So after the flurry of excitement about all those millionaires who want to make Malta their home (or at least their pretend home for passport purposes) and the smidgeon of smugness at other economies which are not faring so well, we’ve woken up to another aspect of this newly-cosmopolitan country – that of rising house prices.

That’s right – the greater the demand for property by monied foreigners, the higher the price for the relatively limited supply of residences around. Yes, we can start building even higher and maybe take up roundabouts and even some cemeteries, but the size of Malta is what it is and supply will always be limited. Which means that property prices are going to be high.

Now, stable and high property prices are generally considered to be a good thing for the economy. The problems crop up when large sections of the population start to be priced out of the market, not being able to get on the first rung of the property ladder or to rent a half-decent property.

Not everyone is aware of the fact that for decades the government has been forcing individuals to accommodate others for measly rents

Strong family ties and fairly accessible mortgages mean that the situation is still manageable, but barely so. Sooner or later we’re going to have to face a situation where low to medium wage-earners are priced out of both the property ownership and the rental market. What do we do then?

Both the Labour government and the Nationalist Opposition have been making noises about “rent control”. Neither have been very clear as to what this type of “rent control” will envisage. Hopefully, it will be nothing like the restrictive rent laws of old, which perpetuated an injustice on several generations and which were found to be unconstitutional several times over.

Not everyone is aware of the fact that for decades the government has been forcing individuals to accommodate others for measly rents. Successive administrations have shirked their social obligations by foisting them onto the private sector.

To make matters worse, the laws which were declared to be in breach of the Constitution many times over were not repealed. This led to court judgments condemning the State to pay out hundreds of thousands of euros by way of compensation to those individuals whose rights have been breached.

It would make for sobering reading to see just how much of our taxes have been used in this way just because governments have shirked their responsibility to amend unconstitutional laws.

■ With the war of words between the Nationalist and Labour parties escalating every day, you’d think that there is really nothing they can agree upon. What with accusations of corruption, cronyism, conflicts of interest being bandied about on both sides of the political divide, you’d expect there to be absolutely no common ground between the two. Except that there is – and a lot of it too.

Ironically enough, this united front is strongest when it comes to transparency – or the lack of it. Despite calling each other corrupt and secretive, both parties adamantly refuse to disclose their affairs to the general public in the interests of transparency. I’m talking about the parties’ outstanding electricity and water bills and the amounts owed by them to ARMS (Automated Revenue Management Services).

ARMS  has consistently refused to disclose how much it is owed in outstanding electricity and water bills by the Labour and Nationalist parties or their holding companies. When newspapers filed a freedom of information request about this, ARMS would not budge. And when the Information and Data Protection appeals tribunal insisted that ARMS was not above the law, ARMS stated it would appeal to the courts as it insists that the political parties are normal clients – just like everybody else.

Of course, this is nonsense. Political parties get to field candidates who may eventually end up being energy minister, or Enemalta chairman, or WSC chairman, even chief executive of ARMS itself. As such they are in a supremely advantageous position when compared to the rest of us, to be able to rack up stratospheric utility bills without being cut off. Which essentially means that the taxpayer – again – is subsidising the PN and the PL without the express consent of the electorate.

This suspicion could be easily dispelled with a simple declaration as to amounts due. Somehow I don’t think it will be forthcoming any time soon, despite all these strident cries for “transparency”.

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