Sunday, 27 May 2001

Meta jinqasmu d-dufrejn

Il-Kullhadd Meta jitqacctu d-dufrejn

Il-gimgha l-ohra ktibt li l-elezzjoni ssir meta n-nazzjonalisti jitqacctulhom dufrejhom li qedin iggranfati mal-poter. Allura kelli hafna li staqsewni meta se jitqacctulhom dufrejhom.

Jien la jien profeta u lanqas imbassar il-futur.` Jien nosserva x`inhu jigri madwari u nigbed konkluzjoni objettivi, imparzjali u nispera intelligenti. U madwari qed nara hafna sintomi ta` konfuzjoni, ta` min ma jafx fejn sejjer, ta` min lest li jaqbad ma kull tibni biex jipprova jsalva waqt li jkun qed jeghreq.

Harsu lejn il-bicca ta` Evarist Bartolo rigward it-twissija li ta lil Prof Wain li meta jkun hemm gvern laburista inehhih mic-Chairman tal-Fondazzjoni ghall-edukazzjoni.` `Issa din haga mill-aktar trivjali ghax dan hu post appuntat politikament u kull gvern ghandu dritt jappunta f`dawn il-karigui nies tal-fiducja tieghu. Billi jitnehha mil-Fondazzjoni Wain xorta jibqa` lecturer u xorta jibqa jaqla hobzu.` Ara meta jien tnehhejt minn Chairman tal-Bank ma kienx hemm dmugh avolja jien ma kellix xoghol iehor ghax biex mort Chairman kont tlaqt il-prattika privata tieghi.

Tant ghandhom bzonn xi haga biex idawwru l-attenzjoni minn fuq il-konfuzjoni u l-glied li qeghdin fih li bicca innokwa bhal din xeghluha qisu xi skandlu bhal watergate jew bhat-tlett mahfriet presidenzjali ta` Zeppi l-Hafi. Editorjali, ittri, artikli, dmugh, biki sahansitra l-Prim Ministru qal li din serja daqs meta assaltawh f`daru fl-1979. Ara kif jista` jkun!

Imma x`jippretendu` Jippretendu li bhal ma gara fl-1996 jibqghu fil-gvern anke meta jkunu fl-oppozizzjoni. Issa li qed jaraw it-tmiem veru riesaq qed inewwhu, qed jibzghu.

Sahansitra Simone Zammit Endrich (Size) mhux talli tkazat b`Varistu izda tkazat wisq izjed b`Manwel Cuschieri li joqghod jistaqsi l-mistoqsijiet li qed jistaqsi kullhadd. Skond din is-Size jekk Manwel ikompli jaghmel dawn id-domandi u nsinwazzjonijiet allura l-awtoritajiet ghandhom sahansitra jghalqulna r-radju.` Isa hej kemm sirna demokratici. Humiex dawn sinjali li d-difrejn bdew jinqasmu`

Harsu ftit fil-morsa tat-tilwim industrijali li qed fiha l-gvern.` Isimghu il-Prim Ministru jnewwah biex il-Unions ikunu moderati u jaraw il-gid nazzjonali. Isimghu lil Ministru tal-Finanzi jwiddeb li biex jaghti z-zidiet ikollu jzid it-taxxi. Sewwa diskors bhal dan` Sewwa izda kieku jghidu gvern li ghandu mandat elettorali msejjes fuq programm serju ta` riforma u mhux minn gvern li kien halef` li money no problem u li mhux veru kien hemm hofra finanzjarja tant li biex tela` wieghed li jnaqqas it-taxxi u li jgib xi Lm100 miljun shan shan tafu minn fejn. Humiex dawn ukoll sinjali li d-dufrejn bdew jitqacctu` U hargu wkoll ghan-nofs` Peppi Azzopardi u siehbu.` Jiddejqu dawn min jikkritikom. Jiddejqu min jistaqsi kif il-PBS b`dawk l-ispejjez kollha biex imexxu newsroom u b`uhud mill-aqwa talenti fil-gurnalizmu jaghtu kuntratti lil Peppi u siehbu ghal programmi ta` ahbarijiet u current affairs. Ara hawnx xi stazzjon nazzjonali fid-dinja mhallas min flus il-poplu li jaghti b`kuntratt barra il-programmi ta` l-ahbarijiet.` Kif jista` TVM li ghandu l-obbligu li jkun imparzjali jonora dan l-obbligu billi jafda programmi ta` current affairs f`idejn Lou Bondi, il-bniedem li konsistentement ipprova jidemonizza lil Alfred Sant.

