Year 2013- a harbinger of growth

Published on the Malta Independent¸ issue 5th June 2011

The result of the divorce referendum has crystallized the island’s mood into a muted sense of common sense prevailing after seeing the No camp bring in the bulwarks of best lawyers telling the soulless inhabitants that the introduction of divorce will bring fire and brimstone. Still upon reflection we note how the captains of No campaign has in fact enjoyed the services of both the Chairman of the Stock Exchange and the general manager of the MFSA dedicate so much of their professional time to protect the souls of us Christians from the eternal damnation of divorce legislation¸ Naturally the No campaign aided and abetted by poignant sermons and pastoral letters from the Catholic hierarchy has achieved a massive 47% following.

This is no mean feat and it looks like the divisiveness will keep coming up as a subject in the coming two years towards the next election. As always the insularity of the island makes it doubly important to focus more on the bigger picture of our economic survival now that the divorce issue has been resolved. A week after the historical result may not be enough to make us forget the deluge of messages¸ TV coverage and endless commentaries in the opposing camps all trying to persuade us that it does not matter if Malta is the only EU country harbouring annulments and separations but no divorce in our secular state. Alas this weekend gives us the first chance to think a bit about the longer-term outlook. By long term I mean 2013 when hell will break loose again and the political parties will entertain us with another life threatening choice – this means a vote for another five years of political governance. Does this matter to the plebs who do not partake of the gravy train so jealously guarded by the political appointees who enjoyed the ride during the past 22 years? Not really …..but it is no comfort for the barons of power who have ruled this fair land for so many years and lined their pockets with grandeur of power and patronage. For these and their dependents 2013 may turn out to be apocalypse. For most of us we grin and bear the political slogans and promises starting shortly and continue for the next two years leading to election date .No are not amused of being taken for a ride.

Still taking the positive view¸ now mindful that the next two years will be harvest time …meaning our politicians bend backwards to please us mere mortals with juicy morsels from the rich man ‘s banquet table. Does this mean squandering more money and totting up the national debt mountain to pay for the unearned pleasures….yes it does. But a reality check is not amiss at this juncture and most of us can be forgiven for feeling a bit ground down by the relentlessly gloomy economic news: high debts¸ slow growth¸ falling real incomes¸ higher energy costs and broken roads. Most commentators predict that by 2013 a global recovery starts taking place but we don’t seem to be seeing much of it and for our party apologists to say that it is worse in Greece is small comfort. True that if and when the Libyan crisis is resolved there will be untold opportunities for our enterprises to rebuild the country and win back jobs. Reconstruction in Tripoli and Misurata is something which will be a priority for the regime and perhaps Malta can join in the number of countries which will be tendering for this lucrative market.

Again¸ this will take some t