Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Times: The art of pleasing everybody

Saturday, September 22, 2012 by I.M. Beck

That Labour, and Joseph Muscat, in particular, scuttle in the most undignified of ways after every passing bandwagon is a given: any issue that can win them a vote by saying what they think will achieve it is grasped with both hands and, hey, if they have to do a Nick Clegg later, so what?

A few days ago, Muscat had the gall to accuse the Government, and Minister Chris Said in person, of institutionalising homophobia, a charge that would be serious if it had been made by someone who’s consistency is anything to write home about.

What Muscat doesn’t seem to have grasped is that while it is true that you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. The more time passes, the more this is being realised by anyone with half a brain.

The homophobia charge was made in the context of the ongoing discussion of the Cohabitation Bill, with particular reference to the point whether gay people should be allowed to marry. The Bill, as it stands, does not cater for this, though, frankly, I think it needs adjustment in this regard, if not to encompass full-blown marriage (that particular debate rages outside our shores too, this is not a no-brainer like divorce) and this has been latched onto by Muscat in his crass eagerness to please the gay lobby, which has been vociferous, as well it should be.

Muscat’s problem, though, is that twice in a very public arena, the bear-baiting show that is Xarabank, once in 2008 just after he was elevated to the dizzying heights of leadership of the Labour Party, and more recently just last year, he made it absolutely and unequivocally clear he does not believe gays should marry because, as far as he is concerned, marriage is an institution reserved for the union between a man and a woman.

In the mealy-mouthed style to which we are becoming accustomed, Muscat is characterising the Government’s current position as homophobia by diverting the conversation from “marriage” to “forming a family” but, seriously, does this man think we’re complete morons?

Leaving aside my personal notion that a family is not formed by having someone issue a pretty certificate, how does the State, that entity that Muscat hopes to run soon, recognise ‘a family’?

Yep, that’s correct, by recognising the state of marriage, the precise state that Muscat has now denied twice (one more and he’ll achieve the Biblical definition of treachery) for gays. Who is homophobic now, by his own yardstick? At least he stopped short, though not by the longest of long chalks, of calling homosexuality unnatural though, given the tolerance levels of many of his core supporters, he might have to give this some thought, anathema as it may be to him.

I’m not entirely sure that Muscat hasn’t also made the point that gay couples should not be able to adopt children but it wouldn’t surprise me if he had.

Perhaps his well-oiled PR machine could let us know, at the same time telling us what Labour’s policy on this aspect of the argument would be, obviously after they’ve assessed where the voting advantage would lie.

I’m not even entirely sure this is an issue because I know gay individuals who have adopted, but that’s not the point of my point.

Pandering to the intolerant mentality of some voters is a tactic to which Labour resorts with something approaching sickening regularity.

The latest was during one of those hanky-waving, hand-raising, platitude-ridden sessions of the Congress of the Soon to be Ruling Party, where democracy is given room to breathe in this dictatorial country.

According to Muscat, betraying ever so slightly his real feelings towards the European Union and feelthy foreigners, when he is sitting behind the Prime Minister’s desk, companies of importance will be run by Maltese and not outsiders. You know, forget about trying to have the best work for us, Malta for the Maltese and all that anti-diluvian poppycock.

One has to assume, incidentally, that companies of importance in Gozo will be run by Gozitans, so he can be consistent with his promise (an empty one thus far because the ‘what’ did not encompass the ‘how’, which is par for the course when Muscat plays it) but leave that aside.

I don’t suppose I need remind you, while we’re on the subject of insularity, about the way Labour keeps pretending to wrap itself in the flag, hinting at, but never coming right out with it, how they will solve the problems of immigration once and for all but, again, not telling us how.

When you think about it, it takes skill – or a hide the thickness of a rhino’s – to be able to sidle up to the racists on the one hand and become the gay lobby’s hero on the other but when consistency and depth of thought are left aside, I suppose it becomes easier.

No restaurants to review this week but a warning to my catering friends: have fruit available or I won’t be gracing you with my presence. Diets, I hate them.

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