Dawk tal-parocca ta’ Stella Maris kburin bl-imgieba tal-iljun tal-bidla

Published: March 10, 2008 at 8:49pm

Garlanded Alfred Sant - Malta Labour Party Club St. Paul's Bay, 1 May 2007

When the rats deserted the sinking ship, Michael Falzon was left at the counting-hall to face the music alone. He behaved impeccably, like a real gentleman. Ahna t-tfal ta’ Stella Maris kburin bih.

L-iljun tal-bidla doesn’t understand freedom of speech, his ideas are extremely limited, and he can’t control himself in front of a crowd, giving in to the temptation to behave like the worst kind of Mintoffjan. But his behaviour in the night-time counting-hall, when the peacock ran off to seek the comfort of a mirror, his fellow deputy leader was seeking consolation in his bank deposits, and the Cowardly Custard was nowhere to be seen, Falzon carried the Labour Party’s burden alone and with dignity.

It is not he who should be blamed for not conceding defeat until 0300hrs today, or for leaving the country in a state of tension until Joe Saliba’s announcement at 2130hrs yesterday. As he remarked into one of the many microphones shoved into his face, it was not up to him to concede defeat. He left it unsaid that though he was there to represent the Labour Party, as is one of the party’s deputy leaders, that task belonged only to his boss. And the Big Chicken was too chicken to turn up. Instead he was probably at home with a glass of whisky. And another one. And yet another.

Poor old Michael. Stripped of all the bravado of partisan politics, the promises of a landslide victory, and the arrogance that sometimes comes from being a Very Important Person in Politics, he came through as just an ordinary decent person shoved out to the front by a Cowardly Custard, a peacock and a notary who can’t wait to get back to working on contracts for large land deals, now that his ministerial ambitions have been dashed.

Weighed down by disappointment, he spoke without rancour or bitterness, and explained that the show was over for Labour. He went over to Joe Saliba, gave him a great bear-hug, then crossed to the Nationalist Party’s table and shook hands with everyone there. Then he left, keeping his chin up.

In other words, he did Alfred Sant’s job and was everything that the Big Chicken is incapable of being. I can’t imagine for a moment seeing the feathered one conducting himself with an iota of that dignity.

The spectre at the feast is gone

Some were expecting him to cling on (until he was forcibly removed). Others were expecting a shameless spectacle like those which followed the referendum and the 2003 general election. Instead, Alfred Sant called a press conference – or had it called for him – and announced that he had resigned as leader of the Labour Party, and that this decision was ‘irrevocable’. See the resignation press conference here.

In other words, he is not going to allow himself to be tempted back by popular demand, as he was in 2003. Or maybe, his colleagues have just made it clear and plain that if he didn’t go of his own accord, they would have to kick him out.

The Squawking Chicken’s behaviour contrasted mightily with that of Michael Falzon, who was loyally sitting at his side, giving him the support that he didn’t get last night. He had the expression and attitude of a furious brat who had been deprived of his lunch. His eyes were cold with resentment, his face set like a block of rigid ice. He was as shirty as ever with reporters and getting answers out of him was even more like pulling teeth.

Instead of being dignified in defeat when faced with reporters who were being magnanimous in victory, he was bitter and rancorous, keeping to election mode and talking about corruption, saying that he was at the disposal of the police if necessary.

He still has no regrets

Click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d8kaHwGZkM

When asked whether he does have any regrets now, he said, with an expression of defiance, that he doesn’t have any regrets about being honest and sincere – which are, ironically, the very two qualities that lots of people don’t suspect him of having. Honesty isn’t necessarily about money. Sant is disliked mainly because his politics are dishonest and insincere, but we no longer have to endure that now. He said he might have some regrets about ‘the little things’, but then refused to say what those little things might be. I don’t suppose they include a referendum result.

Somebody else asked him whether, looking back, he wouldn’t have said some of the things he did, and his response was: ‘No. Maybe I should actually have said even more.’

He’ll still be a member of parliament

The Labour Party now has no leader (it is rudderless), and will not have a leader until a general conference is convened and a new one elected. I can just imagine the long knives and the jostling for position, the lobbying and the slandering, that is taking place right now. All I can say is this: may the Big Director in the Sky deliver the party and the country from ex-Police Inspector Anglu Farrugia. We don’t need that kind of trouble.

And just in case you’re wondering, I think that Evarist Bartolo will be just as bad. He’s a snake in sheep’s clothing and strikes me as a crafty ahdar. Those Sliema types might like him, but they’d better pick up on the fact that he sure as hell doesn’t reciprocate the sentiment.

Sant hasn’t resigned his parliamentary seat. He says he may yet consider doing so if it becomes an issue. My own view is that he should. Somebody who has been a party leader for 16 years, and even a prime minister for a brief 22 months, cannot revert to being an ordinary back-bencher. He will never have a ministerial role if Labour is re-elected to government in 2013. That would be ridiculous, and in any case, at 65 he would be too old.

