It’s sizzling hot (apparently). August’s heat approaches with the certainty of a sunrise and the last events of the political season are being played out. Let’s not fool ourselves. There is going to be a break – a pause – as the politicians scramble to the safety of the seaside… or like mercenaries they will find some earthly form of hell where to regroup. In the meantime though the last notes of this particular act are being played out.
As I blogged earlier today, the Nationalist party is keen to have the last word on all things leak and Mistra. It’s not about Mistra they will tell you but about Joseph Muscat being a blabberer – a peċluq – as we would have it in the vernacular. The Labour party rightly retorts by focusing on a totally different point and reminding “GonziPN” that Dr Sant was right about the geezer who favours Earl Grey. That geezer marched off for his summer holidays in a huff having notified the PN that he is no longer one of their own (like they needed it in writing) and having informed the Speaker of the House that he is henceforth to be considered as an Independent. His cohabitation having been clarified he will now apparently be off and wed so, unless he takes the matter of wedlock lightly, that should keep him out of the news for a while.
The grumbling has started. It’s become a catchphrase of sorts now. “Oh how they have bored us.”, “Enough already”, “Why don’t they just resign and call an election”… and more of the same. You cannot really blame the electorate for having sussed out that most of these theatricals are to nobody’s benefit and that they can be more boring than spending an evening watching Musumeci Robert put up aphorism after aphorism on Facebook. Then again I have the niggling feeling that this is the usual thinking “sal-ponta ta’ l-imnieħer” as the vernacular would also put it.
Why? Because while it has become stylish to feign a lack of interest and to sing-a-long to the “bored with politics” and the “politicos” (a new word that, that has entered the collective vocab) few seem to understand what actually lies behind the corner. While everybody claims to no longer be intrigued by the squeakings of officials and spinmasters the truth is that their urge to “call an election” and get it over and done with turns out to be more of an emotional impulse than a thought out reflection.
And the reason is simple. When the curtain finally falls and the electoral campaign is in full swing we should be finally seeing two parties displaying their wares and what they have to offer in terms of governance for the new season. Mr Voter would be choosing from among these wares and therefore should be expecting to see a bit more than slogans and mud. Are the parties ready for that?
I have a strong feeling that the timing of PN strategy until now points clearly to a summer of preparation for an election. As I type slogans are being hatched (or copied from French campaigns), manifestos are being hurriedly beefed up and a strategy based on what the party can offer (and what new guarantees it can promise) is probably being brewed. The PN elected in 2008 is split and a good target for derisory facebook statuses or smartass expressions of surprise. The PN2012 team will be making damn sure that the new team has none of that.
And Labour? Well, once Muscat has recovered from the spumante he will return to the island to find that his provision of ammo is running dry. He has spent the last nine months honeymooning with the man who he now calls the second Prime Minister and has concentrated exclusively on the “iggranfat mal-poter” theorem. Once the relevance of that whole issue is officially declared passé, Muscat will find that he has very little time to reinvent a machine that he has groomed to produce more of the same old comatose opposition by default. It may be too late.
Four to five weeks. That’s approximately how much time the parties have to get it together and regroup. I’m betting that the PN will attempt to use the summer pause for a Janus effect. One face looking back and another decisively forward. Will Labour manage to do anything other than the obvious and the predictable?
More importantly will the electorate prove to be a sucker for cosmetics one more time?