Never mind the facts, just feel the headline

Published: November 6, 2013 at 9:11pm

Gordon Cordina, son of Labour candidate Peter Cordina

Gordon Cordina, son of Labour candidate Peter Cordina

Karm Farrugia, friend and associate of Dom Mintoff and lifelong Labour supporter - also personal friend and mentor to the finance minister

Karm Farrugia, friend and associate of Dom Mintoff and lifelong Labour supporter – also personal friend and mentor to the finance minister

Michael Briguglio - voted Labour then became Alternattiva Demokratika chairman, now back to supporting Labour

Michael Briguglio – voted Labour then became Alternattiva Demokratika chairman, now back to supporting Labour

so I read the story to learn something from these economists and this sociologist.

Anybody reading just the headline, which is what most people do, would have said to themselves, ‘Wow, economists and sociologists are positive about the budget. So it must be good and who am I to gainsay them.’

And that’s when I found out that the headline was a gross piece of mis-selling. The story quoted THREE PEOPLE:

1. Karm Farrugia, who is now well into his 80s and who was one of Dom Mintoff’s closest friends, allies and supporters;

2. Michael Briguglio, former chairman of the political party Alternattiva Demokratika, who by his own admission voted Labour despite ‘being AD’;

3. Gordon Cordina, whose father Peter Cordina is standing for election on the Labour Party ticket in the EP elections this June.

But did Times of Malta give its readers any of this context? Did it hell.

Karm Farrugia and Gordon Cordina were interviewed as economists and Michael Briguglio as a sociologist. And if you didn’t know the ins and outs of who is who, where they’re coming from and just how political they or their nearest and dearest are, you would actually believe that these are the independent, unbiased views of two economists and one sociologist.

Perhaps Times of Malta couldn’t find anybody else willing to speak about the budget from a professional point of view. In that case, it should have interviewed nobody at all. Or interviewed those three and put them in their political context.

23 Comments Comment

  1. anthony says:

    Economists, Sociologist Positive on Budget.

    Read : Malta Labour Party positive on Budget.

  2. king rat says:

    As M. Thatcher famously told UK labour – you people are very good at spending other people’s money. Wealth is generated by work based on sound principles whilst popular budgets are based around spending other people’s money, a very simple fact that most voters do not wish to see .

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      It’s the old “give a poor man a fish/give him a fishing rod”.

      Hell, even the Nationalists got it mostly wrong. This lot I won’t even dignify with a comment.

  3. H.P. Baxxter says:

    Is there anyone left, outside the PN parliamentary group, who does not support Labour?

    Because in other places this is called totalitarianism, and it worries me.

  4. David says:

    I think all unbiased and level head persons including most sociologists and economists will state that this budget is, at least on balance, a very positive budget. Facts are facts. Even the constituted bodies said as much and many non Labourites will agree. The views of other financial experts have also been reported, expressing similar opinions.

    According to the Times of Malta online poll 53 per cent stated the budget is positive and only 38 per cent had a negative view.

    [Daphne – David, a positive budget with negative consequences is what is known as an oxymoron.]

    • Ghoxrin Punt says:

      David, here are two points to consider.

      The first, the positive aspects are just a continuation of what the PN have been doing over the last few years; reducing taxes as a result of increased employment and investment; increasing grants and assistance as an incentive to invest more.

      Interestingly enough one of the major gripes here from the MHRA was that the government is not leaving hotels with sufficient capital to invest further.

      The negative aspect is where Labour have to actually do something themselves to instigate growth. They have not done this, instead they are running a risk of ruining a very healthy financial services sector.

      Unfortunately only time will tell, and trust me when I say that I pray we will not learn the hard way just how negative the Labour inputs to this budget were.

      The 2nd point is not something that you will hear from economists or sociologists as they do not read the fine detail but only the headline news, it seems. From a discussion I had with a tax expert this morning there are apparently a number of nasty surprises once one reads the detail.

