From Malta Tagħna Lkoll to Malta Tagħna Biss. The PL slogan which is slowly turning against its creators.

It was the slogan which won Labour its landslide victory back in March 2013 but Malta Tagħna Lkoll has been slowly taking a life of its own and rearing its ugly head.

This all seems to have started back then when prisoners were given a 100 day amnesty resulting in 143 prisoners walking free. Many were enraged by this decision and this episode was only the start of the bad juju for Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia.

When Mallia visited the inmates at Corradino the prisoners started to chant ‘Tagħna lkoll, tagħna lkoll’ turning this PR event into a double edged sword which was only the start of Mallia’s troubles.

Days passed and with every decision the new Labour government was taking the Tagħna Lkoll slogan would come back to haunt them;

L-Aministija taghna lkoll

Il-Kultura tagħna lkoll

L-Armier tagħna lkoll 

And the list goes on, everyday reinforced with a new appointment to a government board which seem to be dished out like hot, steamy, pastizzi.

But since Muscat decided it would be a good idea to play chess with human lives, and went for the controversial threat of pushbacks, the Malta Tagħna Lkoll slogan has been perversely applied to a group on Facebook. This group will be staging an anti-immigration protest – oh sorry I mean ‘Pro Malta’ protest – which funnily enough is a protest ‘In favour of the Government’s fight against illegal immigration’.

from malta tagħna lkoll to malta tagħna biss

Malta Tagħna, and Malta Tagħna Biss are the cries which can be found on the Facebook  group totaling almost 5000 members (no I will not be positing any links to said group which is clearly promoting racism). Said group page is also filled with links to news stories of Muslims doing horrible acts as if being a rapist, a murderer or a sick fuck is mutually exclusive to your religion.

As days go by, and the 4th August (the day of the protest) is drawing closer, some fire fighting seems to be happening. The Times of Malta, yesterday, decided to carry a story about the Prime Minister’s thoughts with regards this protest. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he does not approve of such a demonstration, failing to address the matter that this protest is being done in honour of the Government. Well yes, actions do happen to have consequences and when the Prime Minister threatened to go ahead with pushbacks he opened up a Pandora’s box filled with racism and xenophobia.

Meanwhile L-Orizzont published a story about a group of people who will be charged for inciting racial hatred on Facebook. When this news item was posted on the popular Facebook Page, Malta Diżastru Totali a barrage of comments ensued citing Freedom of Expression. News flash? Well Freedom of Expression is not absolute and is subject to limitations – one such limitation being hate speech.

Turns out Joe Demicoli will not be one of the members who will be charged by the Police who claimed his song is satirical – yes the song was done a few years back but is currently being used as the soundtrack to this protest. Unfortunately I cannot see the satire, the constructive social criticism, normally relative to satire, in the song escapes me but take a look for yourself and let me know what you think.

When women kick ass; Why Marlene Farrugia is my current favourite MP

Here in Malta we are not that great with meeting gender quotas. This is a flaw with both parties and I’m not pointing my finger at any administration as both were, and still are, flawed in this respect. Be it the PL or PN, many times women are put on boards just so that there is a ‘skirt’ as a director of a company, and the same goes for women contesting election tickets.

There is much to be done in this respect and I look forward to the days when we have more women like Helga Ellul (who is now even a PN candidate for the MEP elections) or Claudine Cassar taking top positions with private companies and also involving themselves in public boards. And I will jump for joy the day we have more politicians like Marlene Farrugia as MPs.

I have to admit, I wasn’t her biggest fan in the past few years. During Labour’s time in opposition she was the spokeswoman for energy, but you could tell this was not what she was truly passionate about so her performance always seemed to be below par.

Marlene Farrugia

Fast forward a few months and as a government MP she is really kicking some ass. The more time goes by the more my admiration for her is growing. Reading the interview she gave to Illum only last Sunday simply reinforces these feelings. She is a strong, independent woman and the House of Representatives could really do with MPs, of any gender or allegiance, who think more like her.

Let’s face it, she has more proverbial balls than her colleagues. When Prime Minister Joseph Muscat took his stance against immigration, Marlene Farrugia was the first government MP to say she didn’t agree. But she didn’t just stop there, she also went on to propose a parliamentary committee dealing with immigration. Yes dear MPs, you cannot simply point at a problem, you should also try to have a way forward.

In her interview with Illum she also speaks about the declaration of assets and outlines how these declarations should be changed so more information in given to increase transparency. This was also a reaction to the controversy raised after Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia declared more than half a million euros in cash.

