nfushom, l-unika tama li għandna hija li l-uffiċjali jbiddlu l-imġieba tagħhom, imġieba li fil-ħames snin li għaddew wasslet għat-telfa li kellna fl-aħħar elezzjoni.

    Ir-rapport tat-telfa jgħid li ħafna partitarji jħossu li “il-membri ta’ l-amministrazzjoni kif inħatru saru allat żgħar kemmxejn arroganti u allaħares tkellimhom jew tmeri dak li jgħidu.” “L-ebda kuntatt f’ħames snin qaltilna delegata Għawdxija.

    Għawdex jiġu biss biex jiġbru l-flus.” “Ħadd mill-amministrazzjoni m’hu lest li jitkellem magħna qalulna l-Kumitat Lokali ta’ San Ġwann.” “Il-kunsilli lokali rrapportaw nuqqas ta’ appoġġ meta ffaċċjati minn problemi, b’kunsilliera ttrattati ħażin u b’mod dittatorjali.”

    Jekk l-uffiċjali ta’ l-amministrazzjoni li issa reġgħu ġew konfermati fil-ħatriet tagħhom mhux se jbiddlu l-imġieba tagħhom se nerġgħu nitilfu l-elezzjoni li ġejja. Ma jistgħux jibqgħu “nies li huma jiġu qabel il-partit.”

    Xahar ilu f’din il-kolonna ktibt: “Zgur li ma nifilħux li jkollna fl-amministrazzjoni tal-partit nies li jpoġġu r-rebħa persunali tagħhom fil-partit qabel ir-rebħa tal-partit fil-pajjiż. X’jiswa li jirbħu huma u nitilfu aħna lkoll?” Dan il-kliem issa jgħodd iżjed minn qabel, mhux biss għal dawk li baqgħu fil-ħatriet li kellhom iżda wkoll għal min reġa’ ġie lura.

    Għandna ħafna xogħol x’nagħmlu jekk irridu nsiru partit li jirbaħ l-appoġġ tal-akbar numru possibbli ta’ Maltin u Għawdxin għax kapaċi joffrilhom ħajja aħjar.

    Ninkwieta ħafna li diġà qegħdin ninsew l-għala tlifna l-aħħar elezzjoni. Dmirna li nirriflettu sewwa l-għala tlifna u nfasslu pjan ta’ ħidma biex negħelbu n-nuqqasijiet tagħna u nuru li kapaċi nkunu gvern alternattiv.

    Ir-rapport tat-telfa għamilha ċara li fl-aħħar elezzjoni ma rnexxilniex noħorġu jivvotawlna eluf li kienu Laburisti, eluf li jbiddlu minn partit għall-ieħor skond kif jintlaqtu u eluf ta’ votanti ġodda żgħażagħ. Ix-xogħol diffiċli biex nidħlu f’qalb u fil-moħħ ta’ dawn il-votanti għadu ma bediex bis-serjetà.

    Għad irridu nibnu strutturi serji biex jgħinuna nfasslu l-politika tagħna u nwassluha aħjar għand iċ-ċittadini. Il-mezzi tagħna tax-xandir u l-istampa jridu jaħdmu aħjar u rridu nidħlu b’mod effettiv fl-internet jekk irridu naslu għand eluf dejjem jiżdiedu li għalihom l-Internet sar l-għajn ewlenija għat-tagħrif u d-diskussjoni.

    Ir-rapport tat-telfa jsemmi kif “Tispikka n-nuqqas ta’ dixxiplina fil-Partit… ħolqien ta’ klikek… diżgwid bejn il-kandidati, sabutaġġ, nuqqas ta’ etika, sfidi fl-apert tad-direttivi tal-partit.” Isemmi kif “Numru mhux żgħir ta’ nies li jirrappreżentaw il-linja frontali tal-Partit m’humiex ippreparati tajjeb.”

