05 FEBRUARY 2003

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Toon this week: A camel through the eye of a needle

The daunting task ahead of us

The national referendum and election campaigns have commenced, and with them so have the ugly incidents and retributions from both sides.
The accusations of provocation by a Super One TV crew at a PN demonstration are not to be taken seriously when one takes a close look at the level of arrogant questions that take place whenever a troupe of journalists meet Labour leader Alfred Sant.
The same silly conditions of when and how to ask questions have been partly imposed on the media by both the PN and MLP political machinery. Instead of seeing some common sense from both sides, we have been cornered into a trench warfare mentality.
The campaigning from both the political parties has become more intense and slogan-based. But both lack the content.
MLP leader Dr Alfred Sant’s message seems to have become more refined, were it not for the banal comments of his deputy leader Joe Brincat - who saw it fit to remind us that Commissioner Gunter Verheugen’s father and grandfather were bombing Malta during the war.
His cruel comments only serve to fuel the anti-Labour media into yet another frenzy.
And this is only the preliminary part of the campaign.
The worst part is still to come - with the election campaign that will follow the referendum campaign.

More rabbits in the bag

What is also rather evident is that both parties are planning some magical moments with some welcome surprises. If, as the Nationalists argue, the Labour party is only interested in moving into Castille, then the way to do it is to change tack on the Europe Union issue.
A U-turn on the EU issue might sound hypocritical, but it would be welcomed by most voters who see Europe as the raison d’etre. There also seems to be a general belief that alternating power bases is not such a bad thing after all.
But there is little evidence that this will happen.
And it seems likely that a veritable victory in the referendum would lead the Nationalist to a victory at the polls.
And if that happens, then Malta will have to concern itself with two realities: adapting to the European requisites and to another five years of Nationalist government, this time without Eddie Fenech Adami. The veteran Prime Minister and national leader is expected to take a position on the back burner after May 2004.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, 2 Cali House, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann SGN 02, Malta
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