Orgy and anarchy

Elderly people, normal people not bemused with fireworks and animals are traumatised by the celebration of noise

Being a republican or a monarchist, and I am definitely the former, does not affect the appreciation one has for this Queen.

I guess it has something to do with our past as a former British colony and moreover because of Elizabeth’s time at Villa Guardamangia in Pietà before becoming Queen at 25 after her father’s death.

Even with the political turmoil of the seventies and eighties (the Mintoff years) and conflicts with the UK, the affection for the Queen never faded. I cannot say it will be the same feeling for the former Prince of Wales, now King Charles III.

The Royal family today is not exactly an exemplary institution. Yet, when you sit down and watch the pageantry and rituals linked to this establishment rooted in history, together with it’s very strong link to the Anglican Church and the psyche of Great Britain, one has to admit that the Royal Family will always retain a very high attraction despite having no real executive powers.

The United Kingdom Elizabeth was born into is of no resemblance to the UK of today. It is no longer an imperial power, not even a world power. Indeed, it is no longer an EU member state and no longer shines in the world. And the so-called value of the Commonwealth is also very limited in terms of the inspiration it can give to the millions of former subjects in the ex-colonies. The death of Elizabeth will accelerate this transformation.

Malta and the UK may be bound by history, geniality and language, but the relationship stops there. Today younger people feel closer to Italy, Brussels and even France than the UK.

There is also no magic with King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla. It would have been very different if the king would be King William, but I could be wrong, and my hunch is that this more or less the end of an era.

Younger people were not born like me as a colonial subject with the image of the Queen on all the coins, and her image in all government departments before Maltese fiery politicians started to make the changes that every independent nation yearned for.

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Sooner or later the topic of Villa Guardmangia was about to surface. As expected, someone asked what is happening with Villa Guardmangia which was purchased by government in one of those bizarre deals.

The 1,560sq.m property has sea views over Marsamxett Harbour from the roof terrace, six bedrooms, three bathrooms, grand ‘sala nobile’, and various rooms leading to a garden of 900sq.m.

In 1929, it was leased to Louis Mountbatten, who had interest in it because of its proximity to the Marsa horse racing track and golf course. When the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh (Philip and Elizabeth) came to Malta they initially lodged at San Anton Palace, hosted by Gerald Strickland and his wife.

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and her then-fiancé, Philip Mountbatten, first stayed at Guardamangia in 1946. The couple returned a number of times after that, while Philip was stationed in Malta as a Royal Navy officer and Elizabeth worked with the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen Families Association (SSAFA) at Auberge de Castille.

Mountbatten eventually passed the villa to the royal couple and they resided there continuously between 1949 and 1951.

In 2019, it was up for sale for €6 million and the government chose to buy it with the intention of restoring it to commemorate Queen Elizabeth - I found this altruistic interest very unusual considering the Labour government’s culture quotient.

Three years have passed since that purchase and nothing has happened and I doubt anything will with the squeeze on finances. Perhaps now is the time to kick-start its renovation and create an opportunity to have a museum dedicated to the Queen’s time in Malta and the Windsors’ relationship with Malta.

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There is never a good time to complain about the frenzy and unrelenting disregard for basic rules and decency when unleashing fireworks.

Not one town or village has been spared the vengeance of firework enthusiasts who have had an orgy with noise, bangs and colour in the sky until the early hours of the morning this summer.

Whenever you talk to a politician they run a mile - to them fireworks and hunting are no go areas. They are untouchable.

Elderly people, normal people not bemused with fireworks and animals are traumatised by the celebration of noise. In the town I live, Naxxar, five consecutive days of noise went on until one o’clock in the morning. The police, it seems are more concerned about other matters and the church authorities are oblivious to the pagan debauchery on behalf of the Virgin Mother.

Forget the effect of toxic chemicals strewn all over our homes – that is a consideration for another day.

When finally, it was all over, after the carousel of noise the day before, I decided to brave the scorching humid night and open myself a beer at around midnight and sit on the terrace. Better than staying in air conditioning, I thought.

The evening was broken once again by another noise like a pulsating din of a discotheque or a night club in the background with the screeching voice of a DJ expressing something inaudible. It was simply unbearable.

I turned around and opened the double-glazed door and returned to the comfort of air conditioning and zero noise. I wondered what those with no double glazing have had to endure.

From Mqabba to Nadur, from Dingli to Kalkara, the culture of fireworks flourishes and the feeling out there is that no one is going to cap our excesses. It is complete anarchy.

Anarchy is what everyone is experiencing right now – whether it is a planning permit, hunting, or simply swimming with jet skis zooming around – it is a free for all. Complete anarchy reigns and a sense that there is no one around to stop us.

It is as if there is no tomorrow and the country is on auto-pilot mode with no sense of order or decency.

No one wonder some people run away on a boat or a caravan in summer. Who in his seven senses wants to live here?