    Isemmi l-bżonn li jiġġeddu l-istrutturi tal-partit: miċ-ċentri lokali sa l-uffiċċju elettorali u l-bżonn ta’ tfassil aħjar ta’ politika li tifhem sew xi jridu ċ-ċittadini. “Il-Partit irid jissaffa mil-klikkiżmu qabel ma jista’ jittieħed bis-serjetà meta jistqarr li huwa partit inklussiv.”

    Ix-xogħol li għandna quddiemna huwa kbir u diffiċli iżda rridu nagħmluh bis-serjetà, b’mod ippjanat flimkien u b’umiltà professjonali. Jekk mhux se nagħmlu hekk, nhar it-Tnejn li għaddew ivvotawna mhux biex rebaħ it-tali u t-tali, iżda biex nitilfu l-elezzjoni li ġejja.

  173. Andrew Sciberras said

    I was born in 1987 and unfortunately I have never in my life experienced a change in Government, save a short spell of 22 months when I was 9-10 years old, which was no experience at all at such an age (although I do have some distorted, fragmented memories of car-cades). I started flirting with politics some years ago as I entered University studying Law and Philosophy and immediately fell in love with the works of Rousseau, Marx, Gramsci, Sartre, Bertrand Russel and other philosophers and theorists. But my passion ends there, in theory, debate and ideals, as I do not see myself active in the political sphere, especially in Malta.

    Now with the election of Joseph Muscat as leader of the MLP, some hope started to seep in that maybe one day in the not so distant future I would finally experience some form of political change which our country sorely needs. A change from an overtly conservative status-quo to something modern and progressive like other European counterparts. Yet, with the re-election of Jason Micallef, this hope started to dissipate – not because the media said he’s bad, or because he said some stupid things pre/post 9th March – but because he’s such a divisive figure with many enemies in a party that started to heal itself from fragmentation, cliques and enmity. Now the wounds are yet again, wide open. This does not affect my political inclinations but it adversely affects my hope to ever see the MLP in government and witness change. Now, I’m a lucky guy, and it does not make such a big difference in my life whoever is in government – but regardless it still hurts to see this setback for a party I have started to admire – and ultimately for our country’s democracy.

    I’m glad to see people like Charles J. Buttigieg still giving it his all in seeing to it that change happens but the ‘battle’ cannot be won by individuals, but as a team. In this regard, I too will try to give it my all in my own little way but I fear that if the MLP does not fix even the slightest crack than there is no chance to witness the change we all sorely desire. Jason Micallef has opened a big crack. One now hopes that the heavy criticism which has been poured upon him, even by his leader Joseph Muscat (we don’t want ‘primadonnas’) does not fall on deaf ears and that he somehow can silence his critics.

    Andrew Sciberras

  174. Abel Abela said

    Evarist yesterday cited his own article published in L-Orizzont on Friday 11 July:
    He said something in that article which was not quoted again yesterday: ‘Nemmen li bidla fit-tmexxija tal-partit u nuqqas ta’ bidla fl-amministrazzjoni tal-partit tfisser li jkollna karozza li m’hawnx bħalha fid-dinja: żewġ roti jduru ‘l quddiem u żewġ roti jduru lura.’ Perfect metaphor Evarist! Finally it’s out of the dealer’s showroom… is the driver in his seat? Are its mechanics anywhere to be seen? Is the navigator switched on? We’re all keen to see this unique car taking us somewhere now!!!

  175. Alfred Chapman said

    My wife and I spend more time in your quaintly fascinating Island than in our own Ware in Hertfordshire and although we were sorry to see Alfred Sant go (yes, politics is a ruthless way of life) we were elated at your choice of the young Joseph Muscat. When we first heard that he was candidating himself for Party Leader, we made enquiries with a couple of our Labour MPEs and found out that he is much admired in Brussels and not only by representatives of the British Labour Party. He reminds us so much of our Tony when became leader!

    We were also overjoyed to discover your tazebao…did we spell that right ? 🙂 and we must congratulate you for publishing one of the liveliest progressive political discussion blogs in Europe…we never imagined that we’d see anything of the sort coming out of Malta (no offence meant but you know what we mean).

