A political class we (don’t) deserve. Or, Betrayal.

Posted in 1 by Editor on January 2, 2009




A recent Malta Today editorial, revisiting the shameful JPO episode, concluded that “this is how politics works in Malta” and that when “ethical behaviour gets thrown out of the window, and politicians can hold on to their seats and posts without even a modicum of humility in the face of damning evidence, then perhaps we ought to consider that we really get the political class we deserve.”


One is tempted to agree with Malta Today’s conclusion, especially when this gutsy paper reminds us that the “entire farce was later crowned by (former) secretary-general Joe Saliba’s frank admission that he would pursue the same strategy had he found himself in a similar situation once again”. We must, however, resist this temptation. We must refute the assertion that this is the political class this country deserves on at least two grounds.


We must, firstly, refute it because it is based on the assumption that all the Maltese who have chosen to engage in politics in one way or another are all unscrupulous bastards that represent a nation of equally unscrupulous bastards. Secondly, we must also refute it because it is an assertion that exudes a sickening stench of fatalism. We are all a bunch of bastards, it says, and, what’s worse, we are forever destined to remain so.


We do not share Malta Today’s wholesale condemnation of all those engaged in politics nor do we subscribe to its apocalyptic pessimism. Malta Today quotes from the Noble Prize acceptance speech of one of my favourite playwrights, Harold Pinter, who is presently enjoying an unusually long pause, a dramatic mechanism he practically invented:

“…the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.”


Pinter, you may wish to note, is more cautious than Malta Today. He speaks of “the majority of politicians” not of the political class, not of all politicians. Harold Pinter’s distinction is critical. The lack of distinction exercised by Malta Today is, on the contrary, fatal.  It kills any hope some of us may have. Pause. Of changing things. Pause. Of changing. Pause.  At least to the extent that makes life on this rock worthwhile. Pause. We cannot betray that hope. Pause. It would be a. Pause. Betrayal. Silence.





4 Responses

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  1. Ramona Camilleri said, on January 3, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Pinter died on Christmas Eve at 78 of cancer. Visitors to this blog unfamiliar with his work should read his obituary by Richard Corliss on Time, aptly entitled The Pinter of Our Discontent. Here is an excerpt:

    The most appropriate tribute would be an hour and a half of silence. For Pinter was the master, virtually the copyright holder, of the pregnant pause that never gives birth. Words hurt in his plays, but the withholding of them can inflict deeper wounds — on the characters in his plays and on some of perplexed members of the audience. “Pinteresque” came to suggest an edgy break in an uncomfortable conversation, and the playwright tended to these ellipses like a doting mother. “I did change a silence to a pause,” he said about a scene in one of his plays. “It was a rewrite.”


  2. arthur taliana said, on January 8, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    One hopefully considers that general statements like the MTD’s “politicians can hold on to their seats and posts without even a modicum of humility” and “perhaps we ought to consider that we really get the political class we deserve” are only just inaccurate and not an exercise in damage control.

    The statements tend to sound too symptomatic of “the dragging everyone else down with you in the muck” rationale that very often is put into play when the party that one’s stood for is found to be at fault or better still, if the party that one stood against is proved to be correct. In other words the Maltese pseudo-justification of “Kullhadd l-istess!”, which God forbid, definitely it is not the case. We’d surely be a miserable lot if all politicians, whether PL or PN, held jaypeoh credentials, although some probably do.

    Yet, thankfully MTD aptly reminding us of the Mistra issue which, together with other similar shady topics, the local media generally chooses to leave un-discussed, in a process of obliterating them from popular memory.

    Two influential minds have commented on this undemocratic process – the world renowned documentary director Harold Pilger and the late Nobel Prize Laureate Harold Pinter.

    In his 2007 Chicago speech ‘Freedom Next Time’, Pilger called this process “the great silence of the media” – “the secret heart of propaganda today. He went on to remark that the process is employed by “most journalists, who whether they realize it or not, are groomed to be tribunes of an ideology that regards itself as non-ideological, that presents itself as the natural centre of modern life. A most powerful and very dangerous ideology we have ever known because it is open-ended.”

    On a similar note, in his Nobel Prize speech the playwright Harold Pinter asked why state related crimes are merely superficially recorded, left alone, undocumented. He said “you wouldn’t know it. It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it was not happening. It did not matter. It was of no interest.”

    Locally, this method of brain washing has for years been well run by Gonzi & gang together with the assistance of their public opinion engineers and a number of journalists in their service if not also on their payroll – journalists, who believing to be liberal are actually knowingly or not, in the service of an elite, an Invisible Government.

  3. Paul Schembri said, on January 19, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Did you by any chance attend the St. Joseph Secondary Technical School at Paola and started in Form 1B. And you’re from St. Julian’s?

    If you are the same person, then we were classmates.


    • Editor said, on January 19, 2009 at 9:35 pm

      Sorry to disappoint you but I am not the person you think I am…but is that important? We’re all mates on this blog. Tell us about yourself and what you think about whatever you think is important enough to merit your comment. MV

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