The politics of pettiness

Germany shares joint top spot on infringements with Spain… Malta is one of the most obedient member states. Yet German politicians have been imbued by Maltese ones to hound Malta

We are a small island, but does that mean we have to be overflowing with small minds?
We are a small island, but does that mean we have to be overflowing with small minds?

One of the problems with Maltese politics is that the tit-for-tat between the two main political parties shows traits of pettiness to an incredible degree.

We are known to be extremists, hardly recognising the advantage of holding the middle-ground – ‘jew nejja jew mahruqa’, as the Maltese adage goes. I believe this is the result of centuries of Maltese kowtowing to the foreigner that has led to an innate national inferiority complex.

Historically the Maltese have been more Catholic than the Vatican and more British than the Queen. Over fifty years ago Malta started on its great road of independence, eventually proving that we can do it alone and we need no foreign father or mother figure to hold our hands. Yet, it seems that we still cannot shake off our inferiority complex.

The national psyche is now kowtowing to what we think is the European ideal that all other member states allegedly embrace and keenly observe to the least detail. We are now trying to be more European than Brussels and continue to exhibit our inferiority complex by attempting to get Daddy EU to monitor what Malta is doing, to solve our internal problems and to pronounce judgements on the issues that divide us.

This is, of course, going nowhere. It is nothing short of pathetic. The social media is rife with pettiness – all over the world, of course. But going through the pathetic efforts of some of my compatriots on Facebook and whatever, makes me realise that being petty is a national phenomenon.

We are a small island, but does that mean we have to be overflowing with small minds?

Even our ‘national pride’ is full of petty empty rhetoric. When will we ever learn?

It is about time for Malta to grow up and shake off its post-colonial vestiges once and for all.

We can start by realising what other EU member states are doing, those same EU states from where those politicians to whom we clamour for help to solve our internal problems, come from.

A recent report in The Independent – the UK newspaper not the one from St Julian’s – has revealed that according to new statistics on enforcement actions started by Brussels against member states, Germany is now the biggest breaker of EU rules.

The new generation of post-EU membership politicians still hanker after Daddy EU to solve our problems. Delia’s real test is whether he can grasp this point and disdain pettiness

Numbers provided to German newspaper Handelsblatt by the German economics ministry shows that the EU’s leading member state is subject to 74 infringement proceedings by the European Commission for failing to implement EU regulations

The infringements against Germany, which can be started for delayed implementation or inadequate conversion into national laws, relate to policy areas like air pollution, water quality and fire protection. Not just diesel car emissions!

Germany shares the joint top spot with Spain followed by Belgium, Greece, Portugal and France. Malta is one of the most obedient member states. Yet German politicians have been imbued by Maltese ones to hound Malta. Incredible but true.

A recent study published by the Tax Justice Network, a UK-based financial advocacy group, ranked Germany among the top ten in the 2018 Financial Secrecy Index. Serious tax loopholes and lax enforcement contributed to the high ranking.

Reports about this study prompted Finance Minister Edward Scicluna to sarcastically ask whether the European Parliament’s anti-money laundering committee (PANA) will be asking for the German Chancellor, to grill her over this financial secrecy index rating.

Malta has been independent for over 50 years. When serious problems affecting our democratic rights and our rule of law cropped up, these problems were solved by us and by nobody else.

Incredibly the new generation of post-EU membership politicians have still not realised this and are hankering after Daddy EU to solve our problems.

Adrian Delia’s real test is whether he can grasp this point and disdain pettiness, while moving ahead in the full knowledge that in our independent nation only the Maltese can solve Malta’s problems.


It’s complicated

Following the #MeToo phenomenon, the spotlight has turned on sexual relationships sparked off on the place of work.

Statistics on marriages in the west show that a substantial number of them are the result of relationships that started on the place of work, but...

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that US companies are trying to keep romantic relationships from spiralling into a risk factor. The national conversation on sexual harassment and abuse of power has galvanised a wider discussion about whether consensual office relationships are OK.

In early January, four women at Asana gathered around a conference table to tackle the San Francisco-based software start-up’s first-ever dating policy. The women struggled over how to define a workplace romance, tweaking it and deleting phrases that described it as a mutual attraction between two employees.

The group also grappled with the question of when employees who are not each other’s managers should disclose a relationship. What about a one-night sexual encounter? No, that felt too intrusive. What if they have gone on several dates, but it was still not a committed relationship?

Trying to solve the ‘problem’ of sexual relationships on
the workplace by conjuring
up a written policy is just

Saudi Arabia, of course, has no such problems. After allowing women to drive, the country’s women are still facing many problems according to Human Rights Watch. These issues include making major decisions without male permission; wearing clothes or make-up that ‘show off their beauty’; interacting with men; going for a swim; competing freely in sports; and trying on clothes when shopping.

According to National Geographic things are slowly beginning to modernise: ‘Saudi Arabia is the world’s most gender-segregated nation, but amid changes now under way, multiple generations of women are debating how to be truly modern and truly Saudi.’

Of course, without freedom for Saudi women, the #MeToo phenomenon cannot sprout in this medieval kingdom...

Eventually, it will happen, of course.


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