According to an old Greek saying, “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit.” The latest budget themed “the budget we want for our children” gave us the illusion that this was a government thinking about the future and about our future generations.
Without any apparent hint of irony or sarcasm Ian Borg justified forging ahead with new developments such as the metro by wondering how disappointed future generations would be were we not to take such decisions now.
Abela’s government is busy promising new utopias, based of course on an irrational and unjustified amount of expenditure without any clear explanation of where all the funds needed to subsidise such castles in the sky would come from. If anything, far from promising a brighter future to its young, this generation of government is plundering the coffers to the extent of endangering any idea of future at all.
You’d think that what with all these promises of an even greater Malta, the newer generations would be gunning to take a bite of the cake. To stick to the Greek metaphor, our youth should be looking forward to some lovely moments in the shade of the trees that are being planted.
Instead, we find out that six out of every 10 young persons would rather live in another European country.
Gen-Z (16-24) and millennial (25 to 39) respondents to an EY survey painted a bleak picture that is in direct contradiction to that which our political and business establishment have been selling us.
Remember Joseph Portelli’s words of 100 years of development for example, we now know that they cause shivers down the spine of at least two generations. We know that overdevelopment and the environment top the list of worries of these generations and that they are most likely to solve this by… packing their bags and leaving.
It is rather telling that the highest concerns registered among the young are about the ‘quality of life’ and not, for example, corruption or rule of law backsliding. The EY survey asked the youth for their ideas for a better future. They listed a greener Malta, promotion of healthier lifestyles, raising of living standards and investment in education.
The focus does seem to be on post-pandemic Malta and what will happen next yet one cannot help but wonder what the impact of our sick political situation is on the mindset of a young person planning their future.
Beyond the propaganda to be found in budget speeches and pre-electoral warm-up, the stark reality is that of a political class acting in contempt of the institutions and of the people who they are supposed to represent. Speculation is rife about the imminent announcement of an election and in the meantime the masks are down.
There is no longer any attempt to hide the favours, the promises, the abuse of incumbency by the party in government and the pathetic sense of helplessness that continues to pervade the opposition. Clint Camilleri’s Hunter-Researcher stunt is an insult to the intelligence of even the most loyal Labour voter. Do you blame the younger generations for giving up? Do you blame them from stopping to care?
In replies to posts on her blog, Daphne Caruana Galizia often mentioned how she insisted with her sons that they take any opportunity to leave the country and work and live away from the mess that she could see was taking shape.
The generation X that I form part of took just that opportunity as soon as Malta joined the EU, dreaming of a better life beyond the shores of this island. After the 2017 election quite a few persons with families told me they were contemplating upping and leaving Malta away from the craziness. Somehow, they chose to stay in the end.
The next generations seem intent on leaving. Our youth have given us a clear warning signal. It might be time to start planting trees again.