X`gharukuza qalilna Bondi li Evaristu taghna se jnehhih minn Chairman tal-Fondazzjoni lil Wain.` X`gharakuza li l-laburisti jekk jitilghu fil-gvern se jpoggu in-nies taghhom. Tkaza Lou Bondi` bhal ma tkaza li Alfred Sant ried investigazzjoni dwar il-praspar fis-segretarjat tal-Ministru Austin Gatt. Tkaza Lou Bondi` bhal ma tkaza li Alfred Sant irid investigazzjoni dwar kif u `l ghala inghataw tlett mahfriet lil Zeppi l-Hafi, habib persunali u antik tal-Prim Ministru li r-rekord kriminali tieghu ghal-Prim Ministru hu biss hwejjeg `anqas tajba`.

Hu Bondi` u s-Size t-tnejn tkazaw li Manwel ma jilqax it-talba ta` Peppi u ta` Bondi` biex igibhom fil-programm tieghu u jhallihom jghidu li jridu. Ara lili Bondi'`ma ghadux jghamilli sfidi biex niddibattu fil-pubbliku. Ilqajta u ghedtlu mmorru f`VIRTWALI.` Isimghu s-skiet. Ghax mhux bizzejjed hadu over in-newsroom tal-PBS, issa jridu jiehdu over dik ta` Super One.` Inkella is-Size hedditna li tghalqilna l-istazzjon. Isa ara hawnx xi hadd jithajjar.

Friday, 25 May 2001

How dare you

The Malta Independent who had counseled people not to emulate the neo-aspirant for prime minister and sell their Mid-Med shares on the cheap. Now that Bank of Valletta shares have fallen so well it is a perfect scenario to dispose of government` shares in BoV` at much the same price earnings ratio as that of Mid-Med. This will help prove that government was right all the way in selling cheap` How dare you even think that this government could make a mistake`

Sunday, 20 May 2001

Losing composure

The Malta Independent on Sunday

Losing composure

The loss of composure by the Prime Minister in his 1st of May Ta` Qali speech is stuff for historical records. No amount of tongue twisting by faithful apologetics will change the gaffe which would still have been` serious if uttered by a junior politician, let alone coming from a Prime Minister with a 40 odd year experience in politics.

The gaffe charade continued in the protocol arrangements during HH`s visit.` Clearly the Prime Minister and his ministers were in competition for the best shot with HH and the protocol arrangements so meticulously informed in writing in advance to the Leader of the Opposition were thrown to the wind right when it mattered.

But to make it three in a row we had the gaffe by a senior minister informing the Prime Minister that he is aspiring to take his place.` These things are just not done. When there is a leader` who has repeatedly expressed his intention and will to soldier on,` party loyalty demands that no ego trips are allowed to expose the eagerness of the acolytes to send him into retirement.

Dr. Lawrence Gonzi the PN deputy leader, gave a vintage example of how aspirants should behave in such circumstances.` When asked by a journalist whether he also considers himself ready to take the PM`s job,` Dr Gonzi just laughed it off and said he is too busy with his schedule to think about such things.

And to ensure that no doubt at all is left on how seriously composure is being lost, on Sunday the self-proclaimed contender for the PM`s post uttered a lot of non-sense verging on the libellous. This concerned my defence of small shareholders and the current state of play on the Malta Stock Exchange.

The quintessential message coming out from his eruption is that the current downturn of prices on the Malta Stock Exchange is all the fault of the likes of me who had defended the small shareholders of the former Mid-Med Bank from being thrown to the wolves by the government. Had the government had its way small shareholders would have been forced, like other Mid-Med shareholders in the public sector,` to sell at the ridiculous price of Lm2.90 which the government obtained for its investment in Mid-Med Bank.

Our neo-aspiring prime minister said that the current downturn on the Borza is purely the correction of fanned prices that the likes of me had` manoeuvred to embarrass the government and prove the Opposition`s claims that Mid-Med was` sold on the cheap.

Had` my brother`s Lm25 fine court decision not` diluted my faith in the administration of justice in cases which could embarrass the government,` I would seriously consider libel.` But having no time to lose I prefer to win by facts and arguments rather than by court procedures.

Mid-Med Bank sale was concluded nearly two years ago. Two years is a very long time in the investment world where prices fluctuate widely in much shorter time spans.

