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jeudi, mars 23, 2006

(Pr)etty (Pr)efiguration (TGIL)

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You're great. Most of you. At least those who get to read Thank God It's Lorna's column once every two weeks. And do you know why you are great? Because "the final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure continuously without resentment". And endure we do. And resent we don't. Oh no we don't. We just want more, more and more.

Today the Adorer of He Who Must Only Be Alluded To has chosen to launch into the definite (and absolute) explanation of why PN are soooo a minority and MLP are soooo an absolute majority all over the place except in government. But they will be in two years time of course. In the meantime Lorna will continue to bore all and sundry with percentages recounting the greatest majorities since Mintoff and the greatest flops since Borg Olivier. Incidentally, the sad state of affairs in nationalistland is surely demonstrated when even a bungling columnist like the Dame of Literary Elocution manages to take the proverbial urinary sample.

But anyhoo... the first few pagraphs of today's contribution manage to convey a bit of Lornisms which merit the old red annotation treatment.

So for the fans of she who must be prrrrrrosaic here goes:

Only one primely author has the titles of his articles starting in "pr" in Malta. [This is apparently Alfred Sant's main achievement over the last twenty years - that nothwiststanding the fact that the novelty of the PR idea has run dry he still persists in polluting the pages with titles that seem to have been forced out of his pen with the aid of a mental suppository. Meanwhile Lorna introduces us to the word "primely" - of excellence - don't know why but its first three letters remind me of primitive and primate. Must be the obsession she has for Freddie - you can imagine her hunting him down in a primordial pre-coital prance across the templs of Mnajdra until having caught her prey she will proceed to preen his preputio with gusto.] Arbitrarily allowing myself [The woman is so full of herself as to give permission to herself - the schizophrenia abounds] to break such household spell [Lorna Potter. What exactly does she mean by household spell? Has Freddie been bewitched into writing articles that have to begin with PR - on pain of non-election?] , it is in this way that I introduce my article about such author's latest primely precedents... political precedents [such author's primely precedents - you will note that throughout the article she will talk about the prrrwriter's political victories which have no antecedent so technically they are not precedent since whatever they precede has not yet come].

The March 11 local elections have made him [he who writes in prrrrrs], whose political practice has been profusely underestimated [to profusely underestimate - to scatter underestimation all over the place with prurient enthusiasm], the party leader with a number of unprecedented electoral victories in Maltese politics [the fixation with precedent sticks.. once a word gets into that vacuum she calls a brain it has difficulty leaving without having to resonate once or twice around the medulla oblongata - please note that most of the unprecedented victories had not happened since for example 1955 which does not make them so unprecedented]. No matter how fervently political foes attempt to peter out such conquests [beautiful: to peter out such conquests, as in to drip them out slowly un surreptitiously -possibly the use of the word peter was prompted by the fact that it begins with a P and ends in an R, but then possibly not!], Alfred Sant has shown that "the final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure continuously without resentment".

In the wake [some are still mourning] of the last local council results, one can list some of the achievements secured. These were:

The fourth consecutive electoral victory for the MLP since 2004, the first one being the relative 48.42 per cent victory in EP elections.

Beyond the EP relative majority, thus, this is the third absolute majority victory on a local level since 2004. In the 2004 elections, the MLP obtained 50.2 per cent of the vote. In 2005, a 53.2 per cent absolute majority was won, followed, this year, with another absolute majority of 53.95 per cent.

This year's was also the first absolute majority obtained in 23 localities, most of which are (or were always considered to be) PN strongholds, not only since 1993 (when local councils were introduced) but also since the 1950 general election. [how does she calculate this? Can statisticians help on this one? Fausto?]

The extra relevance of the 2006 vote lies in the fact that it is also the highest non-PN percentage ever obtained in local council elections in at least 14 of the said 23 localities since 1993, namely: Birkirkara, Fgura, Lija, Marsascala, Mdina, Msida, Mtarfa, Naxxar, San Gwann, Sliema, Tarxien, Xghajra, Zabbar and Victoria. One has to bear in mind the fact that, between 1993 and 1998, the MLP didn't contest the local elections as a party and, therefore, the pro-MLP was not all too evident. [And here we find a reason for her idol Sant to slap her on the wrists.... dear dear this is not the normal Labour mantra. Did you not know that non-voters are always evidently Labour? Did you forget the precedents of the EP elections and the 1993 local councils themselves? When Sant says we don't play all non-voters automatically become Labourite... PRobably]

Ah Lorna. How prosopopaeic. Your articles are preternaturally prescient and so lacking in the pretentious presumption of nationalist proponents. I worry that your premonitory presages could precipitate a bout of ill luck on the side of the primely primate that you so profoundly adulate. Precaution and premption for some unpremeditated downfall would be precious advice unless you would want to present the picture of a perfect prick at the end of the day when it really counts!

Good day y'all.

