The difference is clear

Published: April 22, 2008 at 5:30pm

While Joseph Muscat banged on about think-tanks, policies wrought by intellectuals, call centres for party people with problems (a good role for Silvio Parnis, who ran a similar show on Super One Radio for years) and his qualifications as an ‘economist and manager’ (which made him sound even more like Sant), George Abela continued to widen the credibility gap between the two.

Here are some things he said at a press conference this morning. You will realise immediately why he appeals to people like me. It’s because his thinking reflects the issues that drove us out to vote PN in the last few general elections.

  • The Labour Party should take part in EU-related matters out of conviction.
  • The Labour Party should attack arguments, not individuals.
  • The Labour media should inform, educate and entertain, and must reflect truth, quality, decency and respect individual dignity even in the case of those who oppose the Labour Party.
  • The Labour Party should build and maintain good relations with all media.
  • The Labour Party will work for good quality education that is free of charge for all, and will ensure that high standards are maintained in state, church and independent schools.
  • Malta should achieve the Lisbon strategy benchmarks as soon as possible.
  • The Labour Party will maintain free quality healthcare while cooperating with private healthcare providers.
  • The Labour Party will be committed to the environment and will build and maintain close working relationships with non-governmental organisations.
  • Labour must encourage private investment in the generation of wealth, and must create an environment conducive to this, by cutting down on bureaucracy and ensuring that the state does not compete with private enterprise.
  • There should be a good balance between direct and indirect taxation, and taxation must not serve as a barrier to private endeavour or initiative.
  • Labour should promote clean, transparent and efficient public administration, and must ensure that taxes are well spent, not least on social services.
  • Labour needs a new way of doing politics. It cannot go on with its siege mentality.
  • We need to work towards consensus, because the politics of confrontation are damaging to the people.

Now ask me again why I think he is the best leader the Labour Party could have, and why the prospect of him as prime minister will not send us all out to fight in the trenches once more.

As he said, the Labour Party just can’t afford to lose another election. I’ll go one further and say that the Nationalist Party can’t afford to win another one. And the country can’t afford to have Joseph Muscat – who belongs behind a desk in some financial services firm – as prime minister. But given a choice between the damage caused to the Nationalist Party by winning yet another election and the damage caused to the country by having Joseph Muscat as prime minister, I’ll choose the former any day. So with Joseph Muscat as party leader, I’m afraid it’s going to be trench-time again in 2013, unless I’ve packed up and left for somewhere nicer.

84 Comments Comment

  1. Uncle Fester says:

    Daphne’s endorsement of George Abela for leader is about as helpful with MLP delegates as the kiss of death!

  2. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Uncle Fester – yes, but that’s the Labour Party’s problem, not mine.

  3. Albert Farrugia says:

    Absolutely agree. George Abela will be a powerful Labour leader. Little by little it is clear that he is making inroads within Labour ranks. Of course his support was low a few weeks ago. According to Alfred Mifsud’s survey, done before Dr Abela addressed a public meeting for the first time, he was scoring low on Labour voters’ preferences. This is quite understandable since the last time Labour supporters heard Dr Abela utter anything political was 10 years ago. But look what happened after he adressed a crowd and talked the way a potential Labour leader talks. The support base is growing. Already he has the support of one Labour MP, Marlene Pullicino. Others will follow. Certainly the other contestants will put in their share. But I think the clear leader is beginning to emerge. The MLP showed tact and courage in giving the election time. One columnist, former landscape painter and embroider turned political commentator last week complained that the election is taking too long! Some signs of worry, there, maybe?
    One point I really liked was his appeal for consensus. And this is were he can begin to attack deeply into the Nationalist myths so craftily created. I hope no-one is expecting consensus to mean the Opposition taking a good sleep for 5 years! Those who think that way are so, but really, SO wrong! Consensus does NOT mean, for example, putting Malta in Partnership for Peace without even consulting the ELECTORATE, let alone the Opposition! Or trying to offer the Opposition the bait of nominating the Speaker of the House, thus giving the Government on a plate a TWO seat majority! U mela le…..

  4. Albert Farrugia says:

    One also notices, in his programme, continuity with what the Labour party campaigned for in the past. Notice his emphasis on Malta complying with Lisbon Agenda stadards…one of the main issues on which the MLP laid an emphasis in the last election campaign. The same goes for his statement that “The Labour Party will work for good quality education that is FREE OF CHARGE FOR ALL (my caps), and will ensure that high standards are maintained in state, church and independent schools.” This is continuity with one of the main issues of the MLP in the 80s. And it seems to be still relevant.
    He says that the MLP media should “respect individual dignity even in the case of those who oppose the Labour Party.” In this he might make One TV teach a lesson or two to the PN media machine. We remember how citiziens who were using their right to attend an MLP activity, but who maybe were rather unphotogenic, ended up being zoomed-in on NET TV news. Or they way certain editing is done. Yes, as a matter of fact, this last point I really like.