In terms of Initial Public Offerings there is generally an after launch period of 6 months which will prove whether the launch was correctly priced or not.` After 6 months the market moves wherever events, psychology, greed and so many other factors which affect market prices will take it. In my criticism for the low price obtained for the deal I had expressed a deep belief that in those circumstances I could have obtained at least Lm4.50, probably Lm5, possibly Lm5.50.

The market was re-opened on 2nd June so the 6months normal after market period ended on 2nd December 1999. On that day HSBC Malta shares were quoted at Lm5.23. Even this week with all the market downturn, HSBC shares were still quoted at just under Lm5, well within the price range I had indicated.

If our neo-aspirant for the top executive post has any lingering doubts that he has been had, at our expense, by HSBC then he is probably the only one left around here. As recently as on 30th April 2001 his Prime Minister admitted that they were rushed off their feet in the Mid-Med deal and it would have been better if consensus were sought more calmly over the matter.

And he is probably the only around left who does not admit that the downturn of equity prices on the Borza has much to do with the new tax on collective investment schemes, even those that invest in local securities. The problem is that such measures have helped destroy equity values totally out of proportion with the tax revenues they are expected to generate. If privatisation of Bank of Valletta and Maltacom goes ahead in these conditions the government would have burnt some Lm70 million potential privatisation revenues purely to cash in Lm3 million.` Not really a good deal from an aspiring prime minister.

Losing composure

The Malta Independent on Sunday

Losing composure

The loss of composure by the Prime Minister in his 1st of May Ta` Qali speech is stuff for historical records. No amount of tongue twisting by faithful apologetics will change the gaffe which would still have been` serious if uttered by a junior politician, let alone coming from a Prime Minister with a 40 odd year experience in politics.

The gaffe charade continued in the protocol arrangements during HH`s visit.` Clearly the Prime Minister and his ministers were in competition for the best shot with HH and the protocol arrangements so meticulously informed in writing in advance to the Leader of the Opposition were thrown to the wind right when it mattered.

But to make it three in a row we had the gaffe by a senior minister informing the Prime Minister that he is aspiring to take his place.` These things are just not done. When there is a leader` who has repeatedly expressed his intention and will to soldier on,` party loyalty demands that no ego trips are allowed to expose the eagerness of the acolytes to send him into retirement.

Dr. Lawrence Gonzi the PN deputy leader, gave a vintage example of how aspirants should behave in such circumstances.` When asked by a journalist whether he also considers himself ready to take the PM`s job,` Dr Gonzi just laughed it off and said he is too busy with his schedule to think about such things.

And to ensure that no doubt at all is left on how seriously composure is being lost, on Sunday the self-proclaimed contender for the PM`s post uttered a lot of non-sense verging on the libellous. This concerned my defence of small shareholders and the current state of play on the Malta Stock Exchange.

The quintessential message coming out from his eruption is that the current downturn of prices on the Malta Stock Exchange is all the fault of the likes of me who had defended the small shareholders of the former Mid-Med Bank from being thrown to the wolves by the government. Had the government had its way small shareholders would have been forced, like other Mid-Med shareholders in the public sector,` to sell at the ridiculous price of Lm2.90 which the government obtained for its investment in Mid-Med Bank.

Our neo-aspiring prime minister said that the current downturn on the Borza is purely the correction of fanned prices that the likes of me had` manoeuvred to embarrass the government and prove the Opposition`s claims that Mid-Med was` sold on the cheap.

Had` my brother`s Lm25 fine court decision not` diluted my faith in the administration of justice in cases which could embarrass the government,` I would seriously consider libel.` But having no time to lose I prefer to win by facts and arguments rather than by court procedures.

Mid-Med Bank sale was concluded nearly two years ago. Two years is a very long time in the investment world where prices fluctuate widely in much shorter time spans.

In terms of Initial Public Offerings there is generally an after launch period of 6 months which will prove whether the launch was correctly priced or not.` After 6 months the market moves wherever events, psychology, greed and so many other factors which affect market prices will take it. In my criticism for the low price obtained for the deal I had expressed a deep belief that in those circumstances I could have obtained at least Lm4.50, probably Lm5, possibly Lm5.50.

The market was re-opened on 2nd June so the 6months normal after market period ended on 2nd December 1999. On that day HSBC Malta shares were quoted at Lm5.23. Even this week with all the market downturn, HSBC shares were still quoted at just under Lm5, well within the price range I had indicated.