A former party leader/prime minister turned backbencher is a bad idea. Look at the Dom Mintoff experience. Those who cease to head their political party should also give up their parliamentary seat, not just to allow the party to move on without them, but also for the sake of their own dignity.

The power of incumbency

This unbelievable man is determined to carry on with his catchphrases and buzz-words right up until the last minute. Now we know where he was all day yesterday: holed up in his gallinar leafing through his books and papers and trying to find some interesting concept to blame for his electoral defeat.

And he found it: the power of incumbency. Roughly translated, this means that the incumbents of a position like government have certain powers which those who are not in a similar position don’t have (gosh, you learn something new every day). To illustrate his point, he said that in the last few days before the country went to the polls, the MEPA processed lots of permit applications.

Come off it, Clucking Chicken. This wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference, even if it were true. Let’s consider it in this context: Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici as prime minister handed out around 8,000 jobs in his government’s dying day, tacking them onto the public sector payroll and creating a burden for the taxpayer and a problem for the next government for years to come. And did he win the 1987 election? We all know the answer to that one. So much for the power of incumbency – but then we didn’t all go to Harvard.

Alfred Sant just can’t admit that he’s a hopeless loser, with a list of three general election defeats and one referendum hammering in just 10 years. He should have resigned 10 years ago, and it’s unbelievable that we had to wait this long for the inevitable.

Even though his ambitions are dashed, his hopes are trampled underfoot and he’s made a mess of trying to do what he wanted to do, you just can’t feel sorry for him. He’s too defiant, and you can tell that the main thought running through his mind right now is this: the people are wrong.

Tomorrow’s events

At midday, we should have the full result of voting. At 1600hrs, Lawrence Gonzi will be sworn in as prime minister. At 1800hrs, there will be a mass meeting on the Floriana Granaries.

The biggest loser in Maltese political history

This third electoral victory on the trot is a historical first. By default, it also means that the third electoral loss on the trot is also a historical first – and even more significantly, it was the same man leading the party in all those losses. The Nationalist Party, on the other hand, was led by two different men in its three successive victories.

Alfred Sant will go down in political history, just as he wishes – as the only party leader ever to lead his party to three consecutive electoral defeats.

So let’s have a revised biography now, Frans Sammut. ‘Alfred Sant – il-Vizjoni ghall-Bidla’ is a little out of date already.

And the Labour Party had better do something about it

Apart from the 1996 aberration, a government that collapsed after just 22 months, the Labour Party last won an electoral majority in 1976. This means that, when we come to the next general election in 2013, its only electoral majority in 37 years – ALMOST FOUR DECADES – will have been that Alfred Sant fiasco in 1996.

The Labour Party has failed to read the signals. It has failed to pick up the messages. It has failed to understand that it cannot meet with success as the party of hdura, bitterness, envy and negativity. So badly routed and in such great disarray, how can it possibly hope to reform? Well, it will have to. If the Nationalist Party managed to reinvent itself post-Borg Olivier, then the Labour Party should be able to do the same, even if it is considerably less dynamic and good people do not, on the whole, like to be associated with it in its present embarrassing state.

The problem with the Labour Party so far has been that it encouraged the belief, and was in turn encouraged to keep believing, that government is something available to both parties by rota. First it’s your turn, then it’s my turn. That is precisely how Labour supporters think.

One of the main reasons they thought victory was theirs was because they thought it was their turn to have a go, and deserving power had nothing to do with it. Some foolish newspaper columnists encouraged this thinking: ‘Labour deserves a turn at government, even if Labour might screw up.’

Heaven help us.

71 Comments Comment

  1. D.M. says:

    let him bite his lips to say the least..he could have stepped down with dignity…noooo not him..ma tarax..the times of malta reported that he complained that in his opinion PBS did not give MLP enough airtime that is why they lost OMG get a life (not):P

  2. C Gauci says:

    Am I mistaken but from your last post I am led to believe that you suspecting the sacrificed lion to be put to the test of party leadership already? O_O

  3. Vanni says:

    @ C.Gauci

    Nope, more like he was the only one who wasn’t fast enough on his feet (or brain) to scarper. :)

    Or maybe the fella is the only one with los cojones.

  4. Lazzru says:

    Has anyone here read any of Dr Sant’s books?

    I want to know if a comment on the lines of “Stick to writing 800 page novels, Dr Sant” would be accurate or otherwise.

    That said, I definitely wish he would stick to something else rather than politics; maybe his dignity?

  5. Julian Sammut says:

    Yes Michael Falzon did act with dignity and responsibility last night and won the respect of many, no doubt this will come in useful when[if] he contests the post of leader.
    wHAT WAS NASTY WAS THE TOP FRONT PAGE CORNER OF mALTA Today. This showed Michael’s face and the words ” Bad loser ” . Untrue and unfair , why ???