***

PS All those who asked for legal clarification regarding the Philip Sciberras - Mintoff issue are kindly asked to email me at jacques dot zammit at gmail dot com and I will send the necessary clarifications.

12 commentaires:

Antoine Cassar a dit…

Meanwhile Lorna introduces us to the word "primely" - of excellence - don't know why but its first three letters remind me of primitive and primate. Must be the obsession she has for Freddie - you can imagine her hunting him down in a primordial pre-coital prance across the templs of Mnajdra until having caught her prey she will proceed to preen his preputio with gusto.]

Qed nidħak! Ma fhimt xejn mill-artiklu ta' Lorna... she needs to be more prudent in the way she preposterously "peters" out her prejudiced ideas...

Raphael Vassallo a dit…

Hi Jacques. Just wanted to add my name to the list who have asked clarifications re Sciberras - Mintoff issue. Never mind the conflict of interest: have you not discerned a pattern in all this yet? What is the rationale behind a Court of Appeal upping the original fine from Lm250 to Lm2,250: almost a tenfold increase? Is Mintoff's reputation worth more than other people's? And besides... is this the same Dom Mintoff we're talking about here? Since when does the professor of democracy need the entire legal profession to come rushing to his aid? And to what end, might I add? To force a newspaper out of business, because it doesn't play ball with the establishment in return for the usual kick-backs, like all the others? Come to think of it: if that sort of leccaculismo is the kind of journalism we want, then I utterly fail to see why so many people claim to be disillusioned with the state of journalism in Malta, to the point of being driven away from mainstream media and into the blogging community.
They may as well just carry on watching Xarabank, and be content that their government hasn't had them shot against a wall yet.
If you ask me this whole thing stinks, and Hogan is right to demand a revision of the press act.

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

I have a longer answer ready for whoever decides to send me a request on my gmail. (arcibald your inbox is full my reply was rejected).

Meanwhile I will just say one thing. If Salvu is so sure that there is a conflict of interest how can he explain the fact that he did not request the recusation of the judge in question?

It is all pretty to act the victim and complain about alleged hidden conspiracies of the legal establishment... but the law was on his side had he been convinced that it could help. Only Salvu prefers the way of insinuations rather than requesting a recusation of the judge in question.

Secondly we all seem to forget that the existence of the libel had already been decided by the time the case appeared before Sciberras. Sciberras evaluated the extent of the damage that could have been caused on the basis of the libel law and gave it a price.

If you ask me this whole thing will only stink if stink bombs are thrown at it. My sympathy lies not with Judge Sciberras or with Mintoff but with seeing through the mire of slander for the sake of slander.

What Salvu has is an "if you can't beat them slander them" attitude. I cannot subscribe to that point of view and still believe that if we want to throw stones we should steer clear of building our own glasshouses.


Mucho obrigado
and as I said... full answer lies in an email that has already been typed out and (unsuccessfully - thanks to bald's full inbox) sent.

drop me a line will ya?

Raphael Vassallo a dit…

"If Salvu is so sure that there is a conflict of interest how can he explain the fact that he did not request the recusation of the judge in question?"

If you read the dive story properly you would have your answer to this question:
"We regret to note that FOLLOWING this morning's judgement... it has come to our knowledge that just before being appointed Judge, Dr Sciberras had acted as lawyer to Perit Dom Mintoff in the case Perit Dom Mintoff versus Prime Minister et, case 470/94."

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

Oh give me a break. The snoopy detectives at maltatoday had to be INFORMED (after the case) that he had acted as lawyer to Mintoff. Please. And Salvu's lawyer is who? Dr. John E. Headinnair?

Markus a dit…

Kumment wiehed ghandi fuq din Lorna: "Veru qeghda sew!"

Raphael Vassallo a dit…

Sorry to have to say this, but you have just hammered the last nail into the coffin of my confidence in the law. Are you suggesting that we should all start researching the judge's history each time we have a case?
And that if we don't, then we forefeit the right to complain afterwards if we find out something's fishy?
Call me naive if you will, but I would have assumed that anyone with a connection in any case (eg, previous lawyer of the plaintiff) would be automatically precluded from acting as judge by the mechanics of the law courts themselves. Now I find out that it's up to us ordinary mortals to discover this for ourselves. Worse, it's up to our lawyers... which, in a country where the law brigade has come to increasingly resemble a colony of incestuous soldier ants, is just a tiny bit worrying.
Now, as i said earlier, it's not the conflict of interest that originally bugged me in this case. But I'm beginning to see things differently. You know what? Maybe Salvu's right on this one. Maybe a person's previous lawyer should NOT be appointed as judge on his former client's case. (Remember Harriet Myers, anyone...?)

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

For heaven's sake. It is always easy to attack law and the lawyers.

Setting aside the conflict of interest is not an option in this case. Philip Sciberras was sitting on a case examining whether the damages accorded in the lower court were proportionate to the extent of the libel.