If our neo-aspirant for the top executive post has any lingering doubts that he has been had, at our expense, by HSBC then he is probably the only one left around here. As recently as on 30th April 2001 his Prime Minister admitted that they were rushed off their feet in the Mid-Med deal and it would have been better if consensus were sought more calmly over the matter.

And he is probably the only around left who does not admit that the downturn of equity prices on the Borza has much to do with the new tax on collective investment schemes, even those that invest in local securities. The problem is that such measures have helped destroy equity values totally out of proportion with the tax revenues they are expected to generate. If privatisation of Bank of Valletta and Maltacom goes ahead in these conditions the government would have burnt some Lm70 million potential privatisation revenues purely to cash in Lm3 million.` Not really a good deal from an aspiring prime minister.

L-elezzjoni meta

Il-Kullhadd L-elezzjoni meta`

Gmielha tvenven l-ipotezi li dan il-gvern ma ghandux hajja twila u li elezzjoni generali mhix fil-boghod.` X`inhu jwassal ghal dawn id-diceriji propju meta ghadna f`nofs legislatura ta` gvern b`maggoranza ta` hames siggijiet`

Jien difficli` niehu dawn id-diceriji bis-serjeta`.` Lin-nazzjonalisti nafuhom bizzejjed.` Kieku ghandhom ghal qalbhom l-interess tan-nazzjon jew verament jemmnu fid-demokrazija kieku jsejjhu elezzjoni llum qabel ghada. Izda n-nazzjonalisti la ghandhom l-interess tan-nazzjon u lanqas jemmnu fid-demokrazija.

Ghandhom mandat vvizzjat mibni fuq weghdiet li ma jistghux jitwettqu u li b`mod xejn demokratiku uzawh biex qacctu mandat elettorali tal-partit laburista li kien ghadu fil-bidu tat-twettiq tieghu. Daqstant jemmnu fid-demokrazija n-nazzjonalisti! Biex jirbhu l-elezzjoni jghidu li se jnaqqsu t-taxxi meta jafu li dan mhux se jkun possibbli bil-problemi finanzjarji li holqu huma stess, u mbghad bhalli kieku xejn jinsew kull ma weghdu u jziedu l-piz tat-taxxi b`mod selvagg.

Biex jidhru helwin ma l-elettorat ghamlu erbatax il-sena `money no problem` sa ma mlew lil pajjiz bid-dejn sa xfar ghajnejh b`mod li qed nihranu l-futur ta` wliedna u nipperikolaw il-helsien.` Fejn hu l-interess tan-nazzjon`

Mela ghan-nazzjonalisti is-siggu tal-poter huwa helu wisq u aktar ma jaraw l-opinjoni pubblika ddur kontrihom aktar se jiggranfaw mal-poter akkost ta` kollox.

Mela biex in-nazzjonalisti jmorru ghal elezzjoni qabel zmienha iridu jigu sfurzati mic-cirkostanzi.` Iridu ma jkollhomx ghazla ohra.` Iridu jinkisrulhom dufrejhom waqt li jkunu qed jiggranfaw b`kull mezz mas-siggu tal-poter. Mela li rridu nistaqsu huwa kemm` huwa possibbli li n-nazzjonalisti kontra qalbhom u ghax ma jistghux jaghmlu mod iehor ikollhom ifittxu mandat elettorali gdid.

Dan gara fis-sajf tas-96 meta ffaccati minn hofra kbira li zviluppat fil-finanzi tal-gvern li ma kienetx tippermetti li tinheba izjed kieku tressaq budget ghal 1997, in-nazzjonalisti marru ghal-elezzjoni bit-tama` li meta il-problema finanzjarja tohrog fil-berah ikollhom ga mandat gdid taht abthom miksub bil-qereq u bil-weghdi fierha.

Qeghdin f`sitwazzjoni simili. Jghid x`jghid il-Prim Ministru u l-Ministru tal-Finanzi is-sitwazzjoni ekonomika fil-pajjiz harbitilhom minn idejhom. Alla biss jaf xi tbazwir qed isir biex l-affarijiet jinhbew. Izda l-poplu ihossha.` Titkellem ma min titkellem, laburist, nazzjonalist` jew ma jimpurtahx, kullhadd qalbu maqtugha.` Kullhadd jghid li donnu c-cirku waqaf idur, li qatt ma konna f`pozizzjoni kerha bhal din.

