I'm alright, f**k you jack

We must address the question of values based on cultural standing, education and a quality of life beyond the concrete jungle guided by the greed for more and more money

The news that the Mercury House permit was acceded to by the Planning Authority with the blessing of both PN and PL representativeswas no surprise
The news that the Mercury House permit was acceded to by the Planning Authority with the blessing of both PN and PL representativeswas no surprise

Sailors in the Imperial British fleet returning home from the war, coined the phrase, ‘I’m alright, f**k you jack’. They did so because they realised, albeit too late, that their sacrifices went unnoticed. With our bond to the British navy, these were words I would hear from a very early age.

I kind of enjoy the way some people break their Maltese storyline and suddenly make reference to ‘f**k you jack’ to point how someone couldn’t give a hoot about the implications of his actions.

Most readers may recall the term ‘amoral familism’, a term advanced (but not coined) by Jeremy Boissevain, who died two and half years ago and who loved Malta.

It describes the typical, self-interested, family-centric society where the State – or even the community’s better interest – is sacrificed on the altar of one’s own personal benefit.

It is the gateway for nepotism; and in a liberal democracy dominated by two parties, patronage is what feeds Malta’s dependence on the political class.

Now this may not be a very opportune moment to complain that we are a society of self-centred individuals with people who do not care if the building construction is ugly or unsuitable for this country, or whether it blocks the natural light for the neighbours, or even if it has changed the lives of those in the community.

They do not give a damn if they have left the neighbours dealing with fine dust for weeks on end or if there is more traffic and pollution, more noise and more digging into the blessed Maltese franka and more grey and white concrete pillars reaching up to the sky.

And that is only the tip of the iceberg of our egocentrism. I am referring to the ego-centrism that is a human factor and not a Maltese trait. All this talk of Malta of being an abnormal country is far-fetched. What we do as journalists is no different from what other journalists investigate or probe.

Nonetheless this is a small country and never before have we been faced with two political parties who could stand for the same thing if it were not for their leaders. The style is similar and so are their aspirations.

But let us focus on the real issues. And I am really sorry to bother you for the umpteenth time about the way this country is being pillaged and transformed. But we really need to do something.

What we need to do is to turn around this amoral familism and use it to argue that our families, our progeny have the right to pristine surroundings and a room with a view. To argue that what we are doing is for future generations. We really need to get cracking with this idea and make it part of the #saveourcountryside campaign.

We also know that the building construction industry is the prime donor of both the PN and PL. They pay for the wages of the staff and the top men and women who campaign as if it were a question of life or death. In MaltaToday you can read a news story written by Yannick Pace who revisits an article he wrote almost a year ago and points out the fact that the commercial companies of the two main political parties are in complete breach of the law for having failed to file their audited accounts.

In the case of Media.link, the last annual return was handed in 12 years ago and in the case of One productions, five years ago. The PL’s research and consultancy company filed its accounts 15 years ago and the PN’s travel arm seven years ago.

Not to mention the fact that the two parties pay their bills, loans and what not whenever they like, as is the case with their national insurance contributions and VAT.

Just imagine for a minute if YOU did not pay your bills or filled up your tax returns correctly and on time!

Both political sides talk of ethical and moral standards, and of political differences but they do not give a damn when it comes to their own interests. Both serve similar business interest groups and both suck up to power.

Let me give an example; the IIP citizenship scheme is undoubtedly an initiative that has added gold to the country’s coffers, but it is an ignoble project. It derides the notion of nationhood and moreover it attracts millionaires who have only one interest – tax avoidance.

That interest in not an honourable one.

But once again, it is just incredible to see that those who are offering a service for this ‘disreputable’ moneymaking initiative are former Nationalist ministers and prominent Nationalist parliamentarians, not only Labourite newbies, with a drive to make a quick killing.

Interestingly a request by this newspaper’s editor to Identity Malta for more data on who exactly has registered foreigners as Maltese citizens has been refused.

As a nation we deserve a stronger and more credible opposition to offer some checks and balances, but the more I see and hear Adrian Delia, the more I see the confused mind and stratagems of Pierre Portelli.

It does not stop here. Many of these new citizens have convenient addresses that are offered by the providers to facilitate their citizenship. And no, Dr Joseph Muscat, it is not an honourable money-making venture.

The same applies to so many other initiatives which are promulgated by only one criterion, that is how much money is left in our coffers. Is this the only reason we create these models? And is there no end to this kind of reasoning? We are infected by this obsession to make a quick buck at all costs.

The news that Mercury House permit was acceded to by the Planning Authority with the blessing of both the PN and PL representatives who happen to be Ryan Callus and Clayton Bartolo, was no surprise. Yet what surprised me is that the only contribution by the developer was €60,000 to the Arts Council.

A request to donate €250,000 to the local community was shot down. Mercury House will have at least 275 apartments and a hotel with 48 rooms. If one takes the apartments to sell for an average of €1.6million each the return for the developers is €440 million apart from all the other trimmings. So what is the friggin’ problem of giving 0.05 percent of all earnings to the community or the country?

Qualcosa che non va…

So instead of convincing our very successful entrepreneurs to come to terms with the community spirit, we devise other methods to make money: a financial hub for high tax rebates for foreign companies and a magnet for colourful figures from the East who want to become Maltese citizens for tax avoidance purposes.

This is a great country and I want to continue living here. I ain’t leaving and I want to die here. I am not going to run away, so I want my children to want to live here and not run away. Most of my friends all have their children living in other countries; the UK, Spain, Australia, Italy and France. Lovely countries, but this is my country. I feel at home here.

Once again Joseph Muscat will address party supporters on Sunday in Mosta and talk about the next generation. I will ask him to raise the question of values for the next generation; not the values that Eddie Fenech Adami talked about, but rather the values that are not only measured by wealth, but by cultural standing and education. By the quality of life beyond the concrete jungle devised by horridness of modernity and guided by the greed for more and more money.

I ask you to support me in the #saveourcountryside campaign. Lend your voice to a cause that has only one dividend – a better country.

More in Blogs
One district, to end all districts...
Raphael Vassallo
Labour’s metamorphosis
Michael Falzon
The world can allow itself to start hoping again
Managing a fiasco
Saviour Balzan