  6. Vanessa says:

    Well said Vanni, Falzon was the only MLP official with the necessary appendages to do the painful deed. And he did it with grace and dignity.

    He would make the grade as a leader. Much better than the previous ones were.

    But that is only my humble opinion.

  7. Matthew Borg says:

    Falzon was admirable yesterday, and he actually drew respect from me as a PN supporter and voter. He was civil, commendable, and was not an embarassment to his party – if only he was like this all the time.

  8. Mark Azzopardi says:

    Falzon did not behave like a chicken as someone else….and he did not put a nasty big smile like someone else while alfred sant was giving his resignation and going home…….now the second one to be sent home is the chicken so he stays smiling at the mirror….or maybe they can give him a new programme on TVM so it would really become MANDRA MALTA then….the programme could be CHICKASON!!!!

  9. Vanessa says:

    I think that Falzon, left to his own devices, can behave impeccably, as was shown. It is only when trust in the middle of the MLP circus, that he behaves objectionably. I wonder how I would behave in that circumstance!

    Let’s give this guy a chance…

  10. Peter Fleri-Soler says:

    Thanks, Daphne. You were great company over the past few days and nights. I fully agree with Matthew Borg – Michael Falzon behaved with great dignity. And I’ll think it next time I see him, even though he’s going to be haunted by his “iljuni” performance for a long time to come! Take care, Mike!

  11. ndal says:



  12. Dave UK says:

    @Julian Sammut

    “wHAT WAS NASTY WAS THE TOP FRONT PAGE CORNER OF mALTA Today. This showed Michael’s face and the words ” Bad loser ” . Untrue and unfair , why ???”

    Saviour Balzan and Michael Falzon don’t see eye-to-eye over some libel suit of the latter to the former as editor of this newspaper.

  13. M says:

    maybe he did an honourable thing yesterday but that is not leadership, it is retreating with dignity. then again it’s their call so if they want to have the best retreat strategies for future then they have an answer :) maltese leaders were borg olivier! boffa! eddie! and now gonzi! ah yes we had another sort of leader too duminku but i guess he prefers to stay with kim il sung and co :@)

  14. bob says:

    Seems that when Michael Falzon isn’t singing he ain’t that bad. I was actually sorry for the poor bloke last night. Well after New Labour and New begining we’ll have New leader. Lets hope the next one DOES give us a run for our money, this constant winning is getting boring ;-) lol. Now Harry has said he will go unless he’s asked to stay, in which case he will consider. Consider what? He’s been a pain in the butt long enough. Anyone want to hear the DNA song? You’ll find it here >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBQVd4kQuaA

  15. jags says:

    Now that the battle of the votes is over, Dr Gonzi needs to start proving himself.

    He has proved to be a great leader and communicator – even today, he found time to emphasis that “flimkien kollox possibli” means including those who voted Labour. Well done Dr Gonzi !

    But we now need to start seeing some action :-
    1) Stop spring hunting now ! – you have won the election without the hunters’ votes, and 5 years is enough time to win them over
    2) Get rid of Jes Mugliet & Toni Abela (still not elected) – they are the mill stones around your neck
    3) Do not dare give Jeffery Pullicino Orlando a post before his involvment in the Mistra saga is proved to be false
    4) Make sure you measure your cabinet by set targets and get ready to change them (not shuffle them around) in 2 years time if they do not perform
    5) Change those tax bands ASAP and let the economy feel the difference – that way the whole population will be behind you and will help you achieve your aims

    Personally I believed you were the one who could pull this election off – and you sure did not let me down. Hope you will not let me down this time.

  16. Graham Crocker says:

    Because of the way he acted ..he drew respect from me too, imma one more “iljuni tal-bidla”-like cock-up .. u daqsekk harist lejh..ghax ghalija ghamel purcinellata b’dik.

  17. incumbency says:

    In today’s explanation of Dr Sant for his last defeat at the polls,I wonder how many of the MLP voters, understood what he meant by ‘power on incumbency’ . Maybe that’s why Dr Sant chose such a difficult phrase, so that no one of his voters dares to understand him. As Usual

  18. Jonathan says:

    It’s now TUESDAY 02.00 am but there is still time for one last dance for dear FREDU – CLICK HERE

  19. Edward Falzon says:


    Michael Falzon kept a staright face even though he was abandoned by his troops. I suspect they all went to their HQ to conjure ways how to save their skin and do a comeback later on. Michael Falzon’s disciples stayed with him in Naxxar.

    As for MaltaToday. Saviour Balzan is campaigning hard for his friend Evarist Bartolo. Hence the enemy of my friend is also my enemy. That’s why he tries to put Michael Falzon in bad light on the cover of MT.