      Again only time will tell as people will only feel these measures once the hullabaloo of all the speech and billboards dies down and we are left to pay the bills….literally.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      You really are anally retentive, David. I hope for your sake that you will take up the legal profession. You’ll find ample scope for your talents.

  5. Victor says:

    With so many flea-brained Maltese people and most of the newspapers backing up this government, not to mention the weak so called journalists, I can’t help but despair about Malta’s situation.

    This website is my only refuge.

  6. Plotinus says:

    Can someone please tell me why there was a very long advert/feature about the budget on TVM just now.

    Is this where my tax money is going? On tents in Pjazza San Gorg and television adverts? Not to mention Konrad Mizzi’s wife’s salary!

    • Dave says:

      It’s a five year election campaign funded by you and me. This was quite obvious when the Facebook ads & twits tweeting didn’t stop after the results.

  7. Aunt Hetty says:

    Will the proposed reductions on the energy tariffs be over and above the already present eco-reduction , or will they be replacing it?
    By the way , is there anything in the budget related to oil exploration in Maltese waters?

  8. C. Fenech says:

    Dear Daphne, it’s very simple, these gentlemen are just saying the truth.

  9. Catsrbest says:

    If this budget had to be named, just as the old labour use to do – a fitting name would be ‘The Budget of White Papers’. Most good incentives and measures are still a white paper – in a study phase.

    • Tabatha White says:

      Agreed. Why publicly commit to something that hasn’t yet been sounded?

      This blog is their only logical sounding board. They use it to test ideas and to judge how best to issue a press release.

      Have you seen anything launched as a fully fledged proposal? That hasn’t changed, and a subsequent press release that hasn’t been shaped and influenced by the comments from this blog?

      Joseph Muscat might pretend to ignore it, but the fact is that this blog dictates to him day and night, simply because his logic is flawed and he needs to know the pitfalls that have been identified so that he can carry on with the rest.

      Therefore the intolerance and threats, both direct and indirect.

  10. George says:

    A newspaper which does not indicate that there might be bias in a professional’s point of view is probably biased itself.

    This is like reporting that a study found no relationship between sugar and tooth decay and failing to mention that the same study was sponsored by the largest sugar producer in the world.

  11. Kevin says:

    Farrugia is an accountant not an economist. He taught me at Uni back in 1987/8. Words cannot describe the extent of his popularity back then.

  12. Gahan says:

    With the €10 increase in road licence fees we would be paying the VAT ex-gratia re-embursement on UK imported car registration.

    Next time you go to pay your licence fee just remember those people queueing near the Mile End Labour HQ who voted Labour to get some €4,000 in their pockets for second hand cars which they bought for an already good price.

    The first one who will gain will be our PM who bought two cars and is leasing his personal UK imported car to himself. Who needs ethics when there’s Labour in government?

    This is Robin Hood philosophy turned upside down – he will be robbing all the car owners to pay ex-gratia the few car buyers.

    Ex-gratia means that this is done by favour, not because the receiver has some legal right.

  13. Neil says:

    Will Joey still be taking his VAT refund on ‘L-Alfa’, now that he’s being paid back (and then some) for it from our taxes? Or will he be shoving it back into the national kitty.

    My question is, of course, rhetorical.

  14. Antisocial(ist) says:

    Ask Karm Farrugia what his views on the illegal heist of the National Bank of Malta were back in 1973 when he was gallivanting with his buddy Dom. You can then weigh up what he says on anything else and decide whether his “opinion” is even worth anything in the first place.

    That said … probably goes for all of the clowns above and their personal agendas.

  15. Lu says:

    JM taking credit for what has been achieved in the past years

  16. Ian says:

    Daphne, I don’t think Gordon Cordina has any interest in speaking favourably of Labour. He never did. If anything, he’s more blue than red, having been quite vociferous about Malta joining the EU and, I believe, he even spoke at a PN mass meeting before the referendum (correct me if I am wrong). He has always seemed to do very well under PN administrations. Mind you, this has probably got nothing to do with politics but simply because he is competent.

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