Progressive Labour, huh?

An edited version of this post was uploaded on The Times of Malta.

Can things get any more ridiculous? Our headlines these days are dominated by what JPO said, what the PN rebutted, what FD demands, how JM voted and how the PN re-re-rebutted.

I swear, not even an episode from Dallas or Beautiful could compete with this bunch.  Drama queens, the lot of them.

The rest of Europe right now flounders under headlines on the lines of: Bailout agreed for Spanish banks; Eurozone unemployment reaches record high; Protesters rally in Ukraine; Olympics security firm looses $77M… you get the drift.

Given this climate, non-Maltesers must think we invent our headlines to keep ourselves amused in the absence of any real news. Because you would be forgiven for thinking that nothing else is happening on our islands besides this little cat-fight between politicos.

But there is – and a lot of what is going on is not being picked up by voters precisely because the attention of pretty much everyone is being taken up by questions like “Will JPO bring down the government, or will FD get in there before?”

These are questions that should never have even cropped up on our radar. In the normal course of events, our attention should be taken up by more “real” matters. Not that these aren’t real enough, heavens know, but they are so unnecessary.

Which brings me neatly to this blog’s headline. Those who follow my posts regularly know that gratuitous PL/PN bashing is not my thing. The arts, on the other hand, are very much my thing and when I realised that the censorship-censoring bill (see what I did there, eh) has not breezed through the parliamentary process I was nettled.

Remember the whole hullabaloo about a bunch of people getting to tell us which theatre productions we are not mature enough to watch? The bill in question removes this censorship scenario and replaces it with a classification system.

Everyone agreed that it’s the way to go. Everyone acknowledged that stopping adults from watching whatever the heck they please is just not on. You’d have thought there would not have been much debate about the bill.

You’d have thought wrong. Government intended to pass the bill in one sitting before parliament broke off for summer recess – incidentally: summer recess, seriously? What are they, school-kids? Ok, don’t answer that – but the plan fell through.

The reason it fell through is because the Labour whip “indicated that there were other MPs who might wish to intervene in the debate”. Presumably what he means here is other Labour MPs.

Labour make such a big deal of being progressive, hip and what-not that I’d have thought they’d be the first to want to speed up this bill. MP Owen Bonnici did have his say during the first session, but apparently this wasn’t enough for Labour and they insisted on a second sitting to continue the debate. After summer, of course.

Honestly, Labour, if you’re going to insist on labelling yourselves “progressive”, whatever that may mean, you can at least act the part. Just because you can extend the debate, it doesn’t mean you have to.

What other essential points could you possibly wish to raise about the matter that justify stopping the bill from going through in time for the new theatre season?

My guess is that this pussy-footing has more to do with ensuring that the bill doesn’t go through under the PN’s watch (which is highly probable, given all this talk of a September election) so that Labour can then scoop up all credit.

Progressive my foot.