Not a new year resolution but...

I think it’s good advice not just for politics but for life: cut the noise and focus on what really matters

The holidays and the new year give us time to reflect and regroup our thoughts. They give us space and time to look at the map and the direction we’re moving in.

These are troubled times. All of the major European countries are experiencing some form of instability or difficulty. In the US, the stock market might be soaring to record highs following massive corporate tax cuts, but the number of people not in the job market has hit 75 million, which is 13 million more than ten years before. As any American knows, not having a good job, or indeed any job, often means a lack of basic necessities as well as no healthcare.

Statistics published by the EU just before Christmas showed that on average 15% of EU citizens suffer material and social deprivation (Malta is well below the EU average) with the figure rising to nearly 50% in countries such as Romania and Bulgaria. Ireland, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Portugal are all above the EU average in this category. Another EU study published in recent weeks showed that 8.7% of European citizens could not afford to heat their houses with countries such as Latvia, Hungary, Italy and Croatia, which do not have relatively mild winters like us, hitting above EU average figures in this area.

In many ways the 2008 financial crisis has continued to be a factor in global political and economical factors around Europe and beyond. Many countries have still not recovered, and some have little hope of doing so.

That is why the economic success of this country is so crucial. We are truly in a league of our own in terms of a fast growing economy and some of the political backlash we have faced is due to this success.

Investment is choosing Malta and it doesn’t take much to understand that that same investment could have gone elsewhere. This economic success places responsibilities on us politicians and the country. We must continue investing where it really counts: in our infrastructure, in our people, in healthcare and education and in modernising the country for the long-term. One day (hopefully far away) the growth rate of our country will be slower and we will draw a line and assess the net result of what was achieved when we were on a wave.

If we manage to prepare our economy for tomorrow, equip our young men and women with the right skills for the future, minimise risk by bringing on new industries, so we’re not dependent on a small number of sectors, build modern infrastructure and take better care of the environment we will have left a splendid legacy for our children and grandchildren. At the end of the day, it’s the net result that counts.

We hope to continue the great economic success of the past few years, but we must understand that cycles are not always dependent on us. As a new year begins it is our job to make sure we focus our energies on what really counts: delivering results.

All the parliamentary squabbles for the cameras and the fluff of everyday politics will be overshadowed by something else: achievement.

I don’t do new year resolutions but if you are one to believe in such, I think it’s good advice not just for politics but for life: cut the noise and focus on what really matters.

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