  5. H.P. Baxxter says:

    Albert, you’ve swallowed the MLP myth about PfP hook, line and sinker.

  6. Francis V says:

    @Albert Farrugia
    Just two points:
    1) GA said that “the politics of confrontation are damaging to the people” I think this excludes the no to everything approach adopted till now by the MLP. No one WANTS the opposition to be asleep, but no one wants them to act agressively and find fault with everything either.
    2) Education is free for all already, and the PN have not done anything to change that because they agree with it. GA did not say he was going to force the Indpendent Schools to be free, and I am sure he has no intention. So what’s your point?

    The reality is that GA is so reasonable and forward-looking that he does not appeal to the staunch laburisti who want a leader that will satisfy their desire to deliver “il-gvern taghna” and who is constantly conforntational and aggressive. And this is the pity for Malta.

  7. Albert Farrugia says:

    Exactly, Francis V, George Abela is in the best position to bring about national reconciliation in this country. Something that the PN promised way back in 1981, but failed dismally. National reconciliation does not mean that the Opposition does not oppose. On the contrary, it might mean that if need be the Opposition opposes as strongly as it has ever opposed. If the Opposition believes that what it has to offer is better than the Goverment’s it will leave no stone unturned. But, of course, this should be done with respect to the dignity of the adversary. We know how sometimes politicians from the opposite side are likened to animals, be it dogs or poultry. It is not the MLP media who do this, by the way.
    As regards education. Well, George Abela, as quoted by DCG, put as one of the points of his programme “good quality education that is free of charge for all, and will ensure that high standards are maintained in state, church and independent schools.” I myself am not sure what he means by this. What I KNOW it means, is continuity with a concept introduced by LAbour in the 80s.
    As regards your comment about staunch Laburisti, Francis V, I rather think that you are beginning to feel uneasy that Abela IS gaining support.
    There seems to be some running thread in George Abela’s “supporters” in this blog, that he will be a sort of semi-MLP leader, who wont “really” oppose the PN. It is being rumoured that he and Dr Gonzi are practically bosom pals. It seems that some are supposing that with George Abela as Leader of the MLP, it will be basically the “death of politics” in Malta. That the MLP would fuse within the PN and thus form one happy nation under Gonzi. Ughhhh!!

  8. Matthew Caruana Galizia says:

    Albert, I think he was referring to both, but the emphasis was on Super One. They were responsible for that faux drama at the University. And, along with the headline news, they inserted photos from my Facebook profile of me and my girlfriend on a night out in Paceville two years ago, and more personal photos of some of my friends, including an English student studying in Malta whom they described as ‘dik li qiegheda tohrog ma hu dak li organizza d-dibattitu fl-Universita.’ You can see their ridiculous thinking: ‘eeeeh! Dawk il-hbieb tal-hbieb’, but if they were going to get that convoluted, they should have mentioned that, the Maltese incest pool being the way it is, one of the people in the photos that were broadcast has a sister who is going out with the managing director’s son, a certain Mr Vella-Haber.

    Let me emphasise this point, because I sometimes have trouble believing it myself: the Malta Labour Party broadcast, nationwide, personal photos ripped from a private person’s Facebook profile. By picking on private people they only serve to galvanise them against their cause, whatever that might be.

  9. Albert Farrugia says:

    First of all you should know that whatever is put up in a public forum, in this case Facebook, is by definition, in the publi domain. Whatever one puts there, is put by the individual, because he so wants. If you were unaware that what is put in Facebook, or wherever on the internet for that matter, is in the public domain, you are now wiser. So many people put in pictures of themselves even in, lets say, “unwise” poses. They should not be surprised that what they put in there is then used by others, as they think fit. This is not like stealing someone’s secret diary. It is important that our young people are IT users, but it is even MORE important that they are IT SAVVY. As soon as you publish you photo on Facebook, or wherever, you lose your ownership of that picture.

  10. Matthew Caruana Galizia says:

    Albert, don’t patronise me, I have held jobs in IT since I was 16 years old, but that is beside the point. I couldn’t care less that the photos are publicly available. What I do find disconcerting is that the Malta Labour Party thinks that a private person’s photos are somehow fit for nationwide broadcast. It just shows how petty and small-minded they really are.

  11. Uncle Fester says:

    Matthew – I understand your feelings but then again you are the son of a controversial public figure and as such your privacy rights are not equivalent to those enjoyed by other people. You have a diminished right to privacy.

    P.S. next time don’t use the “f” word within range of a camera or microphone especially if brandished by a reporter from a party that your public figure mother opposes, especially not during election season.

  12. Matthew Caruana Galizia says:

    How many times do I have to say this? I couldn’t care less that my photos were publicly available, otherwise I wouldn’t have put them online. The problem is with the Labour Party trying to behave like Big Brother by publicly mocking private citizens, but failing in that respect and instead coming off as cheap and crass.

    You are mixing me up with my brother.

