Just imagine. The tax collector comes round and you tell him “Dude, I’m experiencing cashflow problems, mind if I pay you later?” No need to get that extreme. Just imagine checking out at the till of your supermarket and when the uber-bored guy at the till robotically announces the amount (and points to the five million packs of free water that you have just “won”) you tell him “Righto, I’ll pack the water but I’ll pay you next month… if I find the cash”.
It’s not done is it? You rent a place to run a restaurant or a strip joint, whatever, and you are expected to cough up the rent. Pronto. No rent and you are evicted. You don’t pay your water and electricity bills and you find yourself showering at the neighbours (if they can tolerate the mess you leave behind).
Except of course if you’re a political party. Ever since the PLPN decreed that “pluralism” (whatever happened to that word that used to be uttered like some magic mantra) would be showered on the expectant peoples, and ever since the likes of 101, SuperOne, Net TV and OneTV were unleashed on us the parties have had the lion’s share of broadcasting on the islands.
It is no secret that quality wise this increase in “competition” has been of no benefit whatsoever to the consumer. Given the talent gene pool limitations it would be hardly surprising should this island sustain one good quality TV structure (broadcasting corporation) branching out into specialised channels. Instead we have the two political channels lording it out and churning out Malta’s worst – thankfully in a language that is only intelligible to the island’s converted insiders.
Now we have the Malta Broadcasting Authority openly admitting that: “over the years, the Authority has taken cognisance of the fact that most national broadcasting stations face cash flow problems – from time to time situations have arisen on certain occasions where stations have fallen behind in their payments.”. Which is quite a polite way of saying that more often than not the public secret ends up being the factual truth: our political parties couldn’t give a flying armadillo whether or not they afford to pay the €15,000 or so needed annually for a broadcasting licence.
Why should they? Who will have the guts to shut them and their operations down? This is a country that constitutionally takes the existence of a bi-party system for granted. It encourages the obvious inefficiencies of an inexistent competition – and this battle for the mediocre ground spreads from values, to business, to ideas and creativity to markets.
As I said in a previous post – and I think this will be J’accuse’s seasonal motto:
In this country we do not solve problems. We nurture them.