Micro not macro

We are led to believe that the Muscat administration is primarily focused on reviewing and improving the ‘macro management’ of this country.

Cartoon by Mark Scicluna
Cartoon by Mark Scicluna

By this term, we understand the creation or promotion of new direct investment and financial initiatives that will keep the Maltese economy in a permanent state of growth.

This, we believe, is the major concern of the administration, which is faced with an economic situation that at first glance may appear to be healthy but is surely in need of direct government intervention.

If this is truly happening, the administration has done little to communicate to the public about its work behind closed doors.

There is no evidence to show that any cuts have been made in public spending or that the bulging public sector has been trimmed - moves that could improve the finances of the country and allow the administration to siphon much-needed funds in health and education. This administration does not have a different way of tackling the issue of public-sector employment, compared to that of the Nationalist administration.

There is little to show that Dr Muscat will tackle this problem as well. And there is a very clear sense that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat lacks the resolve to tackle these issues head-on.

That said, the real concerns of people on a micro level have not changed.

True, the administration is working hard to reduce the utility tariffs, but this alone does not constitute Maltese society's only concern. There are several: namely accessibility, red tape, the services offered by government entities, the health and education services and the general state of our roads, pavements and gardens in our towns and villages. Not to mention the traffic mismanagement, the public transport conundrum and the general filth that literally accumulates on our shoreline and public places.

The disproportionate variance between north and south is, in fact, shocking.

More importantly the lack of appreciation for the senso dello stato is appalling.

It is high time that the Muscat administration tackles the micro concerns of this country. Normal people do not thrive on statistics and perceived or imaginary good feelings promoted by any government, but on real and visible deliverables.

Democracy for America's friends

The recent events in Egypt prove beyond a doubt the double standards that the US administration under Obama employs when it comes to taking a tough stance with military dictatorships.

Obama and the EU have not condemned the military coup against a democratically elected government. It is true that the Muslim Brotherhood that ruled in Cairo did not espouse the same values as many democratically elected parties have done, but the fact remains that they were elected democratically as other 'Islamic' parties have been elected in other parts of the world.

The Egyptian military depends on US aid: $1.3 billion in year. Without that money, it could not keep its oversized military. And yet Obama only meekly announced that a joint military exercise with Egypt would be postponed.

The state of Israel also continues to receive €3.1 billion in military aid and an additional €488 million in direct aid. Today the Palestinian people are treated like outsiders in their own country, their lands are taken away, their livelihood and rights are denied them.

US foreign policy is dictated by a philosophy of control through funding.

Other troubled territories also receive aid. Pakistan receives aid, as does Jordan, and the millions of dollars are usually crucial to keeping the militaries flush in these countries that are 'umbilically' linked to the US.

In our little corner of the world, Malta can still have some influence. One would at least expect the Maltese government to raise its voice in the European Union institutions.

If democracy is considered to be supreme and military coups unacceptable, the EU has an obligation to act and act fast. It is not only Libya (that is still in a chaotic state) that counts in North Africa, but the whole Middle East and the aspirations of the people that have been deprived of any sense of normality.


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