Marlene Farrugia is an intelligent woman and she is standing up for what she believes in, however I do believe she should have never apologised for her stint as the Health Minister’s aide. Yes Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia is her husband but that doesn’t mean a person cannot distinguish between her professional life and her private life. The witch hunt which happened to make sure she resigns was, simply put, evil. The Prime Minister, and the Health Minister, should have both stood by their decision of appointing her if she really was the best person for the post.

Having said that, the fact she did apologise does show she is humble and knows how to pick her battles.

What I can say is that Marlene Farrugia is showing everyone the true definition of Girl Power, and about time we had a Member of Parliament who was up to doing that. Kudos Hon. Marlene Farrugia.

Standing up does not mean acting without compassion. Pushbacks are not the asnwer.


Immigration in Malta - we are all human beingsI am sad. I actually feel like someone has hit me in the stomach. Yesterday, for the first time in eons, I felt ashamed of being Maltese. I felt ashamed of being part of that country which was going to send back immigrants to possibly torture or death (even the possibility of this happening should make a decent human being take a step back and think about those consequences), without the chance to seek refugee or asylum seeker status. I felt disgusted by the fact that so many ‘Chatholics’ and ‘dogooders’ on my Facebook page were spouting racist comments and engaging in this ‘I do this because I am patriotic’ sham. Yes, a sham! A sham fuelled by none other than the Prime Minister of Malta.

The Prime Minister’s idea of how to tackle this issue seems to be a bunch of buzzwords scattered at every opportune moment, amongst others the; “We will be compassionate with those who are vulnerable but strong with politicians.”

Instead of taking the hard decision, we have a government that bitches and moans, threatens to use the veto on unrelated matters in the EU – like a kid throwing a tantrum because mummy wouldn’t buy him chocolate, and then plays a very dangerous game of chess using human lives.

Yesterday evening the government had 2 Airmalta planes waiting to take off sending back the 200 immigrants which arrived in Malta this week. Bravo! That is definitely one way of being compassionate with those who are vulnerable.

To add insult to injury we have the know-it-alls on Facebook continuing to fuel all this misinformation about immigration. If only these big mouths would have the decency to check the facts before hitting that send button.  As Caroline Muscat says in her blog;

“The number of people actually living in Malta is 30 per cent, or 5,000 of the 16,617 who arrived by boat since 2002 according to government figures. In no way does that constitute a flood or a national security threat.”

This is not about being blue or red, black or white, this is all about knowing what is right and what is wrong. Sending people back to face possible torture and even death is WRONG.

Yes immigration is a problem, and it will stretch Malta’s resources but choosing the easy way out is just not on. How would you even sleep at night knowing you sent a human being to face torture and death? And this is not just a question I pose to the politicians but to all those who have been vociferous and in favor of pushbacks. Seriously, where has your humanity gone?

My two cents can only describe how I feel and what I think about the matter. If you would like to read a few exceptional blogs on the issue of immigration check out Akkuza, MarkBiwwa and as mentioned above Caroline Muscat’s blog.

It’s my party and I’ll arrest you if I want to – the Silvio Scerri gaffe

Seems like Dr Manuel Mallia, the Home Affairs Minister just cannot catch a break and bad PR seems to be buzzing around him more than flies do on a hot summer day.

The bad PR juju seems to have started as soon as the 100 day amnesty was given to all the prisoners at Corradino and, since then, it’s been a slow and aching journey downhill. No wonder Ramona Attard has that kind of salary, she must be suffering from a few sleepless nights with kerfuffle after kerfuffle going on.

Just recently we heard about Minister Mallia interviewing secret service recruits, and on Friday we heard the news of police members doubling as chefs and waiters at an official banquet, unrelated to the police corps, organised by the same Ministry.

Even the firing from TVHemm/transfer of Norman Vella back to the Immigration Office was handled incredibly badly and ended up creating another dent in the Ministry, and its head, Dr Mallia’s reputation.

Now to make matters even worse The Times of Malta published a story about the Ministry’s Chief of Staff, Silvio Scerri, demanding the arrest of the Security head at the Isle of MTV event for not allowing ‘unaccredited persons’ access to the VIP area.

Mr Scerri is saying that this is nothing but a ‘storm in a teacup’, unfortunately he fails to realise that the rest of us are seeing this as one great abuse of power. As things stand, he better zip his mouth and apologise at once. We all do mistakes, and while using your powers and asking for someone to be arrested, even as a joke, is just not on, gaffes happen to everyone, so simply say you were wrong and we’ll move on.

