“The success of Team Malta is the Labour Party’s message,” Robert Abela bragged. He said our country’s achievements are now highlighted on Labour’s billboards on our roads. He was launching Labour’s latest manipulation of reality.
“13.4% economic growth – we kept the economy strong,” billboards proclaimed. This “reality”, Abela explained in his weekly ONE speech, is how the country should move forwards.
The 13.4% economic growth figure is entirely fictitious. Anybody who knows anything about the economy is falling over himself laughing. Sadly that’s only a small minority. The rest swallow and believe Abela’s fiction fervently.
That 13.4% is not anywhere close to reality. In 2020, Malta’s real GDP shrank, not grew, by 7.8% despite Labour’s bragging. Of course, it was the COVID year. But the truth is that Malta’s real GDP contracted by almost a tenth.
The EU forecasts Malta’s GDP will rebound into positive territory this year. The best forecasts predict a GDP of only 5.6%, less than half of what Labour is deceitfully shoving down our throats as we’re stuck in traffic idly eyeing billboards.
Abela knows Malta’s economic growth is not 13.4%. But Abela’s contempt for the Maltese voter, echoing his justice minister’s, is such that he will sell any lie.
He is so convinced of the overwhelming national ignorance that he brazenly prints falsehoods all over the island. He knows he’ll get away with it. Backing him is a well-oiled propaganda machine ready to churn out his lies and falsehoods.
So where did the 13.4% come from? That figure is the year-on-year GDP for the second quarter of 2021. For economics illiterates like myself, a basic lesson reveals the level of deception Labour is deploying.
Imagine you own a grocery store. In the second quarter of this year, you’ve sold some stuff – not much, but the odd customer bought basic necessities. But this time last year, your grocery store had burnt down. During that time you sold nothing and had to spend money to repair your store. This year’s puny sales look huge compared to last year’s massive losses. If you think you’re a winner, you’re not.
That, in a nutshell, explains Abela’s deception. In the second quarter of 2020, Malta’s economy was practically shut down, airports and ports closed and, in the first quarter, our GDP shrank by 15%. In the second quarter, it shrank by 11%. So comparing Malta’s economy in the second quarter of 2021 with the second quarter of 2020 makes no sense at all.
Indeed, even the most basic economics class teaches that year-on-year calculations offer meaningless results if one time period has negative growth. Abela’s billboards and his bluff are meaningless.
Here is a prime minister who, according to ONE news, still has a message of courage and optimism. Sadly, that message of optimism is pure manipulation and deception.
The truth is that GDP per capita is falling. It’s been falling since before COVID struck. Per capita GDP indicates the average wealth of the country shared with every citizen. In 2018, it was €30,622. In 2019, €30,125. In 2020, it fell to €28,134 euro.
Well before COVID, in the first quarter of 2019, Malta’s economic growth staggered to its slowest rate since 2013. In the third quarter of 2019, it reached the slowest rate since 2012, down to 3.4%. While there is little doubt that the COVID pandemic has had a significant impact on our economy, the black clouds were looming well before.
But Labour’s propaganda machine is so slick and Abela’s message of optimism so powerful, that the majority still believes the dishonest fantasy of economic heaven. The reality is that Malta’s public debt now stands at €7,295 billion.
In one month alone, March 2021, it increased by a staggering €128.7 million. Foreign public debt increased from €120.8 million to €243.8 million in just one month. Government revenues dropped from €407 million to €212.2 million over the same period.
And the situation was dire despite being shielded by the continued sale of Maltese passports. As the EU’s irritation with Malta’s dishonest dealings leads to infringement procedures against us, that dodgy revenue stream is likely to be curtailed.
The EU has also warned about “a downside risk related to possible consequences of the FATF decision to add Malta to the list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring”.
In the face of such calamity, the prime minister deceitfully promotes his own “reality”, ably assisted by ONE news, TVM and other media organisations under Labour’s thumb.
At the Nuremberg trials, Albert Speer admitted that “what distinguishes Nazi propaganda is its use of all the means of communication to sustain itself and to deprive its subjects of the power of independent thought”. Abela’s Labour takes more than one leaf out of Goebbels’ gospel.
He held that repetitive simple messages must form the core of propaganda. This created the “repeated exposure effect” which led to the breaking down of the public, making them not just externally compliant but internally committed.
Many might laugh at Labour’s simple messages repeated endlessly everywhere. The billboards are practically empty – only a few words and figures. A 13.4% here, a precipitously descending graph there. But though simplistic to an absurdly childlike level, that message, like Goebbels’, is stubbornly repeated on all media – in the streets, on your phone, TV, newspapers, glossy flyers, radio and social media.
That simplicity appeals to the intuitive world of the masses and not to the understanding of intellectuals. Soon enough that lie becomes the ‘truth’.
If “repeated exposure” duped an educated population in 1930s Germany, it will definitely work in 2021 Malta.
The Nazi propaganda burrowed so deeply into Germany’s collective consciousness that most Germans refused to believe Germany surrendered, even as allied forces walked through the bombed-out ruins of Berlin.
In Malta, Labour’s propaganda has burrowed so deeply into Malta’s collective consciousness that most will believe Abela’s fictitious 13.4% economic growth, even as Malta’s greylisting bomb explodes.