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A Meeting With the Prime Minister

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014


A few weeks ago, an open letter signed by 26 individuals was sent to Dr Joseph Muscat, the Leader of the Labour Party as well as the current Prime Minister of Malta. The persons who signed the letter included Dr Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, one of the country's former prime ministers. I also agreed to sign the letter. 

The letter attracted some attention in the media. More specifically, the links relating to a number of publications have been posted at the end of this blog post.

Following the articles which appeared about the said letter, I was informed that Dr Muscat wanted to meet with us to discuss the points that were raised. The meeting was going to be held on 1st December at 4pm. The venue was the Auberge de Castille in Valletta. 

  

Out of the 26 individuals, around 16 turned up for the meeting. We met outside the Auberge de Castille shortly before 4pm so that we could all go in together. 

After being led to a large meeting room right next to the Prime Minister's Office, Dr Muscat came out to shake hands with each one of us. Clean-shaven and wearing a white shirt, the Prime Minister then walked to his chair to start the meeting. We sat down around the oval-shaped table.  

Dr Muscat went through the letter and expressed his reaction concerning each point. As expected, his response to virtually all the issues was characterised by various references to the government's positive achievements following the Labour Party's electoral victory in March 2013.

Surrounded by the portraits of the country's previous prime ministers, almost every person who attended voiced their views regarding a number of topics. I told Dr Muscat that I wanted to speak as a university graduate who was working in the financial services sector, an area that has often been praised as one of the most successful in the current economic climate. I said that even though I managed to qualify for a mortgage, the thought of paying the bank until I was 65 was quite daunting. Previous generations were reportedly often able to pay off their home loans within around 10 to 15 years. Being in debt until the age of 65 led to more pressure and anxiety; if I could no longer keep up with the monthly payments for one reason or another, I could end up losing my home.  I expressed my hope that the government could do something to help ease this burden for the thousands of people living in similar circumstances.

I also expressed my disagreement concerning one of the narratives that had been promoted by the Labour Party even before the 2013 election. More specifically, I told Dr Muscat that I totally disagreed with the notion that there was no longer any conflict of interests between the employer and the employee. My own experience and that of many other workers clearly demonstrated that employers typically squeezed their employees as much as possible without giving fair remuneration. I added that the issue of the conflict between employers and employees formed part of the basis of leftist thinking. I argued that it was, therefore, practically impossible to identify with such a political viewpoint and reject the existence of the said clash of interests.

With reference to the housing issue, Dr Muscat did not offer any reassurance at all. No mention was made of any government scheme aimed at helping existing and potential home-owners to pay off a mortgage within a much more reasonable time-frame. Furthermore, the Prime Minister said that the aspiration to own a home would soon no longer be sustainable given the country's environmental constraints. He added that renting will need to become more popular in the future rather than opting to have one's own property. 

Dr Muscat's reaction was quite disappointing. His response totally neglected the hardships associated with living in debt for most of one's life just to have a stable roof over one's head. Moreover, simply encouraging rent as an alternative does not offer much relief to the countless individuals who wish to avoid the fear of losing one's home as a result of not being able to keep up with the monthly payments. 

Turning to the class warfare issue, the Prime Minister was quite succinct. More specifically, his view was that any focus on the said matter would be counterproductive.

The meeting lasted for around 90 minutes. Dr Muscat concluded by saying that even though his door was open to everyone, he could not guarantee that he would accept every request that was brought to his attention.


                                                                   *          *          *


http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/45958/leftwing_activists_urge_labour_to_return_to_its_fundamental_values_and_aims#.VHz2NmdN3hE

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20141116/opinion/The-Magna-Carta-of-26-individuals.544178

http://www.illum.com.mt/ahbarijiet/politika/39145/karba_biex_ilpartit_laburista_jsir_aktar_xellugi#.VHz0smdN3hE



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Sleepless

Saturday, November 29th, 2014


Show notes for the 401st Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Infinite LoopLonging For You

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMDOvzwLPio

Dean MuscatTwentysomething

Now that he’s seems to have left last year’s Eurovision Song Contest madness completely behind, Dean Muscat returns with a new track of for himself, just in time to be nominated for the MMI 2014 Listeners’ Picks Poll. He was voted Top Online Release (as Dean Saviour) back in 2007. Will this track manage to see him return to the top of that category again?

Maryse BriffaEmbers of Courage
I don’t think I’ve every played anything from Maryse Briffa before. There’s always a first time for everything. I used to play more of this sort of stuff on earlier editions of the MMI podcast, so I’m quite pleased that I’m able to include this track now that we’re beyond podcast number 400 in the series.

Viper Soup ComplexTaxidermy Hotel
This band came to my attention out of the blue. They are a fairly progressive female fronted band. Here you can hear the second half of a rather long track they released recently called Taxidermy Hotel. As you would expect, this song and band have made it into this year’s nominations for the MMI Listeners’ Picks Poll, so you’ll be able to vote for them (and/or whoever else you like) throughout the month of December.

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page. An archive of MMI podcast is also available on Mixcloud. If you have no idea what any of this means, just enjoy listening to the podcast on the player right below this text.

Warrior

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014


Show notes for the 400th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Jes PsailaStoob
I first heard Jes Psaila play guitar about 30 years ago with the Maltese band Avatar. Later I had the distinct pleasure of playing in a couple of bands with him. It was a joy to have the freedom to experiment on my guitar, while he played some solid chords and melodies. I’m sure that his new album is delight not just to me and his long-term followers but also to new listeners. I’m very much looking forward to his next live gig.