  13. Albert Farrugia says:

    but they ARE broadcast nationwide when they are on Facebook. I suppose you have read a contribution by Fr Joe Borg saying that he noticed that university students get their information nowadays much more from the internet than from TV! Which means that if something is on the internet it being “broadcast” more than if it were on TV…
    And I know what I am saying. Young people have embraced this “Facebook” culture so wholeheartedly that they are not giving it a thought to be careful….only when its too late. Mhux kull ma jleqq deheb, Matthew. The older you get, the more you will understand this.

  14. Matthew Caruana Galizia says:

    If no one here can understand that it is not acceptable for political parties to bait private citizens, then the situation is even worse than I thought it was.

  15. Matthew Caruana Galizia says:

    Albert, again, please stop patronising me. The problem isn’t that my photos were made publicly available – that was my intention in the first place. The problem is that the Malta Labour Party thinks that it is acceptable to bait private citizens.

  16. Albert Farrugia says:

    Unfortunately, Matthew, Maltese society has grown immune to the way political parties bait private citizens. I am sure you know that the political parties, when voting ends in an election, receive direct from the Electoral Commission the list of persons who did not vote. One small example, but which shows a lot that in Malta we do not have a democracy in the Western European sense…we have a local concotion of “party-ocracy”.

  17. Corinne Vella says:

    Albert Farrugia: You are completely mistaken about the loss off copyright through online publication. What you really should have said was that one loses complete control over one’s copyright by publishing on the Internet, leaving one intellectual property open to unauthorised use by unscrupulous individuals with dubious agenda – which is what l-Orizzont did when it published that ridiculous story on its front page.

  18. Corinne Vella says:

    Albert Farrugia: You claim to know what you are saying but your words prove that you do not. If young people get their information from the Internet, then they know it through experience and do not need to learn that fact from anyone else. It is only those who are out of synch who get that sort of information second hand. You cannot teach the Internet generation about IT culture, though it seems that you have much to learn from it.

    The objectionability to that absurd ‘news’ story plastered on a paper’s front page is not that it was placed in the public domain, but that it was a) not a news story at all, b) the people in the pictures were private citizens and not public figures, c)the reported ‘facts’ were incorrect and d) the act subordinated the rights of private citizens to the whim of a political party’s agenda.

  19. Uncle Fester says:

    Investigative journalists bait their subjects – that’s life. It’s up to the subject whether to rise to the bait or not. You and your brother rose to the bait. Your mother did not. She sat through the baiting stony faced and silent – doesn’t make for good t.v. so her reaction got no coverage your reaction got plenty because it was entertaining.

  20. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Uncle Fester: are you insane? Since when are the adult offspring of public figures rendered public figures themselves by dint of their parenthood? Do you have a clue what any of the children of your government ministers look like? MP’s children? Would you consider invading the privacy of Marta Sant because of her father Alfred? Would you applaud if the Nationalist Party suddenly began hounding Marta (who is my son’s age, incidentally) with a television camera, or broadcasting her personal photographs and information about her on Net News?

    Or do you come from that backward line of thinking that holds us as extensions of our parents?

  21. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Albert Farrugia – I think you will find that I know a little bit more about communications than you do. This is what is meant by ‘the medium is the message’. There is a world of difference between a 22-year-old PRIVATE CITIZEN placing his photographs on Facebook and the TELEVISION STATION OWNED BY MALTA’S GOVERNMENT-IN-WAITING broadcasting those same photographs threateningly on its evening news, then repeating them on a roll at every opportunity: chat shows, discussion programmes, advertisement clips…

    What you have there is the second most powerful organisation in the country bullying two private citizens, one aged 22, and the other aged 19. And I have no doubt whatsoever that this shocked and infuriated many people. I know that I would have been incandescant with rage had the Nationalist Party used its massive machine to bully private citizens just because it doesn’t like their parents. This is a purely Stalinist tactic, and if you can’t see it, then I’m not surprised you vote Labour – really, I mean it. Nor am I surprised that you supported the ghastly regime of the 1980s, if you can’t see how dangerous this kind of behaviour is.

  22. Matthew Caruana Galizia says:

    Uncle Fester: You are mistaken – those people are not just ‘investigative journalists’, they are representatives of a major political party, and I did not ‘rise to their bait’. Nowhere else in the civilised world are private citizens with no political or celebrity career baited by political parties.

  23. Meerkat :) says:

    Oh so Albert Farrugia has found a new ax to grind now has he? The internet culture… Not too sure if Fr Joe Borg relishes your citation Mr Farrugia… it’s a tad (let’s say miles) way off the mark. What happened to your baby PfP? Threw it with the bath water?

  24. kenneth Spiteri says:

    @ Albert

    So you didn’t get what MCG was explaining to you in plain English.

    Incredible….hey please continue vote Lejber ta’ don’t you ever dare vote PN thanks…hehehe

  25. MikeC says:

    @albert farrugia

    Your statement about free education at church schools is incorrect. I will assume that you are misinformed, rather than deliberately misinforming those who are not old enough to remmember.