  20. joe micallef says:

    labour united indeed.michael falzon was left
    to face the music(the only way is down)on his
    own.the next morning he looked like a zombie
    during the press conference.of course alfred,
    jason and charlie were in much better shape.
    shame on them!

  21. John Schembri says:

    If someone cares to look back at who were the guys who took over the MLP after KMB , one would find a clique consisting of , Dr Sant (known as L-Akkademja by Mintoff .Mario (who was employed with MDC and won a cash prize for being treated badly at work) , Duminku Fenech now with a good job at the university , and Varist.He showed up lately on TV ‘replacing’ MLP officials on Bondi+ .I almost forgot his face.He will not be the ‘ Krushchov who will denounce Stalin’. The only person I can see is a real Lion from Stella Maris .If he has a pool it shows that he likes to enjoy life , he is a family man with a kid in a church school .So as far as his lifestyle is concerned he looks very normal.I remember when Sant gave the journalists a show around of his house at il-Laqxija Birkirkara when he became MLP leader , I recall the lit kerosene stove( ‘spiritiera tal -pitrolju”) with a pot on it,in his rudimentary kitchen.From what I observe Michael stayed on because he did not want the MLP to continue on this path.He persevered, was patient and hopefully will continue to be prudent, as he was at Ta’ Qali. I hope MLP will not be hijacked by another clique ,whose interests are sinister.

  22. maryanne says:

    Re your comments on next MLP leader, I know Evarist Bartolo from university days. God Forbid! Don’t be misguided by the soft voice and the ‘Tal Muzew” appearance

  23. Mark Mangion says:

    I would add Stefan Zrinzo A too, he and Michael were the only two left at the counting hall…all the others left!

  24. Pat says:

    If the MLP elect Evarist Bartolo or Anglu Farrugia as next leader…they will have another defeat in the next election.

    Evarist Bartolo disgusted me on TV with his talk of ‘gazaza’ and bonzi plus’ and ‘xarabank pn’. If he thinks he is winning votes with this childish display of name calling he is sadly mistaken. A wolf is sheep’s clothing? These are exactly the kind of people the MLP needs to rid itself of.

  25. John Bartolo says:

    They must have the courage and appoint Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi as Leader, he is the only one capable

  26. Gonziguy says:

    The New Beginning of the MLP lies in an election contested between Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi and Owen Bonnici. The winner’s first decision should be to fire Jason Micallef and the Sant menagerie. Tues 11.03.08 at 9.45 a.m.

  27. New Job for Jason tal-Qsari says:

    New Job for Jason tal-Qsari

    It has just been declared that Jason tal-Qsari was offered a new job! A job in which he can excel in his professional skills.

    He has been offered the job to ensure that “anke l-Maghtab iwarrad”. Jason tal-Qsari has a lot of experience in this field, and his professional techniques on the qsari will surely help the flowers and qsari to blossom.

    We all wish him the best of luck in his new job.

  28. Dominic Fenech says:

    Someone has drawn my attention to the fact that I have been mentioned in despatches by one, John Schembri. The information is totally wrong, so leave me out of this fantasy. I was MLP general secretary from 1977 to 1983, before KMB took over, never mind after he resigned. I was never part of anybody’s pack, least of all Sant’s. So, before posing like someone of experience make sure you don’t make a fool of yourself. As for the bit about my now holding ‘a good job at university’, I have had it for 29 years. Other than that the innuendo is too foolish and base for comment.

  29. New MLP says:

    Bring back George Abela and Lino Spiteri PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!! We need these type of people and get rid of the Peacock! He should take the responsibility for this defeat and resign like Sant did yesterday!

    We want a NEW MLP and not some foundation on OLD Faces and call “we are ready to govern”

  30. Eddy says:

    MLP should convince Alfred Mifsud to come back to the fold.
    He’s got the brains.

  31. John Schembri says:

    Apologies for Dominic Fenech , I had the wrong impression . My letter was not well researched, I wrote from what I could recall.I forgot the surname of Mario it is Vella.

  32. Dominic Fenech says:

    To John Schembri. Apology fully accepted. If I had known you were the type to admit to a mistake, I would have been more sedate in my rebuttal. Maybe I should have anyway …

  33. Joseph Micallef says:

    PROBLEM: Next MLP leader

    CHOICES TO FAVOUR PN: Evarist Bartolo, Anglu Farrugia, Charles Mangion, Joseph Muscat, Joe Mifsud, Charlon Gouder, Michael Falzon.

    CHOICES TO FAVOUR MALTA: George Abela, Lino Spiteri, Alfred Mifsud, probably Domnic Fenech (although naturally biased his history lectures where brilliant).

    CONDITIONAL: Ostracize Jason “Plastic Smile” Micallef to Timbuktu or Unilever.

  34. Simon says:

    If Sant declares his support for Evarist publicly, there is no way that someone else will take over the leadership of the party. Remember that Sant and Evarist control the MLP media.

