A gammon shortage will leave gammon-lovers hungry, but we are not all gammon-lovers, are we?

The Skinny | No 86 – No Country for UK Tourists

What are we skinning? Malta’s failure to make it to the UK green list for quarantine-free travel.

Why are we skinning it? Because it’s just the kind of tragicomic outcome that’s fodder for the mean spirits that make up the engine of this little weekly sputter of satirical entertainment.

But, but... it’s just not FAIR is it?! Our cases are so low and vaccination rates so high! That’s the thing about this pandemic, and all others of their ilk. Human notions of fairness don’t wash against the tide of a biological assault that has no truck with fairness, morality or decency, and will churn on its relentless churn no matter how much you whine, kick and scream in opposition.

Yeah but these restrictions are imposed by the UK authorities, not the virus itself. That’s true, but it’s also a numbers game.

How do you mean? I’ll put it this way: Portugal got on the list by dint of their caseload being 60 per 100,000 inhabitants over two weeks, and Malta failed due to having 64 instead.

But to that I say again: so unfair! I’ll grant you that it may feel like that time your particularly resentful – and likely deeply self-loathing – secondary school teacher failed to hike up your exam grade from B to A due to a discrepancy of one or two marks, but there we are. Like the virus, numbers know no unfairness either.

I just feel bad for tourism workers. Yes, they continue to bear the worst of it during the COVID crisis.

Switching from working in the country’s largest industry to its most compromised one can never be anything short of tough. Yes, and this situation certainly points to the importance of having a diversified economy and not putting all our eggs in the tourism basket.

There would certainly be benefits to making Malta less dependent on accommodating tourists all year round. Indeed – less capital projects and legislation that favours pleasing visiting foreigners and more grass-roots development that can help the country thrive.

Besides, less Brits coming over leaves more room for others, right? That’s an optimistic angle one could ostensibly take, yes.

Just imagine it… A Maltese summer dominated by a true geographical diversity… Mmm, a melting pot of barely-understood but richly cacophonous languages spoken by varied visitors from equally diverse parts of the globe.

Animated by a genuine curiosity for the island and not the quick-and-easy benefits it brings. As a great Englishman once said, ‘a consummation devoutly to be wished’.

Do say: “For the sake of all our tourism workers, here’s us holding our fingers tightly crossed that the UK puts Malta on its green list on its next round of revisions.”

Don’t say: “A gammon shortage will leave gammon-lovers hungry, but we are not all gammon-lovers, are we?”