God, how naff – we really do get the MPs we deserve

Published: March 22, 2011 at 11:08am

Silvio Parnis's attaparsi caravan without wheels, as it appears on timesofmalta.com this morning/Photograph by Jason Borg

Lots of us watched on television yesterday the Libya crisis being debated in the House of Commons, and we felt so…..envious. The Commons has its fair share of jacksh*t MPs, and we saw that when the spending scandal was exposed, but the rest more than make up for them.

There’s so much to be said for a system in which one candidate is selected for a ‘seat’ by each of the parties, and those candidates then pit themselves only against their rivals in other parties and not also against rivals from the same party.

The system may be less representative of the people, but you know what? It also delivers less dross. Because if the people doing the voting are dross, then under our system in Malta you’re going to end up with so much dross in the legislature as they choose the people who best reflect them.

Also, the Maltese system is designed to put off the best potential candidates, as these are by their very nature not willing to jump through the backstabbing, petty-politicking, small-minded dirty hoops of fighting their rivals in the same party and on the same constituency. So the system attracts mainly those who have this kind of personality rather than what is required to deliver once the hoops have been jumped through and the backstabbing done.

Of course, people will now accuse me of being a fine one to talk given that I helped put Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando on his parliamentary seat (guilty as charged, mea maxima culpa – I will not do it again if the Nationalist Party is mad enough to select him, I promise).

But I am thinking of a different kind of dross altogether – naff dross. Dross that can’t think or talk. Part of the pleasure of listening to a debate in the House of Commons comes from the eloquence and the ability to present views and put questions concisely, coherently and in complete, well-structured form, with the occasional flash of wit.

Any time spent listening to parliamentary debates in Malta gives rise to despair. With the kind of rubbish on offer in the shape of, say, Silvio Parnis, we should be thankful that parliament spent 29 hours debating the divorce referendum question and zero hours debating the Libya crisis. Imagine the distress we would be caused by what could come out of the latter – but still they should have debated it.

I woke up this morning – probably as most of you did – to read this story about Chief Jacksh*t MP Silvio Parnis tal-Labour and his illegal caravan without wheels. What makes it even more painful than the thought of an MP (Labour, of course) using a summer ‘caravan without wheels’ and building it illegally is that it is so bloody NAFF.

It is, indeed, Silvio Parnis all over – Silvio Parnis made wood.

Here’s the story in The Times:

Labour MP builds ‘caravan’ first, asks for permit later
Kurt Sansone

Labour MP Silvio Parnis is unrepentant after requesting a planning permit for a wooden structure he built illegally in St Paul’s Bay.

The one-bedroom wooden structure, which he claims to be a caravan, is in a private yard within the development zone.

Last year the Malta Environment and Planning Authority issued an enforcement order and subsequently Mr Parnis filed a planning application to sanction the structure.

When contacted Mr Parnis said he did not know that erecting a wooden structure “in a garden” required a planning permit.

“At first I thought I did not need a permit and then they (Mepa) informed me I needed one and I applied immediately,” he said when asked whether it was appropriate for him as an MP to seek a permit after perpetrating an illegality.

“Do you need a permit to erect something in your garden? I did not remove it because the application falls under the old Mepa law and it is now being evaluated. Otherwise I would have removed it.”

Mr Parnis insisted he did not carry out construction work but simply “put the wooden structure there”.

The next Mepa hearing on the application is on March 30 although the case officer has recommended a refusal.

The case officer’s report disputes Mr Parnis’s description of the structure as a caravan since it lacks wheels that prevent it from being towed by a vehicle.

“It is, therefore, a permanent timber structure intended for habitation,” the report says, adding that if it had to be considered a caravan it would still be counter to Mepa policies, which state that permanent residential caravan sites will not be permitted.

The structure, which is less than one storey high, has one bedroom with an adjoining toilet, a kitchen and a storeroom.

The case officer report also states that the structure does not have sufficient floor area for a dwelling unit and the fact it was built entirely of wood made it incompatible with the principles of good urban design.

“The proposal does not comply with sanitary laws and regulations in that it consists of a fixed structure in the yard of the adjoining building. The materials used for the structure and its height also do not comply with sanitary laws and regulations,” the report states.