  35. Joseph Micallef says:

    A new concrete overshoe for the MLP:

  36. Eddy says:

    Get Alfred Mifsud back.

    George Abela, Michael Falzon and a couple of other moderate (and brilliant) ones will finally convince Nationalists that MLP has been fully reformed and is a viable alternative Government. I have nothing against Lino Spiteri, but please let’s put the past behind our backs.

    Daphne, you are perfectly right in stating that Governments are not elected on a it’s my turn now, especially if those seeking to be elected are not fit to govern; but having the same Government on and on is not healthy. We need a sound opposition who is ultimately fit to Govern.

  37. Tonio Mallia says:








    AND ……


  38. Hunt for MLP Leader says:

    Alfred Mifsud ??? You’ve really got to be kidding !!!! Worse than a lion in sheep’s cloak. Even his own don’t trust him – he believes nobody is as sharp as he is and hates the nationalists with a real hatred.

    God forbid.

  39. C Gauci says:

    Quoting: New MLP on Mar 11, 2008

    Bring back George Abela and Lino Spiteri PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!

    We want a NEW MLP and not some foundation on OLD Faces _________________________________

    Uhh, aren’t those two you mentioned EXTREMELY old faces?

  40. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    Hunt for MLP leader: you’re very wrong re Alfred Mifsud.

  41. Mario says:

    Oh Lino Spiteri for leader?


    wasn’t he a part of the much (rightly) demonised 80’s regime?

    You make me sick with your pleas for a sound opposition. You do not want a sound opposition.
    And what would a sound opposition (pardon poor pun) sound like?

    Let me take a wild guess…..

    Perhaps like the current PN government?

  42. Hunt for MLP Leader says:

    Daphne, take it from someone who knows him well ….

  43. MikeC says:

    Here’s someone else the country doesn’t need as an MLP leader:


    If anyone thinks the MLP is going to change overnight, the above article says otherwise. Apparently the MLP did everything right and its all those other nasty people’s fault

    Oh, did I say the country doesn’t need him as an MLP leader? Yes, but the PN does, if they want a guaranteed victory in 2013

  44. albert galea says:

    When Labour in the UK suffered consecutive defeats at the polls to Thatcher and then Major, they embarked on a deep soul-searching exercise so as to determine why they were so un-electable. As a result they undertook dramatic and fundamental changes to their actual constitution – removing the left-wing policies and untertakings and secondly not electing a working-class-sounding militant as their leader, but a well-spoken Tory-looking/sounding Tony Blair.

    You may argue that for Labour to get re-elected, they had to give up their socialist soul and become a milder clone of the Conservative Party. Well yes, they did. Nobody wanted old Labour. Nobody NEEDED old Labour in the UK; so it was either change or become a political dinosaur.

    So yes, the MLP needs to move further to the centre in Malta, change some of their feathers and, yes, sound a bit more like the PN.

    Thatcher’s (the ultimate devil for the left in the UK) greatest success story was Tony Blair! She managed to destroy the Left in Britain. Permanently.

    Hopefully the PN’s greatest success in Malta would also be the destruction of the class-hating, left-leaning, protectionist, fearful, MLP and its being replaced by a TRULY modern “Labour”.

    Don’t get me wrong, there may have been a time when Malta NEEDED strong social policies (but not to detriment of everything else, as it was with Mintoff). But today, this Malta, this truly remarkable little state of ours does not need OLD Labour, hopefully ever again. But a strong opposition, that is slightly different to the PN.

    After all the true maturity for any state is when its two main parties are not polar opposites, but vary only by a few degrees east or west.

  45. albert galea says:

    Besides being the first party to win three successive majorities in Malta, am I wrong in saying that the PN are the first party to be re-elected to office after the onerous task of first qualifying, and then implementing, the EURO?

    That would be a Maltese and European Record for Gonzi and Co.

  46. ibs says:

    According to newspapers; “The MLP is expected to have one or three seats more than the PN, which would mean that the PN would need to co-opt two or four MPs to have a majority in Parliament”.
    How is that possible when PN won by 1500 votes?
    Is PN to rule at the grace of MLP?
    In other parliamentarian countries, the government is formed by the majority of seats in the house and that reflects the popular vote.

  47. Alex says:

    Albert, I enjoyed reading your analysis. However you seem to be living in never never land if you think strong social policies are no longer required.

  48. Gakbu says:

    1. Am I the only one who seems to notice a trend in Harry V not being able to run his affairs properly? Failing to make VAT payments when due and, seemingly of his own admission, not being the best of tenants when it comes to the timely payment of rent…

    2. There was hardly any mention during the electoral campaign of the need for some sort of freedom of information legislation. Malta is possibly the only remaining EU Member State that does not give its citizens the right to request the disclosure of information held by public departments and agencies if its disclosure would be in the public interest. This would go a long way to defeating the lack of transparency that reigns across the public sector. Dr Gonzi please take note.

