I am sharing a post put up by my friend Giorgio Peresso on his Facebook page about elections in Malta in the distant past. This post is about the elections held in 1950. Giorgio’s father had the Peresso Press which according to Giorgio, acted as the de facto headquarters of the Nationalist Party. At the time, the Nationalist Party had no headquarters or even a printing press. This press was bought from Paola after Dun Ġwann Mamo, who owned it, went into a financial crisis. After the war, (and until 1955) this press printed all the election material of the Nationalist Party. What follows is the post of Giorgio Peresso.
“I have some interesting memories about elections in Malta except the recent ones. The first one was September 1950 when boys would go round Valletta to the tune of ‘Papa Nerik’ in honour of the future Prime Minister Enrico Mizzi – il cavaliere senza macchia e senza paura. Election campaigns were literarily hatched at my father’s printing press, which looked like the unofficial HQ of the PN – at least up to 1955. But what I remember most is a funny incident which happened during the 1962 “Religio et Patria” campaign. The setting of types was done manually with letters assembled one by one. The worker who did this job was known as compositor. The types were put in a tray which to-day one can find at flea markets. We had an elderly guy who did this job who happened to be a staunch Labourite. (They called them Mintoffiani at the time). Poor fellow, for his sins he had to compose bombastic political appeals promising heaven on earth and at the same time demonizing the ‘enemy.’ I can tell you it was an arduous job because I did it myself. Anyway he was composing a leaflet for a Nationalist candidate Albert Fenech, who hailed from Balzan. Mr Fenech was a gran simpatico because above all he marketed a brand of a whisky called ‘Stewart’. Well, this compositor, probably out of tiredness composed ‘ivvumtaw ghal Sur Bert Fenech ( vomit on Mr Albert Fenech) instead of ‘ivvutaw għas-Sur Bert Fenech’ (vote for Mr Bert Fenech) . Now Mr Fenech was very well liked in the village especially with his Whisky customers. Initially he was red in rage when he read the proof. His face was already radiant because of the whisky! In the end he started laughing and shook hands with the compositor. I think to-day there is a street in Balzan named for this gentleman.
(The photo below shows a crowd in a political rally at Strada San Paolo in 1950. I can recognise the person wearing the white suit because he is my father but not the other person)“.