References to black in this piece are in no way intended with a racial or racist slant. But it is true that rarely if ever at all, has political controversy in this country been governed so hugely by a determination to show how the other side is totally black.
As usual, the right are champions at this game. Never as much as today, has there been such a concentration on allegations against the Labour government related to corruption and a thousand sins against good governance. All this while the right continues to ignore the enormous past and present failures in public management, for which it has been responsible.
No doubt the economic bounce that is being experienced by the country as a whole has led the right to conclude that it has no other cause on which to latch. Now, we have reached the unprecedented position where the PN is accusing the Prime Minister and his family of corruption. The allegations being made need to be substantiated with reliable and credible evidence. Otherwise they become part of a criminal conspiracy that is a threat to democracy.
I well remember how on the eve of the referendum about Malta’s entry into the EU, then Prime Minister Fenech Adami accused me of having abusively prevented his son from entering the University. Later — but the damage had already been done – it was established that Fenech Adami’s allegations were totally based on fake evidence and fake “facts”.
Committee of the regions
I took part in a forum held at the Corinthia Hotel by the EU’s Committee of the Regions about the situation of islands and insular territories. We discussed how policies could be drafted to promote entrepreneurial activity in such territories, which are losing ground by comparison with other zones that are found in more central locations.
During my intervention, I insisted on issues that I consider to be crucial if an entreprenurial drive is to develop in insular zones. The challenge has to be considered in a wide frame, and a starting point should be the model of governance and autonomy that needs to apply in the management of the territories concerned. Among the policy chapters that must be clarified we find: communications and connectivity – both physical and digital; how the EU’s competition policy applied to such zones must be restrained within certain limits; the design of preferential tax rates applicable to insular zones; and special support programmes for the creation there of sustainable jobs by the government and the private sector.
Populism has become a movement which all those who claim to be politically “correct” in the European Union, from left to right, ceaselessly criticise.
Recently however, I had the occasion to query a number of people in Malta whose views I would call “moderate” and coming from both Nationalist and Labour camps on this point: if you were citizens of France, for whom would you vote in that country’s presidential elections?
I was surprised when a majority of those I asked, had no difficulty to opt for Marine Le Pen. It is true that in the main, the people I approached were past the age of sixty. One of them actually told me: Le Pen is speaking about the issues just like they are and just like they are being experienced by families. The others simply mug around with empty words.
Those who are sixty plus will soon constitute a majority of the European population.