    3. MLP leadership – my views
    Owen Bonnici – too young and inexperienced. Evarist Bartolo – wolf in sheep’s clothing.
    Alfred Mifsud – labourites don’t seem to like him.
    Stephan Zrinzo – possibly but suspect he thinks he’s not yet ready for the job (he’s probably rigt)and would prefer supporting someone else, perhaps Michael F.
    Michael F – he wasn’t Alfred Sant’s best buddy within Labour but he stayed on and tried to change things from within. His behaviour at Trade Fair grounds gained him respect from all. His performances on stage a little less but surely a distinct possibility.
    Joseph Muscat – seems like a sensible man. suspect most moderate labourites also think so. Might we see a Muscat vs Falzon contest?
    Anglu Farrugia – sure he thinks himself fit for the job. I beg to differ, primarily in view of his involvement with the police in the dark ages but also because he’s obviously not the smartest cookie.
    George Abela – doubt he’d want the job unless there’s been a clean sweep of all the Alfred S acolytes.
    Charlon Gouder – and Rita Law as foreign minister

  49. albert galea says:

    Dear ibs,

    The PN, as per our constitution, and not the MLP’s grace, will be awarded as many seats as necessary, so that it would have a majority of seats in the house. Thus allowing it to govern by a one-seat majority

    What is odd, is why the PN agreed to re-align the districts to its detriment when compared to the previous district alignments.

  50. Mario Gauci says:

    answer to ibs:

    Unfortunately it seems that you are unaware or better still, ill-informed in how our democracy works and the constitutional amendments that took place in order for this to occur.

    May I remind you that MLP governed Malta against the wish of the people in 1981 when they only governed through the jerrymondering of electoral districts and lost the popular vote. It seems that your memory only serves you when it suits fit.

    Please go and read some Maltese history books to inform yourself or are you still taking lemon tea and sour grapes!

    [Moderator – I honestly think it was an honest question.]

  51. albert galea says:

    When i say “strong”, I mean strong in relative terms. Malta in the 60s and 70s had HUGE social inequality.

    There were thousands living below a decent level and in poverty.

    Whilst today, there are clearly still people that need a strong social net to fall back on and there are still people who are not enjoying Malta’s developemnt and increased standard of living (and unfortunately there will always be), yet the need is not as revolutionary and dire as it was in the past.

    No society has cracked this utopian objective; how do you keep ALL poverty out?

    And yes, i do live in Never Never Land, I live in Malta!

  52. ibs says:

    There is no need to be sarcastic!
    I just tried to figure out what is written in papers means. I am not maltese, I have not been living in Malta for some years, but i read Daphne’s columns and now her blogg and I am happy for the election results you got!!

  53. albert galea says:

    Let’s stick to Tal-parocca ta’ Stella Maris:

    Michael Falzon

    John Attard Montaldo

    or maybe

    Louis Grech?

  54. C Gauci says:

    Albert Galea – for a moment I thought you were going to include Daphne… :D

  55. Mario says:

    While I tend to agree with some of your seemingly well informed statements Albert I think that people’s perception of a high standard of living is also relative. I mean (and this in no way specifically regards Malta but most if not all Western culture) paying your house loan for thirty years is not what I call excellent standard of living (and I am not throwing PN or MLP into the fray now, but merely the perspective of the ‘civilised’ world as we know it) Most of the time, managing to get by (and I mean getting by not indulging) means you have to work around the clock (often for more than 8 hours a day)

    The way I see it the most basic of needs that should denote a good standard of living are

    1. health (thankfully ours seems in a (oops) healthy state thus far)

    2. Education (I think you will agree that we need some form of tuning in this sector since we are producing loads of graduates but little else)

    3. A roof over my head (situation getting more dire the way I see it.. and it looks like even that monster of world economy that is the U.S is immune to this)

    4. Quality time – do you have any left? Can you vouch for a healthy majority having enough on its hands?

    the way I see it our standard of living isn’t great at all. I don’t think some leftist policies should be entirely swept under the carpet.

  56. Alex says:

    Malta’s development? What direction is this development taking? Quality of life is decreasing? Traffic is increasing. Air quality is going downhill. Pollution related disease is on the up and up. Construction continues unabated. Very little interest in the cultural life of our country. In my opinion there is need of VERY STRONG social policies which protect the citizen from this so called development. Economic growth alone will get us nowhere pleasant. It was very disheartening that these issues were totally ignored in this election. I hate quoting Norman Lowell but these elections were something like exchanging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  57. albert galea says:

    to Ibs

    In the USA, Bush beat Gore with less votes (although the USA is, by definition, a Union of different States, so not the same case as in a Republic).

