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No lesson left unlearnt

I am told that the first September storms visited the island with much thunder, lightning and wind. Rivers and lakes seem to have formed where previously there were none. This government of massive “infrastructural projects” seems to have made no progress in the field of historic failures where mother nature laughs in the face of our concrete advances. We have learnt nothing.

As cars float in rainwater that will not eventually contribute to our water table but will be allowed to flow away in yet another example of gargantuan waste, we are left to ponder how our nation is capable of unlearning even the most repeated of lessons forced upon us by history and circumstance.

Is it not every year that some aquatic catastrophe is heaved upon the islands once the heavens open and the deluges commence? And yet we find ourselves in an annual submission to the elements.

We should be great engineers by now, experts in water management, much like those with their dykes up north. Instead, we callously cling to the false hopes our political class dangle upon us in the form of quick-fix solutions that are nothing other than vote grabbing scams.

Disgraced Joseph Muscat’s government was pregnant with promise in 2013 with all things project-like. The air of managerial efficiency, the ire against the corrupt inefficiency that would be corrected, the costings and planning he sold with better skill than any snake-oil merchant, won him a free pass to his Castille Office. The people were intrigued.

His Leonardo Da Vinci project-master performed satisfactorily on various TV programmes promising world-changing energy projects. The lanky, pink-lipped goggle-eyed Minister-to-be seemed innocuous enough to many. His projects seemed unbelievable – most were beguiled by this great saviour of Malta’s energy plan.

The last few weeks have served to prove to even the blindest of Mizzi fanatics that the man is a walking, talking, breathing (just about) sham. He is a fake and a cheat. A liar.

It is useless for those of us who smelled the stink from the start to yell our satisfaction for being proven right. It is useless because Mizzi is still getting away with murder. It is useless because notwithstanding the fact that his every word and every role in every project has come crumbling down, there is a lasting effect with the core of the population who adore his every move.

Yet this week the angry focus has shifted to an altogether familiar enemy. The family businesses that served as the other side of the corrupt platform that conned the Maltese nation are now on everyone’s mouths.

Until a few years ago, the same people who now criticise the families for their role in the corrupt mess would have simply nodded a quiet, complicit acquiescence when hearing of the makeup of the consortium behind our energy projects.

That nodding is symptomatic of the ‘dak bravu’, “dak sinjur”, ‘dak businessman’ assessment that has no meritocratic ground except word of mouth that propagates bloated curriculum vitae without any real verification of worth or merit.

When Mizzi sat in bed with the Gasans, Apap Bolognas, Fenechs and lord knows what other street pedigree that was in on the game, he was comforted by the knowledge that their participation would attract a hidden sanction. They are the historic businessmen; it must be good.

And yet. We now know that the role of the Electrogas parts was as foul as the government side’s role that aided and abetted the greatest con the Maltese people are victims of. The stench coming from the supposed pedigree merchants of Maltese society is bad.

Malta’s is no American Dream. For generations, the ups and downs of the Maltese classes were intrinsically linked with the political fortunes of our society. Whether overtly or in a hidden manner, the role of merchants and traders in the shaping of our political destiny has never been further than arms’ length. This too is a lesson we keep on unlearning.

We deceive ourselves in the hope that the business community will somehow keep clean from the dirty ways of our irredeemable political system.

The truth is that, as one, our mutually dependent political and business communities will continue to be leeches on our society. As long as we continue to unlearn the lessons that the past keeps throwing at us, we can only continue to fall foul of the same game.

As Harry Trumann once said: “You can’t get rich in politics unless you are a crook”.

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