As the saying in Maltese goes fuq tlieta toqgħod il-borma (things usually come in threes) and Ramona Attard together the PR guru surely have a long week ahead of them.

Silvio Scerri

image via

Living in glass houses?

Glass Houses

A statement by the most inspiring Charlie Beckett during a lecture organised by the Strickland Foundation really made me think. Beckett stated that as a result of Social Media we are now living in glass houses. I don’t personally agree with this statement as I am of the opinion that on the internet we are free to share what we want to share, so it might seem like we are living in glass houses, but the glass is very heavily tinted.

However, while browsing Facebook, there are a few profiles which feel fabricated. Of course I am not one to point fingers and judge since the more time goes by the more I find myself self-censoring, choosing which picture to upload, and untagging more and more drunk pictures of myself.

Is this a symptom of getting closer to 30? It is but 6 months away now.

But I think I can trace this fear of sharing and self-censorship to the election campaign. I am very liberal, pro-choice and believe in the live and let live mantra, I have lived by this since I was able to form an opinion. My family is of mixed political colours and I have cross voted ever since I can remember.

During the last election I found myself on the side of the Partit Nazzjonalista. My belief was that they were the party which were most fit to govern in the 5 years coming and I was reasonably happy with the direction Malta had taken, especially during the economic crisis. As any party in government, the PN weren’t perfect and I was furious after issues such as the Divorce vote and the position on ACTA, but in today’s financial climate I believed the PN were a better choice.

I understand that a liberal such as myself is not aligned with a party such as the Partit Nazzjonalista but I wasn’t convinced by the alternative, even though I am more than happy for the Partit Laburista to prove me wrong.

During the campaign, I found myself blogging, posting, updating content which was more pro-PN and I found myself being called all sorts of things and being accused of being a Nazzjonalista with blinkers. I loathed such a stamp; I couldn’t even understand how people can simply put you in a neat little box because of an opinion. I never had anything to gain by the PN winning the election and neither did my family, yet I was accused of coming from a long line of Nazzjonalisti and that I had no idea about what was going on in Malta.

The worst thing is that I found myself not having the energy to rebut such statements, and found it much easier to not post anything. Why should I share my thoughts if some people out there are pricks who cannot accept that different people have different opinions, and there is always more sides to one story.

So now, here I am once again, wondering if I should hit the PUBLISH button on the top right corner. I once read that the older you get the more conservative you become, could that be happening to me? I shudder at the thought! But for now I am posting this and I will try to go back to being more of a ‘sharer’.

And in the meantime, a song which kind of relates;

To the debates in the chaos of Xarabank

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.

Blogging exists; deal with it.

This morning I woke up early to go for a walk and then rewarded myself with some Serkin Pastizzi. While waiting, I had a quick read at the back page of The Times and I was amused by the derivative article written by Louis Cilia titled “Let’s have a civilised debate, please.

The article started out with the usual overview of campaigns past and then quickly shifted to campaigns present. In the middle of that it turned into a complete rant against bloggers. Yes BLOGGERS!

“Many bloggers enter into the personal lives of ordinary people as well as prominent, and not so prominent, personalities, often with the direct intention of destroying their credibility (and in consequence even of those associated with them, particularly their families). Some bloggers even degenerate into hate blogs. Political parties, more often than not, have turned a blind eye on these bloggers with the excuse that they have no control or jurisdiction over them.”

As a blogger I find this incredibly offensive. Sweeping statements like the above hurt those of us who want to share their opinion about the happenings of the political scene. Familiar with that thing called freedom of expression?

It is obvious Mr Cilia is referring to Daphne Caruana Galizia – there I said it (what a shocker). Why did DCG suddenly turn into a ‘she who will not be named’ character.

Mr Cilia mentions blogs like they are some kind of 21st century plague. Some of them might well be but don’t put all blogs under the ‘rotten’ category.

This generalised understanding of anything and everything is what’s really hurting us as a nation. Instead of having the balls to stand up and name and shame someone, we postulate so we don’t step on any toes. Instead of addressing a problem from its roots we just skim the surface and continue theorising. Instead of debating we just resort to sweeping assumptions. These are the things that groom this fear for debate, this apprehension towards asking questions.

It’s not the blogs Mr Cilia, it’s people like you, who are happy to vaguely point fingers but then fall short of making any form of worthwhile statement, that hurt the debate.

Sweeping statements courtesy of Louis Cilia

The Ghost of Muscat’s Twitter account

I missed this one! I was out celebrating a little bit of Christmas time.

Reading the news I was surprised to what had unfolded but it was late and I yearned for sleep. First thing I did this morning was to read the various news reports, watch all the videos and go through Facebook and Twitter to see what everyone else had to say.

