In a country where politics and Eurovision are considered to be the pinnacle of local culture, Maltese people elevate politicians and musicians to god-like statuses. These individuals’ opinions are widely regarded, no matter if they have next to little expertise in the subject. Ira Losco is a member of this class, so I am still surprised as to why she has not publicly declared her stance on the Spring Hunting issue.
I find Ira Losco’s lack of presence in this referendum campaign quite strange. Quoting the biography section of her website, she “is also part of the animal awareness against Animals in Circuses and has also featured in nation wide TV Spots against animal cruelty”.
The situation is even more bizarre when one considers the fact that her BFF Moira Delia is one of the local personalities headlining the SHout Campaign for the NO camp. Why is it that Ira Losco will appear in TV Spots for Moira’s campaign against animal cruelty, and not support the referendum campaign to abolish Spring Hunting?
This could be a case of Ira Losco not wanting to become involved in local debates and discussions that are otherwise outside her remit. However, Ms Losco was quite publicly vocal with the ‘nude selfie’ scandal that happened in January 2014, so much so that she ended up weighing in on the subject on the televised TimesTalk debate. In this case, she is no expert on the matter, but her celebrity status allows the message to reach a wider audience.
So why is Ira Losco being so elusive?
I assume that the answer lies in self-preservation. Other personalities that have publicly supported the No campaign are virtually unknown. I cannot even remember their names or faces unless I look them up (except for Moira – who is currently also on campaign hiatus). As such, their careers will not be tainted by their choice to vote in favour of or against spring hunting.
The best thing to happen to the No Campaign is ex-hunter and globally acclaimed Maltese Tenor Joseph Calleja, who publicly declared his anti-spring hunting stance. Joseph Calleja can afford to ruffle Maltese feathers (pun intended) with his opinion. Malta is not his main market, so negative perception in Malta will not phase his global level of success.
Ira Losco is a different story. Her main market is Malta so she cannot afford to piss off half the population, even if they happen to be outside her target audience.
Does Ira Losco’s opinion really matter?
Given the status she enjoys, it matters greatly; especially in a non-political setting such as the spring hunting debate. However, despite being an animal lover and recently being named a goodwill ambassador for sustainable development, Ira Losco will not tarnish her reputation and publicly declare herself in favour or against Spring Hunting. Yet, she will “get upset about a string of nude selfies on social networks”, as this is what one considers to be good PR.
But when it comes to the senseless killing and unsustainable practice of spring hunting, Ira Losco values her public image much more than her values.
While I am one to say that people should never assume, I think this case merits an exception.