We don’t go in for revolutions like our neighbours across the water in north Africa. Things are a bit quieter here. But the quiet and calm hides the fact that fundamental change is happening. And it’s a change that is taking PN by surprise. They don’t know how to deal with it. In many ways they don’t even recognise it.
Some changes are stark and based on technology. We have family who are alive because of advanced medical treatments and family who we can see every day, even though they live thousands of miles away, thanks to computers and the internet.
But other change is more subtle. People’s attitudes are not what they were. Behaviour is different. What was not acceptable became tolerable and even celebrated. There is resistance to repression.
Some facts are hard. More couples are choosing to live together rather than marrying, more children are born out of wedlock (but not necessarily without two loving parents), and a majority of people favour divorce.
Other facts are softer, but equally relevant. The shunning of people with disabilities is diminishing, discrimination against lesbians and gays is now seen as oppressive, and there is a greater thirst for transparency and cultural diversity.
The Nationalist Party is much like a maiden aunt trying to come to terms with the modern world. They don’t like or understand a lot of it and wish things would go back to how they were.
But they also need to attract a new generation of voters and know they must make some effort to embrace the modern world. Their latest attempts are the Cohabitation and IVF bills. They are the equivalent of slightly drunk dads dancing at a wedding -- you can’t fault their efforts but it’s just embarrassing to watch.
And while the public are desperate for a fairer society, with an end to corruption and who-you-know politics, the PN leadership reaction is less of “we can’t help” but more “I’ve no idea what you are talking about.”
Lawrence Gonzi says it is not old fashioned to talk about values. He’s right. The problem is the people of