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MaltaToday 4 June 2023

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 4 JUNE 2023 COMMENT The Skinny Malta, shrunk down EDITORIAL Exotic parrots and red flags PAGE 2 JOSANNE CASSAR Our athletes excelled… despite the promised facilities which were never built PAGE 6 "There cannot be talk of equality as long as women and persons who could get pregnant continue to be regarded by the state as incubators and second class citizens..." - Raphael Vassallo PAGES 10 & 11 What are we skinning? The results of the latest 'State of the Nation' survey, commissioned by the President of the Republic and executed by head statistician in charge, Vincent Marmara'. Why are we skinning it? Because its findings are both revealing and depressingly pre- dictable. How so? The broad strokes of it all amount to: the older are more conservative and the younger more progressive; religion is in decline but we remain a country of wishy-washy believers; family remains king at all levels of soci- ety... and the rich are far happier with their lot than lower-income earners of pretty much any strata. Did we really need a survey to prove all that? I guess not, but the allure of empirical evidence is the ultimate aphrodisiac for Western societies, of which Malta nominally is one. But surely there must have been *some* curious findings among the lot. There are some notable -- albeit depressing -- trends: such as a steady decline in the perception of quality of life for those not among the highest economic echelons. Could it have something to do with the same issues that thousands were marching against in Valletta last Satur- day? Possibly, as of course the rich would be deaf to those com- plaints as they sip Prosecco while taking in unspoilt countryside views from their hill-perched villas, which surrounding area would be inaccessible to the rest of us by 'Keep Out' and 'Privat' signs. Good thing that 'the family' is still deemed worthy of cele- bration, I guess? Family could go either way. The families en- joying excellent quality of life are probably determined to ensure they remain the only ones capa- ble of doing so. And if this is a State of the Nation, how come so many of the respondents identified as primarily European? Partly aspirational, partly escapist, one would imagine. Then again, what is even the point of these surveys any- way? To find out what we're re- ally made of, would be the osten- sible reason. That sounds like something a mad scientist would con- coct. Or it could be a marker of deep-seated insecurity, and/or a desperate search for measurable validation. What 'state' would you say you're in right now, then? A state impervious to analysis from surveys, one would imagine. Our President will be disap- pointed to hear that, I'm sure. The multi-faceted nuances of the human experience were always the arch-enemies of the political class. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Keep it simple, stay stupid. Do say: "While it may be inter- esting to find out where the Mal- tese psyche is at right now, it's al- so worth noting that such surveys end up delivering a reductive picture of the nation, based on rigid empirical assumptions that run the risk of missing the wood for the trees." Don't say: "Bit boring, all of this. Call me up when we're doing the altered states of the nation." No. 194 - State of the Obvious MICHAEL FALZON The right to the environment PAGE 7 SAVIOUR BALZAN Clutching at straws PAGE 5

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