I don’t much watch the Maltese Parliament in action these days. I’ve long given up on the idea that our formaldehyde-seeped corpse of a House of democratically elected Representatives will ever do the job it is paid to do – curb the excesses of the Maltese Executive and act to protect the common good. So, I might have missed the parliamentary debate on the direction our national economic model should take.
Or is it the case that this precipitous swerve of direction occurred without any consultation with our parliament whatsoever? Do successive Maltese administrations even consider that they should first seek a consensus within our Parliament, with the democratically elected representatives of the people, on fundamental issues like the direction our economy should take?
After all, ordinary people consult with their significant others on momentous, life changing decisions all the time. Imagine if I decided unilaterally in 2010 that we were all going to live in Malta without stopping to ask my nearest and dearest whether they wanted to do so too?
The complacent arrogance of successive Maltese administrations as they blithely take our country down paths, without first making sure that the people are agreed on that particular path, is simply breathtaking. Do we really want a Dubai style country? One where we have a hierarchy of worker where the 'imported' worker migrant sweeps the roads in the sun, where the igaming executive lords it over the indolent Maltese landlord? Is this what we want? Do we want to forget about the 'għaqal' (prudence) of our forebears? The forebears that knew the value of everything and the price of nothing?
Or is it that PN or PL decide on a course of action for the country even before winning a general election, and then present this as a fait accompli? Is it the case that pre-election manifesto pledges are solely based on which particular cronies or lobby groups are to be favoured with a project or two and not on whether it is in the public interest? Do our political parties have any long term vision for Malta? Do they feel the responsibility for the common good that we entrust in them?
Why are the above even questions? Of course we know the answers to the above questions. Fifty five years of independence, and this is what it comes to.
I wonder why we have a parliament at all. PN and PL will tell you that all their proposals were there in their general election manifestos. They will flatter you. They will tell you that you voting them in, based on their electoral manifesto (which of course everybody studied avidly), was what was most important. After all, who needs experts or parliamentary democracy? Of course, you are more qualified to decide on the long term vision of our country than the members of parliament you elected to best represent you.
The gaslighting all over our media and social media is brazen, the information provided confusing. Does anyone know the actual number of trees to be removed, for example?
Our promise to invest in our roads was not a promise to tarmac poor quality roads or to fill the numerous potholes, the current administration will tell you. Of course not. Didn’t you know that this would mean the widening of our roads, a decrease in the amount of agricultural land and the chopping down of mature trees?
The Central Link project is but one small diseased twig of the pathological vision for Malta - long revealed - of Joseph Muscat’s premiership. Sell Maltese citizenship. Sell our public assets to the highest bidder. Bulldoze away any objection or resistance. Create a climate in which the messenger is easily discredited and shut down. Have a bonfire of regulation. Destroy our international reputation. Ignore the distress of the citizen and resident. Pander to the developer, the hunter, the money launderer. Ignore the long term common good. Think of today only. Never of tomorrow. This is the seductive mantra of Joseph Muscat's 'vision'.
How many future 'Where were you when...?' will we hear when it will be the turn of today's dissenters to bitterly give way to their 'I told you so' instinct?
I sometimes dream that we have a responsible government. One which demands that we - the people - think of tomorrow. One which insists that we have a public transport system which discourages car ownership. One which makes the most of our tiny country’s resources. Being small is also an advantage, you know. A 1.5 hour 5 km commute is absurd. Our waterways are underutilised.
So many different ways in which we could evolve our country sustainably and creatively. You’ve got to ask yourself – Why is it that this administration is choosing to go for this particular economic model? This question is key. Suspend all reverence and all partisan idolatry of politicians and political party. Consider your idols to be but mere human beings and then ask yourself - Why is it that this administration is choosing to go for this particular economic model?
And please, let's not go down the dead end, red herring alley of 'But PN did the same or worse.' We're talking of the here and now. We cannot change our complicit silence of the past.
Is it possible that the people who live for only today cannot look into a future where we reap what we are sowing today? It will surely be an ugly harvest.
Notwithstanding the abysmal current state of our so called parliamentary democracy, there is a hint of a waking up to the looming dangers. The demography of the recent protest against the Central Link project was interesting in that more young people attended. A momentum is building. An understanding that, even if it comes to nothing, we need to stand up to be counted. I just wish that the people we elected to represent us and protect the common good would do just that too.