The Malta Independent 22 November 2019, Friday

Who can argue with that?

Rachel Borg Saturday, 19 October 2019, 09:13 Last update: about 2 months ago

The majority of people feel nervous at the idea of a socialist government giving out their hard-earned money to the welfare state.  This week, they could keep their mind at rest that only the bare necessities had been moved around and there will still be a good pot to keep the party going.

Opinion polled in the streets brought very little reaction to the €3.49 per week cost of living increase in the budget.  It seems as if the COLA has now become something like a habit that is meant to be kept up, like going to church on Sunday, good for the conscience but there for the lesser ones, rather than for the general well-being.

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Had it been different and a higher figure granted, the reaction could very well have been one of fear and doubt about its sustainability.  Many Maltese people, after all, have a small or medium sized business. Higher cost of living increases means higher wages.  At a time when many people have found a way to turn a pretty penny, they would not be thrilled at the idea of having to fork out from their profit or see their taxes increased in order to pay for a welfare budget. 

So, some lip-service has been paid to helping out those who cannot afford to buy a flat or a house, or even rent and while supermarkets and convenience stores keep their tidy profits, the labour government stays safe and hoards the surplus.  Some spending on Gozo is also good for PR because it will hopefully improve the quality of roads and transport and keep investments buoyant.  In fact The Dubai Expo will be getting twice the funds allocated for the Gozo Hospital but it can always be left to a Nationalist government to fork out the capital for bricks and mortar, if that time should come.

According to Moody’s Analytics, over in the USA, Trump is headed toward another four years in the White House. And, if the numbers are right, it won’t even be close. “If voters were to vote primarily on the basis of their pocketbooks, the president would steamroll the competition,” the report said.

Democrats, on the other hand, are being viewed with some concern because of the “freebies” they are promising.  “Trumps narcissism is scary. The Democrat’s politico platform of "Freebies" is even scarier. Scary Trump it is.”

Of course, in America the Democrats are aligned to the left whilst the Republicans, Trump’s party, are the party of the right. 

Here in Malta, it seems, the politics are switched.  The party of the right now looks for the left voter whilst the Labour Party has captured the business sector and those labour voters who are happy to be better off than their neighbour.  L-Istrina comes out on top, to balance the scales once a year.  Let it not be said that we are not charitable.

Many Maltese in America are in fact, Trump voters. True, a large community lives in New York and Trump comes from New York, but there may be more in common with the voting pattern between Malta and the USA than we care to think.

European socialist or liberal values are not our first inclination.  We had to see the cash to know that joining the EU was going to be good for Malta.  The hunters hated it and continue to hate it.  Justice is an area of great conflict and solidarity is sliding very fast down the list of priorities. 

Which leaves us with corruption. This can be tackled in the long traditional way of sexism. Muscat’s government is largely a male one.  He may talk about equality and present quotas but we saw very well the way that Marie Louise Coleiro, President Emeritus and Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner have gone.  Marlene Farrugia, MP was subject to some of the worst misogynistic treatment in Parliament and Daphne Caruana Galizia maintained that the worst attitudes towards her were down to her being a woman.

Corruption is still perceived as part of the male territory that has to be left unprobed. For the sake of the children and for not giving others the satisfaction of knowing about it, it is often kept quiet and the way to go on is to turn a blind eye.

In the Israeli drama “Shtisel”, about a Jewish Orthodox family, Giti, the wife takes back her husband after he abandoned the family for a while when he left to work in Argentina. She is assured by the Rabbi that since she does not know any of the facts, she should not judge him and she goes on by behaving as though nothing happened. Then she has a deep crisis when he betrays her decision not to name her new born child after a benefactor who died without an heir. Her husband, behind his wife’s back, also seeks the money that had been offered to the family that would support this late man’s dying wish. After bearing a grudge towards her husband after that, Giti starts to come around when her husband tells her that they are now comfortably off, having invested the money he received from the benefactor. Actually, it is her daughter’s pure heart which ultimately helps her to forgive her husband but subconsciously or not, the wheel has turned. The same goes for state corruption.

Corruption in the government, so, is seen as a fact of life coming from a chauvinistic elite who are ultimately more trusted than a female journalist who exposes the truth and endangers the prosperity and stability of the home.

Opinion in the USA continues:  “Trump won't even be on the ballot next year. His entire administration, at least whoever's left there, is falling apart. Rudy's being investigated for his illegal deals in Turkey and John Bolton is about to blow up everything else. Trump lost 5 court decisions last Friday, one yesterday. There are 20 investigations into his numerous crimes. Every couple of days someone else abandons ship and leaves his failing White House. He's being impeached and there is already plenty of evidence to impeach him right now and they're just getting started. There is no way Trump survives all this.”

Many similarities with our own leader’s party.  There is a crucial difference though.  Is anyone abandoning Joseph Muscat?  Seeing such impunity, the ordinary man in the street feels inadequate to think differently and oppose the government and abandon the party.  On top of that, their pennies have been spared.  Who can argue with that?

 

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