ur sentiments of anger, grief, disappointment and sadness after what happened last Monday have been pointed towards our political class in line with democratic behaviour. This is a key element of representative democracy that political accountability is sought at the highest levels. As voters, we all demand that the highest standards of accountability and integrity are upheld by the very political class we elect.
The latest events in Malta and what has happened on an international level following the election of Trump in America, amongst others, got me think- ing.
Is the political class a reflection of ourselves?
Are we looking in the mirror when we are criticising our political class?
If we really want to see a change in our country and our political class, maybe we should start changing ourselves at an individual level, in our own dealings.
As a population, in general, we are a prime example of armchair critics and of throwing rocks from our glass houses.
We need to change from within and at all levels of society. Maybe we are the ones who have become truly selfish and placing our myopic interests ahead of everything else. We are focused on wealth rather than capabilities. Our fixation with GDP growth is a reflection of this. Maybe it is high time we start a discussion on quality of life; on human-centric development on quality growth. Shorttermism does not guarantee long-term sustainability, actually, it erodes long-term growth. We therefore need to start a serious discussion and reframe the growth debate moving from quantity to quality. Growth is not an end in itself but a means to ensure that we have an inclusive society that is focused on increasing human development.
In parallel, civil rights are not only based on equality of mar- riage and minority rights. The strides we have made are to be commended but we must not lose sight on the very basics. We need to ensure that the basics are truly there, that our democratic institutions are in place and working. We need to entrench and deepen our democracy and our respect to the rule of law. We need well-functioning institutions; including a professional civil service, an independent and trustworthy police force and a strong judiciary. Without these basics foundation, our economy will falter and so will our standard of living.
Without these, talk of niche industries will remain an illusion.
Our own individual selfishness is obstructing us in our quest to achieve communal harmony. Yet, we all have the ability to change this; each and every one of us has the possibility of contributing.
We are all leaders in our own way, in our own path of life and we can all start making a difference.
If you are a parent, imbue your children with values, respect and a sense of righteousness.
If you are an educator, ensure that tomorrow’s generation has the capacity to be critical and analytical and to have a sense of active citizenship.
If you are a youth, become critical and analytical of the environment around you. Read, research and widen your knowledge and thought. Form an opinion and do not be afraid to share it and debate it. Be ac- tive in your approach to citizenship and act on things you do not agree with. Be the change you want to see.
If you are an employee, respect your employer in your everyday work; be diligent, give your due share and fulfil yourself in your work.
If you are an employer, treat your employees as humans and not cost-centres. Give your employees the right example by engaging in clean, honest business. Also, treat your customers honestly too and add value at each of your interaction with them.
If you are a politician, then lead by example and know that someone is always watching you and the standards you set.
Let us all be catalysts for change in our own daily life. Only then we will have a political class that reflects the society we want to live in.
The political class is usually a reflection of the broader society.
For that to change, we all have to.
JP Fabri is an economist and a visiting assistant lecturer at the University of Malta