I know Christmas is around the corner, but it is virtually impossible not to discuss politics at this time of year when events are unfolding so rapidly we have hardly time to digest them before a new development hits the news.
With all the predictions of the end of the world, who knew that this much-publicised date was going to be the end of the road for Dr Anglu Farrugia. I, for one, certainly did not see it coming (at least not yet) because it is not in the nature of political parties to make their representatives accountable for their gaffes so swiftly and immediately.
We are more used to the usual style of letting the whole thing blow over and then giving the errant politician a kick upstairs or a sideways “promotion” so that he is mollified but is neatly relegated to where he can do least harm. When there have been resignations we get the mealy-mouthed excuse that it’s “for personal reasons” which is a convenient euphemism.
But this year seems to have been the year of the end of politics as we know it. Nothing can be easily predicted and no scenario is too far-fetched.
Yesterday we had a no-nonsense Muscat firmly asking for Farrugia’s resignation, followed by a letter in which the former deputy leader openly expressed his dismay at this decision. To his credit, however, Farrugia did resign and was very dignified about it when I heard him speak this morning over the phone to Pierre Portelli.
Whether the decision was because of the Xarabank debate fail, or because of Anglu’s careless comments about a magistrate, this decision was the right one and has undoubtedly garnered new respect for the Labour leader. Prior to the surprise resignation announcement, even staunch Labour voters were holding their heads in their hands and seeing the chances of winning the election slip away before their eyes. Those with no political affiliation were similarly exasperated at seeing such a poor performance by Anglu Farrugia vs the well-oiled smoothness of Simon Busuttil. Is this the choice we have, they were asking: insufferable, slappable smugness on the one hand, and bumbling mediocrity on the other? Incidentally and, of course, kumbinazzjoni, this debate was repeated at least two times “due to popular demand”, or so we were told. For fairness sake we now expect that all future debates will be repeated twice in the same day.
Meanwhile, it is downright touching to see just how much sympathy Anglu is receiving from the PN. Why, to read all their scolding of Labour for making Farrugia their ‘scapegoat’, you would think that they were genuinely upset that their weak adversary has been axed. Well, hello, of course they’re upset.
A second deputy leader debate on Xarabank was already scheduled for January, and they were already rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of another walkover. By the way, isn’t it absolutely fascinating how Where’s Everybody is giving so much importance to the deputy leaders since Simon arrived in his superhero cape?
Even The Times editorial, in its analysis of the debate, remarked on this sudden interest in the number two post:
“This has led to the accusation that PBS, which is supposed to be an impartial State broadcaster, knew it would turn out like this all along – which is why they conceived such a programme in the first place. Given there has not been such an encounter between the party deputy leaders in living memory, such an argument may gain some credence.”
In the meantime, the rumours have started about who will be the next to face Simon. In a year filled with innumerable twists and turns, I doubt anyone is in a position to really predict what will happen next and they shouldn’t even try. After all, even the Mayans didn’t get their prediction right.