Saturday, 6 February 2010

Independent: ‘Old recipe is a key to failure’ – Joseph Muscat
4.2.10 by Annaliza Borg

“We are at the crossroads of keeping the party for us or opening it to all Maltese and Gozitan people,” said Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat at the introduction of a question and answer session with party delegates yesterday evening, as part of the Labour Party’s annual general conference.

“Not changing the old recipe is a key for failure,” he believed.

The Labour Party was rediscovering its values and what it stands for. Its delegates and members must be clear in what distinguishes them and therefore their identity.

“The party is intrinsically a workers’ party.” Dr Muscat noted that time has changed. Moreover, the time of yesterday’s political parties was over and some people were ready to connect with an idea but no longer with a party.

“We need to get rid of mediocrity once and for all,” he said.

Honesty and promising things which can actually be implemented will help to move on and win elections. Overconfidence, as was the case in the past, will not result in success. On the other hand, contact with people was necessary.

The party could not close doors to people but needed to open them wide. It was not a question of having people take another’s turn but one of vision to save the country and give it the future it actually merits.

“We must continue to be constant as we were in the past year and a half, giving proposals to the government on matters where we differ and voicing agreement when necessary,” he said.

Dr Muscat plans to continue driving change from the day after the conference as change was the party’s “lifeblood” even though it was difficult.

Criticising the government for Air Malta’s losses over the past year, Dr Muscat said a Labour government will never sell the national airline as this was intrinsically important for our tourism industry.

He also noted Dr Gonzi’s recent announcement that the dockyard sale was paying e52 million over 30 years. This was no large amount and its equivalent was promised to bus owners in a day, Dr Muscat said.

There was a time when the Nationalist government was successful and achieved important goals, Dr Muscat believed. However, the current government led by Dr Gonzi had lost its soul and all contact with people. Change was necessary.

Moreover, Dr Muscat said he was leading the workers’ party which was to create productive employment for everyone.

Speaking about the current financial situation, Dr Muscat said responsible tax cuts were the key to improvement as each euro in people’s pockets circulates and brings growth.

With reference to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender persons, he asserted that everyone had a right to live without state interference. Homosexuality was no disease or condition and these people had a right to dignity.

The progressives’ and moderates’ movement was no home for those who believed otherwise, Dr Muscat said.

Questions regarding the party’s traditional values, attracting people to the party and winning elections, the link between Dr Muscat’s vision of a new movement and the labour party, plans for Gozo, social housing and current water and electricity bills, were put forward.

PL also paid respect to the nine dockyard employees who died while working on the Um El Farroud ship 15 years ago.

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