michaelfalzon
Michael Falzon

Holding the fort

Whoever wrote the law looked at the matter from a poignant standpoint as they themselves are emotionally involved in the issue. This could satisfy many a hurt ego but it does not automatically lead to good legislation

michaelfalzon
Michael Falzon
11 July 2017, 7:30am
This is what should have inspired those who are in favour of gay marriage but were irked with some of the wording of the proposed law
This is what should have inspired those who are in favour of gay marriage but were irked with some of the wording of the proposed law
Simon Busuttil is finding it difficult to hold the fort while the House of Representatives debates the Marriage Equality Bill. The different approach to the bill and the contradictions that were evident in the speeches of many Opposition MPs is interesting, to say the least.

The Opposition managed to send many conflicting messages and it is obvious that there is many a disagreement within the PN camp on this issue. I need not repeat and point out these contradictions as they are evident to all those who followed the debate in Parliament. 

On the other hand, the notion that one must be against equality if one dares suggest some change in the words of the proposed law as prepared by the government is untenable. As far as I know, it was humans who drafted the bill and humans are known to make mistakes or go over the top. Yet, in this case, the government seems to be claiming infallibility! 

Undoubtedly the government’s position is a political ploy to put the Opposition MPs in a bigger quandary than they already find themselves in.

It is obvious that whoever wrote the law looked at the matter from a poignant standpoint as they themselves are emotionally involved in the issue. This could satisfy many a hurt ego but it does not automatically lead to good legislation. 

Using linguistic gymnastics to ‘ensure’ that before the law there is no difference between gay marriage and heterosexual marriage cannot but be a temporary short-lived satisfaction. Human nature is what it is – not what the law wants it to be.

This is what should have inspired those who are in favour of gay marriage but were irked with some of the wording of the proposed law. Instead they resorted to stupid assertions about the popular use of the traditional words ‘father ‘ and ‘mother’ as if their use was going to be banned by the law. This has continued to reflect badly on the PN.

The problem is that Simon Busuttil cannot allow a free vote on an issue that was part of his party’s electoral manifesto. Whatever the number of votes won as a result of that inclusion, these have now cost the PN dearly.

It is obvious that Simon Busuttil has lost his clout over a number of his own MPs. Behind the scenes, they even accuse him of surreptitiously including the position in favour of gay marriage in the PN manifesto against their will and that of many members of the PN general council. Now that Busuttil is only a ‘caretaker’ leader, opposing him openly is not so difficult.

Which brings us up to the old tensions inside the PN – the liberals and the conservatives – a tension that Joseph Muscat has continually teased to his advantage.

The hurry with which Muscat pushed the Marriage Equality Bill in the House of Representatives within a month of his electoral victory was no rash decision. He attacked the PN when it was at its weakest – recovering from a horrible election defeat and looking for a new leader to inspire the way forward.

If you think this will be over and forgotten within two weeks or so, think again. Muscat’s future ‘teasing’ list includes changing the IVF law, legalising the personal use of cannabis, and possibly euthanasia. Undoubtedly, the new PN leader will have to steer the ship in stormy seas.

Will he avoid a schism within the PN or will it happen, which many claim to be inevitable?

Finding the common ground between these two factions is becoming more and more difficult. The revulsion provoked by corruption is common ground, of course. But on its own this can never be an election winner.

Is there anyone capable of carrying out this seemingly impossible task?

The next year or so will give us the answer.

The Da Vinci mode

Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous Last Supper mural got entangled in a ‘vilification of religion’ allegation last week and no ‘Je suis Charlie’ aficionado could be seen on the limited horizon of this claustrophobic island.

Some reactions to the poster reproducing the famous Last Supper mural, that was used as an advert for an outlet selling hamburgers, pizza and chips, were incredible.

Not just that of the ‘Moviment Patrijotti Maltin’ – those clever guys who wield bacon as a tool to intimidate Moslems. Frankly I never expected anything better from them. But there were others who should have known better.

My point is that alleging that the advert was an example of ‘vilification of religion’ betrays the superficial way in which many Maltese look at – and practise – their religion. It is all a matter of statues, paintings and assorted paraphernalia. It is nothing short of idolatry and paganism.

To believe that Leonardo’s mural is more than an artistic masterpiece and is somehow a basic tenet about humanity’s relationship with God is nothing short of blasphemous in the first place. 

And unless one believes this, one cannot conclude that the advertising spoof was blasphemous and vilified the Catholic religion... and then continue to put the cherry on the cake by implying that this ‘obscenity’ became legally allowable only after the law against the vilification of religion was removed.

Do people really believe that the mural is an authentic reflection of the actual Last Supper with Jesus Christ and his apostles sitting on one side of the table – so that they can be seen better? Does it cross their mind that they must have posed for the immortal ‘photo’ that would for ever equate – in some people’s minds – with their intimate religious beliefs?

This is nonsense, of course.

The Archbishop simply said that it was ‘in bad taste’. He obviously could not say more. Taste is a personal and subjective attitude and one understands that the idea jarred with the ‘forma mentis’ of many. But taste is not dogma.

This was simply a clever advert intended to be controversial and shocking so that it does not get lost in the plethora of adverts that we are continually bombarded with wherever we go.

Seeing more in it than that is simply a ridiculous hallucination.

michaelfalzon
Michael Falzon is a former government minister who served under several Nationalist admini...