There was obviously a commemorative plaque that needed unveiling during the latest inauguration of the Marsa Junction/Flyover, and what a plaque that was. The inevitable deluge of hyperbolic propagandistic superlatives that accompanies every charade of this kind was destined to be immortalised in an inscription in concrete with not one, not two, not three but four mandarins of the State mentioned thereupon.
Granted, this was no epigram by Simonides at Thermopylae, nor was it a hieroglyph adorning a Wonder of the World such as the pyramids of old. None of that. This was a concrete slab upon which were engraved the names of the Prime Minister (Robert Abela), the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects (Ian Borg), the Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds (Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi) and the CEO of Infrastructure Malta (Frederick Azzopardi).
With their full titles inscribed in stone for eternity the besuited servants of the people paraded along a floodlit concrete flyover and let loose the accolades. Not for the first time, a Party in government was trumpeting its achievement of building roads – remember the tunnel party anyone? The pathetic reality of such pompous infatuation with mundane achievements was compounded by Abela’s speech wherein he described a road-building project as “the largest ever infrastructure investment in Malta”.
Far be it from me to disagree but didn’t the corruption-riddled Electrogas project cost much more than €70 million? Has the prime minister deliberately ignored that other projects linked to the corrupt government he inherited cost far more than the roads to nowhere that excite his minister and CEO so much? The farce would continue soon after as the cameo appearance of a few cypress trees lasted until the weekend.
The Junction project would join the myriad other concrete and treeless parks that our infrastructure minister and CEO are so fond of. Importantly though, we will have a plaque to remind future generations of the profligacy of our leaders and their love of asphalt and all things unnatural. Future generations should also be reminded of the bill that is incurred for every so-called “inauguration ceremony” that has been called to launch a few kilometres of asphalt and concrete.
Laws and Constitutions are no longer inscribed in stone. They have not been for a long time, not since the classical age. The President’s ‘State of the Nation’ national conference called for the 4 June will supposedly survey the state of our republic and presumably the way it is run. We may wonder of course what else it should take to show that the system is broken to the point that no amount of patchwork will solve it.
The paradoxical truth lies in the fact that since our political class is dedicated to inscribing its ways in stone and ensuring that little changes, they are guilty of perpetrating the broken system for as long as possible. Only this week, the duopoly in parliament contrived to strengthen their grip on parliamentary representation with a new electoral twist masquerading as some form of positive discrimination. Once again representation (of sorts) is only triggered when the two Parties are elected to parliament.
Much as the present members of the government consider themselves wise lawmakers, their dabbling with the system only serves to confirm the dangerous predicament in which we find ourselves. Alas there is no sign of real and concrete change coming about any time soon.
The Leader of the Opposition has taken to “changing the attitude” within the PN. Much is being made of what is claimed to be a new approach but the emphasis on cosmetic change betrays an absolute dearth in ideas and projects. Bernard Grech seems to be blissfully unaware that the same old overused cliches such as “Is-sewwa jirbaħ żgur” or “Meta jirbaħ il-partit, tirbaħ Malta” are only attractive to the same old core of Party apparatchiks.
It remains hard to explain to what is left of the PN that the only way out of the current status would be to become its own enemy. It is only by denouncing the last vestiges of the PN that is part of the PLPN duocracy and reinventing itself as a part of the much-needed anti-establishment wave will the first real steps be made.
The PN must die in order to survive and become a credible alternative. The writing is on the wall.