Il-gvern biex jigbor it-taxxi ha jiffinanzja n-nefqa li ma jafx jikkontrolla sallab lil kullhadd. Hadd ma ghadu jonfoq, hadd ma ghadu jinvesti.` Fin-negozju biex tigbor flusek trid titqanzah.` Il-banek aktar hsiebhom biex jibghatu flus id-depozitanti barra milli biex jghinu l-ekonomija tirkupra. Flok jizdiedu l-impjiegi fil-privat jizdiedu dawk mal-gvern b`holqien ta` mpjiegi artificjali li jkompli jzid l-ispiza pubblika.` `Investiment minn barra ma tarahx b`nemes.

Il-finanzi tal-gvern li suppost mil-gbir tat-taxxi goffi qed jibdew jigu f`posthom ghadhom problema. Id-dhul li l-Ministru bassar li jdahhal ghal din is-sena difficli jintlahaq meta l-ekonomija mbazwra u biex jintlahaq irid ikompli jbazwar l-ekonomija aktra milli hi.

Is-settur tat-teknologija li s`issa kien qed isostni l-esportazzjoni u l-investiment gdid fil-manifattura issa dahal f`ciklu ekonomiku li qed ihares `l isfel fejn jonqsu l-esportazzjoni u ma jisirux investimenti godda. Fuq dan u l-effett li se jkollu fuq l-ekonomija taghna ma jrid jitkellem hadd lanqas il-bank centrali li ghadu jistma li din is-sena l-esportazzjoni se tkompli tikber b`ritmu normali.

Il-habi u l-loghob bl-istatistika ma jippermettix analizi serja u dettaljata.` Izda ndikazzjonijiet li problemi qed jikkarkaw qedin hemm. Ministru jaghmilha cara li jrid post il-kap tieghu. Kif tmissilhom it-triq ta` l-ewropa u tghidulhom biex ma jkomplux jidhqu bin-nies bil-weghdi tal-fondi li se jigu,` joqomsu ghax donnu qed jippermjaw kampanja fuq kemm se jgibu fondi meta nsiru membri fl-UE. Min ma jaqbilx maghhom sar iblah, mazzun u jahdem kontra l-interess nazzjonali.

Sadanittant quddiem kazi cari li jehtiegu nvestigazzjoni serja u ndipendenti kullhadd jibqa` fommu sieket u ndifferenti. Hadd m`hu nteressat jinvestiga ghala l-Mid-Med Bank inbiegh b`nofs prezz bla offerti` Hadd ma jinteressah li l-haddiema tal-Mid-Med baqghu bla flus ghal-fondazzjoni bhal ma hadu tal-Bank of Valletta u tal-Maltacom` Hadd ma jrid jara kif u ghala gew mislufa tant miljuni lid-Daewoo kontra kull prattika bankarja` Hadd ma jrid ikun jaf kemm neffaqna izjed il-gvern fis-sena 2000 meta ma kopriex il-prezz taz-zejt bil-hedging` Hadd ma jinteressah ghala l-car park ta` l-ajruport tiggedded bla sejha ghall-offerti` Hadd ma jinteressah kif barunijiet tad-droga jarharbu jew jinghataw il-mahfriet Hadd ma jinteressah jinsisti li l-gvern jghid kemm se nhallsu biex insiru membri fl-ewropa Dak li ma nhallsu huwa hafna aktar zgur u car minn dak li ha nircievu.

Dawn u affarijiet ohra juru li n-nazzjonalisti ghadhom iggranfati mal-poter izda li dufrejhom bdew jinqasmu. Meta jitqacctulhom dufrejhom issir l-elezzjoni.

Sunday, 13 May 2001

L-Imperatur

Il-Kullhadd L-imperatur

Il-poter tant tela ghal ras il-Prim Ministru Fenech Adami `li dan issa qed jara lilu innifsu bhala Imperatur tal-gzejjer Maltin. Nhar l-ewwel ta` Mejju 2001 Fenech Adami gab ruhu bhallikieku kien l-Imperatur ta` Malta fi zmien il-feudalizmu tan-nobbli meta s-sudditi lanqas kellhom biss id-dritt li jgergru.

Il-Prim Ministru b`lehen ahrax u minaccjuz qal li issa ddejjaq jisma n-nies igergru u ma japprezzawx l-isforzi li qed jaghmel il-gvern biex imexxi l-pajjiz. Stop moaning and count your blessing rega rrepeta jumejn wara f`intervista f`The Times. Aqtugha b`dat-tgergir u rringzaw `l Alla li takom lili, qalilna l-Imperatur Fenech Adami. Dan huwa messagg mdawwar b`awra imperjali.

