The Malta Independent 24 September 2020, Thursday

Swept by a tsunami of spin

Noel Grima Sunday, 13 September 2020, 07:45 Last update: about 12 days ago

When historians in future times try to understand and make sense of our times they may, if they’re lucky, see our age as covered and inundated with spin.

Spin has become a major item in our national panorama, aided and abetted by a weak and pliant media which contents itself with reporting speeches but quite unable, or unwilling, to provide a context or question assumptions.

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This is, as I see it, a direct result of our political situation dominated by two big parties and their ownership of media leaving just a small section of independent media which seems to speak only to a restricted section of the population. The rest, the vast majority, are force-fed on spin.

At the end, the only game in town is to obtain a majority of votes and to keep that majority through thick and thin after which to retain the majority in the next election.

To do that and to get there spin is absolutely necessary as well as undermining the spin on the other side.

In today’s world all governments more or less use spin from Trump to Boris Johnson but Malta’s claustrophobic situation makes things worse.

The saving feature I can discern is that for all the spin and for all resources spent on spin, history has shown us that governments built on rock-solid spin also crumbled and fell when their time was up. So spin is fallible too.

Successive governments face situations and problems that in many cases are the same and are tackled by successive governments more or less in the same way with more or less the same success as the one that came before. Or the same failures as the one that came before.

Spin tries to give supporters an illusion of success and\or the failure of the other side but both spins are manufactured lies. The solution to most problems cannot be reached by spin but by what the specific problem requires.

Our politicians spend an inordinate amount of time and of money to try and ram the spin down our throats. That seems required by the way our political system runs. But when years pass and the problems remain, or get worse, we should be able to realise the solution lies elsewhere.

One does not really need to ring through the whole list of concerns the Maltese people have to understand the perniciousness of spin. Let us take the issue that lies at the top of Maltese concerns – migration.

There are the pro and the anti spins, not reducible to the two main parties. The war of the spins is ongoing and quite hard. Both sides hurl verbal bricks at each other - hate-monger on the one side,  appeaser on the other. Even lifting a quotation from Oriana Fallaci falls foul of the thought police. And just this morning The Times called Adrian Delia a populist for pointing out at the situation in Hamrun and Marsa which is a situation anybody without blinkers can see for himself.

There is spin here, massively so. Such a spin solves nothing. There is no readymade solution considering Malta’s peculiar geographic location. Thanks to a great extent to the EU's inaction, the situation is getting worse and worse.

The spinning that goes on in this regard does not solve anything, does not curb the anxiety felt by many and maybe too makes people, the more gullible among them, believe that a solution is at hand.

And it replaces a serious and calm discussion, without spin or calling of names, about the issue in all its ramifications.

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