The Malta Independent 7 June 2023, Wednesday
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No politics if you please

Sunday, 19 March 2023, 15:23 Last update: about 3 months ago

Louis gatt

Call me naïve, call me an ostrich with my head in the sand, but try as I may, I really cannot be doing with politics. I am prepared to chat about or argue the toss on most subjects, but politics... and in particular... local politics is a no-no. It must be genetic, my father was exactly the same. He loathed anything to do with local political party shenanigans and even during the run-up to a general election would give short shrift to candidates from both sides of the divide, if they were foolish enough to pay us a house call. His father, my nannu also despised anything to do with, what he called "politicking", so there is obviously some hereditary connection that binds us with a profound dislike of the subject.

My neighbour George is the complete opposite, he can't get enough of local parish-pump politics... and the more controversial, the better. I have to admit that just lately I've been trying not to get into conversation with him, because he will quickly turn the discourse into some knotty local dispute. At present he is busting a gut about the recent hospitals' alleged fraud. As far as George is concerned he won't be happy until Muscat and all his cohorts are banged-up inside the Corradino Hilton and the keys to their cells thrown away. But I know that once this obsession has faded George will find another to quickly take its place. Probably even more tedious and  depressing. For no matter what, in my book the whole subject is terminally dull.

It wasn't always this way. I am old enough to remember when the likes of independent election candidates like the late Spiro Sant and the equally late Richard Sultana tal-Farfett (the Butterfly) "party" livened things up no end around general election time. I can still remember Spiro on his soapbox belting out the national anthem in his loud but mellifluous baritone, while dodging a barrage of rotten fruit. Then there was the time Richard Sultana, a small man in a natty trilby hat, was holding court in a well-known Valletta bar/restaurant, frequented by an eclectic melange of lawyers and businessmen around lunchtime on most weekdays. Tal-Farfett was dwarfed by even average height individuals as he attempted to expand on his radical manifesto. This took all of five minutes before he threw the discussion open to questions from the other patrons.

One of these, a young lawyer at the time, asked Tal-Farfett: "If you become prime minister and we find oil, either on or offshore, what would you do?" Without missing a beat Sultana replied confidently: "Jien, I would appoint a minister for oil - and it would be... (and here he pointed to a little guy who, I happened to know, worked as a ministry driver)... you." Needless to say this resulted in general hilarity. Oh how I miss that sort of thing; we have, there's no question, lost something when the likes of Spiro and Richard dropped off the planet. These days we take ourselves far too seriously.

Now I'm not saying that Muscat/Mizzi/Schembri/Tonna and the rest of the circus shouldn't have the whole weight of the law crash down on them (dream on) but why should the fate of a handful of crooks impinge on absolutely every single facet of our lives? Where are the satirists of yesteryear, who could relieve the pressures by taking the piss out of these scoundrels - and cut them down to size? Like I say... dream on!


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