An appeal to common sense
This week in Maltese politics was a week that can go down as one of the most relevant to the past and the future of Malta. A crossroad.
It began with the announcement of the budget which was portrayed as being one that will address the economic deficiencies and discrepancies faced by a growing number of people but failed to deliver on the social justice and necessary measures and initiatives expected. The only cherry on the cake was the one screened on Report on RAI 3, which dealt with the fallout of the Panama Papers in Malta, specifically by those close to the Prime Minister, Dr Joseph Muscat.
It is at such a low point, that our country may fall into despair, or try to get itself together and find the much needed common sense to set a new and certain course to this time emphatically – once again – and humbly and justifiably – ensure the real and meaningful change is finally brought about.
Enough with the pride and arrogance and false pretensions of this underhanded and mediocre government. The people gave them a chance and they failed where it mattered most – on principles, on honesty and on effectiveness in improving the quality of life for all. Humbly, once more, those same voters, those same supporters that put their trust in the alternative offered in 2013, are again called to show their belief, their values and their concern for not just a strong economy for the island but above all for the foundation and values that have guided us and formed our identity over the decades and especially since not just Independence but most recently, since becoming members of the European Union.
At this present time, the EU itself is diminished in our mind, as it has let us down on matters of principle that affect even itself and its own justification. Whether it was on the matter of the sale of citizenship where we expected a much more robust condemnation and regulation of the issue but more recently also, on the way the European Council closed ranks as politicians and dismissed the vote of the European Parliament going on to approve the appointment of Leo Brincat to the Court of Auditors. Not only, also in the ongoing and acrimonious problem of migration, facing what is increasingly looking like a fractious Europe. The failure to properly assess the reality, the sentiment and the insecurity experienced by host countries on the one hand and the suffering and also sometimes violent and threatening situations of the immigrants, has left the Union out of touch and contributed to the rise of the populist parties.
On a more local level, we too here in Malta were deceived by the manipulative discourse of Joseph Muscat who only had to appeal to the sentiment of an increasingly anxious population to run away with their votes.
The complete lack of synchronicity between the slogan of the budget and the propaganda surrounding it and the reality of in fact, going back to the 70s and the dull and regressive tool of raising taxes in the way of “sisa” – who even knows that word nowadays? I even had to check what kind of tax it actually is. Not only, but the products selected for this same “sisa” are those that will affect those who can least afford it and the kind of products linked to services, such as hairdressing or cleaning and the cost of the daily shop.
How difficult can it be for a government to run the country in an efficient, responsible and honest way? What is the country if not a large community, with citizens of various abilities and needs, neighbours and families pulling together for the common good? How is it possible for a government, just three years into its administration to lose touch morally and economically with the people?
The only answer to that question is that it lacked the very morals, principles, capabilities and vision to begin with. Clearly now, all that propaganda was a load of immoral and self-serving low value currency.
No matter how much S&P upgrade our economic outcome to A- or whatever, that only stresses the lie running through this corruption. The budget, followed by the Report programme, interviewing Minister Owen Bonnici who himself said he failed to see the gravity of the behaviour of two of Dr Muscat’s closest and most powerful people being linked to the Panama Papers, was a testament to the bad name that has now been given to us.
What is simply a small community, a bit of city when compared to European cities, where people know each other, do business together and are related to several persons around them, is reaching levels of shame and embarrassment well above its place in the moral order of nations. That is the ranking which should be concerning us now and the one to motivate us to find common sense and ensure a return to honesty, sound values and trusted politicians.
Here, at this very point in time, it is up to us to get behind politicians we feel we can trust – at least this time we have tried both parties and know where truth was betrayed – and trust as well our judgement and ability to participate in a better future for Malta, one that really speaks to the pride we have always held ourselves in when it came to our role in the international community and nationally.
We, as a nation, are also seen by foreigners, as a cross road between the southern Mediterranean region and Europe. Our history links us to a European heritage of common values and social justice on the one hand and our evolution is strongly one with Mediterranean roots. So, we are often a mirror of what can be, of courage and strength.
We are more than party supporters. More than just fans of some foreign football team – Juve, Manchester United, Barcelona and many others. We need, now more than ever to evolve politically and make the right decision for ourselves and our country based on sound judgement, trust and solidarity. Those politicians who can convince us of their commitment and genuine interest in serving us, the people, should be the ones to prevail. They too must make a big effort to convince us of their usefulness and that they are in it for the long haul and not just for the immediate gain and can translate ideas into action and resolve the immediate problems around daily life.
Let us hope that we can rise to the occasion and do something that can make a difference not just to restore our pride but also for the good of others in our community.