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.

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Rachel Borg is an in­de­pen­dent colum­nist based in the tourism in­dus­try

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.