Although as of now, democratic socialism in Europe is in bad shape, I am one of those who remain unconvinced that this situation need necessarily last for a long while. Increasingly, more people feel dissatisfied with the ways forward being proposed by the centre-right and centre-left ( this last being the format democratic socialism has presented up to now ever since Tony Blair’s so-called “Third Way”… if indeed it was his… took root). Many have been turning to the extreme left or right, or they have completely given up on any political commitment.
The “Third Way” has failed those who voted for it. True, it delivered electoral victories to democratic socialist parties, but their voters then saw them act, as governments, by adopting the same decisions as had right wing formations.
At present, there does not seem to be a sufficiently strong push to overcome this trend. Except perhaps with the exception of Portugal, where a minority socialist government is taking different decisions.
The way forward for socialists is bound to be tough. They would be wrong however to opt for quick fixes. Instead, they should seek to develop strategies that can only succeed over the long haul.
It is always problematic to follow a strategy of consolidation in public affairs. There will be no popular enthusiasm to back it. It will antagonise people, who even if in good faith, expect the goodies to multiply, since things are really going so well.
But times of forward movement are inevitably followed by slowdowns. Forward momentum is most desirable. Yet it does its work best, if it allows for some time and resources to be spent on the reinforcement of those tools that will enable strong and effective management to prevail when the good times turn sour.
Listed alphabetically, the areas where such consolidation is highly needed in this country include agriculture, the construction industry, education, the environment, police and security services, traffic.
Consolidation is a vital exercise. Too often we accept this is so when it is much too late.
Gozo in winter
Gozo in winter is still a very pleasant land. It still sustains a good number of very beautiful sites, by way of natural and rural charm. I was glad to learn when I was there recently how incoming tourism, especially from Malta itself, is no longer seasonal, peaking in summer. It is spreading right across the year, not least in winter.
Currently, economic growth is proceeding at a good clip, giving a boost to the development of new projects. Hopefully this boost will persist and remain strong.
One problem with the further development of Gozo could be that we have never been sufficiently ambitious in setting out goals. We always recognised the limitations, less the potential. We can hardly ignore one or the other. But this should lead to decisive measures to counter obstacles against a number of initiatives that deserve greater support, such as in farming, the environment, communications, and indeed why not, the construction of a yacht marina that could attract new maritime activities, ideal for Gozo.
Best wishes to all for a prosperous New Year 2018.