Huwa car li Fenech Adami huwa maqtugh mir-rejalta` li qed jghixha kuljum il-poplu Malti u bhall-Imperatur qed ihares fil-mera u jara xbiha ta` tieghu nnifsu bhala mibghut b`mandat divin li ghandi dritt li jmexxi l-pajjiz bl-editti u li s-sudditi ghandhom ikunu grati lejn is-sema talli pprovdha mexxej daqstant stmat anke fic-crieki ta` `l fuq mis-shab.

Fil-verita` izda xi dritt ghandu Fenech Adami li jistenna li l-poplu jibqa najxu ferhan bit-taxxi li l-Imperatur tieghu kwazi kull gimgha jghaddiehlu biex ikun jista jibqa` jmantni ruhu`

Dan il-poplu daqs 30 xahar ilu kien qed jisma lill-Imperatur iweghdu li ghandu s-soluzzjonijiet kollha ghal problemi tal-pajjiz u li fost dawn is-soluzzjonijiet ma kienx hemm xi xieda fit-taxxi. Mhux talli hekk talli l-Imperatur kien ikkritika lil ta` qablu talli ghamel 33 taxxa u solennement wieghed li l-Imperatur kellu pjan biex inaqqas il-piz tat-taxxi.

L-Imperatur kien cahad li tassew kienet tezisti xi problema ta` deficit fil-finanzi pubblici u kien wieghed li kif huwa jpoggi fuq is-siggu ta` l-Imperatur juri kif dawn il-problemi ma jezistux u kien jirranga biex il-pajjizi girien jibghatulna daqs Lm100 miljun lira kull sena halli jsostnu il-finanzi tal-pajjiz u ma jkunx hemm bzonn jizdiedu t-taxxi li allura jkunu fil-fatt jistghu jonqsu.

Issa li dan l-Imperatur donnu nesa dak kollu li kien qal u qed jaghmel ezatt bil-kontra. U jippretendi li minkejja dan il-poplu ma ghandux la jipprosta u lanqas sahansitra jgerger. Xbajt nisma min igerger qalilna b`lehen minaccjuz l-Imperatur Malti. Bhal sudditi lejali l-Imperatur ihoss li ghandna nsofru fis-silenzju u nibqghu ingiebu f`mohhna` l-akkwisti li ghamel l-Imperatur fil-passat.

Imma tassew li dan l-Imperatur Malti fil-passat ghamel akkwisti li ghandna nkunu kburin bihom`

Propju f`dawn il-granet l-Imperatur ghalaq 14 il-sena fis-seta` minn meta rebah l-elezzjoni ta` l-1987.` X`akkwisti ghamel dan l-Imperatur f`dan it-temp Jiftahar li illiberalizza l-ekonomija u mmodernizza l-infrastruttura tal-pajjiz.

Is-sigra tingharaf mil-frott taghha u allura wiehed irid janalizza x`inhu l-frott ta 14 il-sena ta` tmexxija ta l-Imperatur.` Jekk dan l-Imperatur mexxa tant tajjeb allura ghala llum il-pajjiz qieghed f`sitwazzjoni fejn` bilfors ikollu jintaxxa bil-goff lil kulhadd. Jekk l-Imperatur tant mexxa tajjeb ghala f`pajjizna ghad ghandna l-aghar toroq li hawn fid-dinja` Jekk l-Imperatur mexxa tant tajjeb ghala l-poplu donnu qata` qalbu, in-negozju sejjer lura, l-investiment ma jidher imkien u xamma ta` korruzzjoni tinsab f`kull rokna ta l-amministrazzjoni`

Il-verita` hija li l-Imperatur mexxa billi befaq u nefaq.` Money no problem kien jghidilna fil-bidu.` U ghall-ewwel tassew hekk kien ghax kellu ir-rizervi li hallewlu ta` qablu. Fi-tieni legislatura kompla jonfoq billi mliena sa xfar ghajnejna bid-dejn.

Fiha xi bravura din` X`hemm ehfef milli tonfoq` Mhux kullhadd jaf jonfoq` Il-bravura kienet tkun kieku dak li ghamel ghamlu mill-flus li naqilghu u mhux billi nimlew il-pajjiz bid-dejn.

