“No, actually I prefer a shorter bus ride”

Published: November 10, 2011 at 11:13pm

The Malta Independent’s leading article, today:


As the world outside contends with the potential collapse of the euro, the capitalist system, failing economies, drought, climate change and more, Malta also had a turbulent time.

We discussed matters which were, for us, taboo and shocking.

We spoke about divorce, a deeply divisive issue which has been decided on by the people. We spoke about BWSC and the whiffs of corruption and the questions which were raised about the potential fallout generated by the type of fuel to be used in our energy generation.

We spoke about bus stops and traffic and how the government could have done so much better. We spoke about so many things that are so uniquely important in this little goldfish bowl that we call home.

We do not mean to denigrate. These issues are all important to us as a people.

But we have to acknowledge the fact that the world is changing. The government constantly speaks about the crisis which is gripping the world, and it is absolutely right to do so.

It is bizarre and beyond belief that people cannot comprehend the magnitude of change which is taking place on this tiny blue planet.

The earth is warming; this is fact. Less crops are being grown; this is fact. People are multiplying at an alarming rate; this is fact.

We are killing off every other species that lives in the wild for food and living space; this is fact. Closer to home, the euro is failing; this is fact.

The European Union is evolving, deciding whether we should go back to a free trade area or move onto a Federalist Union; this is fact.

The very facets of economics are changing, the definition of the capitalist system is changing; this is fact. Yet here in Malta, we have an opposition which cannot comprehend these issues and merely focuses on the inability of the Maltese government to make us all pampered middle-class people.

Equally, we have backbenchers on the government benches who want us to disregard all of the above and catapult them into ministerial positions which they believe they deserve. Right now, who cares.

The world is in a ruddy mess and unless drastic action is taken, we will not even have bread or water to eat in a few years, let alone pizza instead of steak.

The world has changed and we need to acknowledge it.

Our honeymoon in the EU has faded into distant memory. We are part of a club that is very close to being in dire, dire straits. The government, meanwhile, has set us on a steady course, creating jobs and shielding our economy from the massive credit issues which are affecting Italy, the UK, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

Have they made mistakes? Of course they have, and some pretty bad ones at that – and this publication was the first to give them what-for, in terms of the pigs’ ears they made out of some issues.

But money is where it matters. Our funds are stable and solid. Our banks are stable and solid. Our credit ratings are stable and solid.

People still invest here and we can still take loans.

We can still grow in a sustainable fashion and we are still solvent.

We are still free as a people and this is a good, healthy democracy, despite what others say. If we lived in Syria, then half the Facebook users on the island would be dead or ‘disappeared’.

Get a grip people. The next year is going to be even tougher.

This government needs support. Put things into context: do you prefer having a home which your bank has financed through a mortgage, or do you prefer a shorter bus ride?

7 Comments Comment

  1. anthony says:

    We prefer to have everything.

    We want a shorter bus ride, on an airconditioned bus with a bus stop outside our front door and another one beside our desk at work.

    Moreover, why do we have to pay for the inconvenience of having to travel to work?

    Public transport should be free.

    So should water, electricity, medicines, the health services, a Coby steak at weekends and a once-a-year holiday abroad.

    John Dalli can advise Anglu on the feasibility of all this on record.

    When we end up in Greek waters we will recall Joseph Cuschieri from Dusseldorf to head a government of technocrats to sort out the mess.

  2. Lorna saliba says:

    I still believe the Government should do more.

    It should tackle the abused welfare state and relieve the massive burdens on the tax payer.

    It should shrink the idle, unproductive civil service made up of a working population who spend more time looking at their watch to check their break, than actually rendering a service or attending seminars.

    Government should curb the housing subsidies and benefits for the multitude of unmarried mothers with unknown fathers.

    It should not have dished out 50 million liri to the dry docks employees or the millions to the bus contractors when they were made redundant. Throwing money at problems does not solving them, it creates larger ones such as a widening deficit.

    What we have at face value is not the deficit.

    We never seem to take into account the untold millions we still owe to our road contractors and pharmaceutical companies which continue to fuel our hungry health service.

    Handing out benefits secures a power base for any government and while it makes economic sense to lubricate the economy, we have to understand what is sustainable and what is not.

    We have to understand that the real working class is subsidizing indolence and that the days of the feel good factor should be over but yet we continue to chose to live in a fantasy with an opposition still mind on its Marxist ideology of glorifying the working class reminiscent of the days of Lenin and his October revolution.

  3. Albert Farrugia says:

    Reads like an article staight out of Pravda in the 70s…”We need to support the government of our socialist motherland in the though times we are going through”.

    [Daphne – Well, you would know about that, wouldn’t you. The big question being, of course, why you voted for the friends of the Soviet Union in Malta for all that time.]

  4. Corinne Vella says:

    Amen to all that, except for “we have an opposition which cannot comprehend these issues”.

    The opposition is not aware that these issues are relevant. Their own TV station reported the G20 meeting that focussed on the Euro crisis as “ahbarijiet ta’ barra”. The few seconds devoted to that headline were squeezed in between longer reports about a rise in the price of pork (10 Euro cents PER KILO) and Red Touch Family Weekend.

  5. Lomax says:

    “Put things into context: do you prefer having a home which your bank has financed through a mortgage, or do you prefer a shorter bus ride?”

    This is the heart of the matter.

    And to put things more in context, that is why we cannot risk having Muscat running the country in 18 months’ time.

    Things will not change in 18 months’ time. They can only get worse.

    I’m not in Malta at the moment and it is very clear what is worrying the people. It is not buses, of course. But it is whether they will survive economically to see another year.

    This is the heart of the matter and only in this manner can we really put things into perspective by remembering that a shorter bus ride home from work assumes having a home and a job.

    It’s not that way in most of the Western world (it is not like that in most of the other world).

    So, let’s not take anything for granted because what we take for granted is what we can so easily lose.

  6. Jozef says:

    The polemic created by Labour regarding Malta’s lack of resources betrays an indolent, snide attitude to collective responsibility.

    Their followers have been led to believe there’s another half living at their expense, now called the elite within the ‘Partit tal-prim ministru’. In real economic terms, this mentality is suicidal.

    Ironically, and on a similar note, latest statistics show there are over 300,000 vehicles clogging the roads. The task force, although a risk, may uncover some interesting facts related to mobility, and that public transport isn’t just about ecology.

    Is Labour going to blame the Nationalists for this as well? It shows no sign of considering the individual’s responsibility regarding today’s major hurdles to evolving criteria of citizenship.

    Nor is it clear what controversial decisions is it going to take regarding ‘development’. The latest jibe at the financial services sector unearths an anachronistic attitude to the idea of work, value and its footrpint.

    And yet, certain ‘greens’ prefer this cheap game. Thanks to this sham of an opposition, we’re losing out on the real dialogue.

  7. 'Angus Black says:

    Some editorials are a joy to read.

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