Saviour Balzan | Sunday, 31 May 2009
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Imagine we were morons!

Imagine for one second that I was stark raving mad and a moron.
Now there are some readers who consider me as such, but let us for a minute, and for the purpose of this argumentation, seriously believe I am really mad and a moron.
Therefore, since I am now privileged to be insane, I choose to spend all my time reading blogs, listening to what people with a lot to lose have to say, and obviously I am overwhelmed by all the propaganda and declarations.
I do not really care if the stories are doctored by malicious and ugly scriptwriters. What is important is that I am gullible and believe what I read and am told.
So much so, if I were a Nationalist on Saturday 6 June I would wake up, miss showering and run down to the closest polling booth and without any hesitation give my first preference vote to David Casa and if I were a Labourite, to John Attard Montalto.
The two gentlemen represent the best choice for those who cherish the institution of the European Parliament as a melting pot for individuals who are primarily motivated by the attractive salary and pleasant perks and good life that comes with being an MEP in Brussels, Strasbourg or Luxembourg.
As you can all see, the European Parliamentarians have not quite decided which is their capital – which is why we should not be too ashamed when we are accused of having five national holidays.
So just in case you have not got the cue: the two candidates who should never make it to Brussels are the above-mentioned gentlemen. They are an embarrassment to their party and to this country.
Yet thankfully, I am neither mad, nor do I follow blogs and party bulletins. And I know it is hard to believe but cross my heart and hope never to eat salted herring, neither do I read The Times or The Independent... still less the private, fascist blogs.
So as everyone seems to have gathered, I will be joining the thousands of Maltese and Gozitans in exercising my fundamental right, which is entirely justifiable in the present political scenario. That is, to simply not vote.
Now, let me put it in simple English why I will not be voting – allow me to explain the reasoning behind my intentions.

The PN
To start with, I think that the Nationalists are a tired bunch, a group of people who have lost the plot, are super arrogant, have little or no direction and are run by a group of characters who do not know what it means to eat humble pie. There is no strategy: in other words, a decapitated body.
I do not agree that a party should remain in power for over a quarter of century, more so if the political system it embraces encourages political apartheid. That is, those who are Nationalist move on in life, while those who are not suffer and get relegated to the status of ‘not good enough’, ‘mhux minn taghna’, subhuman, and most important of all, unsuitable for being integrated in the decision-making process in this great country.
If the Nationalists had been magnanimous and had implemented a policy which manifested itself in the principles of meritocracy (rather than how coffee-coloured your tongue is), then perhaps we could have started to believe that Lawrence Gonzi was a reincarnation of Le Roi Soleil (the Sun King), and therefore like all kings should reign on until his death.

So I gather everyone is expecting me to meekly suggest that Joseph Muscat is the only alternative to Gonzi. Well, he is definitely not my alternative, and I will say why. But the campaign to demonise or the attempt to portray Labour as an impossible alternative is no longer plausible.
That argument made sense years ago when Labour was against Europe, was adhered to all the pre-1987 thugs and was run like an offshoot Soviet-styled party from Eastern Europe.
Today the Nationalist party is in such a state that even the Girl Guides could do a better job running this country.
And one has to ask the question: what is more important? Keeping democracy alive or believing that God created this rock for the likes of Lawrence Gonzi and Edgar Galea Curmi and of course Richard Cachia Caruana?
I cannot vote for Joseph Muscat because I do not like his political declaration. I cannot agree with his stand on immigration, which is opportunistic and based on the politics of scaremongering. He talks of migrantion in a disproportionatly negative manner and fills the electorate with hatred. This is unacceptable.
I cannot agree with him on his vision on health, and his belief that all health is free and can remain so forever; nor can I agree with his lack of decisiveness on a number of social issues.
On the other hand his policies are not far off from Lawrence Gonzi’s. Indeed it is only his style that is different, and the fact that the establishment and all the system are stacked against him.

