It’s been a tough year for everyone between the global pandemic, with its lockdowns and shuttered shops, and fears of a major economic recession on our immediate horizon.
Rather than launch the usual anti-corruption diatribe on Christmas Day, I thought I’d take a little inspiration from Joseph Muscat.
No, I’m not running away to Dubai. If the Vegas of the Middle East is anything like the actual Las Vegas, then I couldn’t imagine a more vapid hell of shopping malls, chain restaurants and desperate displays of conspicuous wealth.
No, in the spirit of the deposed Kink, I’d like to offer you my own holiday playlist. A seasonal medley that the entire family will enjoy. Grandma and grandpa can sing along, too — socially distanced, of course.
We’ll have to skip ‘I Saw Rosie Kissing Yorgen Claus’. Some of the later verses are not family-friendly.
But why don’t we lead in with a little ditty everyone knows to warm up?
“Hark! the Labour trolls do sing
Glory to their deposed Kink…”
Now that you’ve cleared your pipes, let’s sing one that’s sure to be no one’s favourite holiday anthem:
“Jingle Bells, Vitals smells
You’re all gonna pay
The asking price was a steal
And the crooks all got away…”
They haven’t got away just yet, you might say. But wait for it:
“Dashing to Dubai
In a VistaJet for free
Out of reach we go
Laughing all the way (Ha ha ha!)”
Whoah there, Rudolph. Hold your reindeer and park that sleigh! Trouble’s brewing with this next song.
That’s right, ‘The Inquiry is Coming to Town’:
“They’re making a list,
Checking it twice,
They’re gonna find out who’s naughty or nice,
The inquiry is coming to town.
They see you when you are lying,
They know when you’ve been fake,
They know that you were on the take,
So clam up for goodness sake!”
‘We Three Kings of Orient Are’ in an awful lot of trouble.
I guess the Panama Gang should have given those gifts to the people rather than slipping them offshore for themselves.
While that might cause some among you to sing the old Chuck Berry classic, “Run, Schembri, Run, the law ain’t far behind”, others are prepping to head for the hills.
Oh well, I guess exile’s acceptable if you’ve got friends — and you can make sure by buying a few of those:
“Deck Castille with Dalli’s paintings,
blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah,
Helena’s family just keeps gaining
cha cha cha cha ching
cha ching ching ching.
Glug glug glug glug
glug glug glug glug,
Helped by friends who run the Army,
Rah rah rah rah rah
Tah dah dah dah.
Sha na na na na
Na na na na,
When we join them, then I’ll pitch in,
Ha ha ha ha ha
Ha ha ha ha.”
But what about those of us celebrating the holidays closer to home?
This next one goes out to the Minister responsible for cleansing Valletta of the protest monument to Daphne Caruana Galizia every single night for more than two years:
“Owen their inept lame peer
Had a very slimy pose,
And if you ever saw him
You would even say it shows.
All of the other main peers,
Used to point at him and blame,
They never let poor Owen
Join in any Cabinet games.
Then one foggy protest Eve
Joseph came to say,
‘Owen, with your pose so slight
Won’t you step out front tonight?’”
We all know how that went, don’t we? All that name calling gave the minister and his aide a very bad scare.
Speaking of reshuffles, I just learned the former Minister for Roly Polys will join us later to sing, ‘All I Want for Christmas Is My Old Job Back’.
But before we go there, we’d better sing one for another man who found himself in a new job, the Governor of the Central Bank. It goes to the tune of Frosty:
“Eddie the taxman
Was a tired complacent soul
With a big pay cheque and a non-disclose
And the kitchen in control.
Eddie the taxman’s
Was a sorry tale, they say
He was made by Joe but the voters know
He was in it for the pay.”
Speaking of the shameless and the spineless, I bet you’re wondering what the holidays are like at the OPM.
Wouldn’t you know it, there’s a traditional story about that, too:
“’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Castille
Not a minion was stirring, nor any new deals.
The excuses were hung by Bartolo with care,
In hopes re-election soon would be there.
The ministers nestled all snug in their beds,
Visions of kickbacks danced in their heads.”
If there’s any justice in Old Saint Nick, an awful lot of them should get a lump of coal this year.
But that won’t apply to you, dear reader.
While the Maltese ‘Patriots’ (Għaqda Patrijotti Maltin) might be ‘Dreaming of a White Christmas’, the realities of our increasingly multicultural societies mean we get a chance to share our traditions and exchange stories with people who came from different backgrounds.
We hope you have a nice holiday, whether you’re spending it with immediate family or just raising a glass with loved ones online.
And we hope a few of these dumb songs made you smile despite the frustrations of the past year.
Let’s close it off with one last tune.
“Good King….” oh, never mind. I can’t pronounce ‘Wenceslas’, let alone rhyme it with anything.
We’ll go with ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas‘ instead. I’ll skip the repetition and jump straight to the end:
“On the twelfth day of Christmas, Abela gave to me:
Twelve bad excuses
Eleven Neville pushbacks
Ten new empty non-jobs
Nine lawyers SLAPP’ing
Eight corona vouchers
Seven new consultants
Six redacted contracts
Five Golden Passports
Four direct orders
Three dead birds
and concrete instead of a tree.”