    It is the PN government of the 1960’s which started the process of making private schools free by creating a system of annual grants increasing year on year until they would be completely free. It is the MLP which first reduced these payments and then stopped them altogether, subsequently passing a law confiscating the church’s property in order to pay for the schools.

    It was the PN government after 1987 which entered into an agreement (instead of that totalitarian law) to take over the church’s property and manage it to use the income generated to subsidise the church schools.

    The MLP has absolutely no merit at all in this issue. Its only contribution was confrontation, misery, hearthache and the diversion of energy away from more useful and

  26. Meerkat :) says:

    @ Albert Farrugia

    Since you seem to be so knowledgeable about the internet culture this must be your FB page…

  27. MikeC says:

    as i was saying, more useful and productive issues :)

  28. Albert Farrugia says:

    Well actually this internet thing was a digression. I suspect, infact it was planted on purpose to derail the discussion about George Abela. It seems to me that it has become PN fashion to sort of make people believe that Labour voters are not internet-conscious. The reasoning is: internet is trendy, MLP people not interent conscious, therefore MLP not trendy. This is of course hogwash, but repeated enough, it might stick! I mean, Meerkat, why would Fr Joe Borg not “relish my comment”, when all I did was quote him? And I never had a baby called PfP. You make it sound as if I have an axe to grind with INTERNET CULTURE?? Are you crazy? Maybe still drunk with the wine of victory or what? I just said that when people put up their things on Facebook-like sites, they should be educated on what this really means.

    [Moderator – Planting conversations? Please, if we weren’t ready to discuss then this blog wouldn’t be online.]

  29. Uncle Fester says:

    Wow, chill out everyone! That includes you Daphne! I don’t condone the tactics used by One T.V. or any other tacky journalistic team trying to bait a subject. I’m just saying that’s life – learn to handle it better especially if you happen to be the son of a public figure who engages in scathing (if entertaining commentary) who is attending a public event. Marta Sant is to a limited extent in the public eye so it would not suprise me if she came under media scrutiny if she did something a little out of whack. I am not totally up on the facts of what Matthew is talking about and may be confusing it with a clip on you tube of one of your sons (I thought Matthew was the one) gesturing at a Super One Camera and mouthing the “f” word. The young man rose to the bait. He shouldn’t have. What’s there to discuss?

    [Moderator – I think the point you are missing is that these aren’t ‘journalists’: they are representatives of a government in waiting. I don’t think NET would ever publish photos of Martha Sant retrieved from Facebook, because the people who run the station are not crass and simple-minded. The harassment and intimidation of private citizens by political parties may be normal in Malta, but it isn’t in the rest of the civilised world.]

  30. Amanda Mallia says:

    Uncle Fester – And you carry on proving just how ignorant and brainwashed you are, addressing Matthew Caruana Galizia as if he was the one harassed by the Super One crew, TV station and Labourites in general re that infamous university incident, despite being told SEVERAL times that it was not him, but one of his brothers – another private citizen at that.

    Go dig a hole, Uncle Fester, or retire back to you grotto.

  31. Amanda Mallia says:

    Albert Farrugia – You said “Maybe still drunk…”

    I wouldn’t go down that road if I were you, I am sure that several people could come forward with stories / footage of a prominent Labour person who was often, you know …

  32. Meerkat :) says:

    @ Albert Farrugia

    Of course you misquoted Fr Joe Borg. You mentioned him in the same breath as defending Super one’s total abuse of ‘journalistic’ power.

    And no, I am not crazy. I am very level-headed and so I can say things calmly without lots of !!!???

    As for planting conversations you’re straight from The Lives of Others movie. If you havent seen this film, I suggest you do. It’s about the last years of the Stasi.

  33. Amanda Mallia says:

    If Labour like “hot” stories about relatives of prominent people, then maybe they should publish the one of a certain Labour MP’s sister (herself a prominent person) and that PN candidate …

  34. Uncle Fester says:

    Conceded,their journalistic tactics are questionable. It was election time, they set out to get Daphne to rise to the bait. She didn’t, her son did. They probably weren’t expecting a reaction from him. Once they got it and it was the best they were going to get they exploited it. Baptism of fire for the young man. Welcome to sound bite politics. He’s a big boy, he’ll get over it.

  35. Meerkat :) says:

    @ Albert Farrugia


    As for the drunk jibe, I am replete with all the hogwash you spew

  36. Shannon Andrews says:

    Albert Farrugia – You said “Maybe still drunk…”

    Gooooooooonnnnnnnnnziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!! Illlllllllll-Prim Ministruuuuuu Goooooooonnnnnziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!

