When my grandmother was still alive, God bless her soul, I used to look forward to watching the budget speech being read out on TV. Since I was very young and not really interested in what was being spewed out, all I wanted was to sit next to my grandmother and watch her closely. She was a quiet woman by nature and not naturally a joker, but every year, on every budget day, she provided me with the best entertainment ever.

You see, my grandmother was a staunch Nationalist and though she never understood the detail of what was being read in the budget, she didn’t really care because she trusted ‘her’ Minister of Finance, or better still ‘her’ Eddie, blindly.

Thanks to this blind trust in her leader, she lived in the security of believing that she was in good hands. So for three whole hours she would listen to the budget speech and nod away. Whenever the reader stopped for a breath, she’d utter mela, mela and ghidilhom, ghidilhom. And if anyone dared open their mouth during the speech, or if the telephone had to ring at that moment, there would be trouble in paradise. She wouldn’t have been able to hold a three-minute conversation about political matters, let alone the budget per se (which she pronounced ‘buggie’), but she listened for three whole hours no matter what.

Sometimes she would have to get up and reluctantly tend to a nature call, but she was so determined not to miss a moment of her favourite TV show, that she’d usually wait till the last minute and then have to run in Flintstone-fashion to the bathroom. She’d come back as soon as she could, usually out of breath and armed with a snack or two. She’d sit down again and resume her mantra ..mela, mela…kemm hu bravu. She was hilarious, and every budget day, makes me miss her even more.

Besides the entertainment value that my grandmother provided me with, she also taught me the value of trusting so blindly. I think that one has to be naturally predisposed to let go and trust so freely – a quality I certainly do not possess – but if I did, I’d probably live more peacefully.

For starters I wouldn’t be weighing and gauging each and every political decision and move. I wouldn’t be constantly juggling personality traits against competence and integrity, and I wouldn’t feel the need to keep myself constantly in the political loop in order to be well informed when judgment day arrives.

But there was a time when I didn’t quite bother with Malta’s political shenanigans. This was before we joined the EU, and I didn’t bother because for me, joining Europe was so important that everything else took second position.

Back then I never considered voting for any other party except for the one that wanted us to join Europe, but after that, no one single issue was important enough to make me overlook everything else.

And maybe that’s what had happened to my grandmother. I remember her explaining how more than half a century before I was even born, her whole family was ‘converted’ to Nationalism, with the promise of peace, prosperity and democracy. Once those were delivered, she never considered any other party out of fear of being sent back to a time she didn’t like.

I miss my grandmother and her blind trust in God and the Nationalist Party. Thankfully, sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can still see her on the sofa, nodding at ‘her’ Eddie, and mumbling, kemm hu helu Alla jbierek.


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