One of Michael McIntyre’s more relatable skits is the one about walking under the street decorations bombarded by that Mariah Carey song and saying ‘I don’t know what it is but I just haven’t felt Christmassy yet this year. I’m trying. I just got nothing.’ And then it comes, in the latter part of December, you get the announcement: ‘Today! I felt really Christmassy!”

It’s a rather unseasonal reference, I grant you. But do you feel like a general election is coming? You know it is. The signs are all around you. But maybe because you’re getting old, maybe because the idea of a Sunday afternoon rubbing rather more than your shoulders with 30,000 strangers in a street that looks bigger in pictures than it actually is, is no longer your idea of fun.

Maybe it’s just me. But somehow, I don’t think many people are telling themselves right now how excited they are a general election is coming. Even people who are dead certain they’ll be winning it are impatient to have it out of the way so they can book their weekends abroad now it looks like they can travel again.

The awkward indifference is eerie. There are a number of causes. Usually, political fatigue sets in in the fourth week of constant campaigning not before the first day of campaigning comes. I acknowledge the fact that I’m not inside everybody else’s shoes and I might be the only one feeling like this because my life since the last general election has been dominated by Manichean campaigning. I know that hasn’t been the case for everyone.

For many, switching off politics, enjoying distractions like holidays, culture, even a day without thinking about the collective malaise of the country, would bring about feelings of guilt, of neglect of a duty to actively and constantly feel pity and anger and regret for the state of public affairs here.

There are people like me who were sucked into this sense of permanent obligation by the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Guilt had a major role in that. While she was alive, we felt we could afford to switch our interest on and off, knowing someone was doing the worrying for us. She’d be there when we looked for her, like nuns in a convent making up for the fact that you don’t get time to talk to God. Until she wasn’t.

That didn’t only affect those of us who missed her and were angered and saddened by her taking off. It also effected all those people who spent every day of the last four years telling us to shut up about it.

We think we’re the only ones who must be tired facing trolls every day on Facebook. But life must be tiring for the trolls as well. We assume they take pleasure having to wake up every morning to spew venom. But it’s a tough job, you know, to be a troll. And quite a soul crushing one for that matter. I can’t imagine they’re looking forward to five more years of mouthing “erbgħin elf” and treble clicking the lemon emoji. Presumably it will be “ħamsin elf” but you get my drift.

Certainty of victory deflates excitement for a fight nearly as much as certainty of defeat. Voters are approaching this election as they would a ritual slaughter, from either side. Even the odds of the corrida are less predictable. The biped with the sword, rarely, but quite conceivably, may be gored by the horned bull. The next general elections will be fought by bows and arrows against lightning. That’s not much fun for the lightning throwers either.

Here’s the supreme irony. It feels like the approaching election is imposing a truce, a temporary armistice on the real issues, the real political questions the country is facing.

Consider the examples in part 2 of this piece.