Dom Mintoff got married to an English woman, Moira, They had two girls, Ann and Yana.
It was 1958, the year of the resignation of the first government of Dom Mintoff. When the British government refused to help the Maltese nation with money or employment, so that Malta could develop and improve its econonomy. Dom Mintoff use to threaten that his government will resign, and this happened on 22nd April of 1958. There were a lot of demonstrations and incidents around that resignation, incidents that reached their climax with the General Strike of 28th April.
“Is-siegħa tal-prova waslet. Il-poplu Malti, li fl-imgħoddi tant iġġieled battalji ta’ ħaddiehor, issa wasal biex juri lid-dinja jekk veru kibirx u sar nazzjon. Biex ikun rispettat minn popli oħra irid juri li hu lest biex il-battalji għad-drittijiet tiegħu jiġġilidhom b’iktar qilla, b’sagrifiċċji akbar, u b’rieda aktar soda milli fl-imgħoddi kien iġġieled il-gwerer ta’ ħaddiehor. Quddiem Alla għandna raġun. Issa sta għalina li dan ir-raġun neħduh ukoll mingħand in-nies ta’ din id-dinja. Jekk inkunu ġwejjef aħna, jistħuna wliedna u wlied uliedna. Illum waslet is-siegħa meta kull Malti jrid bil-fatti juri li Malta għalina, tiġi l-ewwel u qabel kollox.”
After that resignation, Mintoff and his party had to wait thirteen years to take back the reigns of the government.
“Jiena, Dom Mintoff, solennament naħlef li nkun tassew fidili u leali lejn il-poplu u r-repubblika ta’ Malta, u l-kostituzzjoni tagħha. Hekk, Alla jgħini.”
In the seventies, Prime Minister Mintoff was the brain behind big projects: Sea Malta, Air Malta and the Freeport. While in foreign countries, such big projects were done by teams, Mintoff did such projects by himself.
But he did not deem technology as important. For everyone to have a computer and a colour tv set, meant loads of money being given to foreign countries. But everybody wanted them. So, Mintoff was knicknamed ‘qammiel’ [miser].
He was not. He was wise and there’s a difference. He not only never threw anything away in his private life and was very careful in his own, private budget, but when it came to the country’s finances, he was extra careful.
He hated debt and hated television cameras. He used to say that he did not want to speak to a piece of lens but to the people.
Before the 1981 election, which was characterised by accidents and problems, there was the first, historical, political debate aired on tv titled “Mit-tajjeb ghal hajja ahjar flimkien”, chaired by Tonio Portughese.
“Nerga’ nibda mill-ahhar, Mr Chairman. Qed isemmi dmija [referring to Eddie Fenech Adami]. Ahna ghamilna affarijiet f’Malta, il-Moviment tal-Haddiema, l-ikbar affarijiet u l-ikbar taqliba li qatt seta’ kellu nazzjon. L-ewwel taqliba kbira kienet li hlisna, ghall-ewwel darba, mill-barrani. Ahna hlisna ghall-ewwel darba mill-barrani fil-31 ta’ Marzu 1979.”
Before that election, accidents had happened. In one day, the house of the opposition leader Eddie Fenech Adami was destroyed and The Times printing press was burnt. When this happened, Dom Mintoff called himself Mabel Strickland and apologised personally.
“U inti tahseb, nghidlek jiena, dawk il-bombi li splodew San Giljan, u dawk il-bombi li splodew bnadijiet ohrajn, splodew ghax sahhnet l-arja? Jew ghax kien hemm xi hadd, imhallas, biex jaghmilhom halli jipprova ibezzaghna?”
The controversial result of the election made it worse. The nationalist party got more votes than the labour party, but the labour party got more parliamentary seats and remains in power. Before the election, Mintoff had talked about this possibility. He was uncomfortable about it and in a cabinet meeting, he had talked about it with the other ministers. He told them “Intom ghasafar tal-passa, torbtux il-warrani taghkom ma’ dak is-siggu, ghax sitt xhur ohra, irrid naghmel elezzjoni [fl-1981]”.
He knew that he had said that he did not want to govern if he did not have the support of the majority. The result was hard for him. But the Constitution did not speak in terms of votes, but in terms of seats. For this to not happen again, there was the need to amend the Constitution but the nationalists boycotted parliament. Wit one party in parliament, Mintoff could amend the constitution as he wanted, with a two-thirds majority. But Mintoff did not so he could allow the nationalists to be co-opted in the parliament. Once back in parliament, discussions resume but such discussions were futile.
In the meantime, political violence worsened.