“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.

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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.

The Down­play­ers

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.

The Con­ceited

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

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