  37. Albert Farrugia says:

    Political parties harass, if we want to use that word, anyone and anything whom they consider either (A) to be a threat or else (b) an asset towards their one and only quest, that is, to win votes to win an election. When a citizen, call him a “private” citizen if you like, happens to fall in either of these categories, whether acting consciously or not, he will be in some way harassed. I dont know what happens in other countries. But one must remember that in Malta we are really one big extended family. We know each other. This proximity we have towards each other will always have an effect on Malta’s political playing ground.

  38. Albert Farrugia says:

    @Amanda Mallia

    ..oh well…that should not be taken as an insult. I myself was hoping to get drunk by the wine of victory :) Lucky who is! I am just wishing my binge will be so much greater next time round. :)

  39. Matthew Caruana Galizia says:

    Albert, it is not normal for political parties to systematically harass teenage students.

  40. Amanda Mallia says:

    I am not – and would not like to be considered – a member of your “big extended family”.

    Having said that, my nephew – the very same young man harassed by Super One – is a cousin (albeit not a first cousin) of Marta Sant from both his parents’ sides of the family. So, by your reasoning, any antics or misdemeanours by Marta should be reported by Super One to get at Daphne, right? Or Net should have reported that incident concerning my nephew to get at Alfred Sant because she is his daughter’s cousin, right? Wrong, Albert Farrugia.

    As many Labourites do, you seem to think not with your brain. Silvio Parnis would be so pleased with you, given his latest article!

  41. Tony Pace says:

    Unfortunately, and it is so sad to admit it, the Labour party cannot even spell crass let alone know its meaning. They think it means hamalli, but actually as you know, it goes deeper than that. These people have so much bile in their system it gets in the way of their objectivity.

  42. lino says:

    your reasoning is PATHETIC!

  43. the political parties, when voting ends in an election, receive direct from the Electoral Commission the list of persons who did not vote.
    I often wonder what the parties do with that info.

    Will the opposition go all out to woo them ?

    Will the winning side blacklist that person who normally votes for them and make sure he doesn`t get any favours, contracts, appointments, promotions etc or do they go the other way giving them whatever upset them in the first place so that next time he will surely vote for them.
    And will they try and approach those who normally vote for the opposition and try and win them over ?
    I liked the phrases Pink and Pale Blue in referring to those who the Parties felt could be influenced.

    I can imagine the parties reading these lists and going over them with a fine tooth analysing them ad infinitum.

  44. Adrian Borg says:

    @Albert Farrugia
    I refer to your earlier posts when you said that “There seems to be some running thread in George Abela’s “supporters” in this blog, that he will be a sort of semi-MLP leader, who wont “really” oppose the PN.” and “Well actually this internet thing was a digression. I suspect, in fact it was planted on purpose to derail the discussion about George Abela”.

    I assure you that both are myths. An effective opposition is neither a passive one nor an agressive. It is one that is able to intelligently distinguish those issues where it should co-operate and those where it should oppose. It would be nightmare scenario were it to happen that the PN and the MLP become indistinguishable.

    Secondly, genuine PN supporters are not worried if George Abela wins the leadership of the MLP. He will surely be a worthy opponent to Gonzi, and if he proves to be the better in the contest may he win. At least we will not be worried that with him as PM the country will go to the dogs.

    I think the point Francis V made in his post was that the laburisti do not want a leader in the style of George Abela and I agree. If they did why would they have voted for Sant and not Gonzi in the last election? The fact remains that GA will be attractive to the uncommitted voters (or “floaters”) and the unhappy PN voters, and it is these people that can win the election for the MLP. I do not think that any of the other leadership contenders, especially Joseph Mifsud, come close.

    I also hate all this “reverse psychology” talk. Does anyone really believe that the MLP delegates are so stupid that they will not vote for GA simply because the PN voters are praising him? I repeat the issue is whether he is the type of leader they want, and he isn’t he just does not fit their mould. That is why he cannot win.

  45. Corinne Vella says:

    Matthew: To people who think like Albert Farrugia, that sort of behaviour IS normal. They confuse the term with ‘acceptable’. All sorts of unacceptable behaviour were normal under a labour government and all sorts of acceptable behaviour are now normal. Albert Farrugia’s thinking can’t assimilate those facts or even identify the difference. Maybe that’s why he feels threatened by the thought of George Abela as MLP leader. Abela is too acceptably normal to fit Albert Farrugia’s way of ‘thinking’ so that’s thrown him into confusion.

  46. Corinne Vella says:

    Adrian Borg: “Does anyone really believe that the MLP delegates are so stupid that they will not vote for GA simply because the PN voters are praising him?” Apparently they do. And apparently you haven’t read the paranoid and suspicious comments spattered across the ‘will he or won’t he’ debate about George Abela’s leadership attempt.

  47. Adrian Borg says:


    You may be right about the delegates, nothing should suprrise me about the MLP! My point is that they won’t elect GA mainly because he does not fit their image of what an MLP leader should be like.

  48. David Zammit says:

    To be fair – you need to read the real Maltatoday article not the Maltarightnow interpretation which is full to the brim with spin.