    Whereas in the Republic of Italy, Prodi won the House with a mjority 0.04% of the votes (similar to winning by 120 vote in Malta) and the Senate (only over 25-years vote) with LESS votes than Berlusconi, but more seats. And could have technically governed for five years had his coalition not been so ridiculous.

    Hence, these anomalies do sometimes happen.

    In Malta this happened in 1981, and the constituion was eventually amended.

    Had AD actually won a seat in the House, MLP would have formed the new government, even with less votes. This anomaly in our constitution must be changed.

  58. albert galea says:


    How old are you? And i do not mean to be patronising. But compared to the Malta of 20 years ago, we have developed light years.

    Yes, i agree the environment, over-construction, immigration, are all very seruious and real issues.

    HOWEVER, we can only afford the luxury of talking about these issues, if we have employment, prospects, education, health-care, security, freedom of speech, freedom of the media, economic growth, contained deficit, low inflation, solid currency, free moevement of our capital, freedom to work anywhere in Europe, etc.

    In 1987 we had none of the above. Today we do. So yes we have developed light years. And we know that we have developed, because the issues that we MUST sort out are no longer the above, but the environment, over-construction, air-pollution, etc.

    All very important, but “developed” country issues.

  59. Alex says:

    I am 34, if that means anything to you. I remember the 80s. I remember them very well although I was still not of voting age. And yes, certain things you mention are now taken for granted in Malta when before they weren’t. But honestly, these “very serious and real issues”, as you yourself call them, are not about to be solved by GonziPN, not would they have been solved by Sant in power. Hooray, we now have “developed” country issues. How exciting to watch as we fail to solve these issues now. Come on! Our lifestyle is unsustainable. It’s staring us in the face. We’re so busy trying to be “developed” we’re are very far behind in aspects of life (mentioned in an earlier comment of mine) which in my opinion are much more important, and are evidence of a truly developed nation.

    I’ll give one example. The Manoel Island project. Here was a superb opportunity to improve the citizens’ quality of life. Manoel Island is an excellent site to develop into a park. I mean a true green park, not like Ta’ Qali. Not only that, such a green area is necessary, especially in such a congested area. Instead, it’s going to sprout high rises. Very original thinking from all involved. Thank you very much. And does the citizen have a right to say no to such a development? Of course not. Because we are a so called developed country. And like all developed countries, it must develop and develop and develop until it implodes.

  60. albert galea says:


    Dont worry about leftist policies being swept under the carpet, the PN are “closet” socialists.

    Of course a strong social net is critical, part of living in a safe and free society is ensuring that nobody is left behind. We must always keep strong social principles, as the PN always have under Eddie and now Lawrence.

    Of course so did the MLP in the past, they made the biggest changes. However, they did not make the poor richer by creating wealth, they simply took from the less poor and burdened the state.

    And as for your comments about mortgages, yes it is tough, but we are lucky to be able to afford to buy a home, even with a 30-year loan. When in many states, most people can only afford to rent.

    We can “afford” to take care of our environment (in dire need) and improve our standard of living, free-time, etc., with economic growth. It’s quite simple and yet very difficult.

  61. albert galea says:


    Manoel Island would be wasted as a park. We simply cannot afford to not use it to generate income. However, at least we can all enjoy Manoel Island, as a promenade, its leisure facilities, its gardens, marinas, that will all have public access.

    Our green parks should be in the limited country-side that we have left, that we must also be 100% defended against construction, illegal dumping and ideally ALL hunting. These would be REAL green parks, nature parks, where nothing is touched and simply left in a real natural state.

    No state in the world would turn a “manoel island” into a simple park.

    And actually our sitaution IS SUSTAINABLE, we will be the first state in the EU to have a balanced budget.

  62. Kieli says:

    New MLP.

    George Abela – yes.

    Lino Spiteri? – Take a look back at the time when each National Budget had a name, specifically that entitled ‘The Year of Employment’… and its consequences. Or perhaps ‘Il-Budget ta’ l-Qawsalla’ – unlike its namesake, the symbol of God’s promise to man of prosperity and better times, that budget brought about storms and discord throughout all strata of society. Sorry, not quite ‘throughout’, a chosen few took shelter in the Ark of Corruption – but only until the spectre of public will that forever haunted them there eventually put an end to that.

  63. David Buttigieg says:

    cooeee Victor Laviera,

    I apologise, who knew I would indeed go to Castille after all as you had suggested. You were right, it was loads of fun.

  64. Julian says:


    I have to agree with Alex. Manoel Island would make an excellent Park and make a big contribution to the quality of life of the residents of the area.

    If the people of Manhattan, that most capitalist of places, can see good reason to refuse to develop an enormous piece of land we know as Central Park – with a value way into the billions – then we can do the same for Manoel Island.