    We followed the campaign for the Party Administrative Committee very closely. We couldn’t at first understand why the big fuss about the general secretary’s place! We UK Labs don’t give any political importance to the Party’s administrative machine (you try to even find the words General Secretary on our website). But then we realised that you have a different tradition.

    In any case, when we popped in at the local Labour Party club (we always come to the same flat here and it’s less than 50 yards from your local club but don’t ask where that is, don’t wish to betray the barman who took me in his confidences). Fred, he said, Joseph is a champion but some of those who were there from before, that commanded before, they want to continue to command, to see their face on the television every day. If they stay there, nothing changes and we will lose the next elections too. They are not bad people, that Jason and the president, I not remember his name, but their head is not the same as Joseph. His head is up there (pointing to the more rarely used bottles on the top shelf behind him) and their head is down here (pointing to the floor, cluttered with boxes full of empty beer bottles).

    I don’t think I need say anything else, and in any case I don’t I should. I am only a sympathetic tourist, after all.

    Fraternally yours,
    Fred and Maureen

  176. Andrew Sciberras said

    I read on The Sunday Times today that the General Secretary’s role is to be downsized to a purely administrative level. Although I still deem Jason to be wholly unfit for the job I think that at the end of the day it is a very wise decision. The less power he has, the less he has to gloat about.

    Andrew Sciberras

  177. danny attard said

    Great piece by Lino Spiteri today. Noises are being made that things may have started to move in the right direction. Fingres crossed, leadership looks to be very united and focused…holding my breath, yet full support to Joseph and leadership…

    Danny Attard

  178. fabrizioellul said

    @ Andrew.

    You should read George Orwell’s essay. Especially the ‘Lion and the Unicorn’. Quite refreshing. A Lefty who does not shun away from criticizing Left policies and intellectuals.

    I was never a big fan of Marx. I sympathize much more with the Liberal wing of socialism such as the likes of Bakunin and Emma Goldman. I think everyone should read Naom Chomsky.

    Anyways for the rest:

    Fabrizio Ellul

  179. Abel Abela said

    Nice pick Fabrizio, presumably you mean libertarian (not liberal) socialism and anarchism since you cite Bakunin and Goldman.
    And Noam Chomsky is always a *great choice*.
    Speaking of Orwell… who is best known for Animal Farm and 1984,
    his essay The Lion and the Unicorn is a splendid work. He wrote it in 1941 during the blitz, starting off with the famous paragraph: ‘As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me. They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are ‘only doing their duty’, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing me to pieces with a well-placed bomb, he will never sleep any the worse for it. He is serving his country, which has the power to absolve him from evil. One cannot see the modern world as it is unless one recognizes the overwhelming strength of patriotism, national loyalty.’

    In The Road to Wigan Pier he spells out his anarchist vision: ‘I worked out an anarchistic theory that all government is evil, that the punishment always does more harm than the crime and the people can be trusted to behave decently if you will only let them alone.’

    Sadly Orwell was also a traitor – well, perhaps he hated the Soviet Union so much by 1949 that he considered his action patriotism in view of the above quote from the Lion and the Unicorn?? He seemed to put Stalin and Hitler in the same bag anyway… In 1949 – a year before he died – he passed on to the British secret service – MI5, Big Brother!!! – a list of 37 fellow communists he considered to be Soviet sympathizers. The list included, among others, the great Charlie Chaplin.
    And that same year he published Nineteen Eighty-Four!!!