Do note a few things:
1. Salvu Balzan did NOT appeal. The existence of the libel is uncontested.

2. Mintoff APPEALED. Why? because he felt that Lm250 was an unjust reward for a serialised version of an attack on the person.

3. Sciberras did not decide that the libel existed but that it merited compensation of Lm2000.

Now. We may all agree that Mintoff is not the nicest guy around. We also have to agree however that the RULE OF LAW is the RULE OF LAW. Those frivolous three words are at the fundament of all true liberal democracies. We are all servants of the law so that we may be free. This implied contract includes our agreement to be judged by the law.

Do you have a grudge against the law itself? Do you disagree that their should be a Lm2000 ceiling for the worst libel cases? I am not so sure. Look at Salvu. He is now creating a fund to be able to slander. He wants you to pay him to engage in what is essentially criminal activity.

What would you say if I set up a fund to pay for a car breaking spree that I was about to embark upon in the middle of Paceville? Would you shout that my liberties have been trod upon?

raphael. You seem to be conveniently ignoring the existence of the libellous act. What is libel after all? Is it about the truth? No. Saviour was not being our Knight in Armour when he libelled Mintoff. He was doing no service to democracy. It is what I have been saying all along. to change them we cannot become like them.

This has nothing to do with mafias and conspiracies. We cannot defend the indefensible. I myself will use my "limited" publishing power to call a spade a spade when necessary. But I will avoid gratuitous libel, I will avoid asking people to fund any clumsy ramblings and I will avoid the game of slander for slander's sake.

And having said all this i still think that organs like Maltatoday are necessary in our society but they have to be wary of falling into the trap of the slandering fools that lead our country. Pink journalism has no place in changing our islands' fate.

Justin Borg Barthet a dit…

Further matters of note:

4. The case in which Philip Sciberras represented Mintoff had absolutely no relation to the case in question. If he had represented Mintoff in this case there might be a conflict of interest, but even here we must bear in mind that a lawyer pleads his client's case and does not make it his own. A judge should be expected to exercise independent judgment even if he had previously expressed a particular line of reasoning ON BEHALF IF HIS CLIENT.
5. Sciberras is recognised as one of the leading civil lawyers in Malta. As a consequence (i) he has probably represented loads of people and (ii) he was one of the few judges appointed across party lines.

Should he now recuse himself every time a former one-off client is plaintiff or defendant before him? Should he trawl through his files from thirty years of pratcice to ensure that he does not pass judgment on former clients or their families? Might he also need to recuse himself if he represented a client against a person who is plaintiff or defendant before him?

Plainly he should not. A conflict of interest is one where the judge himself (or perhaps his family) has an interest in the judgment.

And I repeat, a lawyer does not plead his own case. He need not necessarily agree with the line of reasoning he presents - he pleads his client's case. It might not be pretty, but that is the system and it is the best we know to guarantee that everybody is fairly represented.

Innuendo is easy but those needing a libel fund might look to fact instead if they want to provide real journalism.

Raphael Vassallo a dit…

Hmph. Seems my laboriously written earlier comment didn't publish after all... can't be arsed to write the whole thing again, except to say that:

1) I never mentioned the libel fund.
2) The press act urgently needs to be revised, as the law as it stands at present allows media to be sued for virtually anything (eg, making someone look ridiculous).
3) By a huge coincidence, the maximum penalty for libel always seems to be awarded to members of the political class, at the expense of those who challenge the status quo.

To this I will now add: journalists are not the only ones who resort to innuendo. It is also innuendo to suggest that a libel fund might be used to finance slander, given the above scenario in which libel laws are routinely used as a weapon to browbeat the media into compliance.

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

As the journalist vs. lawyers battlelines are drawn may I point out that the Politicians write the laws. Most times the MPs have LLD after their name... but the rule of thumb is that if they have time for being an MP then their expertise in the LLD department is not very illuminating.

Secondly. I am with you if you want to revise a law that could be too heavy on reporting and could be abused of by overtly zealous politicians to protect their sorry activities.

Thirdly. I am not with you if you tell me that the revised law will also protect charlatans who act as journalists.

There is a lot to be said about the second part of the infamous phrase "Publish and be damned". Damnation can come at a price... and at times it can be costly. It takes guts to face it and proper research and ethics to avoid it.


PS is anyone else having trouble posting comments ? I already lost two of mine today. On my own blog to boot. Must be a bloody conspiracy.

Raphael Vassallo a dit…

"I am with you if you want to revise a law that could be too heavy on reporting and could be abused of by overtly zealous politicians to protect their sorry activities"

Hallelujah! J'agree, except for one small detail.

The words "could be" in that sentence should be replaced by "IS" on both occasions.

(Oh, and I would have put "asses" instead of "activities", but that's just me.)

PS why does your word verification get longer with each comment?