MaltaToday previous editions

MALTATODAY 26 December 2021 LOOKING BACK edition

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 59

2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 27 DECEMBER 2020 NEWS Christmas specials • COVID-19 and the new normal Thank you... for having bought this newspaper The good news is that we're not raising the price of our newspaper We know times are still hard, but we have pledged to keep giving our readers quality news they deserve, without making you pay more for it. So thank you, for making it your MaltaToday Support your favourite newspaper with a special offer on online PDF subscriptions. Visit or scan the QR code Subscriptions can be done online on Same-day delivery at €1 for orders up to 5 newspapers per address. Subscribe from €1.15 a week Same-day print delivery from Miller Distributors mt CHILDREN in Maltese schools have spent two academic years walking through the school- gates with their face-masks on, spending entire lessons with their mouths covered. The workplace has had to let go of its ancient suspicion of tele-working to embrace digital practices that allowed it function seamlessly with- out the physical presence of workers. Personal contacts were reduced, minimum distances observed, person- al-protection measures and hygiene rules followed and, where possible, face-to-face meetings replaced by digital communication. The pan- demic was a strong driver for digitalisation. The future of education it- self already demands solu- tions that allow us to move teaching from the classroom to online seamlessly, by de- sign: students' location will not influence the quality of the education they receive. Knowledge and interaction, participation in discussions, will take place digitally under conditions of normality. So will healthcare be fur- ther digitised with the use of continuous monitoring from home assistants and smart- phones, allowing self-diag- nosis well before going to a hospital. The supply chain crisis – an inability from global logistics to cater for the reinvigorated global demand for interme- diate goods and raw material – has now made goods short- ages a daily occurrence. And the labour supply shortage has taught a nation of migrants the value of im- migrants, legal or not. The new normal has come to stay, as the spread of the coro- navirus is accompanied by its various mutations and with it, necessary public health re- strictions that alter people's way of life. It is a kind of 'normal' that has already been visited up- on the world previously. The 9-11 attacks produced a massive upheaval of travel security checks and govern- ment surveillance that has been with us ever since 2001. The world has not become any safer since cockpit doors were locked and small bot- tles of shampoo were banned from airliners... it just became more ever-changing: almost 'liquid'. Perhaps nothing represents better the state the world has been in the last 20 years than the archetypal challenges that define our quest for "secu- rity": terrorism, the climate crisis, the scourge of neolib- eralism and its effects on in- ternational markets, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic and its bio-politics. None of these challenges can lack a global response. Inter- national security cooperation, carbon-neutral targets, re- newable energy and the phas- ing-out of fossil fuels, carbon taxation and international anti-tax avoidance measures, stronger regulation, and equal access to vaccination across the globe... But at the heart of these many concerns, one clear fac- tor of the human condition will always reign supreme: the availability of quality jobs, so- cial protection and insurance and a robust health system. These are the determinants of a nation's wellbeing that can- not be divorced from the re- ality of the world's challenges. That is why the European Union is itself responding to the challenges of the future with far-reaching reforms: the Fit For 55 package of rules that will take Europe into a car- bon-neural future, the financ- ing of the economic transition through international corpo- rate taxes – a reality that the selfish industry of financial practitioners can no longer avoid with mealy-mouthed calls for national sovereignty – and new Europe-wide rules to regulate digital giants that determine the way people act and behave in the digital sphere. If the world has to be future-proofed against the changes that crisis brings, it cannot be done without reg- ulating the powerful, without making the wealthy finance the costly transitions that could punish the weakest and poorest members of socie- ty, and without governments ensuring a form of existential security – jobs, pensions and functioning health systems. Indeed, the Maltese govern- ment's committed economic management to support busi- nesses and jobs have been key to support its COVID strat- egy and its high vaccination rate. But while COVID has ravaged some governments, the last two years in Mal- ta have perhaps underlined even more the difference that strong leadership makes when prime ministers are on the front foot throughout the crisis. Perhaps, Labour's su- premacy in the polls reflects also this public support and confidence. A new normal that shows no sign of waning Malta's government thrived under COVID-19, but is this growing power coming at a cost of the value of politics? The need for social security and jobs should never be underestimated, but a healthy democratic life needs better checks and balances, transparency and good governance MATTHEW VELLA

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of MaltaToday previous editions - MALTATODAY 26 December 2021 LOOKING BACK edition