The Armchair Critic | Live, Love… Lead?

In a time where the election is all anyone can speak about and where almost every road has a tint of political slogans, some of us love nothing more than to indulge and watch everything from the comfort of our home, from a sofa or armchair- this is one of those times.

What are we criticising?

The Nationalist Party’s rally in Mellieħa. Tonight’s Q&A with the Prime Minister and what we know so far from Abela’s meeting with other EU Member States’ leaders.

What do we know so far?

Abela returns from Brussels and goes for a Q&A session in the town of Żebbuġ. Grech moves forward with his campaign and releases an electoral programme.

Abela returns from Brussels

Abela attends a Q&A in Żebbuġ. The first question, and this comes to no surprise, was what went on during the much anticipated meeting with counterpart EU Member State leaders on the ongoing cataclysm in Ukraine. Abela claims that the event, from beginning to end, was a surreal one. From his discourse, Abela maintains two things- that Malta will be providing humanitarian aid for Ukraine with such aid consisting mainly of medical aid, and that Malta’s main supply of energy will not be affected.

Abela said that a number of local investors in Russia could very well see their assets frozen, and while protecting them, they will tread with caution. Abela also gave a brief detail on sanctions which will be imposed on key Russian leaders. Abela made it clear that Malta is on Ukraine’s side and maintained that Malta will remain neutral and favour peace and life. Abela further maintained that no one should generalise Russian nationals who have no involvement in the current ongoing cataclysm.

Oh- this will go down well. After being asked a question by an audience member, Abela said that students will see a 15% increase in stipends, if the electorate trusts Abela to take the lead once again. Abela will definitely get a lot of praise for this – let’s hope that the Labour Party Manifesto will further compliment and create more schemes that incentivise the future of young adults.

Abela mentions the Vot 16+, which passed not too long ago. This allows adolescents of ages 16 and above to vote in general elections, MEP elections, local council elections and referenda. But now, it looks like Abela wants to take this further by involving those eligible to vote in the discussion of electoral reform. It will be interesting to see how this will pan out, given electoral reform requires a whole other event of its own.

On inclusivity and accessibility- he mentions that the eligibility criteria for the Sens-ability scheme will be widened, so that parents of children with autism, will be able to create multi-sensory rooms in their home and that there will be wider investment for new services and schemes so that persons with a disability can live an easier life. And a proposal- if elected, a new Labour Government will open a community hub in the Northern part of Malta, where people with disabilities can receive specialised care and engage in a more independent lifestyle.

Today’s Ranking

In terms of today’s Q&A, it is refreshing to see a different setting once again- almost like the setting of a TEDX talk, with the difference that the speaker is engaging with the audience by answering their questions. The setting is contemporary and winsome. From Abela’s conduct today, it looks like Abela has done his homework- he had an answer for everything, compared and contrasted his administration’s conduct with that of previous administrations and listened.

On Abela’s Brussels brief, Abela did prove himself to be a statesman by prioritising peacekeeping over campaigning. What was harrowing while we watched, was Volodymyr Zelenskiy, President of Ukraine, telling the EU Leaders that the meeting held yesterday may very well be the last time they communicate with each other. While we love nothing more than staying in the comfort of our own home, we never fully know what goes on behind closed doors, especially when it concerns such a dire situation. Let’s hope we get the full picture soon.

Solid Answers: 9
Pragmatism: 8
Clearly spoken: 7
Presentation: 9

Grech’s turn in Mellieħa

Today, the town of Mellieħa was instead graced by Nationalist Party sympathisers as Bernard Grech spoke under the tent. As per usual, the rally consisted of Nationalist Party candidates speaking out about their experiences, be it questions they come across on a daily basis or their commitment to their party. Grech opens his speech by speaking about the beauty of Malta, and its architectural aesthetics and how he wishes to compliment this by improving it further. 

Grech acknowledges the onslaught currently ongoing in Ukraine. He acknowledges Ukraine’s independence and despite being a country like Malta, they are currently fighting for their country’s sovereignty- Grech halts his speech and asks everyone to clap for the Ukrainian people, acknowledging that while this may not solve the crisis, it is a show of solidarity- well, maybe we’re off to a good start today. 

Grech now seems to be taking a jibe at Abela- saying that discussing with EU leaders in Brussels and shaking hands is a good look, but not enough and maintains that the current citizenship by investment scheme must be halted for anyone hailing from the Russian Federation. Yet, Grech does not appear to be fully against this scheme, rather he sounds selective. His tone is not exactly a calm one as his discourse progresses, rather an argumentative one and boasts the Nationalist Party’s conduct. 

I guess we are not moving away from the jibes. Grech continues boasting previous Nationalist administrations to show that the same work which these administrations have done can be repeated, even using the conduct of football teams as an example and things such as Abela’s “u-turn” on Żonqor Point and the Marsascala Marina and how COVID-19 measures limited people’s freedom. We still remain confused by Grech’s position, or lack thereof, on the issue of  COVID-19  measures. One week we are in agreement, the next Grech starts supporting a whole new myriad of science. Oh, a published manifesto– this will definitely be an interesting late night reading. A couple of jokes and holding his wife’s hand- sympathetic and somewhat pragmatic. 

Today’s Ranking

We now have a manifesto set in stone from the Nationalist Party’s end. Today’s rally was sort of more of the same- which, while it may be nice for those attending, might fall short of the ongoing rebrand which the Nationalist Party has been saying to be going under for a long time. We’re guessing, if anyone wants to move forward, looking at the past must not be made in a nostalgic way, rather, in a critical way. Why? Only then, can we understand ourselves better and start to change properly.  

At first glance, Grech made a few relevant points during tonight’s rally, however, his delivery and style and tone as he went along, could be improved. Grech is usually ambitious and empathetic and while he was still ambitious tonight, Grech took a more confrontational tone in his speech. This is the type of stuff that makes us excited for a national debate between Abela and Grech- two worlds, two different flairs and yet with one similar purpose-leading.  

Solid Answers: 6

Pragmatism: 8

Clearly spoken: 6

Presentation: 6


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