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Like a virgin... Touchy for the very first time?

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo

Anyone with a semblance of political objectivity would admit that the Nationalist Party has had the upper hand in recent weeks.

The unacceptable delay in the power station project, the jobs-for-the-boys extravaganza, the 'anything goes' building permits template, and that dangerous charade involving the Home Affairs Minister, his driver, his chief of staff and members of the police, is providing perfect fodder for a Yes, Prime Minister script.

Which is why many are asking why the PN is making a mountain out of a molehill of a comment made by Education Minister Evarist Bartolo last weekend.

The seasoned politician compared the Nationalist Party to a brothel-keeper or prostitute who undertakes an operation to have her virginity restored.

For anyone with a sense of humour and with no political blinkers, the minister used a figure of speech or a metaphor to argue that the PN was trying to wipe out its past to appear credible.

Instead we saw a hysterical PN accusing him of being sexist and a vulgar chauvinistic pig and urged the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality to take action.

Steering clear of vulgar language, Bartolo's only crime is that he used a figure of speech (with sexual undertones) to try to make his argument. His mistake? Forgetting that many of his listeners are selectively (and conveniently) conservative.

The PN might have every right to criticise Bartolo on some of his political decisions, but the last time I checked he has consistently been at the forefront of promoting civil (including women's) rights.

For all those accusing him of being chauvinistic, it is worth recalling this is the same minister who poked fun at himself when he appeared on the satirical programme Min Imissu. Oh, and I remember him using sexual metaphors about males that time! Then again, the conservative brigade was out in full force.

The PN cannot try to outliberal the Labour Party and then go into a hissy fit because a minister compares the party to a virgin.

This excessive reaction is even more out of place because it comes at a time when the PN is hardly spoilt for choice if it really wants to take shots at the government. Unless it picks the right battles, the PN risks becoming the same whining party it used to accuse the Labour opposition of being.

Political 'humour' should not be the exclusive territory of l-Istrina when our male MPs go through the tired formula of dressing up as women to raise money for charity. A good dose of (biting) humour will do wonders in a country which takes politics way too seriously.

PS: For real political humour check out Barack Obama's state of the nation addresses.

 

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