I will not be delving into Xarabank’s happenings, it’s not a program I free my Friday nights to watch. However, if you would like to read all of yesterday’s faux pas head over to J’accuse for a top notch account.

What I found interesting about yesterday was the lack of an opinion from Joseph Muscat on Twitter. This is not the first time I’ve criticised Joseph Muscat’s use of Twitter, click here for a previous blunder of his/theirs.

Throughout last night there was a constant feed of retweets from his account, but not one single tweet from him. I find it very hard to believe that the Leader of the Opposition didn’t have an opinion about what was undolding, or wasn’t even available for a quick 140 character comment. Retweeting other people’s opinions is all well and good, as long as you also add something to the mix, but Joseph Muscat, or whoever is running his Twitter account didn’t, and that reflects very badly on the Leader of the Opposition.

I hear you say, what about Lawrence Gonzi, no 140 character comments from this either. The only difference is that there wasn’t a constant flow from the Prime Minister’s twitter. This shows a level of maturity the PL Social Media “gurus” lack. A person’s Twitter is about a person’s message, not a notice board where you plaster all kinds of rubbish. Out of 35 retweets, 32 were about the Xarabank debate, and yet Joseph Muscat had no personal opinion about it?

I expect more from the person running Joseph Muscat’s Twitter account – Grow up for everyone’s sake, especially the party’s sake, Twitter users were not impressed.

Confession – I am a fat liberal pig

After reading about Adrian Vassallo’s comments about liberals I changed my profile picture to that of my idol; Miss Piggy.

image via

I have been a liberal as long as I can remember. I am grateful to my mum and dad for not imposing their beliefs on me and instead thought me to question everything and make up my own mind about things. This has led me to be pro-divorce, pro-euthanasia, pro-choice, pro same sex marriage and pro same sex couples having kids. Having this set of beliefs does not mean that “anything goes” for me, as Adrian Vassallo seems to think. From the way he was speaking yesterday in Parliament, he probably has this vision of liberals congregating in a field in the middle of the night to take part in orgies while worshiping the god of indulgence.

(If, by any chance you are curious about what exactly Adrian Vassallo said last night in Parliament, fret not, click on this link then click on Audio File: Download and skip to 2:10:30 to hear it from the horse’s, sorry I meant dinosaur’s, mouth)

Going back to the subject at hand, it was great seeing fellow liberals on that beautiful thing called Facebook changing there profile pictures too. So there I was, ecstatic about being called a pig and seeing how the Adrian Vassallo faux pas was going to unfold; was the Labour Party going to issue an apology because one of their MPs called a whole strata of possible voters pigs? Was Adrian Vassallo going to put things into context? Was the Leader of the Opposition going to reprimand him for alienating a few liberals?

Promptly I receive the following message;

Josephine Borg · 18 mutual friends
@ Mel Hart – perhaps you are trying to make fun of adrian vassallo with that photo….. However I would like to suggest that you take a look at the mirror? – don’t you think that pig is sort of more like you (literally and kgs-wise) rather than adrian Vassallo? – funny how the saying “what goes around comes around” makes so much sense now doesn’t it?

Oh well, seems like both Josephine Borg and Adrian Vassallo like a spot of name calling. First Adrian Vassallo calling liberals pigs, and now Josephine is calling me fat – so I guess there’s no point in hiding anymore. I’m a fat liberal pig… and proud of it!

Just in case you would like to see how things unfolded, here’s a print screen. Josephine Borg also seems to have defriended me. Harrumph.

How things unfolded with Josephine Borg

An own goal for Labour

A swing and a miss for Labour. They might have won the argument, but this billboard shows real lack of maturity and sensitivity.

Granted, this billboard is funny. It’s topical and nicely designed, but did the Labour Party forget about one simple word? Consequences.

This particular billboard is making fun of the fact that the famous Brazilian company mentioned in the two debates in now non-existent. The Labour Party are going on and on about the Prime Minister not getting his facts right, and since everything seems to be fair game in politics it makes sense for them to use this strategy, but at the end of the day, this billboard is making fun of a private company closing down.

What are the consequences of this? Thirty-five people who once had a job, now don’t, is this a laughing matter? I don’t think so. A company which invested in Malta closed its doors today, is this something to make fun of? Definitely not! So much for their guidelines advocating, first and foremost, economic growth.

Maybe if the Labour Party could see a little farther than their noses, maybe, just maybe, they would have noticed this is not something a political party aspiring to govern Malta should poke fun at.