    In the Maltatoday article they simpley asked Sant which was the correct version of the 1997 events – Gorg Abelas or Gorg Vellas and he said Gorg Vellas. He in no way backed JM or rubbished GA directly.

    The conclusion that Sant is backing JM because he said that GV had said the correct thing about 1997 is totally the interpretation of Maltarightnow which obviously can’t be seen as the true correlation of the truth.

    On whether Sant had any right to answer Abela in the media well lets put it this way – since Abela decided to give his version publicly and he directly mentioned Sant I see no reason why Sant cannot answer back in the same media.

    After all i’m sure Abela didn’t mention that event to boost his chances now did he….
    So Sant is not damaging anyone’s chances by simply answering back…

  49. Jason Spiteri says:

    I’ll say up front that I’m as convinced GA would make for a better politician than any of the other contenders as anyone in here, but I can’t resist commenting:

    “Labour should promote clean, transparent and efficient public administration, and must ensure that taxes are well spent…The Labour Party will be committed to the environment and will build and maintain close working relationships with non-governmental organisations.”

    Actually, GA (through his practice) has already been putting into practice the ‘working closely’ bit, albeit with quite-governmental organisations – so much so that in spite of an appeals court judgement a few years ago that it was all shabbily done, one of his partners – at the cost of quite a few score thousand of tax payers’ liri per year – effectively removed the need for this particular authority’s head of legal unit (the chief justice’s brother, to jog some memories) to report for work. That’s one area where he wouldn’t need to be PM to save us some taxeuros…

  50. SB says:

    GA is 60.

    “If a 60-year-old man gets run over by a bus, the television news tells us that it happened to a ragel anzjan”

    “Next year, he will be officially classed as elderly, eligible for both a Kartanzjan and a pension, but he continues to tell us that he is young and thrilling”

    “This is clearly ridiculous, but nobody is allowed to say so. So let me be the guilty party and say it myself: this is an old man we are talking about”

    Well, to avoid being accused of plagiarism, the above thoughts are not mine but DCG’s!

  51. David Zammit says:


    Good point – I personally don’t think that age is an issue in either cases but I’d like to see what DCG has to say about this blatant use of two weights and two measures….

  52. cikki says:

    Daph, have you seen Maltastar’s “Let’s not forget”?

    [Moderator – I did see one of their headlines: ‘Iglesias regrets small penis’]

  53. SB says:

    To make things worse, GA is aspiring of contesting the general elections at 65 years of age. What will that age translate to? Xwejjah?

    Having said that, I believe that GA is a valid candidate and he is the second favourite on my list.

    [Moderator – His ideas are forward looking, and unconcerned with the micromanagement of the Labour Party, and that’s all that matters. At least we won’t have to worry about him running away with Dr Licari’s Russian bride.]

  54. David Zammit says:


    The fact remains that many media pundits saw it fit to point out that Sant was too old – why not the same treatment on this issue with Abela? This has nothing to do with their ideas – it was clear that Sant’s age wa the issue

    [Moderator – The issue with Alfred Sant was different. He is a man who dragged his party through the longest succession of electoral defeats in the history of the country, and with each defeat the determination to become prime minister grew – not out of conviction, but out of selfishness and the desire to prove something at all costs.]

  55. Corinne Vella says:

    SB & David Zammit: George Abela presents himself as mature and experience. He does not pretend to be ‘young and thrilling’. Alfred Sant was the one stuck in that particular rut.

  56. SB says:

    @Corinne Vella

    I am by no means trying to defend Sant. My intention was to put what I regard as a flawed argument, to discussion. The thing is that if GA is elected as leader of the MLP and wins the next general election, we would have a PM with a tattered Kartanzjan, using DCG’s line of thought.

  57. David Zammit says:

    If GA was seperated she’d probably say that he was a visionary while in Sant’s case she said in this blog that he abandoned his wife :P

  58. Adrian Borg says:

    A nugget from Maltastar “Let’s not forget”

    “I am not referring to the papers’ ‘Penny Opinionists’. Of course, such self-floated creatures, as Daphne , to give one particular example, have the right to express the evil that is killing them from the inside, day after day. One day I’ll find some time to try in helping this ‘self-floated creatures’ in finding the right medicine to help them overcome the ‘evil’ inside them, that is killing whatever is human instincts inside them, if they have any left , anyway. I’ll surely try even when I know very well that the evil inside them is so deep rooted.”

    Aside from the awful grammar I am still struggling with the definition of “self-floated”. I conlcude it must be “minfuhin bihom innifishom” which would translate to “swollen with themselves” (sic)!

    [Moderator – Do you think it was written by Anglu Farrugia? Then again, it does use a lot cliches from the elve (sic) comment generator, like ‘arrogance way’, ‘JPO saga’, ‘biased media’ and ‘disgusting behaviour’.]

