Fear and Loathing in Hamrun

Posted on February 5, 2008 by

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Emotions are running high down at Mile End, Hamrun. Labour folk are in superb spirits. That marathon man of European politics, Alfred Sant, made yet another remarkable comeback and was given a hero’s welcome by the ecstatic crowd over at the glass house. Maltastar.com, that unseemly mix of fawning propaganda and tits and bum gossip (ItTorca meets Heat Magazine in an imaginary cuttingedge wilderness), milked the event like a Swiss dairymaid, lining up a string of triumphant descriptions: ‘memorable week for Labour’, ‘historic conference’, ‘unmitigated success’. We were even told that Labour would bring a ‘gale force wind of change’ to the island. An unhappy choice of metaphor if ever there was one. Hurricanes usually leave a pretty chaotic scene in their wake: uprooted trees, overturned vehicles, floods and thousands of homeless. All in the name of IlBidla. Anyway, we were saying that Labour is in jubilatory mood. The drums are getting louder and louder. Enthusiasm is mounting, the excitement is palpable. Jason and the Argonauts are thirsty for power and the golden fleece of gvern talLaburisti seems to be getting closer. Troops are rallied and ranks are closed. If even boring, hackneyed, neutral ‘Labour policies’ like ‘innovation and research’ take on the shape of ‘dogs of war’ (source maltastar), you can imagine what kind of frenzy the delegati talpartit have whipped themselves into by now. Red flags are waived, that most tribal of tribal chants, « Viva lLabour, Viva lLabour, Hejj, Hejj », rings out and one quite distinct emotion fills the air the thirst for revenge after all these years in the wilderness of opposition. And yet, for all its unifying potential, I’m sure that all this Labourite public display of emotion plays straight into the hands of the Nationalist strategists across the road at Pietà. For if there’s one thing that will convince a disgruntled Nazzjonalist to tick the PN box for the fifth time running come election day (as opposed to, say, ‘risking’ a vote for real change via Harry), it’s the sight of a hall full of Laburisti in delirious celebration. My hunch is that while the PN can hardly aim its guns on the partitarji, it’s that sea of loyal handkerchiefs which troubles Mr. Thinking Floater. All other considerations about ‘change’ (MLP) and ‘vision’ (PN) might well turn out to be so much intellectual waffle. For all Sant’s modernising talk, gushing foreign guests and snazzy glasses, the floating voter continues to detect something illogical, something verging on the primitive in that red sea of socialist unity. These guys would even vote a red dog into government as long as he was wiehed minn taghhom, he tells himself as the SuperOne kollegament micCentru Nazzjonali Laburista comes to a close.  So one piece of advice to Labour: cool off the enthusiasm until the electoral victory by default is in the bag. Hide the red flags, keep the clapping down to a minimum and employ lots of neutral, Catholic words like peace, love, inclusion and the common good. You can always organise the mother of all carcades once the war is won.

AC (Newest Labour)

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