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jeudi, septembre 14, 2006

Boarding's Cool (TGIL)

It's that famous "every other Thursday" again and the Dickens of Maltese journals has struck with her bumbling pen. Lightning may not strike twice but Lorna's shocking articles do smite our papers with an astonishing regularity. Today she continues her analysis of Malta's electoral system and she persists in the use of the title "Democracy's Curiosity Shop". Once again J'Accuse will shy away from the irrelevant irreverence of her statistical minutae regarding the intimate relation between the population of one's place of birth, the districtual quota and getting into the Maltese equivalent of the House of Commons (Dar tal-Komuni?).

Our biased reporting of the Dame of the Explicitly Ungrammatical will simply be limited to a few excerpts that merit the usual ephemeral attention before returning to reality. So here is the list of select quotes from Dame Vassallo - bearing in mind that this is still her undeclared quest to be declared member of the house of commons come what may (and that means notwithstanding whatever phsyionomical, geopolitical, demographic and sociological obstacles society may throw at this relentless feminist of the twenty-first century).

1. The Missing Comma
As the country's savings are squandered by the government and its ministers and the resultant deficit grows larger and larger every year, ministers are invited to resign by stakeholders and the question over whether Parliament will move into a new building remains unanswered.

Enjoyed this one. Try reading it with a comma after "government". Then picture a ministerial version of Mr Creosote growing larger and larger until it explodes. And we all end up with Pullicino and Gatt on our faces. Besides, are we really bothered about whether P will move to a new building?

2. The Better Endowed
However, it hardly shows up as the perfect system as it may end up giving a seat in Parliament to candidates on the basis of the first letter of their surname or, as we shall see in this article, their place of birth/residence rather than the virtues they should be endowed with. The notion that the larger a candidate's place of birth/ residence the better the chances of election holds
water.

A Lorna Classic. For a columnist who is regularly complaing of the lack of real men and of the plight of today's thoroughly modern Lorna the lapsus about "endowment" is wisible (keeping in theme with Monty Python - any guesses where the word "wisible" was used instead of "risible"?). Hopefully, if we were really to elect candidates on the basis of their virtues then we would be voting on the basis of virtues that exist - and not on the basis of virtues we hope they had. Although on second thoughts... she may not be so far off the mark after all. A quick question also beckons for the statisticians among you... how relevant can the place of birth really be. I would imagine that as time goes by more and more Honourable Members from Gwardamangia would populate the commons seeing that most persons from a certain generation coughed their first cough at St. Luke's.

3. Touching

And then there's the usual slip of the pen. Lorna wants to write about "borders" and gets to write about "boarders". Bloody English. How useless can it get? Why do they have to spell words that sound the same differently? Pesky stuff that is. Must be a nashinalist conspiracy to make Labourite columnists seem dumb...

Perhaps, this occurs because the 10th district is quite a compact district and,
despite the demographic limitations of Swieqi, geographically and physically the 10th district is composed of a number of localities situated one next to the other with their boarders touching.

Thankfully boarding schools are a thing of the past in Malta otherwise an enquiry would have to be launched into what exactly the boarders were touching. Also, I ask you to check out the phrase "geographically and physically". What exactly is the physically doing there? And a "compact district" - a spin-off from compact disc technology? Coming soon to your home theatres - "Swieqi - The Compact District"!

4. Sour Grapes II
All in all, our Parliament is, for better or for worse, constituted in a parochial, demographically determined manner, and it is rather difficult for any given candidate, even if his national presence is boosted through TV exposure, to be successful if his place of birth and/or residence happens to be the wrong one.

So last time she wrote, Dame Vassallo of the Twisted Pen had complained about the disadvantages that are borne by the candidates whose surnames fall in the second half of the ballot paper at election time. Obviously this was not a personal crusade. It was a democratic crusade. The fact that she bore a surname that was 5 letters away from the Z at the end of the alphabet was purely coincidental.

And therefore we shall also consider today's gripe as another crusade for the improvement of Malta's democratic system and fine-tuning of the first-past-the-post-not-based-on-alpabetical-order-and-definitely-not-based-on-place-of-birth system. (apologies for the warped wrapping of text due to excessive hyphenation). No no. We will have none of that.

But. Hmm.

Should we say this.

What the Hell.

Where would Lorna Vassallo reside should she contest for elections?

Mgarr - electorate: 2212

And that forms part of the 11th District: which in 2003 had a quota of 3744

Now do the following statements still make sense?

Only a few candidates are elected from districts where the number of voters supporting their party does not at least amount to half the quota. As an example let us take the first district in the 2003 election.

Tut! Tut!

1 commentaire:

Ethel a dit…

Hey, I found the missing comma! It's in the world's longest sentence:
"All in all, our Parliament is, for better or for worse, constituted in a parochial, demographically determined manner, and it is rather difficult for any given candidate, even if his national presence is boosted through TV exposure, to be successful if his place of birth and/or residence happens to be the wrong one."
I can't believe you missed that one. I am the master of the obvious!