  65. Tony Formosa says:

    Laiviera like Labour’s caretaker leader of the Opposition and those who advocated that ‘a Labour Government is for Labourites’ couldn’t just enjoy watching ‘Gonzi…the man of the people’ re-entering Castille unless he switched on NET TV. Make an effort and admit that in a democratic country the voters picked the best despite all the gerrymandering and dirth that characterised Labour;s campaign. To realise your dream, you have to try much harder. And you have five long years to do it. But till then the present youths will again lead the way.

  66. Alex says:

    Well Albert I beg to differ. Lot’s of countries have parks right in the middle of very lucrative property sites. Central Park in New York would be ideal for development to generate income, but fortunately for New Yorkers they once had leaders with foresight.

    We’re going to balance the budget and live unbalanced lives. As long as the budget is balanced that’s OK though. When the situation will come to a head, I am sure you will change your tune, but by then it will be too late. Or perhaps you’re one of those who stands to profit from the way things are going.

    As for the country side. Country side is country side and parks are parks. They are two very distinct entities and are not related. The little country side we have left must not be touched, as you so correctly said. But if that is all you aim for in terms of ‘greenery’, you are aiming very low indeed. And unfortunately so is our government. Which is why I feel so disappointed.

    Plus, one small thing about the developed world. I lived for a year and a half in the richest country in the world – Luxembourg. A supremely developed country. And one I was very glad to see the back of. One of the highest suicide rates in Europe among teenagers. A cold corporate world devoid of diversity. A centre for financial services, which is what Malta is aiming for now, isn’t it? The capital city is regaled with a spectacular park right in its centre. All prime real estate reserved for trees. We should tear a leaf out of the Luxembourgish book. We already do, but the wrong one.

  67. C Gauci says:

    Quoting John Schembri: “I remember when Sant gave the journalists a show around of his house at il-Laqxija Birkirkara when he became MLP leader, I recall the lit kerosene stove( ’spiritiera tal -pitrolju”) with a pot on it,in his rudimentary kitchen.”

    Puurlleeeze tell me that this isn’t true?!? Spiritiera tal-pitrolju?? For chrissakes I barely even recall the memories of my grandparents (who died in their 80’s thirty years ago) using their spiritiera because they had proudly purchased a proper oven some 20 years before their decease!

    Please tell me that this is a false information? Is it possible that the (fortunately no more) potential PM of Malta still uses a spiritiera tal-pitrolju to cook? Is it documented anywhere online? My husband still refuses to believe!

    If it’s really true, then no wonder he stirred such a storm when the price of kerosene went up…

  68. Julian Sammut says:

    The race is on . A message was doing the rounds of MLP delegates’ mobile phones today asking the ” dear delegates ” quote , to consider Joseph Muscat backed up by Chris Cardona – with uncle Alfred pulling the strings no doubt.
    Michael Falzon may continue to make a fine Deputy. Solid, dependable, hard-working but will need someone to back with more presence and charisma, Louis Grech maybe ?
    Whatever, to move forward with hope of a chance in the coming years , the Labour Party cannot just plant a few new flowers in it’s garden, nor remove it’s weeds, it has to dig up the soil from far below.

  69. pawlu says:

    I agree that AS has done too many bad things to us and most of all to his supporters. Now that he has resigned (I agree he should resign from member of parliament) let us all forget about him. I have voted for the first time in 1996 and voted labour, after the ‘fiasco’ i always voted pn. However i’m looking forward for a new mlp leader now. Maybe 2013 will bring some change to all, and change is healthy afterall

  70. kagemusha says:

    Sustianable life.
    The environment is on the list of the most pressing problems…and I just think about the ever ending increase of cars on the Island. We keep increasing roads…and yet inadvertently encouraging the purchase of new cars we simply can’t keep on with this pace we must find alternative means of transport. For honesty sake and in this I am open to correction it was Anglu Xuereb who conceived the idea of underground-transport.

    Are we in the realms of fantasy …? No. When watching news lately I have seen the Delimara-Marsa tunnel project , the thing that struck me was the huge size vis-à-vis it’s purpose… that of carrying a couple of lonely cables…the rest could easily accommodate underground-carriages…and we are further told that there are more in the pipeline….why not make use of them…this tunnel affair perplexes me.

  71. John Schembri says:

    To C Gauci , we saw the spiritiera tal -pitrolju yes ….on TVM. It was one of his PR exercises, just after being elected MLP leader when he invited the press for a show around his humble dwelling .I , for one was impressed for the ‘simple’ and unsophisticated life Dr Sant used to live .He had LOTS of books on open chipboard shelves .On this ,I ,sort of admired him.
    If Alfred Sant protested against the removal of subsidies , then this must have been a first , where DCG joined forces with Dr Sant .I don’t think my memory is playing tricks on me ,Duminku was a genuine mistake ,but I am 100% sure on the kerosine stove , if only we have a video on YouTube, PBS please oblige, or ToM archives.

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