Jesus, St John and Mahatma Gandhi need YOU

The Universe is depending on YOU – and you alone – to ensure that the Cosmos is saved from the malevolent forces that plot day and night to destroy it once and for all

Salvu Mallia is really the one setting the tone and strategy for the entire Opposition these days
Salvu Mallia is really the one setting the tone and strategy for the entire Opposition these days

Well, we now have it straight from the horse’s mouth. The upcoming election will indeed be a ‘battle between good and evil’. As confirmed last Sunday by Opposition leader Simon Busuttil: “the fight is not between red and blue, but between good and evil, the truth and the false...” 

That’s fantastic news, I must say... because until that point I had assumed it was going to be the usual boring electoral contest we get to put up with every so often. You know, when two equally corrupt and mediocre parties slog it out in a mud-wrestling ring, over whose turn it will be to enjoy another five years of total domination over an island the size of a peanut...

But no! This time, it will be different. This time, it will be an epic struggle between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness... complete with light-sabre duels instead of televised debates, and a riveting soundtrack by John Williams. And what’s at stake is no longer the mere question of a five-year term at the helm of government, or anything as trivial as that. Oh, no: it’s going to be a pitched battle to save the entire Galaxy from the clutches of an Evil Empire. The stuff that princesses get abducted over, so that they can later be rescued by rebel heroes disguised as Stormtroopers. Oh, and there’ll be popcorn, too. Lots and lots of popcorn...

So what the heck are you all waiting for, people? The Universe needs you. Salvu Mallia needs you. Jesus Christ, St John the Baptist, Mahatma Gandhi, Che Guevara and Manuel Dimech are all depending on YOU – and you alone – to ensure that the Cosmos is saved from the malevolent forces that plot day and night to destroy it once and for all. 

And besides: opportunities like this don’t exactly crop up every day, you know. That’s the whole point of an Armageddon-style final confrontation between God and Evil: it can only happen once... and whichever side wins, gets to rule uncontested for all eternity.  

Just think, then, of the eternity of bliss and contentment that awaits us all, when the Forces of Good finally overthrow the Forces of Darkness, so that Evil is banished from the world forever. Why, we’ll never need to have another election again. We wouldn’t want one, either: after all, why give Evil a second chance? No, I say we fight this last election out in one final confrontation, and then just dump the entire concept of democracy in the nearest trash can. What use would it serve, once the Forces of Good are duly victorious? Corruption, nepotism, political patronage, greed, abuse of power... all that evil stuff will suddenly become history, from one day to the next, as the Sun rises on a new Golden Age of Eternal Goodness. Just like that...

Jeepers. And to think that there are people out there – including some I used to vaguely respect – who actually buy into and believe that kind of codswallop. I’m beginning to think Salvu Mallia might be onto something after all. We must really be a nation of ignorant retards.

In any case: I’m glad that Dr Busuttil drew on his wealth of experience in European politics to finally clear all that up for us. My only concern is that, in his zeal to drum up intergalactic enthusiasm for his party’s ‘Mission from God’... he forgot to actually specify which side is supposed to be which. 

I mean, if we are as endemically dim-witted a population as Salvu thinks we are... how can we be expected to work it out for ourselves? Doesn’t Simon Busuttil know that we’re a nation of illiterate morons who need to have even the most basic things spelt out for us (ideally, by someone who can’t even spell)? So Simon: it’s not enough to tell us that one side is ‘Good’ and the other ‘Evil’. Which is which? Because the answer is by no means obvious from where I’m standing.

OK, let’s rewind a little. ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ are antonyms. Like ‘light’ and ‘dark’, ‘heat’ and ‘cold’ – one implies the absence of the other.  Which is not to say that ‘Evil’ can strictly speaking be defined as an ‘absence of Good’: there are those who (and I’m not one of them) firmly believe in the existence of Evil as a force in its own right. But by any definition you choose, something cannot be both ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ at the same time... just as it cannot be both hot and cold, light and dark. So if we are going to associate the two parties with mutually exclusive agencies... it follows that the two would be instantly distinguishable from each other at a glance.

Can anyone say that this is true of Joseph Muscat’s Labour Party and Simon Busuttil’s Nationalist Party? If it really were the case (absurd as it sounds) that these two political institutions really represent opposite ends of the moral spectrum: wouldn’t there be an enormous and inescapable difference in their respective modus operandi?

I’ll be damned if I can see this enormous difference myself. Perhaps Busuttil – or Salvu Mallia, seeing as he is really the one setting the tone and strategy for the entire Opposition these days – could spell it out for us. In what way, exactly, do these two parties differ?

Labour, Busuttil tells us, is ‘corrupt’. The evidence rests mainly with the Panama Papers revelations, because (as Busuttil also said last Sunday) “there was only one way they would have filled the Panamanian accounts… with corruption.” Already, a small snag swims into view. The use of the future perfect conditional in that sentence confirms that the Panamanian accounts, at the time of discovery, were not yet filled. Technically, then, we are talking about the possibility of future corruption. OK, let’s extend that a little further and say ‘probability’... nay, ‘almost certainty’. We are still talking about something which has not actually taken place yet. 

Nor, of course, does it help that the Panama Papers also smeared a former PN minister with corruption of the same variety... with the difference that the undeclared overseas accounts, on this occasion, did indeed contain large amounts of illicit cash.

This creates a double paradox. On one hand, we are all supposed to be aghast at the horror of a Labour minister holding down undeclared overseas assets... when at least three high-ranking former Nationalist Ministers (Austin Gatt, Michael Falzon, Ninu Zammit) had all been guilty of the same charge in the past. Separately, we are expected to make a bigger stink about Labour’s transgressions than the PN’s... when the smoking gun was actually mssing from the Labour scenario, not the Nationalist one.

Now: I have no difficulty recognising that Mizzi and Schembri’s Panama connections are a clear indication of corrupt practices waiting to happen. They both should have been sacked on the spot, no doubt about it. But if Simon Busuttil seriously thinks that Labour’s flaws, alone, will absolve his own party of its atrocious record when it comes to governance issues, he must really be as bonkers as his star candidate.

As for the rest: the Gaffarena scandal, the land transfer issues, the nepotism in public appointments... all are indeed indictments on Labour, and its failure to live up to its most basic electoral promises. But there is not a single one of those scandals that cannot with equal precision be attributed to the PN when in power. And unlike the aforementioned Nationalist ministers, who are all now retired... several past PN scandals involve members of Busuttil’s shadow Cabinet today. To put the matter succinctly: if we are to associate ‘dodgy government land deals’ with ‘Evil’... then, on the basis of the latest batch of NAO reports, we shall have to consign former PN Lands Secretary Jason Azzopardi to the same circle of Dante’s Inferno as Labour’s Michael Falzon.  

And if Labour’s shameless flirtation with speculators and developers is suddenly the equivalent of a ‘mark of Cain’... what are we to make of a Nationalist party that had no qualms in accepting a €250,000 interest-free loan from one of Malta’s biggest developers? Are we supposed to just pretend that never happened... that the PN is not now indebted to the Vassallo Group, over a generous loan that no bank would ever have acceded to?

But hey, I don’t want to be the one to ruin what otherwise promises to be a rip-roaring belly-laugh of an election campaign. If it’s a battle of good and evil we want, by all means let us have one. I’ll be voting for the National Ewok Party myself. They’re part of an Alliance against an Evil Galactic Empire too, you know... 

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