A hunting season, for an endangered bird? Sorry, but that’s just too much

I mean, come on. What does it really tell us, about their respective credentials as a potential ‘party-in-government’… if not exactly the same message as all those Youtube ads (i.e., that they are obviously just a bunch of psychopaths)?

OK, let’s get one thing out of the way first. It’s not as though I needed any additional ‘prodding’, to decide how I’ll end up voting in this particular election.

Right from the first day of the campaign, I told myself – and I even wagged my finger at the mirror, while saying it – that: “UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES would I vote for any political party that has the temerity… the audacity… the nerve… the gall… heck, even just the plain old STUPIDITY… to so much as even dream about…


There: someone had to say it, sooner or later. Because let’s face it, people. This isn’t even about ‘politics’, at the end of the day. This is about ordinary human intelligence. It’s about possessing (or otherwise) all the basic, entry-level cognitive faculties – you know: empathy, acumen, perception, intuition; that sort of thing – that enable human beings to comprehend even the simplest, and most fundamental of concepts...

Such as, for instance: that if the idea behind those ads was to ‘win over’ as many voters as you possibly can, in the shortest possible timeframe (and as far as I can see: that’s always the general idea behind ‘advertising’, of any kind whatsoever)…

… well, there are probably a few better ways of doing that, than by deliberately (and strategically) PISSING OFF as many of those potential voters as humanly possible… and even then: in the most obnoxiously irritating way imaginable, too!

That is to say, exactly like a sudden power-cut… right before a World Cup Final penalty shoot-out [but with a significant difference: YouTube ads do at least give you a ‘five-second countdown’… so you can start your blasphemous rant five seconds BEFORE actually hitting that ‘Skip Ad’ button, instead of afterwards).

Honestly, though: it doesn’t exactly take a PhD in Applied Political Science, to realise that ‘Youtube ads’ are most emphatically NOT the best communications tool available, to endear your political message to any undecided voters out there.

Or at least, not unless their entire purpose was to reveal that the political party in question is:

So selfish;

So short-sighted;

And so, well, ‘borderline-sociopathic’, I suppose…

… that they actually thought it would be ‘good political strategy’, to inflict maximum levels of stress, frustration, anxiety and irritation… not on their political adversaries, mind you (in which case, I would kind of see the point)… but no: on the very people they were actually trying to ‘win over’, just a few weeks before an election.

See what I mean? That’s my own voting intentions decided, right there: if not about ‘whom to actually vote for’… at least, about whom to avoid on the ballot sheet.

Because the way I see it: if both Labour and Nationalist Parties managed to annoy the virtual crap out every single available voter-demographic – not because they wanted to; but as an unintended consequence of trying to achieve the clean opposite effect… then, very obviously, they must be a bunch of inept, and incompetent, ignoramuses.

If, on the other hand, they did all that ON PURPOSE… then, what can I say? They’re obviously a bunch of psychopaths. (And right now, placed on the spot: I can’t actually decide which is worse).

Either way, however: you can’t trust that kind of political party with real political power, can you? Otherwise… who knows? We might end up in the same situation we’ve all been stuck in these past 70 years anyway: that is to say, ruled by a selfish, short-sighted, and utterly narcissistic government, that only exists to serve its own (equally selfish, short-sighted and utterly narcissistic) purposes…

But hey! I know what you’re all probably thinking right now. It’s not as though you actively ‘disagree’ with even a single word I’ve just written (I mean, how could you, anyway? When you yourselves have all been complaining about those same Youtube ads, for the past five weeks at least?)

It’s just that, while you all subscribe wholeheartedly to my core argument… you just don’t see this as an electoral ‘make-or-break’ deal, do you?  Heck, you probably even think I’m just giving vent to some (very real, I assure you) ‘annoyance’ I experienced myself, of late…  which is also perfectly true, of course… except that…

No, actually. There’s a heck of a lot more to it than that. Tell you the truth, I would more than happily put aside my own aversion to all those online interruptions… if that were the ONLY political manifestation, of the same psychopathic streak I just mentioned above.

