MaltaToday | 18 May 2008 | Batman, please rescue us

OPINION | Sunday, 18 May 2008

Batman, please rescue us

Saviour Balzan

I am sure you have heard that the Right Honourable, the one and only, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, is suffering from a persecution complex and is in dire need of all our moral support.
He has said his side of the Mistra story to the great amusement of the Maltese public. But he has not explained why he lied when he told the media he did not know anything about his own Mistra deal.
It was the good and ageing PN candidate Georg Sapiano who stated on the programme Reporter that he found it rather suspicious that someone who owned land did not know what was happening to his own land. At least on this matter I share a common view with Georg – rather strange, but true.
Now before the election, vain little Jeffrey impressed everyone with his tearful and eventful appearances, so much so that all good Nationalists embraced and showered him with their first-preference votes. In the end, the vote for Jeffrey punished other candidates and crowned JPO.
If only the Nationalist voters had known who the real JPO was they would have definitely acted differently. At least that is what I think and believe.
They could not have known, because they were given a false impression of JPO thanks to Joe Saliba’s truth machine and thanks to Lawrence Gonzi himself. The latter is no fool. So when it comes to winning battles he knows that one cannot admit to making mistakes.
JPO will need all the luck in the world; he is after all only in his post because the Gonzi government has an uncomfortable one-seat majority. If it were not the case he would be, I am sure, hounded like foxes by a pack of beagles. If Gonzi had a two or three-seat majority he would have pestered JPO until the man left – for good.
Now let us be clear. He would not have faced JPO. Gonzi is not the kind of guy that faces the music. I am sure he would have communicated his message to JPO via SMS, very much like two teenagers or lovers who cannot face each other with the harsh truth.
In so many words, JPO has Gonzi by the proverbial balls. And Gonzi, already renowned for his spectacularly decisive spirit, is in awe at what to do next.
The only thing Gonzi can think of at this moment is to kick the ball into poor Commissioner Rizzo’s court and ask him to investigate Mistra and JPO.
As if lying and making a political fool of one’s self is part of the Commissioner’s remit. As if the police, with their spectacular consistency in not being ethical, are in a position to pass judgement over the ethical standing of poor JPO.
And when I was about to erase the word JPO from my memory, I was suddenly convinced to hang on to the great memories of “the green politician” of the year.
Only this week I was fortunate enough to personally meet and suffer the presence of the youngest Nationalist parliamentarian – Franco Debono – talking about politics in a television programme. He is, I tell you, unbearable.
Listen to Franco Debono and you really wish for Batman to come to Malta’s rescue and save it from the Joker.
Talking on the box, Debono spent an immeasurable number of precious minutes explaining to One TV viewers how he elected himself against all odds. In reality Franco Debono’s election had one major fatality: it led veteran minister Louis Galea to teaching piano to spotty kids instead of taking up a ministerial post.
There is little love lost between Franco Debono and Louis Galea, but even though Dr Galea is not the best example of the virginal politician we hope for, he is, there is little doubt, light years ahead of Franco Debono when it comes to intellect, vision, communication and charisma.
Yet thanks to Gonzi’s GonziPN strategy in promoting young and fresh faces, we have been landed with high quality politicians: namely JPO and Franco Debono.
Now when asked about JPO on television, Debono was lost for words. Literally.
And when I say nothing to say, I really mean it: nothing. Un bel niente.
He had no words, just a meek sigh, a tense smile, that is all.
Without any coyness, he asked who was he to pass a comment about this case?
Minutes before, he was explaining the complexity of how he got himself elected, taking all the time in the world to bore us to death with his electoral success. Gloating would be an understatement.
But when asked for an opinion about JPO, he just froze.
Which is why I am pleading Batman to come to our rescue, fast! And save us from the Joker!

The secret meeting
Today’s back-page story reveals the cute group photo of our Prime Minister and the Armier boathouse owners. The picture was taken on February 18 (five days after he promised to address the country’s environmental deficit), but nowhere in the long list of DOI press releases or political party announcements on that day or the day after were we told that the PM was indeed meeting the slum owners from Armier in another attempt to win yet another vote.
It was effectively a secret arrangement unannounced to the rest of the media. And no one, not even Gordon Pisani dressed up as Superman in his tight, superhero’s spandex tights, will convince me it was not.
In the secret meeting the PM promised the boathouse owners that they would be given what they always wanted, and in doing so, he did what every Latin politician dreams of doing: that is of making promises for something.

Nicholas Azzopardi
Which takes me once again to the Nicholas Azzopardi case.
The family members have been interrogated by the magistrate and this has not helped their personal situation. They are tired and demoralised. More so when they remember that none of the police officers involved in the allegations and investigation have been suspended or asked to take forced leave.
That is the tragedy or the travesty of justice; the victim or the victims suffer unfair treatment for having had the temerity to stand up and be counted.
Such is life.

Skateboard in hell
During election time I could not help noticing the conversion of the junction off the university into a skate park. It was as we all know rushed and finished to coincide with the election and with the PN campaign and the traditional photo opportunities and big smiles.
But in their haste no one seems to have pointed out that the presence of so many active youngsters in such a polluted zone is sheer madness.
Skateboarders have young lungs and their sport activity leads them to take volumes of so-called oxygen into their hungry respiratory cells.
Polluted Msida contains high levels of nitrous oxides, sulphur dioxide, ground ozone, carbon dioxide and other lethal gases. If you want exercise take a walk into the countryside, not do ollies in the middle of dirty Malta right at the centre of a busy roundabout.
So when the next politician comes knocking on your door about his or her commitment to sports and the wellbeing of your children, just ask them to give you a few examples.

Any offence or attempt to ridicule is not intended. It is only meant to provoke the reader to take note. Since this is a free market society, readers are asked to purchase another newspaper if this columnist does not rise to their expectations. The column is best read together with a nice hot cup of coffee and a croissant. Burnt ham and cheese toasties and cornflakes are to be avoided as they could get stuck inside the windpipe upon spluttering. Anyone offended by any unwarranted comment or language is free to phone or email the author and call him names. The author reserves the right to respond in any manner he deems fit



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18 May 2008

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