8 UglyHead in the Clouds
I was shocked to hear about the sudden death of drummer Joe Zammit this morning. Just like Jes Psaila, he was someone I first heard play about 30 years. Eventually he was also the drummer in one of the bands where Jes and I played together. It was good to meet him again (and see him perform live) one more time a couple of weeks ago. This was the only recording of his (at least I think so) that I could find. Rest in peace old friend.

SkambomamboSmile

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=oki3tasD8tU

This.CoIsabelle

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9AbSTW6yEo

MarmaljaAnti-Eroj
Following their No Bling Show adventure, il-Lapes and Drinu return to their Marmalja roots. It seems that they are keen to return to their streetwise spirit, which they seemed to leave behind in their more recent foray into more palatable Maltese hip hop. I personally prefer them raw and real.

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page. An archive of MMI podcast is also available on Mixcloud. If you have no idea what any of this means, just enjoy listening to the podcast on the player right below this text.

Diamonds

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Show notes for the 399th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Cinnamon WarShadows
This is their follow-up to the The Brightest Light, which I also featured on an edition of the podcast not too long ago. At this rate this band should be making quite a splash on the local music scene within the coming months. Perhaps 2015 is the year when enough people will know about them to start mentioning them along with other popular bands from and in Malta.

Maria LewisAn Angel

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-xyO9hb69Q

KristenI Must Go
I like much of what Muxu creates and this song for Kristen Camilleri is no exception. It’s produced by Carlo Gerada and has Kristen singing in a style that’s new to her, as far as I’m concerned. Still a pleasant pop song, showcasing the good qualities each of the three collaborators possesses. I’m sure something else that’s even better is around the corner for each of them, possibly even separately.

TroffaĦamra y Dos Mechones

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDNiqTiAk8Y

Robert FarrugiaLetarġija
Another track from the haunting album Pawża – Stennija, which to my mind is one of the most under-rated Maltese releases of 2014. It may be true to say that this type of music is an acquired taste, but I think that it grows on you very quickly and quite easily if you let it. I like it. Did I already say that?

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page. An archive of MMI podcast is also available on Mixcloud. If you have no idea what any of this means, just enjoy listening to the podcast on the player right below this text.

Surfacing

Saturday, November 8th, 2014


Show notes for the 398th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

BroduIċ-Ċimiterju

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Gq6riex2Iw

Mistura Issa Tard Wisq
It’s been a long time coming: Mistura have finally released their debut album featuring their unique brand of Maltese-language songs. It’s called U d-Dinja Tkompli Ddur, which roughly translates to And the World Keeps On Turning. I think that’s a rather charming and fitting name for this album. The 16-track CD was officially launched a couple of week’s ago during Michael Bugeja’s radio show Rockna. I’ve featured a number of these songs on my podcast Here’s an album sampler:

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEHXMGKdAVY

nosnow/noalpsSomethin’ Like That

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=i77oinIPAl4

Vinny Vella Jr.Everything Will Pass
A few days ago I attended the launch party for the CD album Another Way by Vinny Vella Jr. It was quite a gathering of musicians, and most of the tracks on the album were played live, for the most part by the same musicians featured on the recordings. The album is a blend of some of Vinny’s favourite songs (including two by his long-time idol Stevie Wonder) and several original compositions. I’ve picked one of the originals, which particularly struck me for a number of reasons. This song features singer Andreana DeBattista, who is one of guest four singers on the album, along with Nadine Axisa, Glen Vella and Francesca Galea.

Tricia Dawn WilliamsThe Forbidden

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wgqB1yf_b0

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page. An archive of MMI podcast is also available on Mixcloud. If you have no idea what any of this means, just enjoy listening to the podcast on the player right below this text.

Louder Than Words

Saturday, October 18th, 2014


Show notes for the 397th Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast featuring music by performers from or in Malta:

Kurt Aquilina feat. Gino MicallefStep Closer
It’s refreshing to hear this sort of thing from time to time. I’m also glad it’s coming from Maltese musicians spanning two generations. I wonder whether it’s actually just a one-off or the beginning of a more elaborate collaboration. Only time will tell, of course.

Jim HickeyJust to Find

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXNlzsaBx4I

FootprintsEchoes of Praise
Ever since Salt stopped performing, this Christian rock band from Malta became the de facto leading act in the genre within its many followers in the country. The band is now working on its second album, which is due out in early 2015. This is the first track from it.

Rachel FabriA Little More Time
I’m really please to be able to include the voice of this singer on the MMI podcast. I have fond memories of her work with Sixth Simfoni during early editions of the series, just a hip-hop was becoming a dominant genre in the local scene. Then she left for the UK, did some interesting work, after which I somehow lost track of her. Clearly, I should pay more attention. I’m sure you will too once you hear this song, if it’s the sort of thing you like.

IzzyliciousHeart Back
The first time I featured Isabelle Luca Borg’s voice on the MMI podcast I mistakenly declared that it was the first time I had play something by a blood relative during the series. I was wrong. That distinction goes to another second cousin of mine, who presently performs on the international music circuits as half of South Central. In any case, I’m glad to include Izzylicious again, now that she’s in a new phase, exploring new sounds as a song-writer. I’m sure that this is not the last time will hear from her.

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also follow each new episode through the MMI Podcast: Facebook Fan Page. An archive of MMI podcast is also available on Mixcloud. If you have no idea what any of this means, just enjoy listening to the podcast on the player right below this text.


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