U issa li l-Imperatur ma jistax jiddejjen izjed issa beda jbiegh il-gid tan-nazzjon b`nofs prezz bhal ma ghamel fil-kaz tal-Mid-Med u beda jintaxxa lil kulhadd kif gie gie. Lanqas biss jghaddielu minn mohhu li s-soluzzjoni jista` jsibha billi jnaqqas l-ispejjez ta` l-Imperu u ta` l-Imperatur. Bhala Imperatur jqis ruhu `l fuq mil-ligi li ghandha torbot biss lis-sudditi u mhux lill-Imperatur u lin-nobbli ta` madwaru.

Il- poplu Malti ma ghandux igerger ghax inkella jidher bhal iblah u bhal mazzun li bela` l-lixka ta` l-Imperatur.` Ghandu biss jistenna l-ewwel opportunita biex iwaqqa` mis-seta` lill-Imperatur li mhux biss qed jahqru bit-taxxi izda jippretendi li nghidulu grazzi talli kiser il-weghdiet solenni li kellu mas-sudditi.` Arroganza imperjali!

Saturday, 5 May 2001

Because I say so!

The Malta Independent on Sunday

Because I say so!

The hallmark of good leadership is timely and good decision-making. Successful leadership in whatever sphere of life (political, business, religious or philanthropic) demands taking good decisions, choosing the right from the wrong.

As leaders get confident in their jobs they get endowed with confidence to take the right decisions calmly and intelligently. But at some point in time, as leaders overstay their term in power, confidence turns into overconfidence, and the process of judicious decision-making stops functioning. Overconfidence turns into arrogance. Rather than choosing the right from the wrong through a process of analysis and judgement, decisions start being taken on the basis of this is right because I say so.

The major advantage of democracy over other governing systems is exactly its ability to guard against this risk.` As soon as it becomes evident that a leader`s confidence has turned firstly into over-confidence and then into arrogance the democratic system moves in to cut such leaders to size.

Remember Margaret Thatcher` She is still revered in Britain as the best post-war leader who engineered the modernisation of the British economy. But when she thought she could introduce the poll tax on the basis that this is good because I say so, the democratic system cut her to size.

In non-democratic systems it could be more painful to address the over-confidence and arrogance of political leaders. Just see what Germany and Italy had to go through to over-throw their war-time political leaders . Their leaders both started as judicious opinion shapers but the arrogance of their unchallenged hold of power soon led to a this is good because I say so decision making style. The consequences were tragic not only for their countries but also for the whole world.

The malaise with our current administration has much to do with this phenomenon. This government in its third legislature has clearly overstayed its term in power. The break between 1996 `1998 was far too short to cleanse itself from the arrogance, which a long-term hold on power inevitably brings.

This could not have been more evident than in the speech which the Prime Minister delivered at Ta` Qali on the afternoon of the 1st of May celebrations. A rare sober speech the day before where the Prime Minister acknowledged that the` privatisation process needed a wider consensus for its successful implementation, soon gave way for the most arrogant speech the Prime Minister has delivered this year.

What sparked the change of mood was probably an outburst by a nationalist` opinionist published in the press on that very day which basically told the Prime Minister to shake off the lethargy and the arrogance and start governing in the dynamic style of his first term in office.

The reply was ominously predictable and very typical of leaders who are staying in power on borrowed time.` You are all wrong; stop this senseless criticism; see the good things that we are doing and don`t just focus on our defects; if the electorate were to use` its` democratic right to choose an alternate government voters` would be fools and stupid. This and other utterance in the highest of style of arrogance was the May day reply to the emerging reality` of` dissent and discontent that` have become the hallmark of this administration.

This pitiful leadership is rubbing on to` ministers. Just consider the parliamentary debate on the` Mnajdra debacle.` Rather than accept the opposition well-mannered resolution to work together on a national plan for preservation of our heritage sites, the minister in charge published a so-called plan at five o`clock, expecting` parliament to start debating and approve such plan` at six o`clock.` Is not this the sort of attitude which can only be addressed by a gentlemanly way out of his position to make space for someone who is seriously interested in working a national plan for preservation our heritage`

Just consider the pitiful debate going on regarding Malta`s EU membership plan. Reports which could strengthen critics case stay locked in the cabinet`s drawer.` Whoever expresses doubts and demands a serious debate on issues which are unlikely to stand the test of time gets daubed as prejudiced, working against the national interest, and other names little short of insane.

For making a strong case, statistics and all, expressing serious doubts about Malta`s eligibility for Objective One funding in the context of membership within an enlarged community I have raised a chorus of critics who` continue to avoid the depth of the argument and consider the position as if we are joining the EU on our own within the present arrangement.

