The Armchair Critic | You can ride but you cannot hide

On Sunday, we make it our mission to unwind and indulge in some down time before the week ahead. For some of us, this could mean paying our family dividends by attending a Sunday Lunch with the family and judging other family members for their lack of manners and obscene political beliefs. For other common mortals, the activity of choice could be a simple cup of tea and ‘ottini’ biscuits, coupled with catching up on the week’s top stories by getting lost in a freshly printed newspaper or what’s on the television from the comfort of our sofas and/or armchairs. This is one of those times. 

What are we criticising?

The week in politics, now that we are well rested and with a clear mind, free of excess cortisol. 

What do we know so far?

  • Ukraine Invasion: Russia holds a ceasefire for humanitarian aid to pass through. Russian Federation President Vladimirich Putin perceives sanctions as a sign of ‘war’. 
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky holds a meeting with Members of the European Parliament in an appeal for the fate of the Ukrainian people to be preserved. 
  • Both parties will be having their respective Mass Rallies today. 
  • The Labour Party’s will be held in Raħal Ġdid, whereas the Nationalist Party will set base in Naxxar.
  • Grech and Abela have both visited post-secondary school Junior College with the hopes of attracting new voters. Grech seemingly trying to appeal to the younger generation by visiting prominent hotspots including popular bars in Paceville, St. Julians. 
  • Today’s survey shows a plateau in the preference of both parties. 
  • The younger generation have made their minds clear. 
  • Beyond the partisan lens: A Nationalist Party candidate endorses an ADPD candidate’s nomination for the general election.

“But does TikTok make me appealing?”

We may not inherently like social media platforms like TikTok. It could also, however, be great if you want to have a laugh or learn some interesting facts about a mediocre subject which you had no interest in, you’ll use it for those reasons- right up until our children wish to register an account. 

As the campaign trail of all parties contesting for the general election commences, many politicians are taking the chance to show their softer side and possibly appeal more to Gen-Z and eligible 16+ voters. The idea of a politician taking it to social media platforms can be one which intends to show a softer side of a politician, but it can also be subject to some derision. We will go out on a limb and say that we will proceed with caution here. Investing in some time to give insight on the joys of young people today and possibly even discover a side of Malta which the average politician may have not even known of. 

For those politicians who are fluent in the language of social media, a correct way of getting the recipe to success right might be to take what the youth want from you, as a politician and use it as an opportunity to explain your proposals in a much clearer way. Use it as a means to show the work you have done and why someone should actually care to bother voting for you. Answer questions on radical issues which people will inevitably bring up on radical issues, be transparent and do not use unnecessarily complex words. 

International Women’s Day 2022

On the 8th of March, we annually celebrate International Women’s Day. From our own personal experiences and encounters, we do have a few things which we think could take the stand, at least temporarily, despite all the ongoing election hustle and bustle. We do have a lot of achievements to celebrate, and yet, for a truly egalitarian and meritocratic society, we have so much left to be desired. A disappointment? Possibly. But here we are not talking about faux feminism. We are talking about the fact that while Malta has undeniably performed outstandingly in certain facets of civil rights, it is still lacking in others. 

More recently, the Maltese Government drafted the Femicide Bill. The Bill would see that anyone who is found to have committed the heinous crime will be given a sentence no less than that of a life imprisonment. Bodes well, but is that it? Surely we can do more to incorporate imperative subjects into the education syllabus and teach the rudiments and foundation of what a healthy relationship is really about and what to do to help a friend who we may think is in danger. 

What we are very much looking forward to is what all political parties, be it a major political party or a third party, will be doing for this year’s Women’s Day. And let us tell you from now, just a photo or a surprise visit with some flowers will be a sheer disappointment. Those who are serious will address our concerns and put forward proposals which end up in the tabulation of reform. We very much look forward to seeing what the parties will concoct in this regard. 

‘Team Malta’ assembles for the game plan

The ‘Team Malta’ slogan fits well for this rally. The way the rally is structured and planned, it looks as though there is a crowd watching on, as the key players of the Labour Party give their perspective on the future of the Labour Party, but most importantly, the future of Malta in the next 5 years. Colour-coded masks for the audience watching behind the podium once again- in sync with the slogan. I guess mass-rallies really are the new way of doing things.

Chants commence as the Prime Minister, Robert Abela graces the stage with his presence- metaphorically the coach of ‘Team Malta’. Abela’s initial words show a streak of ambition, more than that which we have seen in the last few weeks. Always a jolly good start. Once again Abela affirms that in lieu of the Ukrainian-Russian crisis, he has always believed in peacekeeping and that the events unfolding in Ukraine are a stark reminder of humankind’s worst capabilities but Malta must keep sending a positive and hopeful message in favour of the Ukrainian people and that Malta treasures it’s constitutionally-granted neutrality. Well, let’s hope so. No, not the  metaphors again please. First it was the waves, now the storm. 

Ah, what did we tell you, the handling of the pandemic will not fall on deaf ears. Abela even takes us back by reminding us of the harrowing events in the first few months of the pandemic, and yet despite this fear, the health and livelihoods of the people of the country were and remained, the priority of Abela’s administration. The work and unity which was the result of the pandemic and the eventual success of the handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic was an empowering result which ultimately came, with all of Malta getting together. Abela also made a couple of good points about the Opposition, how rather than fulfill their role in keeping the Government in check, they focused more on putting unnecessary obstacles. Abela asked us if the viewers are willing to take the risk when deciding. We guess we have a choice, stability or uncertainty. 

