9.4 Power and Prestige

Involvement in the higher circles of power and prestige is not something actively sought by the Maltese. Very few are involved in party politics. With very few exceptions, there are hardly any Maltese involved in the higher echelons of power, be it in politics, civil service, the church or any other area of civic endeavor.

This has been blamed on a number of factors. One reason could be the relative lack of adequately educated persons to take on such responsibilities. As a recent report puts it:

The first hurdle to be overcome by aspirants to political power is now normally to have a tertiary education in the English language (Jupp et al 1989 p 55).

The educational achievements of Maltese have been discussed in chapter 5, and it needs only be emphasised here that if higher education is a key to power and influence, then it is likely that the Maltese will be without such for a considerable length of time, indeed for the foreseeable future. As emphasized earlier, the reason for this is likely to be historical, sociological and psychological, and it is most unlikely that, with the best will in the world, attitudes, particularly parental attitudes to tertiary academic studies, will change in the space of a generation. It is my conviction that other ethnic groups with the same educational background as Maltese, (eg Italians and Greeks) have managed to overcome these drawbacks because of a strong cultural conviction and attitudes which were not present in Maltese. It is possible that a number of 'core features' identified by Lewis (1961,1966) relating to a ,culture of poverty' could also include poverty in political terms, as not sharing in the political and civic cake. These features, which include mother-centred families, a male preoccupation with being tough and masculine, fatalism, and a narrow perspective on the world restricted to immediate environmental conditions are particularly noticeable in Maltese.

Source: Maurice N. Cauchi - Maltese Migrants in Australia, Malta 1990

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