The Greens
Then we have Arnold Cassola, and yes we really need a third party and this country does not have a third party because of Fenech Adami’s and Gonzi’s refusal to change the electoral law.
Yes, it would be nice to have a third party and third voice... but not Arnold Cassola. For years he has always positioned himself, not for the political ideals or the party, but only for himself.
He is essentially a nice guy, but like so many other politicians he is overwhelmingly concerned with himself and his recognition in the history books rather than Green policies.
He is not alone: most of the candidates could feel at home with him.

So, so what will it be...?
So on election day, it will be either a lightning visit to Paris, or if there are no airline tickets available a day trip on a boat away from the rock.
There will be thousands who will do the same. Thousands of compatriots are unwilling to be party to such a sham. Thousands will be voting for Simon Busuttil and Edward Scicluna, but many other thousands will not.
Like me they are not impressed with soft-spoken candidates who appear moderate and cuddly, but who in reality are intrinsically only interested in their posting abroad.
Thousands are unwilling to validate an election to confirm that five Maltese representatives, with little or no say in the European parliament, will be rocketed to Brussels to receive a salary seven times or more the average salary of a Maltese worker. A salary paid by our taxes.
And surely when the dust settles and the first results are announced, the thousands of voters who would not have cast their vote will be giggling.
Yes, smiling at all the rest who believe that the five or six representatives in Brussels will be instrumental in addressing the state of our roads, the quality of our air and water, the state of our education, the creation of new jobs, public transport, the state of our urban areas, saving our countryside, the crisis in tourism, the question of single mothers and separated couples, the fight against crime, confronting Libya over immigration, the question of sustaining the health sector, our democratic deficit, the issue of meritocracy, new investment, controlling the cost of living, the growing welfare gap and the omnipresence of the new underclass.
So my final call to all those who are worried about the phone calls they are about to receive, from party officials imploring them to walk down to their booth and cast their vote, is this.
Tell them to sod off. Inform them to mind their own business. Tell them that you are busy feeding your goldfish, watching a DVD or caressing your dog or hugging your wife/husband/lover/partner/pillow and could not give hoot who gets the next five-year holiday in Brussels.
Remember you mean more to the parties when you decide to add your name to the list of non-voters.
Believe me, I know!

Enter Jeffrey
JPO is a media darling. You have to hand it to him, he has the resilience and the temerity of a cornered hyena.
Yesterday’s defiant appearance at Cassola’s press conference, in his stylish sunglasses and elegant cup and saucer, was in vintage JPO style.
To a certain extent I can understand JPO’s frame of mind. The stretch of land at Mistra is his land. And as a typical landowner he believes he can do what the f*** he likes on his land.
In truth he should have the right to do what he likes. But as everyone knows, the story of Mistra did not start with last Friday’s party.
Cassola and other greens have argued that this is a Natura 2000 site. But then, Cassola may not know that Natura 2000 sites do not preclude owners from carrying out certain activities. Most Natura 2000 sites are not specially protected sites but localities which can support various human activities – in some cases even hunting is tolerated.
The land that belongs to Pullicino Orlando has no special protection status, it is simply a green stretch of land that should never have been considered for development.
Obviously his decision to attract more attention to his Mistra property is not unintentional. JPO wants to be the centre of attention. He blames his political demise on the powers that be and no matter what is said, he is not on good terms with Castille and the one and only Cardinal (Richard Cachia Caruana).
And strangely, his pronouncements over the last months, especially on the St John’s Cathedral proposed works, have embarrassed government and struck a chord with certain lobbyists.
His bold and disapproving presence at the Mistra press conference says nothing about his green credentials but volumes about his ability to conquer the media waves and take up the centre stage.
In so doing he remains a thorn in his party’s backside. And this is attenuated by the fact that the party in government has a precarious one-seat majority.
Something JPO will be quick to remind the boys at Castille...

See you tomorrow. Don’t forget to book your special Monday election edition of MaltaToday. My opinion and your comments will also be on our website as from Monday.

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