No Knock Knocking

Posted on January 15, 2008 by

10


It’s possible to go through the BBC archives to examine the recent history of the development between Internet and Politics (German style capitals). I did just that recently when preparing my Sunday article and one of the interesting reportages that I came across dealt with the very peculiar rules that applied to the Japanese Presidential campaign. Aside from the ban on internet campaigning there was another ban which drew my attention – a ban on knocking on private doors. Now that would be a sign of change in Malta. One of the areas that really made me quit partisan politics was the local, parochial politician and the way he dealt with the electorate.

Traipsing around the different roads drinking cheap whisky after cheap whisky and fraternising with everyone under the sun. The plastic smiles that opened the doors (most times at least) spoke volumes – many said “I know that you know that I will not vote for you. Let’s just make believe I will, drink up the Coolee concentrate and get the hell out so we can go on living normally”. In some villages the politician would wax lyrical about the beauty of a plastic covered sofa and carpet inherited from Zija Cett who incidentally, would also have voted for his great-uncle at the time of l-Interdiction. Ban the knock knocking.

Sometimes, probably, promises are vaguely made. A speeding up of a permit, an enquiry into the possibility of a parking space, a job at the ministry as a part-time messenger, a tip on how to apply for government plots – the sort of personal things that have nothing to do with politics in a normal world but have a lot to do with politics in our culture (and that of our immediate and not so immediate neighbours). The little committee of waddling canvassers (kan-vàss-ers with the accent on the middle syllable) would then leave the house and move on to the next like a troupe of Jehovah’s Witnesses on a diehard mission. Ban the knock knocking.

They are the door-to-door salesmen of promises and will invest an interest in your life for roughly twenty minutes until after the election when the same lady whose heart was won over by the candidate who just couldn’t take his eyes off her gandliera becomes another “Stenna Sinjura ghax l-avukat ghandu x’jaghmel issa, forsi jarak il-gimgha d-diehla bejn nofsinhar u l-kwarta” (Wait Madam, the lawyer is busy now, he might see you next week between noon and 12.15). Ban the knock knocking.

The farce was repeated during the Euro MEP campaign. Of all people, a far-right leader had managed to portray a fantastic sarcastic picture of Prime Minister Gonzi scuttling from one door to another attempting to gather votes for the menagerie that had been assembled to tip the scales in his party’s favour. The words “He is not a politician” point out the Emperor’s nudity when everyone has been accustomed to seeing the wonderful suits politicians claim to wear. Ban the knock knocking.

I want a ban on the knock knocking. I want a ban on the hypocritical invasion of privacy. I want a ban on the abuse of personal data that occurs every five years. I want it to be illegal for a party to call me at home and remind me that I have not voted on the day of the election. I want my party to be able to communicate to me intelligently. I want a candidate to be available in places where I can choose to go and not to go. That way I can differentiate between one who thinks he will win me over by showing me Ira Losco’s legs on stage and one who decides to sit behind a table with his constituents and discuss issues and how to solve them. Ban the knock knocking.

We do not even need to wait for the parties to issue the ban. Let’s start the trend ourselves. It would be good to have some kind of sticker like the ones asking members of “sect” not to knock on doors. Let’s add another one:

“This household votes intelligently. No Knock Knocking. Thank you. ”

Jacques Réne Zammit
Liberal/Christian-Democrat

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No Knock Knocking by
Jacques René Zammit is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Malta License.

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