  59. Edward Clemmer says:


    60–“old” is relative. Alfred Sant, George Abela, and myself. It depends. In a US parallel, we now have Hillary Clinton, also the same. Then there is John McCain, the eventual Republican nominee in his mid-70s. Once upon a time there was Ronald Reagan. Or there is the possible Democratic nominee, Obama, closer in age to the MLP’s JM.

    Age is not the relevant criteria, but the age of one’s policies might be, if they are anchored in untenable and intransigent positions. The other relevant criteria is experience and good judgment, along with constructive policy. For the MLP in Malta, I only see one plausible (rational) choice, and he happens to be 60.

    By that choice, the nation gains, even if the PN should lose in the relative short-term. Everyone gains, if it is possible to consider alternatives to “only one way to vote.” Wouldn’t it be nice, for a change, to have a truly free vote? There are no degress of freedom if there is only one possible choice.

    And democracy in Malta is strengthened by having alternatives not biased by their roots in emotional allegiances, self-identifications, or personal histories of socialization linked to internalized and identity-foreclosed parental values.

    Now this would be a mature development for any democracy. Personal autonomy, free at last! [We do not mean Libertarian, here.] Oh yes, and assuming the personal responsbility to deliberately consider what the alternatives may be for one’s choices! There are, unfortunately, some who always would prefer to be told what to do, rather than have to examine one’s choices.

    There are followers and there are leaders. If I translate these thoughts to the choices MLP delegates or also possibly MLP members will have to make soon, the outcome depends upon the maturity of those decision makers. The outcome will indicate how politically mature the MLP may or may not becoming. Age has nothing to do with it.

  60. cikki says:

    Actually this isn’t about a small penis, its about a small toby jug calling Daphne evil…

    Also, wrong blog but an e mail is circulating with pervert’s name , details and photos

  61. SB says:

    @Edward Clemmer

    I agree with you that age is irrelevant. In fact, I made it clear that the thoughts expressed above are not mine.

  62. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Cikki – as luck would have it, the Toby Jug from was seated directly opposite me at a formal lunch party recently. Fortunately, I had interesting companions to my left and right, and so could ignore him. But by the time the pudding came round, an argument had erupted. I asked him why he had written a story that blatantly claimed I had attacked him at the university debate when the Super One camera clearly showed me sitting still and saying nothing, and he said that I had attacked him. Unbelievable – a liar as well as everything else. I would have had more respect for him if he had said ‘Yes, it was a pack of lies, but there was an election on.’ Oh, and he’s another one of those who needs to learn how to handle a fork and knife.

  63. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @SB – if Alfred Sant hadn’t been so determined to present himself as youthful (eye-lift, veneer on his teeth, ‘facelift’ tapes that pull the skin up at the cheekbones for public appearances (worn by women with long hair and men in wigs), foundation make-up, Spanish-black hair, I would have said nothing about his age. Fenech Adami was older, and I never said anything about his age, because he didn’t care about it.

    Alfred Sant patently fears age and was determined to present himself as young and in gamba when he is neither. That’s a red rag to a bull where I’m concerned. I absolutely CAN’T STAND men and women who try to act young when they are patently not. I can’t resist bringing out my needle to burst their little bubble, they’re so pathetic. Has George Abela tried to act cool and young? No. Has he tried to hide his age? No. So I have no objection.

  64. rene says:

    ‘It’s because his thinking reflects the issues that drove us out to vote PN in the last few general elections.’

    You make it sound like you are a floater. We all know that you are a PN supporter and regardless who is elected as leader of the MLP, you will continue to vote PN … oh, sorry – GonziPN. Not even mintoff, managed to re-brand the MLP.

    Anyways, why don’t you pick a bit on Joe Mifsud who said ‘’I would have to first consult my wife, and even my spiritual director, because I am a Catholic first and foremost’ when asked whether he is interested for a post as deputy leader.

    I mean, are Maltese politicians all Catholic-fundamentalists?

    Does he seriously take orders from priests?

    thanks for spins. We love you all the same :)

  65. Adrian Borg says:


    “I mean, are Maltese politicians all Catholic-fundamentalists?”

    I think you mean “pseudo-Catholics”! I think he said it so that he pulls on our heart-strings and our reply is “pull the other one”!

  66. David Zammit says:

    Most politicians try to look young on tv – if you remember one of the debates (forgot which one) someone had the bright idea to cement gonzi’s face and fill in all the pot holes and creases and hey presto – there’s your 30 yr old gonzi.

    The irony of it is that other politicians like Joseph Muscat actually try to look old and wise by sporting a goatie, and has recently taken to wearing specs.

    I think in sant’s case the wig was not an age issue. I ‘ve seen pictures of him when he was in his 20s and he already had it. Obviously once you start wearing one you can hardly stop one fine day – you have to keep it for the rest of your life.

    The eyelid story wasn’t true though – if I remember correctly it was denied (it was originally spun by joe saliba in a pn general conference – he made some sort of mocking remark) he actually had to have some sort of intervention on his eyelid…

  67. Corinne Vella says:

    SB: There is no flaw since you present no argument. The issue with Sant was not his actual age, but his attempt to position himself as ‘new’. George Abela does no such thing.

