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12 OPINION maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 21 MARCH 2022 GINO Paoli's 1991 hit 'Quattro amici al bar' recounts an en- counter of four young, very ro- mantic and principled friends, who meet in a bar to talk of their dreams and the circle of life, when their children do the same thing years later. Well yesterday, I tried to just do that, with the differ- ence that my salad days are of course over. Meeting up with old friends at what is now for me, a somewhat cynical age, is just the thing to do. As ex- pected our discussion focused on how we would vote next Saturday in the next general election. Eventually we confronted the elephant in the room. There was one guy, the first to speak, who argued that he would vote for Labour as he had done in the last two elections, citing the good the country had seen and how well he had fared. He also said Robert Abela had done his best to address the sins of his predecessor, Joseph Muscat. The second guy could not keep his cool. "Good? What good?! How can you forget what happened in these last nine years? We were conned by Joseph Muscat and I cannot forgive Labour for what hap- pened. Abela is surely not as bad as Muscat, but he does not deserve to be prime minister. I don't care, I will vote for Ber- nard Grech. I know he will not be the next prime minister and he is no shining star, but I want to send a message and cut Abe- la down to size." Everyone looked at the third guy, as he stared down his dou- ble scotch and popped in an- other peanut in his mouth. "I voted for Labour in 2013 and 2017, and in 2019, even after what we knew the truth about Daphne's murder. I simply can- not vote for them again. She surely hated Labourites and there was no love lost for her writing, but to kill her? Nev- er... but I cannot vote for the Nationalists – to me they're a bunch of morons, if not ama- teurs. I just won't vote. That's it. Final." Another round of doubles, ice by the side – the order was hol- lered out to a waitress, a Serbi- an national. "It's your turn now." Everyone looked at the fourth guy at the table. "I do not know. I was hoping the PN would come up with some good peo- ple. Labour? I cannot trust them any more. The Greens and Cassola? Holy Mary... I cannot imagine why no one tells them to go for a long sab- batical. "I have no idea who to vote for. I believe that I should vote, but I am lost. Everyone thinks that the way to a voter's heart is by promising them the world. I have no party, but I want to vote. "I want a party that will re- spect my intelligence, protect this country from contractors and greedy businessmen, stand up to the lobbies and stop thinking that we are a bunch of gullible morons." The first guy looked at every- one else and said. "That is it then. You remember when we met way back in 1981 at the Imperial Bar in Vallet- ta, and said that things had to change? Maybe things will never change. Perhaps we have been all taken for a ride, or per- haps we are more stupid than we look. Best we get home, because tomorrow is another day of work. Next year we will receive our 'kartanzjan' and we will be talking about our pros- tate gland, not Robert Abela or Bernard Grech." Everyone laughed, said good- night and walked off to their respective cars. Quattro amici al bar Saviour Balzan "Perhaps we have been all taken for a ride, or perhaps we are more stupid than we look. Best we get home, because tomorrow is another day of work..."

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