The government has just launched a public consultation document for a new strategy on Gozo. A lot of it is about how to tap into EU money to fund ‘projects’ and ‘development’. This is typical of a vaguely modernist obsession with progress and projects, as opposed to preserving what is already there. It’s also nauseating but never mind. I’m interested in the language of the document and what it tells us about islands, geography and culture. Take the well-trodden term ‘double insularity’. It is usually summoned to make arguments for improved access. Even as the machines are busy extracting core samples for the geological side of the tunnel feasibility study, there is talk of a fourth ferry and even air links to destinations other than Malta. There is nothing particularly mad about the last. Lampedusa is less than a third the size of Gozo and it has an airport which connects it to a number of places in Italy. Some of them are as far distant from that island as Malta is from Athens or Algiers. Technically, Gozo could be said to have a triple insularity. It is, after all, an island off an island (Malta) off an island […]

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