Google doesn’t lie – Konrad Mizzi did mention groceries

As soon as the news was out about a week’s groceries costing €25 I have to admit that I immediately jumped on the bandwagon. How could a Minister or his advisors not know how much people, even ones who are immensely careful every week, spend for a week’s worth of groceries?

This angered many people. If a Minister is elected to Parliament (especially on a Labour ticket) most people would assume that he is close to the pains common people face everyday, including how much it is spent on basic needs like groceries every week.

After I wrote the blog – which you can read here – I noticed that the mention of groceries were slowly disappearing from news reports and instead ’10 days worth of electricity’ was being mentioned.

After a whole day of being personally attacked about having some kind of agenda and being called a liar I decided to do some digging.

Google has a very useful feature called cache. Cache in simple terms shows older versions of webpages.

Here you can see how both Times of Malta and The Malta Independent reported how Minister Konrad Mizzi said that €25 is a week’s worth of groceries. I doubt two journalists from competing newspapers made the same mistake.

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 08.39.27

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 08.39.36

What does this mean for the rest of us? Not much. The truth is that online news can be manipulated and whilst other news organisations have comments about what has been altered from a news report as times go by, this is not done locally.

The €25 being worth a week’s groceries was bad PR by the Minister. Trying to hide it and sweeping away every evidence of it is horrible. If the Minister felt he did a mistake this should have been clarified by his PR person by issuing another statement.

In politics, especially in the age of Google, these lies will come to surface.

The top 5 things you can do with Konrad Mizzi’s €25

What the Government thought would be the perfect PR exercise to show people compassion after last week’s power cut quickly turned against them when Minister for Energy and Health Konrad Mizzi showed the rest of Malta how out of touch with the realities faced by the common people.

During a press conference where Minister Mizzi announced the compensation given to individual households after the blackout, Mizzi said that a week’s worth of groceries would cost €25, so that is the perfect amount to pass along.

Now I don’t know where he shops but when going to the supermarket I have to actually pay for things with this weird thing we common people call money.

Now apparently there is this thing called Konrad €25 Mizzi money which if you’re one of the lucky 8,000 you will get through the post. This note looks something like this:

Konrad Mizzi €25This note seems to have hidden value. It might have €25 euros on the front but can be redeemed for much more. Yes you guessed it, a whole week’s worth of groceries. Or else, if you want to treat yourself we count down the top 5 things than you can do with this special currency.

Number 5
For the sensible people amongst you, you can use this money towards your next ARMS bill, that’s three months worth of free electricity.

Number 4
Why not go for a bottle of Champagne, say a Bollinger GD Anne Rose 75cl, 2002. This will also leave you with a bit of change if you want to feel patriotic and want to follow it with a few cans of Cisk.

Number 3
If you really want to treat yourself why not go for a one night stay at one of the fabulous 5 star hotels we have in Malta. I hear Gozo in October is simply magical.

Number 2
But your loved one that special piece of jewellery, after all, who did you turn to when Malta descended into darkness and you had no fan or AC to cool you down?

Number 1
Finally, if you’re feeling extra generous you can share this with 5 of your friends and treat everyone to a special meal at your favourite Chinese restaurant.

Just in case you were wondering, this is what €25 of real money gets you in the real world.

  • 1 Benna full fat milk – €0.83c
  • 1 Benna flavoured milk chocolate – €0.62c
  • 4 yoghurts – €2.00
  • Flora proactive 250g – €3.25
  • 200g Sliced ham – €1.75
  • 200g mortadella – €1.50
  • 175g Cheddar- €2.60
  • 6 pieces fresh gbejniet – €4.70
  • 500g of bigilla – €2.20
  • 250g stuffed olives – €3.25
  • 6 eggs – €1.45

This is just the basic food every family have in their fridge. I am not counting any vegetables, meat or fish or even anything that one might have had in the freezer. On another note, if you would like to read my thoughts on last week’s blackout you can read my piece on The Times of Malta by clicking here.

And just in case you’re thinking “but Konrad Mizzi did not mention groceries…” The truth is that he did, and here is the proof.

 

When I grow up I want to be Sai Mizzi

sai mizzi

Who wouldn’t want to be Sai Mizzi when they grow up, it’s probably one of the best jobs out there.

Having Energy and Health Minister Konrad Mizzi as a hubby wouldn’t be so bad. He’s reasonably good-looking for a politician and seems to be quite intelligent too (now that’s a combo which is hard to come by). We also both worked for Enemalta at some point so we could have a few stories to share over a nice bottle of Pinot Noir. Actually scratch that, it’s summer, let’s go for a chilled Chablis.

Then there are all the other benefits! Even though I am the Minister’s wife the government will have no qualms about directly appointing me as a special envoy to China, without a call for application too. Oh and the wage that goes with that is apparently the same as an ambassador’s.

I’d still won’t be 100% sure about what my job would entail – I’m guessing turning up to a few meetings and maybe getting a Chinese company to set up a free trade zone in Malta would do – but I do have enough information about the wage and benefits that I will get.

Let me list them here*;

So my taxable salary would be around €33,000 while my non taxable salary would be around €40,000. I’ll have a nice settling-in allowance and a Rep allowance of around €6,000. A child allowance and educational allowance of around €20,000. Then there would be free medical care, dental care, an outfit allowance (say what?), fixed telephone service, mobile phone expenses will be fully paid too. And let’s not forget a fully paid residence, use of an official car plus fuel and of course business class flights y’all. Ka-ching on my Emirates miles! 

All in all that would rank up around €160,000 a year. Sounds like a good deal to me. Well so are the perks of being the Minister’s wife.

Of course when I’m asked a legitimate question by the largest newspaper in Malta I’ll just lie to their faces and tell them that anyone who believes I have more than €3,000 a month must be suffering from a lower than average IQ. After all that’s how we handle media in the country I’m an envoy for. 

Yes, life as Sai Mizzi is definitely something to aspire to!

*Sai Mizzi’s contract is available on the Times of Malta

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.