The waiting game

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If you are reading this early on Sunday the chances are—if you are Maltese—that you are in a strange surreal mood.

It’s that time in Malta when there is an internal, and on the whole even external, lull. An unreal, surreal, palpable silence. Malta is in stasis and all hinges on those stacks of paper which will decide who takes over the seat of government for the next 5 or so years.

It’s the time—unless you are part of the whole electoral scrutiny retinue—when you sit back, ponder the coffee while it percolates and register stress levels which are close to stratospheric.

Like all we do in Malta, elections are taken seriously—and our blood boils, and our nerves are unbelievably stretched during the wait for results.

People pray to any God, sincerely believing that He does care whether the blues or reds win.

As an aside, if there is a God would He ever take sides? Would that be acceptable or would it be tantamount to outside interference? Might it then call for a full investigation such as is happening in the US with the naughty Russians? Even locally some of us believe that Putin and his cohorts stuck in their noses, so all we need is another meddling deity.

Theologically, this God question further confuses the issue. If He intervened in the election of Trump and the choice of Brexit there must be some funny goings on up in the celestial grounds. It would seem like He favours inflicting jokers and buffoons on us as the way forward.

Then the deluge. After an interminable few hours of quiet and nail biting, down comes the flood. No, not on the lines of Noah’s which gave us his ark and a rainbow, but the deluge of people taking to the streets when the result is unofficially announced by the parties.

Our archaic, stone-age way of working out who has won and by what margin is magically computed and Malta turns red or blue. And hooting, mayhem, dancing, beer cans, carcades and flag-waving inundate our little islands.

Half the island is exultant; the other half despondent beyond relief or belief. Our division is further emphasised as one’s shouting dream is the other’s living, deadly nightmare.

Malta faces an acid test. If whoever takes over Castille fails to reverse the reality of an institutional meltdown then we are in for a truly frightening ride. Whoever wins needs to collaborate with all the parties and forge a proper way forward for our country’s benefit rather than for that of the few or of any party.

Otherwise, we risk the percolator turning into a pressure cooker which will blow up in our faces.