vendredi, décembre 09, 2005
So here it is. The Lorna Crit. Ironically this post gets put up one day late because I was busy organising my personal accounts and confirming my suspicion that the IOU's outnumber the They-O-Me's as per usual. I must say that yesterday's TGIL contribution to the Times was particularly illuminating – in the sense that it lit up my morning just like the Christmas lights in Republic Street light up your shopping experience. The general "lorna gloom and doom" theme resonates throughout the article and festive context is manipulated to perfection by the author in a Dickensian fashion.
John Maynard Keynes turns in his grave and the Circular Flow of Money (and Income) turns on its head as the Dame of Grammatical Virtuosities turns her attention to Marco and Micro Economics. I will not say more by way of introduction otherwise the commentary runs too long. Enjoy it while it lasts. Let's just hope that no one asks TGIL "A penny for your thoughts".
Christmas Politics by Lorna Vassallo (TGIL)
Too many people were walking in the same direction along Republic Street on November 24. (Was it a one way street? Had all the shops closed? Ah no… it was the cost of living protest!) Workers and their supporters (the unemployed of course!) came to the fore. To me, the extent of the flow of protesters seemed beyond expectation. (To me, this sentence is beyond explanation – a bit like exceedingly warm)
Is this not a country where political discrimination has become obsolete? Workers harbouring various political opinions (Schizophrenic Workers of the World Unite/Disband/Tie your Shoelaces!) are psychologically cornered (Coerced?) into either preaching or hiding them. If you are a worker (ah! If you are one of the select few) and this is the government you voted for you are intended to spend the whole five-year period reminding everyone about it as if this were a mantra to keep the government's misdeeds at a distance (I voted PN… Papé Satan Aleppe!). If this is not "your" government you pray to God the Almighty until "your" government is returned to power (Or your read TGIL with a passion)..
The issue that attracted the crowds to Valletta was the increasing amount of liri and cents that slipped out of the workers' pockets. (Yes. Apparently unbeknownst to the blue collar elite, rumour has it that a GWU circular pointed out that excessive amounts of coins and pounds had slipped out of shoppers pockets so a protest would be the fake excuse to enter Republic Street and rummage around the floor looking for the lost coins!)
That day, perhaps, the protesters were less conscious of where they were heading than they believed to be. (Another inarticulate sentence brought to you by TGIL). However, on the other end of the island (Mtarfa?), frost-bitten BMW drivers (Frostie the Driver) waited on Her Majesty and other honourable men. The cars, blessed by royal DNA, have been auctioned at a philanthropic sale (A Philanthropic Sale? Philo Anthropos…. A sale in favour of man) where demand has been high despite the fact that some of the DNA deposited on the car seats came from leaders who have for long lost the human rights page on their agenda. (Watch that BMW… it might have carried a dictator)
Money travels in circles in this country, (when it is not slipping out of shoppers pockets of course) just like anywhere else (Except Zimbutoo where they have special transport for the heavy coins… so their money travels on buffalo driven carts).. But here it seems to change speed and mood, depending upon the part of the trip it's taking (Watch the mastery of personification).. It is stealthily, cheatingly slipped (Incredible. The passive verb "slipped" is transformed into an active verb meaning stolen) out of taxpayer's pockets by the government in an Oliver Twist style (especially when sugared by ear-to-ear smiles by politicians). The small change from different directions is channelled to a much larger pool which flows on, reaching much bigger sums along the trail and clamorously falling into certain pockets in a way that they are definitely aware of it ending up there. (Hmmm. The nickel trail. It takes a literary genius to use ninety words in order to tell us "The government is stealing your money and giving it to some people").
And then? (Yes. And then?) The next step has repeatedly been for the monies to be pompously put back into the economy by way of philanthropy. (Philanthropy… the latest evil. For a second I thought she would be talking of blue-eyed boys. But no. It's another crusade against those dreaded philanthropists – remember her city gate beggars article?) This, in an impressive amount when compared to individual gains but fractional when compared to the government's spending power. Admittedly, in such circumstances, few citizens are lucid enough to realise that the monies taken from their pockets could have remained there (The exact location of THERE is being studied by a panel of economists, nuclear physicists and gynaecologists) in the first place. A smaller few are conscious of the fact that such money could have been passed on to the needy directly before first passing into the public domain. (As in private donations) Yet, a smaller minority (at this point, and in this country, "a smaller minority" means Lorna and her cat) are able to compare the extent of the amount of money filtered with the amount of money donated and that these were the same pounds and shillings (and not pence… the pence slipped out of the pockets in Republic Street and have been swallowed whole by Tony Zarb! Burp!). Rather inspired by an ecclesiastical sense of servitude (a what?) towards social honchos (I am a social honcho…come out with your pants down), a substantial part of the population even hails political leaders as some god-sent blessing.
