This is being written on one of the hottest days this year. It actually feels like the hottest in history. Stifling, sticky, hazy, making lethargy and sloth a pushover at beating any energetic function like thinking, writing grand or readable stuff and definitely putting off any thought of political banter.
Today is exactly a month from the day of supposed silence and reflection before we, the people, decided to usher Joseph Muscat and his mates back in with a whopping majority.
Trying to talk numbers, even in a cool place and state, is hard, but do please bear with me and work out the maths in context.
We are—as we always seem to harp on—the smallest state of the European Union. However, economists, and especially the politicians who won the day, say that the numbers Malta has been involved in are quite staggering.
Biggest growth in the EU, among the lowest unemployment, now even the poor are no longer with us. Tourism has been on the up for almost a decade, pizza and pasta consumption must be the highest in the galaxy. Little to moan about unless you are a PN spoke in the wheel of our fabled world.
Yet when we talk maths I do feel like laughing at our inflated vision of the world we inhabit.
Let’s calculate while Joseph Muscat lords it over us all with his ever-present grin and while his cohorts continue dictating that this country is merely their own fiefdom.
A cursory look at some of the democracies in the world should truly put us and our politicians in the right light. We are but an infinitesimal part of this world and our actions, deeds and sadly even misdeeds, are of little import to the world.
Still it would be preferable if we were not too well known for our brushes with dictatorships, lack of governance or Panama secrecy, but then again what does it matter, to the world at large, if our MFSA chairman has been chairing the organisation for longer than anyone can remember?
Back to numerics:
If my sources are correct and my arithmetic is fine, in India they have over a billion people (that’s 1 and 9 zeros for the maths-deficient). They have two chambers of parliament and the total number of members of these two chambers is a staggering 802. That means that each member represents over 1 million Indian people.
Britain, being the pompous place it is, with many snoozing and sometimes enjoying a shadily-achieved status in the upper house of lords, has a combined grand total of 1450 representatives in both chambers. That means each lord, lady or commoner (I just love that moniker) represents nearly 50,000 British people.
A German member of one of the chambers represents just under 100,000. A far cry from India but how does all this compare to tiny, centre-of-the-earth, us?
We have just 67 members of parliament. And each honourable man and woman represents 6437.8 people. I added the fraction of a person because each little molecule of representation gives our MPs that much more importance.
This should cut us down to size and make us realise that all we are is a little raħal (village) with a village mayor running the place.
We are definitely important as a nation; over the years we have exported a number of good men, women, and we do have some signature brands and products. We have also been a good team-player in the EU, but maybe these sums on this sultry summer’s day should keep us more rooted to our ground lest we all become way too big for our boots.
Keeping things in the right perspective is always preferable to keeping up appearances of haughtiness and grandeur.