I wasn’t there, so I cannot give you an exact account of how long it lasted, how many people joined in and what happened next.
But from the second-hand information I have gathered, the booing directed against Simon Busuttil as the Rockestra presenter was thanking the VIPS present, was loud enough to have made a considerable impression. I knew about it immediately because some members of the audience posted a status the minute it happened complete with the now obligatory “I’m so embarrassed to be Maltese”.
[ I really wonder why I am rarely embarrassed to be Maltese. Perhaps it’s because I’m only concerned with my own actions and behaviour and I do not take the burden of responsibility for what my fellow countrymen do and say and carry it like a national badge of shame on my own shoulders. Loud and obnoxious Maltese passengers at the Air Malta check in desk at Heathrow? That’s nothing to do with me is it? I have learned to block them out. I’m a quiet Maltese passenger and that’s all that interests me.]
But, back to the booing. Of course, it was silly because it soured and unnecessarily politicized an otherwise enjoyable evening, but the more we discussed it yesterday on FB the more I realized that, inevitably, the PN was going to take this incident between its teeth like a dog with a bone and run with it.
Please. Let’s not exaggerate.
People booed, otherwise were mortified, still others thought it hilarious, while some were grimly pleased that members of the audience demonstrated their dislike of Simon for all to hear.
Because if we set aside for a minute the point that the booing was ill-advised considering this was a charity event, we cannot overlook one significant detail. From what I have been told, a considerable chunk of the audience let rip with a boo. So that can only mean one of two things:
1. The majority who went to Rockestra were Labour supporters. This I find hard to believe considering that, up until the last minute, a wide spectrum of people were literally begging for tickets, (and would probably have even cheerfully exchanged their Grandma for a chance to get in)
or (which is more likely)
2. Both PN and Labour supporters were booing because they simply don’t like the guy
My hunch is that the second explanation is the true one, which means that Simon, much like Houston, has a problem.
So while there are many who are trying to make this about freedom of speech (which it is), the right of politicians to attend national events (which they do), the advisability of keeping a low profile and not have your face flashed on the big screen (which it was), I think the real issue which was revealed by the booing goes deeper that that.
The PR team which is desperately trying to make Simon Busuttil likeable and palatable to its own supporters is clearly facing a very tough uphill struggle. And it doesn’t help his case when I see a billboard promoting the Bla Kondixin satirical show showing a hunched, shamefaced Simon being sent back to Brussels.
Satire or not, that image kind of says it all.