Nobody does it better
As the race for the Premiership escalates, I am reminded more and more of that famous chariot race between Ben Hur and Messala, which was possibly, after the parting of the Red Sea in the Ten Commandments, Cecil B. de Mille’s greatest cinematic achievement.
The race was run with real horses and used real people as opposed to the very lifelike but computer-generated concoctions we have today.
I read somewhere that there were injuries galore and even a couple of fatalities, which is why these prolonged political boxing rounds, which started all too long ago, now have reached a deadly stage wherein the protagonists are fighting without gloves and, it seems, also without a referee.
All we have seen so far is the digging up of scandal after scandal of all shapes sizes and descriptions and the ensuing lawsuits being hurled across no man’s land, much to the bemusement of us electors. It has become a complete bore.
All is fair in love and war but we are supposed to be a civilised nation, the ancestors of whom enjoyed the sophisticated influences of Pax Romana at a time when most tribes of Northern Europe were little more than savages. It is precisely on the word tribal that I wish to dwell momentarily.
The word was used extensively by the Leader of the Opposition in the context that he has pledged himself and his party to end tribal politics. His message has been clear and consistent throughout the campaign: no diatribes, no bitchiness, no character assassinations but a leitmotif of Malta for all.
Ironically, this is why I had voted to join the EU and why I believed in the concept so fervently.
Elections without trauma would, I thought, become a reality and, because we would be bound by treaty to so many protocols and regulations, it would be impossible for governments to get above themselves and think that they were akin to the English Stuarts, ruling by some divine right.
In those days, the Labour Party were opposed to the EU for reasons that today are hard to fathom and which are, as far as they are concerned, lost in the mists of time. Today’s Leader of the Opposition, after having been an MEP for several years before being elected as party leader, has, in four short years, turned his party around to the extent that what was once tantamount to an unapproachable ghetto-like set up, which excluded anyone who did not wear a flaming torch on their lapel, has become the diametric opposite.
Despite all this, because of the inordinate length of this election campaign, which started long before the election was actually declared, tempers are flaring and emotions are running high and it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep an objective view.
This is why we all need a cold shower, which, although may sound odd at the end of freezing February, is something I perceive necessary should this campaign proceed without mishap. It is clear that one party is being inclusive and the other is being exclusive and that is very frightening for, while the PL leader preaches a Malta for one and all, the Nationalist Party one proceeds to scare us with visions of bankruptcy and other economic disasters, which will ensue should we choose to believe Joseph Muscat.
Ergo, Lawrence Gonzi and the PN advocate a ‘better the devil you know’ sort of campaign as opposed to a ‘new broom sweeps clean’ one. Muscat and the PL advocates a measured and sensible change in the way he promises to do things while people wonder how a PL leader can be speaking in this way, namely in tones more akin to pre-1987 Eddie Fenech Adami.
To people who regard elections with the same puerile attitude as an England vs. Italy match it must be confusing indeed.
It is, at the end of the day, a question of attitude. Elections come around willy-nilly whether you like them or not, just like visits to the dentist. They can be necessary inconveniences at best and seismic convulsions at worst. It all depends on how able the protagonists are to control their supporters and to keep emotions under control. Being deliberately inflammatory is a big no no. What I am at a loss to understand is the PN scaremongering campaign. The first that comes to mind is that the PL will make a pigs’ dinner of the economy. Why should they, pray? I am reminded of the Carly Simon song from the 1977 film The spy who loved me entitled Nobody does it better.
Then there’s the awful advert showing the entire south of Malta being enveloped in an atomic-like explosion as and when the gas tanks proposed by the PL will blow. As if we had not had gas tanks galore in Birżebbuġa and in Kappara, which hilariously we still refer to as the ‘roundabout near the gas tanks’ just as the Sliema residents refer to another location as the Tliet Siġriet (three trees) when there is only one.
In the case of the Kappara gas tank, that has disappeared decades ago.
I am quite flummoxed by this doomsday prophesy... It is as if the PL is from another planet and not Maltese, like all of us, and are hell-bent to destroy Malta. If Malta is destroyed, so will the PL be destroyed and all who support it.
The sad thing is, that because there is no way we are going to meet the EU deadlines in providing 10 per cent alternative energy by 2015, it seems that, short of a miracle, we are in for a hard time, no matter what happens on March 9.