Owen does Boris! Enjoy (or cringe at) the minister’s ‘Love Actually’ 1 May vid

What do International Workers Day, the coronavirus soft lockdown, and Love Actually have in common? The minister for education…

Owen Bonnici’s silent parade outside his parents’ home
Owen Bonnici’s silent parade outside his parents’ home

Education minister Owen Bonnici launched a pop culture-inspired 1 May video, emulating a scene from Love Actually as he approaches his sympathetic elderly parents on their doorstep, who unfortunately had to stay indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Referencing a famous moment from the 2003 Christmas-themed (and cringeworthy) romantic drama, Bonnici’s social media promo shows him silently (why? Is there a lockdown on politicians’ bullshit too?) showing his parents a series of 1 May and education-themed messages.

It is scored, naturally, by an instrumental version of the Labour favourite yet sublime musical composition from the Gensna rock opera, Tema 79.

But the format of the promotional video hails from a Christmas election ad by the UK Conservative Party, in which Boris Johnson speaks to an apathetic voter on her doorstep after pretending to be a group of carol singers.

Now, as this ad plays out, Bonnici’s kindly mother announces the arrival of the ministerial offspring to his pater, but Owen appears on their doorstep with placards and a Sanyo stereo that has seen better days.

Inexplicably he beckons them to be silent as he puts his finger to his lips, and then, instead of politely conversing, shows them his placards to the background music of Tema 79. Politics is all showbiz...

“Mum, dad, since I cannot come in / I’ll speak to you from here *smiley face*,” say the first two placards.

“It’s the 1st of May. I don’t think you’ve ever missed a year going to Valletta, since the times of the Battle of Flowers,” he says of the 1961 flower-adorned floats organised by the Labour youth branches.

“This year it will be different *sad smiley* but our commitment to families, business and work will be strong as ever. We have brought everyone forward in education, and we have thought of all students to have all the skills they need for the world of tomorrow.”

Now all this unfurls itself with the willing nodding of the Bonnici elders, with young Owen finally beckoning them to have courage and with a “Viva Jum il-Haddiem” placard that is met with a semi-raised fist from his mum (sweet and radical…).

Make of it what you will. The world does seem to belong to self-promoting moderates, even on this subdued Workers’ Day. Be kind of course… everyone misses their mum and dad.

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