Infrastructure Malta could become what ‘Space Force’ was to Donald Trump

The Skinny • No 74 – Infrastructure Malta is ‘Space Force’

What are we skinning? Infrastructure Malta’s insistence on becoming to the island what ‘Space Force’ was to Donald Trump.

How do you mean? By taking an essentially sound idea – the centralised planning and implementation of capital projects – and turning it into a vainglorious onslaught of insensitivity that is wholly untethered from reality.

What made you think of this? Not gonna lie – those Msida Creek project plans were quite something, weren’t they?

Yes. It all looks dramatically dystopian and exactly the kind of thing we don’t need right now. You’ve hit the nail on the head with ‘dystopian’: an image of the island that looks ideal only to those who have given up on any notions of quality of life and healthy human habitation, instead selling their soul to the vehicle, lock, stock and barrel.

Do you honestly think Infrastructure Malta is made up of sub-humans and robots? Of course not – but it’s also a fact that everyone is the hero of their own story, and even the most obscene villains are able to rationalise their actions as being the best way forward from their point of view.

To be fair, your Space Force comparison does check out on one thing. And what would that be?

That car park ramp they’ve envisioned into diabolical being looks like it could catapult a raft of elephants into space, never mind a rocket. That’s true. Shame about the cars in the way.

Why have we not banned cars from the island yet? For the same reason that the construction industry bafflingly remains one of our most important ones, in an island the size of a speck whose virgin land we can’t afford to take up any more.

So… sheer dedication to ignorant bloody-mindedness? That. Or being in the pocket of a small but influential clutch of business magnates and their families.

But hang on… somebody should fix the chaos that is Msida. Msida is chaotic because of an over-reliance on cars. How do we keep getting this so wrong?

Without a car, I can’t travel anywhere. The bus system is rubbish and the streets are designed to accommodate colonisers who aren’t here anymore. Well, get them back to fix their messes.

They’ll just throw them back at us instead, though. You’re right – I’m now remembering how we decided to take on the bendy buses after Boris Johnson booted them out of the UK.

Our first brush with Trumpism. Infrastructure Malta and its janissaries – namely Frederick Azzopardi and Ian Borg – are here to reassure us that Trumpism is alive in well in Malta, I’m afraid.

Do say: “While capital projects are very much necessary, making the temporary reduction of traffic jams your only significant infrastructural mission speaks to a deeply poor and incestuous idea of what leadership on this front should be. We want long-term solutions, not short term ‘fixes’ that end up destroying the integrity of our urban townscapes for good.

Don’t say: “Make cars compulsory for anyone above the age of five, so that requests for flyovers, road extensions and other such beautifully destructive initiatives will only be pushed forward without interruption or complaint.”