I am writing this blog before the General Elections of the 9th March and their outcome. By now readers have seen the tents and bill boards pulled down and the Circus is finally over. It has been a long and unhappy campaign characterised by superlatives and hyperboles, insults and putdowns. It was a demoralising period where politicians showed us the worse side of their face.
Now we are on for the reality check. The promises will be re-dimensioned and deflated, the price of what was exaggeratingly offered would have to be re-calculated and worked back. The demoralising time for the citizens of this country is about to take a different form for many more weeks, months and years.
What have I not observed in this saddening campaign? I have not heard at all from our politicians what type of society are we truly aspiring for? What about a Maltese society that gives a diametrically opposite picture to what we have experienced during these last weeks during the electoral campaign. A society of citizens who are moved by a sense of cooperation and collaboration, who seek converging views, who respect each other and are sincere and frank in their communication without hurting ones feelings, who understand that they have to live in an inclusive society which is tolerant and respectful, who think and act solidarity. A society of citizens who respect traditional values and which is mature enough to have an open and tolerant mind towards the changes around us seeking opportunities in this challenging environment. A society that cherishes the value of the family and which creates an environment that grows civility in attitude and behaviour in the relations with others and also in the way we behave at home, at school and on the roads. A society that is truly educated and not pseudo educated as measured with the number of certificates and qualifications but which still translate into intransigence and narrow thinking.
This society can only be constructed if wealth is given an opportunity to grow in the pockets of many and not of the few. This wealth will only grow if we give space to the market to operate, and have the state limit its role to that of building the regulatory framework and providing the essential services of justice, education and health to those who cannot as yet afford them. Any party that is in government today must ensure that it will not implement all these exaggerated promises that it has made during the campaign. The public deficit must be kept strictly in check, but it must inspire business and consumer confidence with its words and policy and with its investment in quality education and infrastructure. What I am proposing is discipline in government spending and policy incentives for improved competitiveness and growth through increased business confidence. If business grows, jobs will grow and wealth is created to be distributed to those who are genuinely in need of it.
Joseph FX Zahra