Thursday, 11 June 2009

MaltaToday: A quick guide to throwing up

Saviour Balzan suggests that those with a queasy stomach should skip this column

Step one
Drive carefully, tune in to Radio 101, then wait patiently for Simon Busuttil’s voice. If you do not feel acid accumulating in your stomach then the impact of Busuttil has yet to materialise.

Step two
Put up the sound and listen to Busuttil. An angelic, virginal voice starts wafting from the car speakers: “I am sorry, that is why I may not be made for politics, but I cannot agree with that person who has just phoned in…”

Step three
Acidic rumblings. Busuttil refers to Louis Grech without mentioning him. “This radio listener suggested we should not appoint chairmen to agencies who are Labourites. See what happened to us, she said. I cannot agree. The Nationalist party is different from Labour. As Nationalists we choose people not for their political allegiances but on their merits. We help people not because of their political leanings, but if they should be helped.”

Step four
Take a deep breath. Your mouth may be salivating excessively. At this point, the pastizz tal-pizelli should be finding its way up your throat. Brake suddenly, open the window and…
As you moan and groan, you hear Busuttil in the background. Your stomach starts to contract and expand. As you scream you hear that angelic voice again: “We are unlike the Labourites. As you can see we are do not look at people’s political colour when we deal with them.”

The truth is that Dr Simon Busuttil, who places politics before family and business, did in fact say these very words yesterday on Radio 101 and I have to admit I did have to throw up. Unlike some 60,000-plus voters, I do not adore Busuttil. I really think this little man epitomises the darker side of the Nationalist party. Just because he is soft-spoken does not mean he is not noxious.

In the last years, the GonziPN has constructed a Mintoffian structure of nepotism and arrogance. It seems this does not bother Simon.

It is this kind of conceit that permits Gonzi to smile when he has just got beaten at the polls. It is this kind of smugness that seems to enable people like Victor Scerri, the president of the PN, build their vacation home in the middle of pristine Bahrija, this self-righteousness that allows Richard Cachia Caruana to think this electoral result was not bad at all.

We have in front of our very eyes a government led by GonziPN that truly believes there is just one response to this electoral result. To treat their supporters with soft gloves, to simply work to win the next election even if it means screwing up this country’s finances, and more importantly, serve the party’s interests. More direct orders, more silly decisions and more bulldozing by Austin Gatt.

Simon Busuttil really has no shame when he talks about Labour-leaning chairmen appointed under a PN administration. Can he take some time out and inform us where the hell I can meet a Labourite political appointee? Could he please point them out?

In every single agency, or in the award of direct orders or legal consultancies, the list of appointees and beneficiaries is like reading from the membership list of the PN party. From lawyers at the VAT department, to directors at PBS, to government appointees on agencies, everywhere the tentacles of nepotism and PN networking is supreme. And Busuttil has the gall to talk of a party that is magnanimous.

In the last 22 years the Nationalists did their very best to install their gladiators in agencies and dish out honoraria that resembles a fiscal apartheid. Everything depends on whether you are in cahoots with the party. If you are an ambassador you must be a Nationalist or a potential Nationalist voter. Just look at the magistrates and judges appointed in the courts. In these long years of PN administration nine out of the ten appointments are Nationalist, the rest are Labourites.

Simon Busuttil is of course such a sweet-talker, he can talk his way out of a vat of cow dung. On Radio 101, while speaking on Paul Borg Olivier’s showpiece for GonziPN sycophants, he said that it would have been better for the country if the result was three PN and three MLP. And why is that?

Since when does it makes sense to question our electoral system, that is simply structured to suit the needs of the Nationalist party?

Jason Micallef may not be renowned for his eloquence, but he is right when he says that Simon Busuttil has a lot to answer for as the PN campaign manager. So does Stefano Mallia, Busuttil’s sidekick, advisor, and co-worker in the consultancy firm that includes another great altruist, the one and only Peter Fenech who is chairman of this and chairman of that.

Simon was Richard Cachia Caruana’s choice as a campaign manager. So instead of being crowned a prince by the GonziPN fan club, he should really be taken to task. If the PN made a mess of their campaign, it was due to the following reasons:

1. Thousands of Nationalists literally voted for Labour and not for GonziPN because they wanted to send a direct message to the government;

2. The campaign run by candidate Simon Busuttil, based on pressing the right buttons and promoting Gonzi + this + that = hoo-haa, was a whole load of hogwash;

3. GonziPN is no longer relevant and Gonzi as a marketing tool is a problem;

4. Another four years of GonziPN with Tonio Fenech and Austin Gatt will surely guarantee a natural demise for Gonzi;

5. This is not the PN any longer, but simply GonziPN.

Now if Simon Busuttil does not make you throw up, you really have to listen to Pierre Portelli. That man literally makes your intestines walk out of your mouth like a scene from The Excorcist..

Here is a guy who would have never got to where he got had it not been for the PN and all that holy water from the Stamperija. And now every time the Nationalists get a trashing he goes on Net TV in a shiny suit and flashy tie, to launch himself into an eternally boring swansong about how horrible everyone else is and what a wonderful man Gonzi is.

Just for the record, I do not remember Pierre Portelli before 1987. He too was too young to be of any significance then, and very much like Gonzi, was nowhere to be seen.

Hats off to Arnold Cassola

Hats off for doing the right thing and resigning. I was not a Cassola fan. An acquaintance certainly, but not a fan. This was the first time I chose not to vote. I couldn’t vote for a party that said too much but nothing in substance.

When I co-founded the Greens in 1989 I dreamt of a third party that would question the status quo and push the real issues. And as things had it, the PN did everything to destroy the Greens.

If the Greens think they should pack up, they are wrong. They need to hang on and be radical and clear about their ideas. This country has too much middle-road already.

With a Prime Minister who does not have a clue about green issues we are in dire need of a green party. And we need to start having debates about real social issues, such as divorce and abortion.

They should definitely not go for a top person who is more Nationalist than the Nationalists. The candidate has to be ambitious, young and full of adrenaline.

We need a third party. We need people who stand up for the real issues. Courageous people, not those who like Simon Busuttil and David Casa voted for a man like Rocco Buttiglione, the Italian who said homosexuality was a sin, to be European Commissioner.

Next Sunday
What happens next!

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