The uncooling of a ruling party.
Intellectually, watersbroken, is the heir of Labour-in-labour[http://labourinlabour.wordpress.com], the unauthorised blog that accompanied the Labour Party’s travailed quest for a new leader after its latest electoral defeat in March of this (2008) year. watersbroken inherits Labour-in-labour’s irreverence towards ossified official party structures (and, let’s face it, structures tends to become rigid and to ossify as soon as they become official).
watersbroken also inherits its predecessor’s conviction that, slowly but surely, the day draws near when the majority of even moderately intelligent and moderately creative persons in this country will think twice before identifying themselves unreservedly with the ruling Nationalist Party.
Amongst the first beginning to take distance (a modest arms-length to begin with) from the Nationalist Party are those who can no longer stand its institutionalised hypocrisy, those that are repelled by the widening chasm between its holier-than-thou rhetoric (you’d think some of its irjus kbar walk on water and levitate ecstatically) and the sordidness of the business and power deals that this rhetoric helps to hide. Let’s call this category of emergent dissenters, the ‘ethical objectors’.
Then there is the category of ‘aesthetic objectors’. These are the ones whose standards of style and good taste are high enough for them to be increasingly put off by the ruling party’s free-falling aesthetic standards – whereby ‘ruling party’ is to be understood as not only the official PN structures but its social networks across civil society, its clikek. The loudest and the most visible elements of the ruling party are simply too loud, too strident, too shrill in both a visual and acoustic sense.
The vulgar element has hijacked the ruling party. Let’s be clear: when we refer to the PN’s ‘vulgar element’, we are not thinking primarily of the tough guys, the picciotti, the tough guys that swarm around some ministers, members of parliament and candidates. We are thinking mainly of those whose vulgarity is derived from the arrogance of power, power not derived from merit but from family and other connections. We are thinking of those who make distinctions between the Nationalists who matter (and who get what they want, always, at any cost) and the Nationalists that do not matter.
To many bona fide Nationalists, this state of affairs is not only unfair but also ugly. It is aesthetically revolting. Amongst those who have had enough of this state of affairs are conscientious individuals of all ages. There are senior citizens directly descended from the gruppo dirigente Mizziano of the old party of notables as it emerged from the Second World War, gentlemen and ladies of the old school, reserved and thoughtful, cosmopolitan and culturally ‘continental’, and mindful of the severe lessons that history meted out to their lineage. It also includes elderly, well-educated and open-minded former Stricklandjani pushed by circumstances into an unpalatable alliance with their former antagonists.
And what about the thousands of frugal white collar public and private sector employees and their children who for some reason or other – whether that reason was ‘reasonable’ or otherwise is, for the purposes of this argument, irrelevant – felt they could not vote for Mintoff, Mifsud Bonnici or Sant? These are people who work hard to put their children through private schools they can hardly afford, to pay for their private lessons and put enough money in their kids’ pockets so that these can dress and drink whatever their richer (and better connected) peers dictate is the cool thing.