I'm sure this is the case all over the world. But maybe it is more evident in tiny Malta because, well, Malta is tiny.
What am I talking about?
It is clear to me that elitism pervades Maltese civil society to a large extent, with the more powerful looking down on the not so powerful, and doing anything but helping people out of a variety of unpleasant situations.
Margaret Thatcher famously once said:
"...there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first."
Is there such a thing as a Maltese society? For all our talk of being hospitable, charitable and generous, is this a mythology that we have created about ourselves or maybe it is a case that 'twas once thus but now
'tis no longer true?
Should the Maltese government be let off the hook about various recent happenings because individuals "must look to themselves first"? Or is Maltese society not evolved enough to permit individuals to fend for themselves in the first instance?
If we take the long let market, it is self evident that there is much that is wrong with it. The stories we see on a daily basis in the Facebook group, Class Action Against Arms, are distressing to read. People being made to pay for previous tenants' bills, deposits being unjustifiably retained, people paying for their utilities at the incorrect tariff, violent landlords, landlords forcing entry into their tenants' homes with no notice, substandard plumbing and electrical wiring, garnishee orders unjustifiably being applied to salaries and bank accounts, electricity and water supplies being cut off because landlords have not passed on the payments made by tenants to Arms... The list goes on.
What do we get from the authorities when we point this out? Absolutely nothing. Just a deafening silence.
And the general population? Mostly we get vilification for pointing this injustice out. A "Go back to where you came from." Or "How dare you be critical? Only Maltese people can be critical of Malta." Or "Tenants are just as bad".
From letting agents caught out in blatant illegalities in their contracts? Threats of court action and garnishee orders to sue us for libel and slander. Even though we just state facts and point out the abuse.
There was a letter in the Times of Malta written by Mr. Oisin Jones Dillon on the 17th June, 2010 which included the following:
"However, whether one is an owner-occupier, tenant or liable for energy bills issued in the landlord's name, eligibility for both this energy allowance and the eco-reduction on electricity consumption tariffs is based on the number of registered occupants on the energy bills."
That was more than 4 years ago.
I repeat. Is there such a thing as a Maltese society?
"Elitism is the belief or attitude that some individuals, who form an elite—a select group of people with a certain ancestry, intrinsic quality or worth, high intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes—are those whose influence or authority is greater than that of others ..."
Elitism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaen.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elitism