“No, I don’t have a clue”
These clichés and phrases have become standard stock and the time has come to reject them outright. There are several categories. Let us start with the less chronic ones.
Rachel Borg is an independent columnist based in the tourism industry
The Convenience Ones
Amongst these we find the now famous Positions of Trust. Anyone from the tea lady to the dog trainer, the janitor who watches the toilets in Hondoq and the crowd of Labour supporters who know no other way of becoming employed except by political patronage.
One rung up we find the Consultancy Services. This is usually reserved for the more affluent or boring jobs for people who normally would not be able to move a file from one department to another but who can be relied upon to guard the door and show-off for the camera when needed. In the more “pro-business” version, they also serve as laundering or obscuring hubs.
Temporary solution is a more recent addition but which has been employed several times by Konrad Mizzi in regard to the LNG Tanker squatting in Marsaxlokk Bay.
Apparently there are a number of fishermen who are expressing an immediate affection for the oversized “vapur” and feel quite important about manouvering their fishing boat beneath it. By not complaining, they are contributing to the greater good of Marsaxlokk, especially as regards the air pollution for residents.
However, even the “it’s doable” Konrad Mizzi can see the horror of it all and has resorted to the Temporary solution phrase as a mitigating cliché.
This bunch have been perfected and jump out quite automatically when Muscat is being questioned by journalists (when not exiting the back door).
I am sure that journalists have these saved in their computer and only need to press a key to insert the “Why shouldn’t he?” – Muscat on Keith Schembri’s business interests as ensuing from his Position of Trust, or “I see no conflict of interest” when purchasing contracts somehow land on his company’s desk.
However, the biscuit goes to the famous “audit” by the invisible company of Konrad’s invisible assets. That one is really wearing thin now, like a pair of tyres on our pot-holed roads but Muscat is not quite ready to ditch it yet.
Neither does he have a Temporary Solution yet to replace it and is forced to stick to the routine of “these things take time”. For some variety, the “played down suggestions” version may occasionally be used by journalists.
Another handy downplayer very much in use lately is the “it is still unclear”. This one is worse than a weather forecast in October. Normally one might expect it to be used when experts are asked to determine where the plane lost contact and fell into the sea or when the hurricane might reach shore. Even then, some predictability is usually available but, sadly, the experts, ministers, consultants and press officers at Castille and the ERA can only say that it is still unclear when the power station will be productive or a solution to the traffic congestion may be available.
Hot on the heels of the downplayers are the Conceited clichés. These usually emerge when Dr Muscat is particularly pressed by Media Link’s Mario Frendo. Accompanied by the deeply furrowed brow, sideways glance, chin up expression comes the brilliantly dismissive “No, I don’t have a clue”. Exasperation? Frustration? Or completely and utterly “unfit for purpose”?
Anytime that some shade falls over Keith or Konrad, the stock phrase is... No, I don’t have a clue.
Like he is so busy with affairs of state that such minor details as to whether his trusted Chief of Staff and Minister for Health and Energy hold bank accounts for commissions and accounts in