Monday, 9 January 2012

The rascals in our midst

It’s that time of year when we resolve to do all sorts of things and promise ourselves, our wives, partners or the nearest lamppost that we will be better, leaner and super efficient. And we will stop smoking, nagging, snoring, gossiping, picking our nose and picking on everyone while biting heads away cheerily and thinking how sweet and dignified we are.

It’s that time for resolutions. Even if you are reading this after the great day of resolutions I will still talk about resolutions and jog your memory with such boring stuff.

If you still remember anything that happened a few days ago, you might recall that you were stuffed full of too much turkey with all sorts of strange and silly stuffing, too many sweet everythings and too much drink that makes the heart beat faster and the brain groggier than is the norm. At that strange appointed hour when one old year passes on, oh so happily, the baton to the younger sprightlier one, we, the people, promise ourselves we will be more level-headed and more austere in these times of boring austerity and impending doom.

While partying or stuffing ourselves, pangs of guilt over the homeless in Chicago overwhelm us. We suffer through visions of Labour Party supporters totally deprived of a proper and dignified existence because all they can afford is pizza and some paltry pasta or pastizzi (cheesecakes). So we all eat and drink even more to assuage the vicissitudes of guilt. And, then, L-Istrina comes and we give generously – to absolve ourselves completely and for a whole year we feel we have dispensed the best Christianity any man, woman or beast can do.

So what is my resolution? Or was, because I have already broken it.

My resolution was not to rage against anything anymore. To be meek and subdued and to just talk of roses but no thorns, of thrones’ glitter but not of despicable despots sitting on those thrones; to just see the silver lining but not let the rain bother me when the clouds decide to wet my pate.

I had started this writing mission mainly to entertain, not to be a bore, an old mighty bore finding fault and firing fitful tirades against all. So let me take stock of what has happened and try to be as jolly and positive as humanly possible.

The economy in the world is in dire straits. Or, at least, in some places like Greece it is. Some other countries, like Italy, seem to have mountains of problems and need conjurers more adept than Silvio Berlusconi to keep the economy ticking.

Britain, as an economic powerhouse, has been left behind by Brazil. Not sure what that country produces but I do know they used to have great footballers and greater behinds, which they show off – both football and behinds – all the time on their beaches. Maybe the beaches of Britain need a definite injection of sun and fun to get their economy back on track and beat the Samba band.

With all this faltering and defaulting, I find it hard to remain neutral and not applaud and cheer our situation. We, the people of the Republic of tiny Malta, seem to be doing quite well. True that in football we are still in the pits. But in economic matters, at least, no one is talking of our defaulting and no one seems to be revolting on the streets, or sleeping homelessly without blankets or searching desperately for a job.

Property does seem to be in rather a mess: flats for sale far outdo the flats being bought. But the biggest worriers are the property developers who have sucked the economy dry for 30 years, pillaged our landscape with atrocious buildings and now want the government to do something about their mess.

My resolution was to be good and kind. So here goes: Lawrence Gonzi, beleaguered, belittled and definitely not bemused has, on the whole, done a good job.

I know Kate by his side has lost her eternal smile. Can she be raging and pillorying Lawrence about the state of her economy? Maybe she can’t make ends meet even if her husband has taken home a good pay deal? Could it be he didn’t tell us, the people, about the deal because he wanted to keep it hidden from his wife, so he started a slush fund away from his home affairs minister? And can it be Kate’s heating bills were so high this year that she told her beloved husband that Joseph Muscat’s amazingly described, albeit constantly derided, proposals could be the solution to her economic plight?

I resolved to be good and bash no more. Then Franco Debono and his mindless threats and puerile ways came horrifically to mind and I damned all resolutions and realised that whatever we humans do there will always be among us a few who are wayward. Or who have some delusional affliction.

Whatever happens in the next few days between Dr Gonzi and Dr Debono, and however the tussle is patched up and the government kept afloat, nothing can be properly mended. If we compare the government to a cracked pitcher of water or wine, we might stem the water for a while but eventually it becomes impossible to do so. The crack has become too big to stem and the rascal cannot be assuaged enough.

So, like all spoilsports, Dr Debono has ruined our Christmas, my resolution and, soon, will ruin what was good for Malta.

This article first appeared in The Times on January 9, 2012

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