Divorce Bill and the buses
I take exception, frankly, at the Labour Party leader’s posturing about the Prime Minister’s “obligation” to vote in favour of the divorce Bill.
In an ideal world, the Prime Minister would, in truth, find it incumbent on himself to square his personal conscience with his political one, especially given the fact that we’re merely extending the definition of what is acceptable divorce under Maltese law to include divorce pronounced on by Maltese courts (as opposed to making divorce compulsory, as you might very well think we’re doing if you listen to the fundamentalists).
However, it’s not an ideal world, far from it, and in strict law, the divorce Bill not being a government Bill and there being a free vote on it, what any individual member does is immaterial, provided the darn thing passes, and there won’t be a governance crisis, however much Joseph Muscat is gagging for one, hoping that his new bestest best friends in the Nationalist Party will oblige him.
I take exception, though, not only because of the inflated importance being given to the whole thing by Labour in their blindingly blatant zeal to politicise an issue that should never have been politicised. I take exception also because coming from Labour, this Damascene conversion to respecting the will of the people takes on depths of perceived hypocrisy that are almost vertiginous. I remind you, dear reader, of Dom Mintoff’s oafish refusal to recognise that the country had told him to go in 1981 and of Alfred Sant’s tired and emotional assertion that the country had not voted to join the EU in more recent years. Insofar as concerns 1981, perhaps Dr Muscat was a tad too young to know anything about it but he was one of Dr Sant’s fervent admirers and collaborators when we were touted to become Swaziland in the Mediterranean or whatever Dr Sant’s notion was all about, so he should have a handle on how people feel when they hear a Labour leader talking about electoral majorities.
Is that enough to persuade you that Labour have this penchant for saying and doing precisely what they please and what might sound useful to them at the precise moment in time when they say or do it?
What other political party would allow its leader to pronounce smugly from on high that he has solutions, proposals and promises that will solve all the country’s woes but he will only tell us about them after he wins the election and becomes Prime Minister? Karmenu Vella is going to have a dead easy electoral manifesto to write: it will consist in three words, namely “tell you later”.
So whatever happens in the House in the next couple of weeks, we’re going to have a divorce law and unless the opportunists cravenly seize the moment, we’re not going to have a crisis of government (just to use an Italian construction). In fact, the only crisis we could have, realistically, would come about if, unthinkably, the President were to refuse his assent to the carried Bill. Given that he hasn’t, quite properly, pronounced himself on this, technically it’s a possibility, but that’s just me having a flight of fancy.
That’s not to say there won’t be some sort of flap, of course, because the temptation to carry on sniping at the Prime Minister might become unsurmountable.
Or Labour might come over all peculiar and try to introduce amendments to the Bill that will make its bestest best friends not love it any more. You might think that this would be political suicide, and you’d be pretty much right, but just think of the way Labour has handled itself over the years, what with Dr Sant looking an electoral gift horse in the mouth and the way it’s set itself up and tell me they won’t mess it up again.
As you read this, the new public transport system will be almost a week old and, hopefully, the teething troubles will have been largely overcome. I haven’t tried the system yet (check my blog for why) and I’m sure that there’s still plenty left to be desired but, to be sure, the carping I spotted on Facebook and elsewhere was nauseating in the extreme. One lad even found it within himself to whine publicly because, shock horror, a driver was spotted with a fag in his mouth.
I’m pretty convinced Arriva will make a fist of it and that we’re going to have an integrated public transport system (taxis and all) that will make eschewing the pleasures of parking anywhere near Valletta an easy sacrifice. This will annoy the carpers and cavillers who just love to bleat negatively about everything no end, and for this reason alone, I want it to succeed. I don’t know which I find more sickening, the smug ones who are just loving the fact that things sometimes go wrong or the ones who automatically assume that things sometimes go wrong because it’s Malta and we’re somehow inferior.
Badass Burgers are in town. Am I allowed to say Badass or will the thought-police jump on me? Whatever, the best burger in Malta can now be had in Valletta, down by Palace Square, and if you are carnivorous, head there. If you have non-carnivores with you, they do a mean salad, too.
We stayed up in Gozo on Monday, which meant we could get an extra evening of the Victoria Arts Festival and afterwards were treated to dinner at San Andrea in Xlendi. It was, not to put too fine a point on it, one of the better fish and seafood meals I’ve had in a long time and in one of the pleasanter spots on earth, too.