The Malta Independent 4 December 2020, Friday

We are in total denial

Victor Calleja Sunday, 22 November 2020, 08:40 Last update: about 12 days ago

Many call Donald Trump a nut job, a fraud, a demagogue. A liar, a denier of having lost and a man who, by refuting the obvious, has allowed the horrors of the pandemic to grow.

Many of the Maltese who laugh at Trump are exactly like him. Deniers of blatant truth. They call out fake news but are themselves part of a fake take on reality.

If we remove all blinkers, we can only reach one conclusion: Malta is going through its worst crisis since independence. The intensity of it will be for historians – the real ones, not the revisionists – to gauge.


We are facing three crises and not all intertwined. To start with, the pandemic, the unrelenting way it has spread and the deaths it is claiming, is not just a crisis but a tragedy unfolding. Secondly, the economic crisis caused not just by the pandemic but also by basing our success on unsustainable sectors and short-term ideas. And the political and institutional problems are enormous.

This situation should make those in government take proper steps and not act as if all is business as usual. By acting all gung-ho, our prime minister and his team think the problem will go away.

It’s a Trump attitude through and through: when the pandemic was reaching biblical proportions, the American president (now thankfully soon a has-been) thought that by not mentioning it the problem would disappear. Some of us reason that by stamping our feet any crisis dissolves, gets scared and runs away.

Even Chris Fearne, our minister of health, seems to be, especially for a doctor, sadly Trumpian. Trump kept and keeps saying that there is no need to panic about the deaths in the US. Fearne, now that the death toll in Malta has passed the 100 mark, claims that everything is in hand.

Economically the country is facing a bleak enough future without the very real consideration that we could be grey-listed by Moneyval. By all accounts most of the financial sector, from its two-decade-long success in attracting new business, has now started to shrink.

Tourism, the environment and sustainability could, and should, have been afforded a higher level of discussion, yet all we hear from the powers that be is the usual need for numbers, public events, and restaurant vouchers.

Instead of controlling we open up for Notte Bianca and Christmas markets. Instead of curtailing mass events they are endorsed and subsidised by our government. If this isn’t Trumpian what is?

Denial is the mantra of the government, especially of its prime man and top bully, Robert Abela. He is emulating his disgraced predecessor Joseph Muscat who has a fine history of that.

Far from learning from previous mistakes, Abela sinks deeper into the abyss. Instead of complimenting and praising Roberta Metsola to the sky for her latest achievement in the EU, Abela said he won’t do it because she vehemently opposed the IIP programme so he won’t offer his congrats.

This might sound like just a touch of pique. A political manoeuvre. A chess move by a strategy player who knows politics inside out.

But the detail is what damns the man. Metsola by some coincidence is a woman. Metsola is a star in a political arena dominated by grey and uninspiring men like Abela and his goons. Metsola also had the audacity to flick off Joseph Muscat when he was still prime minister and tried to shake her hand.

Metsola has reached high in the EU while Joseph Muscat, the glitter ball of the Labour movement, was shunned and side-lined. Just as they can never admit that Daphne Caruana Galizia outmanoeuvred them in life, and even three years after she was assassinated is still outmanoeuvring them, so they can never admit that a woman is superior to them.

Robert Abela is in denial because he was, and remains, tied intrinsically and physically to everything that was part of Joseph Muscat’s legacy.

Robert Abela and his team, his erstwhile One media and TVM all think that by saying things are fine they will be. They also think that anyone who disagrees with them is a liar, a traitor and not worth their consideration.

Robert Abela is as ridiculous as Trump and both will end up dumped in the garbage heap of history. Denying they are in a garbage heap won’t get either of them out.


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