Thanks, but no thanks

The people who run the party keep on making the same mistakes, provoking more people to abandon the PN

Robert Arrigo
Robert Arrigo

Robert Arrigo’s recent outburst on the social media – about how he was treated by the powers that be in the PN – signals another sad end of a political career. Once again, I find myself remembering the saying attributed to Enoch Powel that “every political career ends in tears”.

To be sure, Arrigo’s Facebook post reeks of emotional self-pity but it is also a reaction to the way he was treated by the PN. Dismissing him as some useless idiot who is good only for collecting money – conveniently ignoring the fact that the PN’s debts were the greatest internal headache that the PN was suffering when Arrigo was the party deputy leader – is nothing short of absolutely ungrateful for what Arrigo did about the PN’s debt.

Politicians are human beings, even though they sometimes act as if they are not.

As humans, they are hurt when they are treated badly – or when they think they are treated badly. Remember Margaret Thatcher crying as she left Downing Street for the last time? Or Dom Mintoff complaining that he was not allowed entry into the Labour Party Headquarters built by Alfred Sant? Or Anglu Farrugia – then Labour deputy leader – not allowed to see what was going on in the Labour HQ’s fourth floor where he had no right of access?

Arrigo was obviously hurt by being given just five minutes to speak on the occassion of him being replaced by a new deputy leader who was pe-ordained by the powers that be. One minute for every year he served as deputy leader, he noted sarcastically. Arrigo had accepted his replacement graciously, but in turn he was not treated graciously. They just told him: thanks, but no thanks!

The power instinct in male primates is very evident in human politics, and in the way how humanity runs this planet that it has completely taken over for its own narrow purposes – whether benign or malign.

Robert Arrigo is a self-made businessman despite having been born with the proverbial silver spoon. I will not enter into the hows and the whys, but Robert Arrigo had to go it alone despite all odds and ended up a very successful businessman on his own merits.  That is not my point, but it is also a reflection of his mettle and determination. The same mettle and determination that led him to become the most popular PN politician in Sliema and its surrounding areas, leading the PN vote count in two electoral districts. 

Surely, concentrating on his defects is no way to treat a gentleman. Treating badly adversaries within the same party is not gentlemanly at all. No surprise here! In all democratic countries, politicians show more respect to those on the other side than to those of their own side. This reminds me of the anecdote of a new government MP joining the government side in the House of Commons, looking at the Opposition and referring to them as ‘the enemy’. He was immediately rebuked by an older MP who explained that those on the other side were just ‘Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition’ while the real enemy was on their own side.

Such is the cut and thrust of male-dominated politics in parliamentary democracies.

The people within the PN who implied that Robert Arrigo was useless in spite of the number of votes he attracted every election he contested, have yet to understand when and how to deal with party members with whom they disagree or whose time is over. What they did to Arrigo was self-defeating.

That is why the PN is doomed to keep on losing votes. The people who run the party keep on making the same mistakes, provoking more people to abandon the PN.

It is also evident that Bernard Grech – who was foisted leader on the grounds of his looks and manners being very popular on the social media – was actually let loose in a jungle that he hardly understands.

Grech has served his purpose: that was to calm down the nerves of those who rejected Adrian Delia even before he was officially nominated as candidate for the PN leadership and his successful – but doomed – election as party leader.

After the result of the last election, when the PN lost more votes than Labour did, these nerves are again jangled. And the haemorrhage from the PN continues unabated.

The PN’s reaction is only making it worse.

Taxing luxury goods

Euronews has reported that Canada is set to impose a new ‘luxury tax’ on the sale and importation of high-value cars, planes and boats.

Coming into effect on September first, the Select Luxury Items Tax Act is depicted as part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to a fairer tax system. The levy is the realisation of budget proposals first made last summer, which have now received parliamentary approval. The new luxury levy targets boats, vehicles and aircraft priced above established limits. It will be calculated at 10 per cent of the full retail value of the vehicle, aircraft or vessel, or 20 per cent of the value above the threshold.

The tax will only apply to new vehicles purchased by consumers for personal use. It will apply retroactively to such sales made after 1 January 2022.

Canada’s luxury tax aims to make things fairer for taxpayers, ensuring that ‘those Canadians who can afford to buy luxury goods are contributing a little more,’ according to a statement on the Government of Canada’s website.

The Canadian government claims that the tax could also deter wealthy citizens from purchasing fuel-guzzling luxury cars, yachts and private jets – with positive effects for the environment.

People who enjoy bragging with the luxury items they possess are found all over the world. Malta is no exception. Most of them are probably tax dodgers, legally or otherwise.

In Italy anyone who uses such luxury items for more than a number of months per year is assumed to be the owner and taxed as the owner, irrespective of what entity is technically the actual owner.

Malta is rife with people owning such luxury items but introducing such a tax in Malta would, perhaps, be too socialist a measure for the current Labour administration.