I don’t know how generous is the “generous” offer the government made to teachers. I may not be a fan of every tactical choice the MUT makes. I know that whatever the offer teachers have and whatever methods their union resorts to, to force the offer upwards somewhat, the final deal will be a far cry from what teachers deserve and what this country needs.

It’s all about demand and supply, isn’t it? If we are to have a sophisticated labour force and a grown-up and responsible citizenry, we need good people to teach in schools.

Good people can get good salaries anywhere they like. Most jobs do not force them to perform in front of 30 critical and distracted children and young people for all hours of the day. Most jobs do not force them to work on prep and on follow-up for the rest of the day and most of the night. Most jobs do not involve confrontation with irate parents, exposure to distressing social and personal troubles, and an unreasonable race against time meeting impossible deadlines while herding uncooperative students.

And most jobs do not include the responsibility of being trusted with the care of the most precious ‘thing’ adults have: their children.

Too many teachers quit because the alternatives available to them outside their initial vocation are too tempting. Because teachers are parents too. They have families. The hours they spend away from their own personal responsibilities are a price they must pay and the poor salaries they earn in exchange are a price their families must pay.

We need teachers if we want a country worth living in. So, we must pay for them. That’s it, really.

If you’ve taken time out to be concerned about the fate of a Ficus tree in Mosta square, then surely you have the basic altruistic qualities to care about the people whose job it is to prepare the next generation for their future.

It’s perhaps incredible how quickly a socialist prime minister forgets his claimed ideological heritage and becomes a hard-nosed libertarian. ‘Strikes won’t get you anywhere,’ Robert Abela told teachers yesterday. Strikes are a basic right in industrial relations. Downing tools, within parameters, is protected by law. The least Robert Abela could do is pretend to respect that. But Robert Abela knows that reducing any argument to partisanship will secure the applause of disciples. He was speaking yesterday at a Labour Party event, addressing teachers – Labourites and Nationalists and people of other or no political affiliation alike – from a Labour Party platform.

It would have been impressive had the prime minister attended a public meeting with teachers and defended his position there. We would have admired him facing the anger of teachers with poise and logic, and maybe a little compassion.

Robert Abela wouldn’t do that. He prizes the applause he gets far more than the claims and the arguments and the complaints of teachers.

Consider this front page on the General Workers’ Union newspaper today reporting on the teachers’ dispute. Do they take the side of the striking workers? Do they sympathise with them? Do they argue in defence of the right to strike? Do they fuck.

Support your children’s teachers. The country depends on them.