Who is serving the national interest best` Those who continue to promise us millions bonanza with the hope of alienating the electorate again with such promises of easy money as happened in the run-up to the 1998 elections` Or those who like me make the case that for all the good reasons why one could argue that we should join the EU, funding is certainly not one of them.

Unless this administration can disengage from the it is right because I say so mentality, the time till next elections is largely well described in Freddie Fender country classic `Wasted Days and Wasted Nights`!

Because I say so!

The Malta Independent on Sunday

Because I say so!

The hallmark of good leadership is timely and good decision-making. Successful leadership in whatever sphere of life (political, business, religious or philanthropic) demands taking good decisions, choosing the right from the wrong.

As leaders get confident in their jobs they get endowed with confidence to take the right decisions calmly and intelligently. But at some point in time, as leaders overstay their term in power, confidence turns into overconfidence, and the process of judicious decision-making stops functioning. Overconfidence turns into arrogance. Rather than choosing the right from the wrong through a process of analysis and judgement, decisions start being taken on the basis of this is right because I say so.

The major advantage of democracy over other governing systems is exactly its ability to guard against this risk.` As soon as it becomes evident that a leader`s confidence has turned firstly into over-confidence and then into arrogance the democratic system moves in to cut such leaders to size.

Remember Margaret Thatcher` She is still revered in Britain as the best post-war leader who engineered the modernisation of the British economy. But when she thought she could introduce the poll tax on the basis that this is good because I say so, the democratic system cut her to size.

In non-democratic systems it could be more painful to address the over-confidence and arrogance of political leaders. Just see what Germany and Italy had to go through to over-throw their war-time political leaders . Their leaders both started as judicious opinion shapers but the arrogance of their unchallenged hold of power soon led to a this is good because I say so decision making style. The consequences were tragic not only for their countries but also for the whole world.

The malaise with our current administration has much to do with this phenomenon. This government in its third legislature has clearly overstayed its term in power. The break between 1996 `1998 was far too short to cleanse itself from the arrogance, which a long-term hold on power inevitably brings.

This could not have been more evident than in the speech which the Prime Minister delivered at Ta` Qali on the afternoon of the 1st of May celebrations. A rare sober speech the day before where the Prime Minister acknowledged that the` privatisation process needed a wider consensus for its successful implementation, soon gave way for the most arrogant speech the Prime Minister has delivered this year.

What sparked the change of mood was probably an outburst by a nationalist` opinionist published in the press on that very day which basically told the Prime Minister to shake off the lethargy and the arrogance and start governing in the dynamic style of his first term in office.

The reply was ominously predictable and very typical of leaders who are staying in power on borrowed time.` You are all wrong; stop this senseless criticism; see the good things that we are doing and don`t just focus on our defects; if the electorate were to use` its` democratic right to choose an alternate government voters` would be fools and stupid. This and other utterance in the highest of style of arrogance was the May day reply to the emerging reality` of` dissent and discontent that` have become the hallmark of this administration.

This pitiful leadership is rubbing on to` ministers. Just consider the parliamentary debate on the` Mnajdra debacle.` Rather than accept the opposition well-mannered resolution to work together on a national plan for preservation of our heritage sites, the minister in charge published a so-called plan at five o`clock, expecting` parliament to start debating and approve such plan` at six o`clock.` Is not this the sort of attitude which can only be addressed by a gentlemanly way out of his position to make space for someone who is seriously interested in working a national plan for preservation our heritage`

Just consider the pitiful debate going on regarding Malta`s EU membership plan. Reports which could strengthen critics case stay locked in the cabinet`s drawer.` Whoever expresses doubts and demands a serious debate on issues which are unlikely to stand the test of time gets daubed as prejudiced, working against the national interest, and other names little short of insane.

For making a strong case, statistics and all, expressing serious doubts about Malta`s eligibility for Objective One funding in the context of membership within an enlarged community I have raised a chorus of critics who` continue to avoid the depth of the argument and consider the position as if we are joining the EU on our own within the present arrangement.

Who is serving the national interest best` Those who continue to promise us millions bonanza with the hope of alienating the electorate again with such promises of easy money as happened in the run-up to the 1998 elections` Or those who like me make the case that for all the good reasons why one could argue that we should join the EU, funding is certainly not one of them.

Unless this administration can disengage from the it is right because I say so mentality, the time till next elections is largely well described in Freddie Fender country classic `Wasted Days and Wasted Nights`!