The truce that never was

A few days ago the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party agreed to a Christmas truce of sorts. Anybody expecting the cessation of all political activities was to be disappointed.

If you want to read about the real Christmas Truce, pick up the book by the same name written by the poet Carol Ann Duffy
- Claire Bonello

Granted, we had a temporary respite from mass meetings and puerile billboards, but political activity went on unabated. Ministers continued to seek out ribbon-cutting opportunities. The barbs and insults in the partisan media never stopped flying back and forth.

PBS did its bit by broadcasting that Xarabank programme practically on a loop, stoking up further discussion about Labour’s mismanaged stunt, Simon Busuttil’s transformation from candidate for unity and compromise to petty local politician, and Peppi’s valiant effort not to keel over in admiration at Busuttil’s feet.

And then, like a bolt from the blue, we heard that Joseph Muscat had asked for, and obtained Anglu Farrugia’s resignation from the post of PL deputy leader.

That’s a game changer if there ever was one. Whichever way it is spun by the PN, it shows that Muscat calls the shots in the Labour Party and is not averse to offloading those people who he thinks can hinder the party’s progress to Castille.

While some people may consider this to be a sign of ruthlessness, others will view it as an indication that Muscat is stamping his authority on the party.

As discussion about his motivations continue a break from political gossip is hardly on the cards.

• Earlier last week an e-mail advertising ‘Little Diva Spa Makeover Parties’ pinged into my inbox. The senders trumpeted their experience in hair, beauty, fashion and children’s education – all apparently appropriate attributes for providing makeover girls’ birthday parties for girls aged four to 12.

Their Facebook page features a lot of diamante sparkles and awfully made up little girls of the toddlers and tiara type and lashings of bubblegum pink.

There are photos of girls who can’t be older than eight, wearing the obligatory pink dressing gowns, their flawless faces covered in a cream and with discs of cucumber placed over their eyelids (because those under-eye bags you develop at six can be the devil to get rid of, you know).

Another photo shows a group of pre-tweenies waving a fluffy feather boa as they ride around in a white stretch limo.

The Little Diva package includes a natural face mask followed by fruity moisturising cream, after which there is a mini-makeover where the tots get to be slathered with glittery eye shadow, lip gloss and blusher.

No self-respecting little diva would venture out into the playground or the classroom without perfectly manicured hands and toes.

Help is at hand during the little darlings’ makeovers – they get a mini-mani(cure) or pedi(cure) with a wide range of nail colour, glitter and the all-essential nail art. A hand and arm massage soothes away the girls’ stress – having to choose between fuchsia or flamingo pink can be so taxing.

Then the party girls’ tresses get primped and teased into what is ominously termed as a ‘cute/stylish’ do (for this read beauty queen pageant bouffant) and they get decked out in an extra outfit after their treatment(s).

The crowning moment of this pre-pubesecent spa-ing is the pink catwalk show at the end, with parents being enthused to capture the right moment as their daughters sashay across the elevated catwalk.

The proud parents can also order a novelty cake for their princesses. The one shown had zebra print fondant and a pink (what else?) base – very Jersey­licious meets Barbie.

Spa and pamper parties for young girls are apparently all the rage abroad. Some accept little princesses from the age of three – as long as they’re potty trained.

So this is just the adoption of yet another trend. But I still find the thought of them profoundly depressing. This is not about little girls playing at dress up, raiding their mothers’ wardrobes and decking themselves up in assorted scarves and necklaces.

No, this is about introducing them to beauty and maintenance regimes when all this primping and tarting up should be the furthest thing from their minds.

Goodness knows there will be time enough for agonising over blemished skin when they’re teenagers, and wrinkles when they’re in their 60s; do we really have to sign girls up to a life of salon-dependency when they’ve barely had all their baby teeth out?

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I find this insistence on making young girls act like fully grown up Dolly Partons, to be very dispiriting.

• If you want to read about the real Christmas Truce, pick up the book by the same name written by the poet Carol Ann Duffy. It’s a beautiful rendering of the miraculous truce between the trenches in 1914.

For one brief night enemies shook hands, sang together, exchanged gifts and played football together, and peace found a place in No Man’s Land.

It really is a lovely little book.

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