It is enough to drive you insane. That feeling that in the background there is this constant effort to make everything feel and sound as though we are fast approaching normality. That feeling that there is actually a normality to aspire to and not a dysfunctional society that has been anything but normal ever since it became sovereign.
“There are crooks everywhere you look” was a big milestone in the growing awareness that the system was not working. It became the trigger that obliged a nation to focus. The author of those lines was assassinated literally hours after she wrote them and suddenly the broken system had blood on its hands.
Three and a half years down the line word is out that a new election is brewing. The polls, the entrails of our electoral psyche, seem to point to a renewed Labour victory (though with less of a margin). What concerns me is that the fact that the system is broken is nowhere to be found among your average voters’ considerations.
The majority will confirm its taste for Labour without even needing to hold their proverbial noses while casting their vote for the Party that has delivered the most disgraced Cabinet in Maltese history. What with the Opposition still acting the headless chicken that has to deal with its own ghosts and primadonnas, the road seems to be wide open for the advocates of normality to win the day.
That is the insane part of it really. That the day we are called to the polls, the Party that inherited Joseph Muscat’s corrupt mess will be laughing all the way to the station. His former legal advisor turned successor will successfully peddle the continuity mantra because that is what ‘the people’ want. The two Parties will go head-to-head in yet another costly battle funded by god knows who and god knows how.
That too is an abnormal normality in this country. As Matthew Caruana Galizia put it so aptly on Facebook the other day, both Media.Link and One Productions (the propaganda branches of the Parties) have not filed their accounts for over a decade. MLP holdings (owner of Labour’s various companies) has not filed accounts since the year 2000. If the PLPN were an NGO they would have long been struck out of existence – but those rules are for other animals, aren’t they?
We’ll definitely not be told what E-grants and E-donations were given to the Parties and consequentially to whom the said Parties are beholden. That is the least of our problems though. Our problem lies in the fact that this is part of the normality that we are promised. While our nation’s broken system cries for reform and change we will engage in yet another electoral process that promises more of the same.
Everywhere you look there are not only crooks but a crooked system. A dark shadow looms over the current Cabinet as present and former members are alleged to be embroiled in all forms of criminal activity. While this goes on, we have civil society under attack by the unmeritocratic bureaucracy and a justice system that works in stops and starts.
As a FATF evaluation looms upon us and we are fully immersed in the battle against COVID everything is being done to avoid the possibility of starting off from a clean slate. We will settle to the tune of the adage that everything will remain the same by faking change. Normality will be served come what may.
Great efforts are being put into this normality business. The people will be asked to give their seal of approval to this new plan before the end of the year, just as they were asked in 2017. The illusion might work for most, the belief that normality has been achieved might be comforting for those who care little for justice.
Whatever they tell you though… we are not ok.