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MaltaToday 10 May 2023 MIDWEEK

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OPINION 12 maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 10 MAY 2023 'Make it look like an accident...' Raphael Vassallo REGULAR readers of this column will probably know that I have very little pa- tience for 'conspiracy theories', at the end of the day. (In fact, I've received my own fair share of hate-mail, for having attempted to debunk so many of them over the years...) Nonetheless, this week I made an important discovery concerning that particular phenomenon. Namely, that 'conspiracy theories' – even of the most outlandish variety imaginable – tend to automatically become far more 'con- vincing', to your own ears... when you actually come up with them yourself! Yes, indeed, folks. After all these years of (unsuccessfully) arguing the case for 'rationality' over 'mindless sensation- alism', I too have finally succumbed to the inevitable, and decided that... what the heck? 'If you can't beat them, join them!' Besides: there are moments in life – and this week happened to be one of them – when you look at everything around you, and find yourself thinking: "But hang on a sec: there IS no actual rational explanation to account for all this absurdity, is there? There IS no way to link up all these apparent 'co- incidences'- or 'join all these dots', if you prefer - that would conceivably make sense, from any ordinary, sane, non-conspiratorial perspective..." So, who knows? Maybe those conspir- acy theorists have a point, after all, to constantly look for 'irrational' explana- tions instead; and to keep coming up with more imaginative – bizarre, even – ways, to somehow 'make sense of the nonsensical'. In any case: to cut a long story short, this week I decided to have a crack at it myself. And what do you know? In ab- solutely no time at all, I found myself accidentally unearthing a secret plan – already at an advanced stage, by the way; and involving, it seems, the Gov- ernment of Malta; Infrastructure Mal- ta; the Malta Transport Authority; and even the 'Malta Roads Safety Commis- sion' (yes, folks: we actually have one) – to... ... well, 'kill us all', I suppose. Or to be more accurate: to slowly 'thin out our population', so that our sheer numbers no longer pose such a 'strain on the country's resources', and all that... Oh, and in case you were wondering: like all self-respecting conspiracy theo- ries, mine, too, is ultimately rooted in a number of undeniable 'facts'. So, with- out further ado: let's go over a few of them, shall we? Fact #1: We now have solid, unambig- uous evidence, that the Government of Malta – specifically, in the form of its finance minister, Clyde Caruana – has for some time now been regretting its policy of 'growing the economy, by ex- panding the population'. In 2022, Caruana himself even told us that: "I was a cheer leader of govern- ment policy that favoured a growth in human resources to enable this country to expand its productivity…". He later admitted that "the same reci- pe adopted over the past 10 years is un- suitable for the type of economic devel- opment the country should aim for in the next decade." In other words: having deliberately engineered a population explosion of around 200,000, in the space of 10 years, in order to 'fuel economic growth', the government has belatedly realised that Malta is now home to more people than its infrastructure (including, but not limited to, its traffic infrastructure) can actually sustain. And let's face it: there are only so many ways you can actually go about 'solving' a problem like that. You could, for instance, simply 'change the coun- try's immigration policy' (preferably, into something which takes Malta's in- frastructural capabilities into account BEFORE opening the floodgates to im- migration, instead of afterwards). Alternatively, you could expand Mal- ta's infrastructure, so that it CAN ac- tually accommodate all those people. A quick note: I need hardly add that this is by far the most expensive option on the table; and in any case, it's probably far too late for any of that now, anyway. Or else, you could simply do it the good old-fashioned way and, well, just 'bump off' a few random people, from time to time. You know, like game-keepers occasionally do with herds of wild ani- mals: when they multiply so much, that their numbers need to be controlled for the sake of 'preserving the ecosystem'. Which naturally brings me to: Fact #2: This week, the National Of- fice of Statistics published its annual traffic report, and... oh look, what a co- incidence! It turns out that "the num- ber of road traffic accidents in the first quarter of 2023 reached 3,822, register- ing an increase of 6.3% over the previ- ous year"; and that "road traffic casual- ties increased by 13.3% to 367 in 2023." Now: to be fair, the same NSO report also indicates that the number of traf- fic fatalities has actually DECREASED – if ever so slightly – since last year. But that detail has to weighed against a couple of other factors... including that: a) 2022 happened to be the worst year ever on record, for traffic fatali- ties in this country – with a staggering 26 deaths recorded in just 12 months (that's more than one 'every two weeks') - so any comparison with 2023 has to be adjusted accordingly; and; b) Even the best-lain, most masterful- ly-executed of 'secret plans' have been known to misfire, occasionally (and let's face it: some of the survivors of those 3,822 accidents are actually lucky to still be alive. You could, in fact, al- most regard them as 'the ones who got away...') All the same, however: I am the first to admit that these statistics, in and of themselves, do not really 'prove' the the veracity of my own conspiracy theory. After all, the mere fact that 'so many more people are dying in traffic acci- dents, on average, year after year', does

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