The Malta Independent 22 October 2018, Monday

TMID Editorial: In the cold light of the new year

Monday, 1 January 2018, 09:58 Last update: about 11 months ago

After last night’s feasting, and the sleeping off of whatever we took, the cold clear light of the new day, the first light of the new year, (hopefully) clears away the cobwebs of the night and the alcohol-fuelled euphoria and introduces a dose of realism into our thoughts.

We are continually faced by two opposing narratives to describe the real situation of our country – the negative one which sees everything in dark colours and the positive one which sees no negative at all. If we somehow remove ourselves to some distance away, we may get a better perspective.

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There is no doubt that economically the country is doing well: there is almost full employment and the economic financials of the country are among the best in Europe. So is growth.

But the moral fibre of the country has been corroded and what may have appeared till some time ago a rather stupid insistence on the part of the head of government to keep, to retain, rather than sack, people close to him who have brought his government and this country to international shame, now looks threateningly as something more ominous – that at the core of the government there rules an ethic that has nothing to do with the normal ethic of this people, that the rules by which this people lives do not apply to those outside the government core.

So while it is reasonable to suppose that the economic momentum will continue in the short to medium term, there are already signs that people are beginning to regret the new Malta that has come upon us, just as people are getting concerned with the new skyline of cranes wherever you look.

Some people have been concentrating on harvesting while the sun is still out and these are the gilded ones, the ones with links, the ones for whom all doors open, but others are resolutely being kept out of the gilded circle and for them all the laws apply whereas they do not seem to apply to those with links.

Some people are hauled to court or punished for the slightest infraction while other people seem immune to all this and you know they will never, ever, get punished for greater infractions than your own.

There is a law for angels and another one for humans.

In these circumstances, the euphoria of last night disappears with the mist of dawn. It will take time and huge efforts to bring around the country to the direction many want it to follow (and this has nothing to do with which party is in government), huge efforts, pain, sacrifices and an even greater amount of persuasion and working at persuading the people who are not seeing what the others have long been seeing – that what really makes a nation great is not so much the figures of economic growth but rather getting a good name for itself in the commonwealth of nations.

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