Friday, September 16, 2011, by Berta Sullivan
Three years ago, the newly-elected Labour leader told us that he “was looking forward to being Prime Minister at the age of 39”. He revealed that “he had mapped out a 15-year project for his party and the country”. He also promised a political earthquake. The latter there has been no sign of and we have no idea whether he had actually prepared a map. Anyway, considering the global economic fluidity, drawing up a 15-year plan is a tad idealistic, to say the least.
Labour’s “winning generation” has been described by its leader as “the biggest factory of progressive ideas”. Well, three years down the line it seems the Labour leader is still waiting for a building permit to start constructing this “fancy” factory and we are all still waiting with bated breath for some kind of political quiver from Labour, just to make life somewhat more interesting.
When Joseph Muscat took the leadership of the Labour Party he had explained, in royal “we” form, that “we will spend the first two years transforming the party… in the third and fourth we will tell people what we want to do”. Well, to be fair, within the first two years, Labour did undertake some cosmetic changes. It recruited back into its fold some remnants of Labour’s old guard of the 1970s and the 1980s; after much pomp and vigour it changed its emblem and, last year, it also set up a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender section within the party to give these groups an opportunity of “advocacy”. This novelty prompts me to wonder why Labour felt the need for this special section. Were these groups not getting the adequate support from their party? Were they being ostracised by other members? Anyway, if I fell into one of the above categories the last thing I would want is to be compartmentalised into a section!
Dr Muscat has gone on and on telling about how progressive his party is and, yet, he is against same-sex marriages. I will not enter into the merit or demerit of the issue. I don’t have to as I am not aspiring to be Prime Minister of this beautiful country we live in but for someone who says he is building the biggest factory of progressive ideas same-sex marriages should be the order of the day. In 2008, he had said: “I think the term marriage here is not on, definitely,” adding that although it is still premature it would be OK to explore the possibility of having “civil partnerships” or some sort of other “union”. This summer he confirmed this very conservative stand. He is definitely against same-sex marriages. He is also on record (June 2010) saying that he would not “contemplate adoptions by gay couples”.
If the Labour leader thought he would manage to transform his party and change its forma mentis by “steering away from partisanship”, as he had pledged when he started his adventure, he has failed miserably. If he doesn’t believe me all he has to do is read and listen to the bias spewed on his own media.
Now we are halfway through the third year and still we have not heard a whimper of what Labour wants us to do. All we have been told recently is that he will let on when the time is right. When would that be exactly?
Even The Times aptly asked: “Labour leader Joseph Muscat is constantly giving the impression that his party knows something about the way the economy should be managed that the government does not. The question is: Does it really?” (September 8).
All we have heard repeatedly is that a Labour government will be cutting taxes, raising salaries, reducing our water and electricity tariffs and government administration fees, dishing out benefit vouchers, reintroducing subsidies and so on and so forth.
We have heard zilch on how it will be balancing the books under its nirvana government and its leader gives the impression that he is totally oblivious to the concept “budgeting”. Just in case his apparent lavish lifestyle doesn’t allow him to understand how it works, here goes: it basically means you have to plan before you spend so that you do not live beyond your means. In other words, if you are spending more than you are earning you and your family are in trouble. So when, as an aspiring Prime Minister, Dr Muscat repeatedly criticises the government for not spending more than it actually can afford he is only showing how out of touch with reality he really is and what a bad and irresponsible leader of any country he would be.
I will just quote what this reputable paper asserted: “The experiences other eurozone countries are going through in their efforts to stabilise their financial situation are too bitter to treat lightly or, worse, to ignore altogether. The way some Labour politicians sometimes talk about the matter gives the impression that they are living in a different world” (August 25).
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