3 APRIL 2002
Cartoon this week: Sunday bloody Sunday
Editorial by Saviour Balzan
The Polish concession on property and other fairy tales
There is no doubt that the Labour party is far better at spin than the Nationalist party.
On this there should be no argument. But the latest spin on Poland and its 12-year grace period on purchase of property is not so much spin as utter misinformation.
The people at Kullhadd who contribute scurrilous pieces in their Sunday publication are martyrs for the mishandling of the truth.
Poland, a largish nation, has been given a concession for twelve years because everyone knows that they face a struggle to bring their economy in line with that of the EU.
This is an ex-Communist state which has already sold hundreds of hectares of farmland to English and German farmers.
The EU concession allows Poland to restore some serenity in its real estate market.
In the Maltese case, the concession is a permanent one. Perhaps one needs to emphasise and define the words temporary and permanent.
As IVA Malta fl-Ewropa, the Europhile group, correctly stated yesterday, after 12 years, Poland will have no other option but to allow foreigners to buy property and land.
In Maltas case this option simply does not exist. Malta in fact has a permanent derogation.
It appears that the Labour or rather the Eurosceptic Labour spin machine has kicked up mud where there is absolutely none.
But as the old saying goes: mud sticks. And as is to be expected, the man at the helm is none other than the undeniably caustic Manwel Cuschieri.
The culture of work
An unpublished report states that last year there were almost 2,800 working days lost because of industrial action. Of these only 11 working days can be attributed to the private sector.
Which reveals a great deal about the work ethic and the culture of work. It also tells us much about the unions and where their influence is greatest.
It is interesting to note that out of 138,204 gainfully occupied, 87,158 were unionised.
This means that 63% are union represented and 37% are not.
Perhaps this large number of non-unionised workers should encourage
the government to reconsider many of the reforms it had planned or talked
about in the past.
And since we are on the question of the number of working days, it would be useful to focus on the excessive number of public and religious holidays which have to be added to 24 vacation days allotted to each employee. This means that every worker spends some five weeks away from his or her workplace.
Apart from the half days and sick leave, that is.