Have your moment...

Signing the deal. Photo: Jason Borg, DOI

Signing the deal. Photo: Jason Borg, DOI

Let's start from the premise that any amount of €uro's worth of investment is a good thing. Premier Joseph's announcement of the fact that some people are going to print money here is, therefore, an equally good thing and he deserves his moment in the sun.

OK, there's the moment had, and we'll even add a hearty "attaboy" for Premier Joe and pat him on the back.

But let's have a touch less of the fuss and fanfare, shall we?

It's only be expected, of course, that Premier Joe wanted to have something to take our minds off Simon Busuttil's Independence Day message, so the timing of the announcement was understandable from that point of view.

As was Premier Joe's absence on one of the more important National Days, the one, pretty much, from which our history as a nation (hence "national") began. The man is a busy one, and you can't expect the international calendar to come to a grinding halt to allow him to be here for Independence Day, so we'll give him a free pass on that.

On the merits of the thing, perhaps a touch less triumphalism might have been a bit more seemly, however. I mean, it isn't the first time there has been inward investment that has created jobs, and of high calibre, at that.

The economy has come on in leaps and bounds from the days of CMT ("Cut", "Make" & "Trim", for those who don't remember the days of clothing manufacture, back when we were good and cheap in labour terms) and simple assembly, and a good thing too. This was in the period 1987 - 2013, it need hardly be said and we all know who was running the country during most of that time.

The spinners and weavers of Premier Joe's Party have to be consistent and carry on with the make-believe that pre-2013, we were all scavenging at the coal-face of low-skill, low-cost industry, struggling to make the national ends meet

Naturally, the spinners and weavers of Premier Joe's Party have to be consistent and carry on with the make-believe that pre-2013, we were all scavenging at the coal-face of low-skill, low-cost industry, struggling to make the national ends meet while feeding off scraps from the white man's table, tugging our collective forelocks under signs saying "tworists welkimm".

The thing is, this is patently moon-shine.

The financial services industry, the gaming industry and all high(er)-tech industries all took off under a government that was not Premier Joseph's and - at least for those of us of a certain vintage whose memories have not been clouded by subservience to his spin - living standards became immeasurably better then they were back in the day.

If you want to play the numbers game, you can compare the 300 jobs with which Premier Joe is so pleased (no reason not to be, except we're told we have virtually full employment, so where are they coming from?) with the many, many hundreds of high-level jobs in, say, the aircraft maintenance industry, all created during PN Government times.

Add to them the well upgraded tourism sector, the pharma-sector, the IT and other back-office functions that have sprouted all over the place, and 300 jobs, well, fine and dandy, that's a big number, but relatively speaking, not all that fantastic. Worth the page 7 or whatever mention on the Times, sure, but not stopping the presses for it.

When you recall that Gonzi's government was having to contend with the perfect storm of European recession and North African mayhem, to say nothing of the traitorous louts making the PM's life miserable, the achievements he made were not bad at all.

But today needs must where the Archbishop says we shouldn't go. The spin-machine has to be put into overdrive and a net investment of €25mill (apparently, quite a chunk of the €100mill is being spent on machinery outside the country, which will be nice for the people representing the printing hardware, if nothing else) must be turned into the nation's salvation, akin with our being snatched from the jaws of despair and penury.

It is good to see that Premier Joe's boys are (finally) doing their job and getting our name on the map for reasons that are not Panama-related, anyway. Let's hope that when the fanfare dies down, this project won't suffer the fate of one which, Facebook reminded me, was equally loudly trumpeted, the Testaferrata Street high-rise project, which remains a hole in the ground to this day, despite Premier Muscat's proud unveiling of its (no longer visible) foundation stone.

All Premiers preside over photo-ops that look like a good idea at the time, and all of them sometimes find themselves with dollops of egg on their faces: this one looks like a real money-printer so, again, "attaboy Premier Joe", let's have plenty more where this one came from.

It's what you're there for, after all.


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