Wear it out: #OhMyMalta has been totally co-opted by Labour for 1 May

The earworm slogan ‘Oh My Malta’ will be sported on 1 May t-shirts to drive home the mantras of ‘surplus’, ‘equality’ and ‘best of times’  

Best of times, fully-charged to 100%, and ubiquitous slogan of incessant positivity? Why not get it in XXL
Best of times, fully-charged to 100%, and ubiquitous slogan of incessant positivity? Why not get it in XXL

Get ready for an overdose of ‘positive’ twaddle that will make your eyes water more than the Triton fountain.

Red and white t-shirts and a green battery – ripped off social media vlogger Nas Daily’s t-shirt – are set to make an appearance on 1 May.

The t-shirts are on sale from Labour’s national headquarters, and because the Maltese don’t do anything by halves, will sport a fully-charged green battery.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is expecting a big show of popular force at Labour’s traditional May Day celebration of International Worker’s Day, and the #OhMyMalta slogan will also be featuring on the ground - right at a time when allegations over his allies' offshore companies in Panama have featured in the international press.

The fashion deficit is real...
The fashion deficit is real...
Equality goals, check
Equality goals, check
No Panama companies here, everybody move on
No Panama companies here, everybody move on

The t-shirts will adapt the #OhMyMalta slogan and marry it to keywords coming straight out of the Labour playbook: 100% “positive”, 100% “equality”, 100% “l-aqwa zmien” to reference the general election ‘best of times’ slogan, and for the fiscally motivated, 100% “surplus”.

All buzzword reference Labour triumphs such as the raft of far-reaching reforms on gender and sexual equality that took Malta to the top of the European LGBTQI league, the fiscal surplus, or the inverse of the Labour tactic to give short shrift to criticism as something “negative”.

The #OhMyMalta slogan wormed its way into popular consciousness soon after Nuseir Yassin’s impact over a whole week of Nas Daily one-minute videos shot in Malta, to make the three words an official tourism tagline.

Yassin said he was not paid to come to Malta, although he found the support of branding leaders BRNDWGN and the MTA to set up a festival celebrating the slogan at the Triton Fountain square outside Valletta, where Labour will celebrate May Day on Tuesday.

This is not the first time that popular slogans supposedly characterizing Maltese ‘exceptionalism’ get taken over wholesale by political parties.

When the Nationalist administration announced in February 2006 that it would selling the land at Xghajra to Dubai’s Tecom Investments for the creation of an “internet city” called Smart City Malta, the word “smart” became an integral part of the Nationalist Party’s (and the government’s) political arsenal.

By September 2006, the slogan “[email protected]” was chosen as the theme for its Independence Day festivities. PN secretary-general Joe Saliba was so keen on reaping the political dividends from the project, that then minister Austin Gatt himself said that using ‘SmartMalta’ as a slogan – while negotiations with Tecom were still ongoing – was not so ‘smart’.

Gatt’s ministry however launched a blitz media campaign just a few months before the March 2008 general elections, in which the country was bombarded by photos of prominent personalities endorsing the government’s ‘Smart Island’ strategy. 

The campaign included personalities such as Malta Independent on Sunday editor Noel Grima, PBS journalist Daphne Cassar, presenters Peppi Azzopardi, John Bundy, Claudette Buttigieg (then as Net  TV presenter Claudette Pace), Claire Agius Ordway and Gianni Zammit, GRTU director-general Vince Farrugia, actor George Micallef, author Trevor Zahra, footballer Carmel Busuttil, GO CEO Sonny Portelli, Children’s Commissioner Carmen Zammit, businessmen Jonathan Shaw (who later ran for MEP), 6pm CEO Ivan Bartolo (who also was a PN candidate) and the late Desmond Vella, KNPD chairperson Joe Camilleri, singer Konrad Pule, and actor Owen Bonnici of Zoo fame.

The attempt to broadcast the ads on TV was thwarted only by the Broadcasting Authority, claiming that their broadcast right before the election would be too “political”.

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