The Broadcasting Authority are lying for Sant
They told the press that journalists who are electoral candidates are not allowed into their press conferences, because it’s not fair to give them that added exposure.
It looks like they haven’t been watching their own debates, which means that they don’t recognise candidates. Sitting in the back row of the press benches while Pullicino Orlando was challenging Sant, I could clearly see John Spiteri Gingell, the shaggy-haired candidate for Azzjoni Nazzjonali.
Two weights and two measures – neither Chicken Run Sant nor the Broadcasting Authority chairman objected to that one.
Chicken Run Sant gets Super One to PR his mess
The television is on in the background and Veronique Dalli, wearing spectacles to make herself look more serious and credible, is trying her best to limit her boss’s damage. I wouldn’t do that kind of job for someone who pays me the normal daily rate for working overtime while trying to plaster over his cracks.
Highly edited versions are being shown of Chicken Run Sant running rather than facing his interlocutor. Dalli is wrapping her lips around the words ‘provokazzjoni isterika mid-dentist Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando’. Now she’s saying that her boss stayed ‘cool and relaxed’ even in the face of Pullicino Orlando’s verbal tanks and machine-guns.
Super One edited out the bit where Sant calls for the police and Pullicino Orlando tells him, ‘That’s right. Call the police to beat me up, like they beat me up when I was 16’.
Wig glued on tight
It didn’t help that just an hour earlier, Super One was showing a re-run of Sant’s speech at the St Andrew’s Parade Ground yesterday. His wig was firmly glued to his head in the wind, while the front parts stood up and blew around like a parakeet’s tuft. It wasn’t very impressive. Within two seconds my mother and three sisters were jamming the phone lines, all of us comparing notes. That’s the way it is with women. We’re very interested in hair-styles.
Paired with the demagoguery, arm gestures and deliberate intonation that are modelled on film footage of Adolf Hitler, it made me wish that I too, like the Lion of Change, had a santa tal-Madonna fil-but to give me hope that good can win over amorality. You never know. Sometimes it does.
Massing for war
I didn’t go to the mass meeting yesterday. I stayed at home working, and then watched both mass meetings on television. Lawrence Gonzi had clearly been worn down by Sant’s relentless bitching and mudslinging, and sounded flat, exhausted, tense and a little bit worried. The crowd seemed to have picked up the mood. Sant’s a great one for spoiling the fun. He puts me in mind of one of those negative beings in a Disney cartoon film, the sort that comes looming up to turn the sky dark, so that all the birds stop singing, the flowers wilt, and the hero and heroine are struck down by fear. The spirit of the Dingli Street mass meeting, when Gonzi was on top form, was gone.
There wasn’t much joy on Super One, either. The mad, brooding sense of vindictiveness that reigns over these parades was there again. It emanates from the stage, where a series of foul-tempered speakers with grim faces harangue the crowd and work them up into battle mode. Looking at that red crowd, with its flags on poles, I wondered briefly what it reminded me of. Then I got it: one of those epic historical films where the baron masses his rag-tag army and addresses it from the castle ramparts. The sensation was heightened by all those horns and pennants.
Had Sant urged his army to surge through Sliema at that point, raping and pillaging, they might have just done so. That’s the way he hypes them up – filling them with fear, anxiety, worry that somebody might be taking something that’s rightfully theirs, always reminding them that they’re disgruntled, and of course, never forgetting to give that good old inferiority complex another twirl on the gramophone. And let’s not forget the rage he incites against The Others (‘they’ve got what’s rightfully yours, and they’ve taken it by using corruption, like worms in cheese’). You won’t get a single positive word out of a speaker at a Labour mass meeting. It’s negativity all the way.
Jo Said wants a bodyguard
Last week Jo Said, the man who has been pursuing Nationalist MPs and kissing up to Sant, and who called the photographers in when he joined Alternattiva, wrote to the Police Commissioner asking for protection. He said that he has to pay for private security personnel because he is afraid of Winston Zahra Senior.
Said copied his letter to the media, which is how I got to see it. Ah, but here’s the thing: he didn’t just stick to the Maltese media. He also sent it to CNN, Sky News and the BBC – and to the European Ombudsman. I can just imagine that email arriving in the CNN newsroom. ‘Get Christiane Amanpour now! There’s trouble in Malta.’
That evening I ran into Winston Zahra Snr at a party on board the HMS Illustrious. Unlike the Labour Party, I have no policy on warships, and all the nice girls love a sailor. (The HMS Illustrious was twinned that night with the Three Cities, a great honour, but Labour Mayor Boxall shunned the ceremony in line with his party’s policy on bad manners.) Zahra had already heard about Said’s letter to the Police Commissioner, because his son had told him about it.
‘‘So what did you do to him, then?’ I asked. Apparently, they ran into each other at Heathrow while waiting for a flight to Malta, and Said began bleating on about government corruption, as he and his new playmate Alfred Sant are wont to do. Zahra tried to change the subject: ‘I told him, let’s talk about football, but he wouldn’t let it go.’
So Zahra moved off. Said followed him, still banging on about corruption. Zahra said, ‘Look, I don’t want to have this conversation’, and moved even further away. Said yelled out, ‘You paid a bribe to get permission to build your hotel at Golden Sands!’ Zahra lunged at Said in a rage, grabbed him by the shirt-collar and rammed him against the wall. Then he called for airport security to say that he was being harassed by a strange man. Said scuttled off, got on the plane to Malta, and wrote to the Commissioner of Police, thinking that his story would make the top slot on BBC News.
And now here’s Jo Said again
Did you see him lurking around in the background when Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando tried to confront Alfred Sant at his press conference outside the MEPA office gates? He tries to play the part of Banquo’s ghost, turning up at the feast like a guilty conscience. At least he’s got the hairstyle right.
Today I was sent another of his ‘press releases’, which is doing the rounds. It goes through his trials and tribulations in great and tedious detail, and describes the prime minister as ‘the worst deceitful PM I ever knew in my life’. Funny how all these MLPAD people have forgotten the grave excesses of Mintoff and Karmenu.
In this press release, Said says: ‘I also lodged a report against this Politburo style of governance to the European Union Ombudsman at his Brussels sub-office at the Euro-parliament. I copied Sky News and BBC News with my emails and I wish to have this shown to the public to expose the local regime’s deviousness and extreme way in dealing with dissenters. The local media refuses to publish my happenings (except for the Opposition party’s papers). My reason for going out in public is borne from my pain to see our beloved islands of Malta and Gozo being taken over by the corrupt, by the sects and by the cowboy-clan so shamefully let loose in a population that cannot control them – not even the police – for fear of reprisals. This is happening in what we call a democratic country, under a conservative government and to boot, a member of the EU…..I pray that this ailing society finds the way how to U-turn from this mess. I pray that it plucks up courage to speak out. I yearn for the days when the Maltese children are not brought up in this devious, back-stabbing, corrupt and valueless way of life any more. It is not the fault of the citizens, far from it. It is the fascist regime that is silently and subliminally imposing this mentality on them.’
Fascist regime – hmmmmm. You can tell that Jo Said has just linked up with AD. Those are phrases its people like to use about the democratically-elected government: fascist regime, one-party dictatorship, single-party rule. And reading through that, I can only wonder where Said, who is many years older than I am, was in the 1980s, when this country had been brought to its knees by corruption and violence. He’s obviously forgotten, otherwise he wouldn’t have spent the last few weeks sucking up to Sant, who was president of the Labour Party in those dark days, telling him how corrupt this government is. Sant doesn’t need any lessons on corruption. He saw quite a lot of it then. And he kept his mouth shut.
You know what? I think Jo Said needs to take up golf.