  68. SB says:


    Despite not hiding his age, for you GA is still an old man with a Kartanzjan!

    [Moderator – What’s your point – is there any denying that he is old?]

  69. rene says:

    at adrian borg.

    Well, you can say pseudo-catholic… I don’t mind, but what I mind, is a person like madame pullicino saying that she will vote no to divorce on the grounds of being catholic!

    Basing a social law on the catholic faith is catholic-fundamentalism. Don’t you think?

    I would like to do a survey: ‘Who is into catholicism anymore?’

  70. David Zammit says:

    @Corinne Vella

    So what you’re saying is that GA is not new at all – he is a continuation of the 1996 labour……did you vote labour in 1996?

  71. SB says:

    Of course I’m not denying. But it’s obvious that the way DCG referred to the age of 60 and to the kartanzjan in August were meant to be derogatory.

  72. SB says:

    @Corrine Vella

    The flaw is in the blog above i.e. the fact that old men with a kartanzjan MAY be valid after all.

  73. cikki says:

    Daphne, I heard about your encounter with the toby jug the day it happened! Little pipsqueak!

  74. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Adrian Borg: I think Kurt Farrugia means ‘self-inflated’ rather than ‘self-floated’. Either way, he must have been thinking of Lilos (I know that I’m a little larger than I was a couple of years ago, as Jason kindly noted on Bondiplus, but really….). As for ‘opinionist’ – AAAARRRRGGGGGH! The word just doesn’t exist. It’s coined directly from the Italian ‘opinionista’. The English term is newspaper columnist, or just plain columnist (self-floated or otherwise).

    @Cikki. Of course! Your brother was there. He was standing with our host and the Toby Jug, and when I went in and headed straight for our host to say hello, the Toby Jug was actually stupid enough to hold his hand out when our host said ‘Do you know Kurt?’. Then he was left standing there with it in mid-air when I failed to notice (because he’s below my line of vision). What a prat. Unbelievable.

  75. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Rene – the real flaw in Marlene Pullicino’s argument is that while she claims that she opposes divorce because she is a Catholic, she appears to have no such problem with what the Catholic Church regards as the mortal sin of adultery. Hence, though she is still married to Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando in the eyes of her religion, and will not divorce him because her religion says she can’t, she left him for another man with whom she has lived for the past several years. I can’t imagine what her interviewer was thinking of (or not thinking of) when he failed to ask her this follow-up question. What a bag of laughs, really.

  76. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Rene – I must rush to add that I am not criticising Marlene for leaving her marriage and for living with another man. That’s her business. Our business, on the other hand (and that’s because she is a politician and is now an MP), is the fact that she claims to oppose divorce on religious grounds when she obviously doesn’t oppose adultery on religious grounds, even though her religion regards the latter as far more grievous than the former (after all, you can divorce and never have sex with anyone else again, ever). The sanction against adultery was literally inscribed in stone, if I remember correctly from my own distant religion classes. The sanction against divorce wasn’t.

  77. rene says:

    Personally, I do not like your views (but it is your blog after all), it is biased, to say the least. But on Marlene Pullicino, I totally agree with you – hypocrisy … personally, I’m fed up with it.

  78. amrio says:


    Now that’s better! In another note a few minutes I said that I don’t agree with your generalising sometimes.

    Here you’re mentioning a public figure, and calling a spade a spade when exposing Marlene’s ‘two weights and two measures’ approach.

    How can we take these people seriously? Why do our politicians still drag religion in politics to score (they think) brownie points? Marlene may be against divorce on social grounds, but she can’t possibly be against on religious grounds. If I’m an honest-to-God Catholic(which I’m not) and leave my wife, I would strive to lead a celibate life….

  79. David Buttigieg says:


    Actually I believe the Catholics are expressly forbidden from re-marrying and not divorce per se.

    In fact, to the best of my knowledge, Catholics in the U.S. who apply for an annulment are first told to get a legal divorce by the church, though I stand open to correction on this.

    After all the Church simply does not recognise divorce but it is not a sin in itself!

  80. Vanni says:

    People out of the limelight, should not be dragged in, just to score points off their parents/relatives.

    @ Mod, the same should also hold true to Licari’s wife, however. BTW, the fact that you mentioned that she is Russian, could be taken to imply many things, but the two that spring to mind (my mind at least, and no you can’t help what I think, but still) are:
    1) That he couldn’t find a Maltese woman
    2) That there is something wrong with her as she is a barranija.
    The Maltese say, “Tad-dar inhalluhom id-dar” and very rightly so.

  81. amrio says:

    Ooops sorry, my previous entry should go under ‘The difference is clear’… Meerkat would love my mistake…

  82. M. Brincat says:

    Daphne … it’s hard to believe that you and Dom Mintoff … are backing the same candidate … now that’s what I call … great minds think alike!!! ;)

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