That reference to a ‘gang’ that tarnished Malta was pretty badass

The Skinny | No 14. President George Vella’s Republic Day Speech

The island is experiencing some of its most politically turbulent moments in recent memory, and a speech by the President tends to be an important snapshot of where we stand, politically... or at least, rhetorically
The island is experiencing some of its most politically turbulent moments in recent memory, and a speech by the President tends to be an important snapshot of where we stand, politically... or at least, rhetorically

What are we skinning? President George Vella’s Republic Day speech.

Why are we skinning it? The island is experiencing some of its most politically turbulent moments in recent memory, and a speech by the President tends to be an important snapshot of where we stand, politically... or at least, rhetorically.

So you’re saying it’s just empty talk? No, not exactly. It is talk - that’s what a speech is, at its crudest - but a speech by the nation’s President on such an austere event could go either way.

Which way do you think it went, then? I think Vella struck the right balance between sombre and hopeful. It was a responsible speech that did not shy away from the realities we are now facing, while also retaining an air of seriousness about the way ahead.

The English-language bit was a nice touch, I felt... Yes, and it’s one of the many points in which his experience in foreign affairs came to the fore. Acknowledging that the world is watching and sending out a reassurance that we are doing the best we can to address the issues that have tarnished Malta’s name internationally was certainly another step in the right direction.

Agreed for the most part, though if I hear the word ‘serenity’ one more time... You’re right, that did nudge at the old gag-reflex for me too. But neither can we expect a president’s speech to please everyone, all the time. Especially in a tribally-divided island like Malta. Especially at this point in our history.

But do we really need a barrage of cliches at this point in time? Isn’t it better to advocate for action instead of bandying feel-good words around? Look, I agree with you, but the President’s words can give us a good starting point. Let’s absorb them, and continue to hold those responsible with the well-being of our nation to account, because we may just have allowed ourselves to slack on this count over the past few years.

Fair enough. Also, the reference to a ‘gang’ that tarnished Malta was pretty badass.

Do say: “Agree or disagree with some or all of the content behind President Vella’s Republic Day speech, it’s hard to deny that it does strike an apposite note in this time of crisis. It now falls to both politicians and citizens to ensure that all the promises therein are adequately followed up on and addressed.”

Don’t say: “I really liked the speech, though the Prez saying he has limited powers made me a bit sad. Can’t we just make him dictator and sort this mess out before NYE?!”

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