Tuesday 25 September 2018

Rallying cries

Watching the two political rallies last night, it was clear that both sides were addressing their grassroots instilling that much-needed enthusiasm in their “own” people first in the hope that it will trickle down to everyone else who might not be so gung-ho about the elections.

You know, the people who have sworn off Facebook until it’s all over and who have refused to watch any Maltese TV channels until after March 10th. If they could they would drive blindfolded so that they could avoid the billboards accosting them at every intersection.

But back to those rallies.

A word of advice to those chosen to sit behind the Simon Busuttil on the podium – please try not to look so bored.  Try as they might to whip up some excitement, it all looked very forced despite clear instructions to those young people dressed in garish coloured T-shirts to stand up, sit down, clap and cheer on cue.

Meanwhile, the buzz over in the Labour camp was palpable, no doubt helped by the fact that Muscat was in an upbeat positive mood, stressing patriotism rather than partisan politics. Those Muscat 2013 placards struck a discordant note though…not only because they were purely snatched from the American style of campaigning (why does everyone insist on copying?), but also because it seems to be paving the way for another personality cult. The last thing we need is more chanting (“Joseph, Joseph”) and hero worship of politicians.

Zapping back over to the images from the Stamperija I actually heard the party faithful singing, “Gonzi jerga’ jkun fil-gvern, Halleluiah”.

Halleluiah?!  I thought I had stumbled on a Christian spiritual revival by mistake.

I also find it interesting that the tables have turned – we now have a Nationalist party which is stuck in the rut of negative campaigning, using its speeches to attack the Labour party and instill fear into the hearts of those who dare drift over to the other side. “Don’t you dare trust  them, not even for five minutes”, Gonzi shouted, already hoarse even though it was only Day One.

Labour, this time, is all about promoting unity and forgetting what divides us – a commendable message, of course.  I just hope it manages to be embraced by those diehard supporters who are almost beside themselves with excitement at the delicious thought of being able to turn to PN supporters who have been taunting them for the last 25 years and screaming deliriously, “In your face!” (or words to much worse effect).

Hold your horses. Two months is a very long time. So much is going to happen between now and V-day, and the daily developments will be enough to make your head spin.  Unless you are one of those mentioned above who have switched off, in which case you are not even reading this.

Listening to the former PM during his press conference yesterday when asked about this unnecessarily long campaign, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing: he actually stated that he had every right to hold the elections in April if he had wanted to.

Yes, that’s all we needed, three months of this election madness.

In another interesting development, with the unveiling of Labour’s proposals today of how it’s going to reduce water and electricity rates, “The PN also asked whether any company or person whom the PL had met had made a donation to the PL or any of its officials or activists.”

This is an interesting challenge, considering its source.  Well, since everyone seems to be copying the American style of campaigning, why don’t both parties  go all the way, and be as transparent as US politicians about where they are getting their money to finance their respective campaigns?

Go on, we’re waiting.


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