"Now Hear This", I was reminded in a documentary yesterday, is the peremptory introduction used on the Tannoy on American Navy ships when the bosses want to make something known, usually that the chocolate pecan pie is a bit stale this week or something like that. I thought that it might be a good line with which to start this, but then figured that it's not just hearing I want but actually listening too.

Hence the title - puerile or what? To what is it that I want you to listen, you might ask. I always wonder whether that sort of sentence needs a question mark at the end, but on mature reflection, I decided not.

Listen, if you will, to that being said in two pieces published over the weekend on this portal, both of which were carried in the print edition and can be accessed from here. The first was by Ann Fenech, about Simon Busuttil (well, about the travesty of governance with which we're lumbered but therefore about the alternative to it, Simon Busuttil) and the other the interview with the said Simon Busuttil.

Cynics amongst you will simply shrug and say that this was just a pretty transparent "John the Baptist" double-act, the Party President teeing up the Party Leader just so the same old points are made, yawn, yawn. I can imagine some of you saying "yes, well, she would say that wouldn't she, but these politicians are all the same, whine, whine, whinge, whinge".

Might I invite you, if you are within this grouping, to stop for a second and listen and apply your critical intelligence to the process? You are intelligent and critical, you wouldn't be reading this otherwise, unless you're just here to report back to the Castille Coven and accuse me of all manner of heinous crimes, such as getting a parking ticket. If this describes you, welcome, maybe some of this will rub off on you and you'll start getting this "oh dear, I'm a pathetic loser" feeling that can so appropriately be applied to you.

But the rest of you, the ones with brains, do have a look at Fenech's piece and then at the Busuttil interview. Fenech gives you a strong and clear list of what's wrong with the country, a handy ready-reckoner, if you will, of the issues which need considering, and which I'll also be having a look at it now that summer's over and energy levels are on the mend.

You know the sort of thing I mean, all those pesky problems that Premier Muscat is accountable for: they may be boring, when compared with the chances of anyone but Chelsea winning the Premiership or where Premier club presidents in Malta are told to sit by the MFA, but they are the important issues, the ones on which we have to take a position, before this country goes even further down the road to hell in a hand-basket of spun webs and circled friends.

Busuttil's interview, on the other hand, looks forward: from what I could see, the fight is about to start. A number of frank admissions are made, if you have the nous with which to read between the lines, and many should take note, especially some within the PN itself. This alone, but not just this, makes the interview worth reading.

What many of us, myself included sometimes, fail to grasp, is that politics is the art of the possible, not of the ideal. Those who sit outside the arena and comment, as I have the luxury to be able to do, can - and must - pontificate all they like, but the reality is that black or white positions are not often easily taken, however much rabid tabloid journalists or inveterate fence-sitters (Arnold Cassola, are you reading?) would like them to be.

Observers with an eye to our past, as I can claim to be having lived through it, will have noticed that Premier Muscat's people have circled the wagons and hitting out at the people who are highlighting their lack of clothing.

In no particular order, Judge Giovanni Bonello, the Times, the Independent, DCG, Salvu Mallia, the Archbishop, many otherwise private individuals whose only crime was to make a critical comment or write a critical column, many people who haven't actually done anything of the sort, all of these and more are in the cross-hairs. Geoffrey Howe had described this sort of thing as being savaged by a dead sheep, so no particular worries there, but it is symptomatic of two things where the Premier's Party and its acolytes are concerned.

This is that they are worried that their gravy-train is de-railing itself and that they will stop at nothing to avoid this. You can't blame them: many of them couldn't make a living, much less the good one they're making, without having climbed on the sauce-bearing choo-choo and mortgaged themselves in the first place, so they let their class envy and base instincts show through.

The two pieces I highlighted further up serve to remind us, if we care to listen and not just hear, that there is an alternative and by undermining it with our own cynicism, we're playing with our own future and no-one else's.

Just to finish on a light note, as I used to when I would stick in a recommendation about places to eat, you could also click on lovinmalta.com and take a look at the "interview in a car" with Simon Busuttil: the bumps in the road are not his lousy driving, just another symptom of our general situation.


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