It’s the first week of the electoral campaign and Xarabank are gracing us with their debates. A short disclaimer is in order here saying that I loathe the usual Xarabank programmes, but these debates prove to be quite entertaining.

Three sets of debates, all about the energy policy in Malta. The premise of this programme started feeling more and more like the old Mortal Kombat games. Loving all things video games and working in the energy sector this was going to be a Friday night worth spending in.

Unfortunately I never understand who the winners of these debates are. All I know is that at the end of the day, ‘debate’ loses. Why? Well because you need a certain level of maturity to debate, and you need an even stronger mature person to chair these debates. Neither Norman Vella nor Peppi Azzopardi seem to be fit for the job. Norman Vella yesterday, simply couldn’t get Marlene Farrugia to shut up and while that says more about her than it does about him, it hurts the debate.

Tonio Fenech vs Konrad Mizzi
This was the first and main debate. The Minister responsible for energy versus the prospective Minister for energy. The PL have done a fantastic job with Konrad Mizzi, they have polished him and built him up to be a very good speaker, a worthy opponent for the seasoned Tonio Fenech. Comparing him to the Konrad Mizzi who was speaking on Dissett together with Jason Azzopardi just a few months ago, you can really tell the difference. Tonio Fenech really showed his teeth yesterday, the guy means business and knows what he is talking about. When Konrad Mizzi said there was a possibility of building the unsightly gas storage tankers underground, Tonio Fenech was quick on his mark and explained how these things are now heavily scrutinised under EU law (reasons of safety, public health and contamination of ground water). Those are the kind of arguments you want to see develop in a real debate, but it felt like when we were getting somewhere, the atmosphere would turn into a każin and the argument would be lost. Konrad Mizzi also kept saying he would explain later in simple terms, but later never arrived, and when there was a hint of an explanation on something, Konrad Mizzi decided to quote a comment by Edward Mallia, under an article in The Times’ online website.

Beppe Fenech Adami vs Marlene Farrugia
This was probably the debate which shocked me most of all. It’s the debate where Normal Vella showed he is not capable of chairing such things. You can count the words Beppe Fenech Adami managed to get in without Marlene Farrugia speaking on top of him. I consider myself a true feminist and really enjoy seeing woman like Marlene Farrugia who seems to have it all, brains and beauty, in Parliament. It’s empowering for women everywhere, but seeing her not respecting debate rules and not being able to shut up was really irritating, and didn’t really help out with the cliches thrown at our sex.

George Pullicino vs Leo Brincat
At this point, either Norman Vella was tired or he just couldn’t be bothered anymore. He started by making a pun about HFO and George Pullicino being heavy – yes, a real charmer. George Pullicino like the rest of us fatties simply smiled and started his argument, a real gentleman. It then continued with a Norman Vella tantrum, when Leo Brincat had a little bit of Freudian Slip and said something to the effects of; I’ll only answer what I want to answer. Norman Vella lost it all here. Instead of accepting Leo Brincat’s apology made later on, he continued acting offended and refused to ask him questions until the end of the debate.

That was basically it, still don’t know who won these debates. Still don’t know what happened to the televoting question which even though is not a proper measure for people’s opinions was showing a staggering 83% not trusting Labour’s proposals. This wasn’t touched upon at the end of the programme, of course the list of a bajillion advertisers are more important.