  180. skipper said

    Party delegates 893

    average age 52 if all remain in their posts by next election will be 57

    Age of delegates
    Under20 3
    20-30 99
    31-40 117
    41-50 141
    51-60 239
    61-70 220
    71-80 65
    80+ 6

    2 Specjali
    3 MEP
    5 District III
    5 Guze Ellul Mercer
    5 F Mikiel Anton Vassalli
    6 District I
    6 District II
    6 Xgħajra
    6 District IV
    6 District V
    6 District VI
    6 District VII
    6 Bahrija
    6 District VIII
    6 District IX
    6 Ta’ Xbiex
    6 District X
    6 Pembroke
    6 District XI
    6 District XII
    6 San Pawl il-Baħar
    6 District XIII
    6 Ghajnsielem
    6 Gharb
    6 Nadur
    6 San Lawrenz
    6 Zebbug Ghawdex
    6 Ufficjali
    7 Santa Luċija
    7 Marsaxlokk
    7 Rabat
    7 Għargħur
    7 Swieqi
    7 Balzan
    7 Kercem
    7 Qala
    7 Sannat
    8 Floriana
    8 Isla
    8 Birgu
    8 Gudja
    8 Mqabba
    8 Safi
    8 Santa Venera
    8 Attard
    8 Xewkija
    9 Pieta’
    9 Marsaskala
    9 Siġġiewi
    9 Xaghra
    10 Valletta
    10 Kirkop
    10 Dingli
    10 Birkirkara
    10 San Ġiljan
    10 Mosta
    11 Bormla
    11 Kalkara
    11 Tarxien
    11 Birzebbugia
    11 Qrendi
    11 Luqa
    11 Żebbuġ
    11 Lija
    11 Sliema
    12 Għaxaq
    12 Rabat
    12 Naxxar
    12 Victoria
    13 Żejtun
    13 Paola
    13 Msida
    13 Gżira
    13 Mellieħa
    14 Żurrieq
    14 Qormi
    14 San Ġwann
    15 Ħamrun
    15 Żabbar
    15 Fgura
    25 Gh.N.L.
    25 Brigata
    25 Veterani
    25 Kunsilliera
    28 MPs
    42 Kandidati


  181. skipper said

    Now that the dust seems to be settling on the admin elections, we should all take a good long look at what happened and start a process to correct the various flaws in our statute.
    I posted the age brackets and number of delegates as many people keep on asking who are these delegates and why are they given so much power?. I find it scary that important decisions might be taken by ill informed people who might not be on the “same page” as their very own leader thus making his job ever so much more difficult.

    There is no doubt in my mind that many of these people are loyal hard working individuals who have an important role in the party. I am however not convinced whether voting for party officials should be part of their duties.

    The truth is that one needs to re-visit the voting system (earthquake) to avoid future hiccups. Some delegates have been in the local committee for over 40 YEARS. They sometimes get “elected” with hardly anyone attending the AGM. There are also 40 married couples on our committees. Now you might ask what is wrong with that? Well nothing really unless as I suspect this is a result of lack of interest and people throwing in the name of their wife just to make up the numbers. There are also candidates who have a vote even if they get just 2 votes in a general election. As you can see from the list there is a lot to be debated. Then there is the Brigata/GEM/ MAV/ NISA/ FZL all having a large chunk of the votes which i find difficult to accept.

    Allow me now to focus on a few thing which come to mind when looking at the list of those chosen by our delegates.

    Enough has been said already about the GS post but little about the actual executive posts which remain important as well.

    For example two of those elected have already declared their intention to stand for the MEP elections next year. I wish them both luck in this quest however may I ask, would you have voted for someone who will be very busy conducting their own campaign (plus earning a living) when there is so much work to be done? If they are successful and do get elected then there will be an early change (2 out of 10) in the National Executive? This cannot be healthy at all.

    There are also at least 4 out of 10 who are employed by the party, some on a full time basis. With all due respect to all those elected I do not feel that this is good for the party and may lead to problems?


    CARETAKER’S NOTE: With this contribution by Skipper, we close this special page of debate on the Administration & Executive Elections. This does not mean that we are closing the debate. On the contrary. The debate, in a sense, has only just began. We’ll continue it on the HOME page under the new post AN ADMINISTRATION TO SUIT THE VISION, NOT A VISION TO SUIT THE ADMINISTRATION. We will, we will!

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