The Malta Independent 16 July 2020, Thursday

Plus ça change….

Ivan Bartolo Friday, 29 May 2020, 07:53 Last update: about 3 months ago

Plus c’est la même chose as coined by satirist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in his epigrams in his works Les Guêpes (1848). This is loosely translated to mean the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Why did I decide to quote Karr’s famous statement? It is because of what we are experiencing locally in terms of the Government. The current Government headed by Prime Minister Dr Robert Abela, after a change in premiership, promised continuity from his predecessor.


With his choice of Cabinet he gave the impression of starting afresh, but alas the changes turned out to be cosmetic. People were counting on this fresh start. Our country was constantly being mocked and named the most corrupt country in the world. Our reputation was tarnished and all of us as a nation counted on this change. However, these expectations resulted in nothing, another setback.

It’s like reboring a worn-out engine, the vehicle remains the same but instead of changing the engine to give better performance, the engine is rebored to try to get its utmost. Nothing changed, same mentality, same modus operandi. Konrad Mizzi left to the UK, could this be a déjà vu? How come nothing is being said or done?

The list is never ending but it is important to mention a few. Recently four Cabinet Ministers were found to have used public funds to promote their own private Facebook page. They don’t want to return these funds. It is good to refresh memories and use similes. When the Gonzi cabinet was paid €500 per week as salary the then opposition, current party in Government, was up in arms and the then cabinet had to refund the funds. Therefore, one can rightly ask, with the deeds of these four Ministers, if this isn’t misappropriation of public funds, then what is?

We then have a reversal of roles. Robert Abela, current Prime Minister, was advisor to his predecessor. Now, wonder of wonders, his predecessor who is still a sitting Member of Parliament, was appointed as his advisor with the excuse of an exit strategy for the COVID-19 crisis. Is it a case of payback time?

What about the hospital deals? The famous Vitals contract? Will the Prime Minister cancel the contract that reeks of corruption? It is ironic that once again the former Prime Minister, who had knowledge of the deal, takes up the advisory role between the Government and the new Hospital owners. If this isn’t conflict of interest, then what is?

The over and unsustainable development is still there. One would think that Dr Abela has more socialist beliefs than Dr Muscat, hence one would have expected him to steer away from the pro-business model adopted and focus more on the needs of the needy. How wrong we were to believe this gibberish!

The Prime Minister, in the run up to party leadership election, promised continuity had he to be at the helm. Now that he is, one can see what he meant. It means more of the same.

I will end my article the way I started it. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Nothing new. A reminder of the old with new skin.


Ivan Bartolo is a Nationalist MP
  • don't miss