The Private Lives of Public Figures

Posted on December 17, 2007 by

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Perhaps one of the more decent features of the Maltese political circus is that the protagonists’ private lives are considered nearly sacred by direct adversaries and journalists alike. Muck-raking has never been a particularly pleasant sight to behold. It’s the sort of full-time journalistic British pastime which we can certainly do without. Even all that psycho-babble about the significance of Alfred Sant’s toupee smacks of gutter journalism. 

But my hunch is that some tame investigation into the love lives of our ruling class would go a long way to break the surreal mould of the parallel universes which have been developing over the past twenty years or so. Universe A – the debauched unknown common man in the street, often admonished for having given in to the oft-quoted “modern lifestyles” of (mostly) sex, (not many) drugs and (even less) rock ‘n roll. Universe B – the upstanding man and pillar of society who has sacrificed everything for his country on the altar of those ubiquitous “traditional Maltese values” summed up as Dio, patria e famiglia.  

While it’s highly unlikely that even the most “with-it” Nationalist back-bencher family man will be discovered in romantic embrace with the Maltese equivalent of Carla Bruni or that iddeputati mexxejja tal-partit Laburista are living la vida loca, my guess is that you’ll find a fair share of marital strife, affairs, separations and lovers (gay or otherwise) in the closets of our onorevoli. They are made of flesh and blood, after all.

My point isn’t that we should gloat over all this, nor is it that the investigation should be carried out with that morbid fascination for detail which The Sun reserves for its victims. The exercise should be more of a reality check for a country which is still discussing whether divorce should be made available to its citizens. Worse, this is a nation whose two main political parties still refuse to have a civilized discussion about the subject for fear of upsetting the conservative apple-cart. 

In a political landscape seriously devoid of any interesting ideas, an examination of the social mores and realities of those who lead us might be the only way to break the paralysing deadlock that we find ourselves in 40 years after les soixante-huitards took to the streets of Paris in a frenzy of liberty, equality and fraternity.  

David Friggieri

(Liberal)

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