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Carmen Sammut

Being PM for a day

Today’s xarabankesque effort has backfired. It merely contributed to the banalisation of democracy.

Carmen Sammut
19 June 2012, 12:00am
Lawrence Gonzi shows off Castille's chinaware...
"PM for a day" was meant to encourage people to empathize with the PM but it failed miserably: instead of sympathy "PM for a day" inspired ridicule and satire. Take just one glimpse at the comments currently inundating the social media. I am sure these will mirror what is being said on the street.

"PM for a Day" was first marketed as a cool contest aimed to give us a taste of the huge responsibilities and burdens faced by the First Among Equals. It immediately transpired that the proposal was problematic and so the message was eventually adjusted from "being prime Minister" to "being with the Prime Minister for a day".

In their efforts to maximize the number of entries, organisers offered an iPad which served as a carrot to encourage participation. The contest was turned into a lottery.

In my political memory I have seen Bill Clinton strutting his stuff with a saxophone, an obese Boris Yeltsin taking aerobic classes and Alfred Sant trying to play the drums. Lawrence Gonzi has now stretched the art of political campaigning to new limits when he agreed to be filmed in the format associated with the Big Brother reality show.

Three unrepresentative journalists chose the finalist from four candidates presented by the party. It is also striking how the finalists' profiles are worlds apart from the current structure of our House of Representatives (an 18-year-old who eagerly submitted the names of over 100 family relations and friends to fill over a 100 ministerial portfolios and other powerful position; then there were three women, when in actual fact women are severly under-representated).

The winner's proposal was in itself ludicrous. A proposal to organise parental skills is laudable but forcing adults and teenagers to take parental lessons before having sex (in case of conception) is laughable. And what if they don't? Who is going to catch them?

Organisers have long known that this charade was going to fall on the day after the RCC motion. In case of a positive outcome, it may have helped the Prime Minister to secure a fast return to his 'business as usual' stance.

But it just happened that last night Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando and Jesmond Mugliett came up with a one-night stand that necessitated a bitter morning-after pill. Their vote reaffirmed that the Prime Minister cannot bank on his agitated backbench. This political crisis adds to anxieties about the state of the economy especially after last week's announcement that Malta has regressed into economic recession. All this requires sober action not contests, games and alieniation.

Today's xarabankesque effort has backfired. It merely contributed to the banalisation of democracy and this can't help us improve our perceptions of the incumbants.

Manwel Sinagra
Camillu, Il verita tilleberak. Minn kliem Carmen jidher li hi tikkundana vjoneza gejja minn fejn gejja, u dawk huma isentimenti tieghi ukoll.
carmel callus
@Sammut/Lupu: il-verita' twegga'
Manwel Sinagra
I agree with Carmen Sammut's answer to camillu. It is the present we are interested in, as that is what we can control to shape our future. Looking at the load there is in front of us, we all need to work and work together. We certainly need our politicians focused and not playing Celebrity Big Brother.
Tony Borg
Lawrence Gonzi shows off his Castille's Kawlata bowl. probably Ms. Hammett is thinking 'no wonder we are is such a mess'
Tony Borg
Lawrence Gonzi shows off his Castille's Kawlata bowl. probably Ms. Hammett is thinking 'no wonder we are is such a mess'
Zunzan
@ camillu From your comment one realizes that you do not know Carmen Sammut. What a childish comment! Which part of the blog you do not agree with? Only one commenter is more stupid than you.....Giovann il-Gidra!!
Carmen_Sammut
I fully sympathize with individuals like Camillu who seems truly stuck in the Guareschi novel written back in the 1950s. In such retrograde scenario, critical voices were viewed as enemies instead of contesting interlocutors. My critiques of power holders are intended to provoke genuine debate; they are definately not meant to offend. Provocation is essential if we wish to challenge the boundaries of myopic polarised debates. While healthy contesting differences are necessary, in a democracy we must learn how to work in between and beyond traditional divides, if we want to meet current challenges through innovative decisions and choices. Instead, we have seen more critical voices being conditioned or sidelined through practices of exclusion and ghettoization. Such tactics are indeed reminiscent of the 1980s and no matter who applies them, they still stifle efforts for transformative change.
carmel callus
Carmen Sammut, dejjem kont, ghadek u tibqa' negattiva fejn jidhlu n-Nazzjonalisti. X'tistenna minn kittieba Socjalista li tahseb li ghada tghix fis-snin tmenin!
m borg
NO wonder gonzi called off the meeting of the parliamentary group this afternoon he was too busy showing off the presidents china. Ms Hammett must be over the moon with the experience and has come a bit more enlightened about the ardourous workof the PM.
Christian Thorn
..... and TODAY of all days! Maybe Ms. Hammett can help the Prime Minister pack!
Manwel Sinagra
Jien meta smajt biha din, ghedt "Ara wahda. Issa anke ix-xoghol tal-PM bil-prekarjat." (P.S. Nghader l-imsieken li hemm f'dik is-sitwazzjoni)
GRACE PAVIA
No. He is indicating that a PM needs that bowl's size for his morning cereal in order to have the strength to carry the day after the night before. Or being such a dyed in the wool conservative , he must have thought the lucky lady would only be interested in the kitchen.
James Grech
Jaqaw taht dak il-vazun il-PM izomm il-password ghad dokumenti sigrieta tal-gvern?