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MALTATODAY 3 October 2021

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 3 OCTOBER 2021 COMMENT What are we skinning? The government's recent commitment to finally building a much- discussed, much-dreamt about race track – on industrial land in Hal Far. Why are we skinning it? Because it's been a desire for a large chunk of the electoral voting base that will finally be satisfied by the incumbent Labour government, who can tick off yet another batch of 'delizzju' fans as their eternal allies, right next to the hunting lobby. So the motorsport enthusiasts are finally getting what they want. Yes. And why are you so bitter about it? I'm not. You sure? Sounds to me like you're just DYING for a sample of that 40K lumi… Well, any objection I may have to the racetrack is certainly not political… at least not politics with a capital P… So you just hate cars? 'Hating cars' is a stretch… and indicative of just the kind of immaturity that sadly characterises this debate, and many others like it, on the island. What do you mean? That it's fair to say you're uncomfortable about something without it automatically becoming a polarised 'us or them' thing, or for your discomfort to be cheaply psychoanalyed as being indicative of some form of deep-seated political bias. Whoa, getting heavy there. You did ask… I asked about your discomfort about motorsport. I'm not your therapist, sheesh. Again, it's not exactly a dislike of motorsport - it's an unease about the knee-jerk impulse to pander to every loud lobby group out there, even when their impact on the living space and environment is questionable. But the race track will not be on ODZ land… But it'll be on industrial land. And we may need to build more factories soon. Where will those go? You can say that about pretty much anything though. Exactly. Whaa--? Yes. Think about it. This is all about a lack of proportion and perspective. Are we still talking about motorsports? Sure. Let's just use it as a jumping off point. Does a massive racetrack make sense for tiny Malta? Wouldn't motorsport enthusiasts be better served in other, larger countries? But not everyone can afford that. That's true. You're being elitist. Now, that's NOT true. There's a difference between saying you shouldn't have something because you can't afford it, and you shouldn't have something because it is not physically and environmentally viable. People like magic tricks that help them suspend disbelief, though. That's what novels, movies and Netflix series are for - it's not the role of government. But governments could make people happy if they wanted to. But they should not strive to satisfy short-term urges. Governments should plan policies that can elevate the living standards of people across the board… not satisfy the whims of particular lobby groups - however vociferous they may be - for the sake of a quick electoral return. Do say: "Electoral promises are what they are, and it's true that motorsport enthusiasts have been promised the race track for quite some time now. But the same could be said for the hunting and construction lobbies, and look where both of them have gotten us. It's time to accept that Malta is a small country, and to craft its future along lines which make do with its size and preserve what works about it… instead of grotesquely expanding outwards and upwards and hoping for the best." Don't say: "I propose an additional eco-tax on all those who opt to emblazon their cars with '#RespectMotorsport' stickers. You're effectively outing yourself as an emissions terrorist." 'The EU is not a bank' INTERVIEW IRATXE GARCIA-PEREZ PAGE 8 & 9 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down JOSANNE CASSAR Talk is cheap, donations easy: the real challenge is the mentality PAGE 6 MICHAEL FALZON The good Samaritan PAGE 7 No 107 – Racing For That Vote SAVIOUR BALZAN Two parties, one man PAGE 5 EDITORIAL An economy built on modern-day slavery PAGE 2 Unlike the austerity we saw in the case of the 2008 crisis - European governments have today decided to put people at the centre of their response, with a solidarity-based Recovery Plan

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