What remains questionable in my mind (ouch!), however, is the raison d'etre of such money filtering. (If you are finding it difficult to follow just don't) However, so much accent has been made on the giving itself lately that the raison d'etre may well be the giving itself rather than the delivery of the much desired cash to the right, needy pockets. (And the Times still publish her after this kind of sentence!) Is giving a means or an end? (Does Lorna mean anything?) And if it is a means to an end, which end? (Una donna un perché) And once an end is achieved, does the money move on to reach the ultimate albeit secondary end? (Id-dinja mistoqsija….Ultimate albeit secondary…. Albeit secondary????)
All along it seems it has become a trend for a Nationalist government to pompously give as gift and/or a concession what should be given as of right. (I agree) It's all about illusion. (Or Grammar) It is only lately that the government, victim of its own past successes in illusionary skills, has accepted that the public is regarding some of its manoeuvres as unacceptable no matter how pre-conditioned into gullibility the people may be. (Gonzo the Magician revises his act)
In a country where a decent citizen's pay is stuck at a shameful level while unemployment is exuberant (Here it is… another one for Sharon… can we really say that unemployment is exuberant?), the government is giving away tons of marigolds (Marigolds?) which will hardly ever be replaced. GHOGM over and done with, all government departments were instructed not to organise any Christmas drinks as a measure of restraining the festivities budget (a measure which methinks is repeated yearly).
Once again, a four-day stay of foreign dignitaries in Malta was worth a budget running into millions while fellow Maltese who work year in, year out in government's departments are invited to remain ascetic (ascetic… jeeezus… did you hear of the Director of Trade who shaved his head and started wrapping himself in an orange towel while consuming minute quantities of boiled rice?). The same government employees and other flagellated workers (one flagellum, two flagella three flagella four… whipped haddiema tal-gvern!) are even expected to fathom the importance of others' over-indulgence at their expense (fathom the unfathomable). This happens as the government itself declares, via a parliamentary question, an expense of Lm200 daily on restaurants and hotels for its ministries and blue-eyed boys. (there they are… thought they would never come into the equation).
All of the government's movements give rise to suspicion. And now it's time for such suspicion to be stirred in the simplest of minds or the most brainwashed. (Let us brainwash the brainwashed MLP Good PN Bad) Expecting thanks and applause from citizens for charitable moves is quite an unacceptable sensational stunt in a democracy (I think that you have to bear in mind what was written previously when you read this last sentence). Choosing tender times such as Christmas days adds yet another spice of irony. (Choose a tender turkey.. it's good, it's festive and it does not let your money slip away).
What the public should do is weigh what is given or should be given as of right against what is donated as gift or conceded. It's quite true that the object of charity and knowing where one's money is going makes one feel better when giving up one's savings in favour of others.
Taxes lack such knowledge of their final destination (Talk about stupid taxes) and tax-paying seems rather like throwing savings into a bottomless pit (or some familiar bottomless pothole in one of our streets below queen standards)( Sublime- the last bracket was hers not mine)). There was a time when the government was rendering services without making a show of its political achievements. Now everything is blown up to look much bigger with the most vulnerable and those likely to be impressed being the central targets (hmm Target the impressionable. Her tactic on the other hand is to confound you with ungrammatical English before delivering the final blow).
Isn't it time to revise what rights citizens enjoy (reintroduce the death sentence while you are at it!) and the raison d'etre of collecting taxes?(Revise the raison d'être of collecting taxes? Now let me see... what reason should be given for the collection of taxes?)
I cannot believe it. This ramble was all about the government spending money on charities after it collected taxes. In essence Lorna is telling us that it is not right for government to tax us if it is then spending it on charities and making it sound like an achievement. As an aside we are told that Government Employees cannot have their whisky and pastizzi party as a sign of austerity while the dignitaries where allowed to wine and dine the night away. She hates BMWs with a faulty DNA and understands that workers can be schizophrenic about politics.
It is getting tiring… Can someone really tell me why the Times Editor lets this kind of stuff through?