27 Comments Comment

  1. Anthony Farrugia says:

    On a point of order, did he lower it in place with a crane or a helicopter?

  2. Maria says:

    Well, I think we should blame our leaders for not choosing the right candidates. No wonder that our country is in such a mess.

    [Daphne – The ‘right’ candidate to them is one who will bring in the votes, that’s why the mess.]

  3. Maria says:

    Daphne, you are totally right.

  4. Vincent says:

    I wonder what he plans to use it for. Low ceiling and all.

    • Coconut Shy says:

      Silvio’s ‘shed’ is way below the minimum height requirements. Perhaps he bought it off Kurt Farrugia.

      • Vincent says:

        An ideal venue for a Snow White themed party.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        It looks like a Russian or Finnish sauna. And a full-blooded male with such a following of ladies [surely, ‘old hags’ Ed.] will need find the right venues.

  5. Interested Bystander says:

    It’s a f**king shed.

  6. Reporters Missing says:

    AFP, Al Jazeera and Getty reporters and photographers held by Gaddafi’s forces.


    Four soldiers ordered the journalists out of their vehicle at gunpoint. Clark, an experienced foreign correspondent, identified themselves in Arabic as journalists, the driver said.

    They were then ordered to kneel on the side of the road with their hands on their heads.

    Other civilians and ambulances arrived on the scene and were controlled by soldiers who arrived in large number, Mr Hamed said.

    The soldiers then set fire to several vehicles, including that used by the journalists, who were put into a military vehicle and driven away.

  7. red nose says:

    Cannot understand why Gaddafi is being treated with kid-gloves when reading of such atrocities

  8. .Angus Black says:

    Well, he is excused because ‘he did not know he required a permit to erect a wooden structure in his own back yard’

    Sounds like a repetition of the one who said that ‘he did not know that he had to report to customs and Port Authorities that he was berthing near the Tunny Net to discharge cargo’ when importation of just about anything was prohibited without paying hefty duty and without having first made a dozen applications.

    And both happen to be Labour MPs warming their seats, luckily on the Opposition side.

    • C Falzon says:

      “when importation of just about anything was prohibited without paying hefty duty and without having first made a dozen applications.”

      You forgot to mention the compulsory bribes.

  9. ciccio2011 says:

    “Do you need a permit to erect something in your garden? ”

    Depends what, Mr. Parnis.

  10. J Abela says:

    I didn’t even vote for JPO! I voted for all the others but I simply skipped him. I took that decision as soon as a saw him crying on TV. I didn’t even care why he was crying but that fact alone told me a lot about him. Needless to say, I was right about him. Thankfully he’s not on my conscience.

  11. claire abela triganza says:

    Since when are caravans are placed in yards?

  12. J Abela says:

    The case officer is right. If it’s a structure intended for permanent habitation than it’s a permanent structure irrespective of how it’s built and with what it’s built.

    In Malta we have this odd misconception that if a building is not built out of stone than it’s not permanent. Very primitive thinking, indeed. The rest of the world stopped thinking like this a long time ago. But let’s not go into this.

    The simple fact that Silvio’s shed doesn’t comply with sanitary laws (e.g. it definitely doesn’t have the required 2.75m internal height) should be enough reason not to sanction it. Not even old Mepa laws would have allowed such a structure. Sanitary laws have existed for decades.

  13. El Topo says:

    Is the Aesthetics Board part of MEPA? That structure looks like a bunch of temporary toilets organizers put up for crowded events.

  14. Luigi says:

    Those with a slightly higher than IQ average would be mad to vote for people like SIlvio Parnis. The votes he earns are simply through the nail-filing work he does for old people in his constituency, whom he visits on a daily basis. Then they will remember him in their prayers.

    Do not forget, he is in the same district of Lorry Sant, which means that the votes shifted from Lorry to Silvio. You can see what sort of people vote for him. Tar-Raba distrett. Iddispraw.

    • C Falzon says:

      The thing is that those with a considerably lower than average will tend to vote for people like Silvio Parnis. I suppose it makes logical sense then to capture the low IQ segment of the vote. The vote of an idiot has exactly the same weight as that of a genius – unfortunately.

Leave a Comment