Oh, and we sing the praises of the action plan for getting off the FATF Greylist and that the Labour Party will take a steady hand in every cataclysm thrown and think in the long run in every action taken. We are guessing these are echoed in the proposals put forward by the Labour Party. FINALLY. Some acknowledgement for the Vote 16+. Abela also gives testament to the audience that without their confidence in the Labour Party, the Party would have never had the opportunity to govern and address key issues which concern people on a daily basis. At least, Abela does not hesitate to admit that there were times in which, along the road, mistakes and bumps were made, but Abela maintains that his leadership was an opportunity to chisel and mull over these same bumps, and be willing to learn about how to do better. Abela opens his arms to anyone who wishes to help and join the movement and that with a vote for the movement, he pledges to work harder to achieve a better and consistent future for Malta. Let’s rank.

Today’s Ranking

In all honesty, we were thoroughly impressed by today’s rally. Abela was honest and realistic about key events during the course of his leadership in the last two years and that while mistakes were made, there was a way to solve them. Abela’s style and delivery also seems to be improving- he was self-effacing and sympathetic. While he did seem to handle quite a myriad of issues, he does not try too hard to overflow his speech, while at the same time handling every issue mentioned in a clear and concise manner.

Policy Mentions

Most interesting: Abela’s honesty and how he will perform in Malta’s participation

 in the EU’s collective handling of the current situation in Ukraine in the coming weeks. 

On everyone’s minds: Labour’s attempt at going green and the tentative date to finally dissect the Labour Party’s electoral manifesto. 

Needs further explanation: How Abela further intends to court Gen-Z voters.

 

Verdict

Ambition: 10

Optimism: 9

Energy: 8

Style and Delivery: 8

Pragmatic: 9 

‘Miegħek Għal Malta’ goes to Naxxar

Mass rallies really are the ‘diet’ version of mass meetings. Today we go to the town of Naxxar, a branch of the 10th District. The Mass Rally is started with the words of keynote speakers, including Claudio Grech, a veteran Nationalist Party candidate who will no longer be contesting for the general election, rather now takes the role of a political consultant for the party. Grech gave what may be perceived as words of hope for avid Nationalist Party voters by giving testament of everything which the Nationalist Party when in Government had done. And the fireworks come on as Bernard Grech takes the podium to deliver what he has to say to his audience, as the crowd cheers on.  

Grech opens his speech by saying that everything done in the campaign trail so far, which includes meeting people and listening to their concerns, is what makes up the core of the Nationalist Party. Grech maintains that everything which the Nationalist Party has done when in Government is still being enjoyed till this very day. What is with the Nationalist Party and the use of the word ‘gimmicks’? It seems to be a term which PN sympathizers seem to have used since the beginning of time. At least Grech is being somewhat more pragmatic today. Someone really likes to do homework- let’s speak about this for a second. The Labour Party is not saying that homework will be outed completely, rather the dose will be lightened. Homework is imperative for the rudiments of academic achievement, but a balance to include other things in a child’s life to improve one’s sociability, mental and physical fitness and creativity is also important. 

Grech appeals to everyone eligible to vote to familiarise themselves with what the PN is proposing. Sorry but, where did the photocopier idea come from? The only true visionary in this race apparently is Bernard Grech, because his vision is the clearest one available. Grech makes his social obligations clear, that he listens to feedback and is willing to learn, even teach. Pragmatic. Love is not dead, neither is the Nationalist Party it seems. Here we go again, Abela mentioned in Grech’s speech, Abela booed, all Grech does is sip water like it were golden syrup. Have we learnt nothing from John McCain’s words when faced with personal questions on Obama? We are guessing adversarial bridge building or civility are not really on the agenda? To each his own way of doing politics, we guess. 

Well, at least, he no longer credits only himself for the change of major decisions caused by public pressure. Wait, no, nevermind. Here we go on the Labour Party pseudo-dirt- from the importance of P.R and marketing and cliches and the delay of the Labour Party manifesto. Maybe Grech should read the Labour Party’s statute before making statements- and let us be real, better a well-versed and astute electoral programme than one which has been amended extensively four times because of how knee-jerk its publication was. So, according to the FATF update, according to Grech, Abela has an obligation to tell the truth, but Grech believes that this is the wrong kind of truth? And, that now getting off the greylist will not matter, but didn’t he say last week that it will not matter? And on a whole lot of other key issues. Grech says that he will keep on respecting those who have voted for the Labour Party but he maintains that he has an obligation to convince them to do otherwise. Anyway, let’s rank.

Today’s Ranking

Well, I guess today’s rally was more of the same from Grech. We had so many questions- the above text is pretty self explanatory in this regard. I think there is only one way of describing the Nationalist Party’s conduct in the last week- going back and forth. One week it’s an aye, the next it’s a nay. Grech remains too focused on Abela’s conduct and platitudes, and can come across as putting fundamental issues which the Nationalist Party should be working harder on. I guess Grech’s attempt at being steel-knife-sharp in his conduct and why he is a better candidate in the race. Grech may very well be a people’s person, however, when it comes to addressing the masses, he does not necessarily perform on the same level. The going back and -forth on key issues and portraying unity, when manifesting the complete opposite is obvious. 

Policy Mentions

Most interesting: Grech’s approach this week at attracting younger voters.

On everyone’s minds: The billion-euro investment into new economic sectors. 

Needs further explanation: How he plans on convincing staunch Labour Party voters to vote otherwise. 

 

Verdict

Ambition: 6

Optimism: 6

Energy: 8

Style and Delivery: 6

Pragmatic: 5

4.5 8 votes
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