But we all know that it isn’t the only example; and it’s not even close to being the worst, either. For while those Youtube campaigns may be about as ‘welcome’ as… ooh, let’s see now: an SMS notification that you’ve just contracted Covid-19…. they don’t exactly ‘disfigure the environment’, do they? And they certainly do not drive endangered species towards extinction, either….

Nonetheless, they do stem from precisely the same political forces, that also propel those (and all sorts of other) immensely serious consequences. And just this week, we got a classic taste of those self-same forces in action.

Actually, we got several. First off the bat, there was the Planning Authority’s scandalous decision to approve a gargantuan project in Sannat, Gozo – larger by far than the 1996 proposed extension of the Ta’ Cenc hotel – just days after the Prime Minister was the ‘guest of honour’ at a dinner-party organised by none other than the applicant himself (but I wrote about this last week… so ‘nuff said, for now).

But if that wasn’t enough, to convince us all that our country is now firmly in the hands of a bunch of environmental delinquents: a few days later, the Ornis Committee approved a Spring hunting season… for a bird (the Turtle-dove) that is classified by the IUCN as ‘in decline’.

Yes, folks: you read right. The Ornis Committee has just voted, by an overwhelming majority (5 to 1, If you must know), to permit the killing of a bird whose global population – and European, in particular – has been steadily ‘dwindling’ for the past 10 years at least.

And just to make damn sure that this grossly irresponsible decision inflicts the maximum damage possible, on a species whose very survival is under threat… they are permitting this slaughter to take place, slap-bang in the middle of the turtle-dove’s breeding season. (You know: in case there was still any doubt, that the whole intention was to wipe out as many breeding pairs as possible, of a species that is technically ‘endangered’…)

For the record, the Ornis Committee is composed of: three members of the hunting confraternity; three members of BirdLife Malta (both of whom have only one vote each: which, naturally, ‘cancel each other out’); one member of the Environment and Resources Authority (who – wonder of wonders! – abstained on this critical vote); and three ‘independent members’, all of whom are directly appointed by government.

On the basis that I’ve already informed you how they all voted – no prizes for guessing the only board member who voted against, by the way – this effectively means that this utterly-indefensible decision was taken directly by government itself.

I need hardly add, of course, that all this happened after both the Prime Minister, and the Opposition leader, gave their personal assurances to the hunters that they would simply continue pandering to their every last request, as usual…

But that, I suppose, is nothing really ‘new’. No, what makes this astonishing decision stand out so much, is that – just like all those dodgy Planning Authority permits, that were issued in defiance of ‘negative recommendations’ by the PA’s own case-officers – it also flies in the face of all the scientific advice, that was given to government by its own appointed consultants.

In this case, specifically by the Wild Birds Regulation Unit: which, in 2020, was tasked with drawing up an assessment report on the conservation status of the bird in question.

Believe it or not, this is an actual quote from said report: “In 2015 the EU population status of Turtle-dove (Streptopelia turtur) was assessed as Near Threatened, because the species comes close to meeting the IUCN Red List criteria at the EU27 scale […] The latest (2019) European Bird Census Council update has shown that at Pan-European level, the Turtle-dove declined by 80% when compared with the 1980 baseline data, and by 17% during the 10-year trend (2008–2017)…”

Got that, folks? So the WRBU itself had clearly warned government, that the conservation of status of the Turtle-dove has not only ‘failed to improve’ since 2015 – when, by the way, a moratorium had been imposed for this species; precisely because it was ‘near-threatened’ – but it has actually declined alarmingly since then.

What better timing, then, for a decision that can only have been intended to hasten the extinction of this unfortunate species of bird? (Because let’s face it, folks: it can’t exactly have been taken for any other reason, can it?)

And if both Labour and Nationalist Parties are irresponsible enough to openly subscribe to this sort of criminal delinquency… and to actually approve of a hunting season in spring, for any species at all (still less, one that is officially ‘endangered’)…

I mean, come on. What does it really tell us, about their respective credentials as a potential ‘party-in-government’… if not exactly the same message as all those Youtube ads (i.e., that they are obviously just a bunch of psychopaths)?

But hey, let’s look on the bright side! At least, it does help ‘undecideds’ such as myself, to actually make up our minds…