Labour, please tell us what you plan to do

Published: September 15, 2011 at 1:49pm

Success is not getting into power, but what you do once you're there. Ask Sant.

This is my column in The Malta Independent today.

I’m tired of asking. When is the Labour Party going to give us even an inkling of what it plans to do, starting in 18 months’ time?

The situation is now ridiculous.

If this were an old-style Hollywood film, the screen would be full of pages from a calendar, torn off and blowing away as days flash past in a metaphorical countdown.

The single idea that party leader Muscat had, of moving for divorce – and it wasn’t even going to be party policy but a private member’s bill – has been overcome by events. And still, nothing.

With increasing frequency, because he is now closer to his life’s ambition, Muscat chastises the government and the man he calls ‘Lawrence’ for doing things badly.

But he leaves out the crucial element of what should be the Opposition’s proper criticism: how it would do things better, how it plans to do things well.

Without that information, the Opposition leader’s words sound like bar-room barracking, to which the only possible response is, “All right, sir. You’ve told us what is wrong. Now please tell us how you plan to put it right.”

Too much is being assumed here.

The Labour Party assumes that we will take it on trust – a calculated risk based on the fact that around 47% of the electorate will vote for it however awful it is, while various factors to do mainly with boredom and the need to create excitement will bring in the rest of the votes.

Meanwhile, those who have determined to vote Labour assume that the party has some kind of secret plan or even that no plan is necessary because when it comes to governing, you can wing it.

The engine is running, you just get behind the wheel and drive.

Long months ago, Muscat announced that his party’s electoral manifesto for 2013 would be written by Karmenu Vella, the architect known by his village nickname Il-Guy. Yet we have heard nothing since and no reporter appears to have found it necessary to hold both Vella and his boss Muscat to account on progress.

The choice of chief policy writer in itself fails to inspire confidence. Vella is a veteran of Old Labour, distinguished by little more than his ability to survive nuclear fall-out.

He was a minister in the cabinets of all three Labour prime ministers since the 1970s: Dom Mintoff, Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici and Alfred Sant.

His self-presentation and chameleon-like ability to put on a show of affability and reasonableness, when in the company of business operators and the cocktail party crowd, is in stark contrast to the true self which emerges on Facebook (yes, he’s a Facebook man) as a champion of Dom Mintoff, his methods and his rule.

It was Karmenu Vella who coined the description ‘the Golden Years’ to describe the Mintoffian period.

Moody’s downgrading of Malta’s foreign-currency and national currency government bond ratings to A2 from A1, with a revision of the outlook to negative, has prompted another barrage of barracking from Muscat, who said that our only option now is to choose a change of government.

But he did not say why we should choose him as the new prime minister or explain what he would do differently.

Instead, he left us with the words “Labour reiterates its conviction that with competent leadership and a plan for economic growth, our country can get through this difficult period.” Those words, coming as they do from somebody who fought against EU membership and, more recently, joining the Eurozone, fail to inspire the required degree of confidence.

Even less inspiring are the messages put across by the Labour Party’s website, Maltastar, which editorialised yesterday:

Then predictably and very cynically the PN want to hear the PL’s policies, knowing that via spending money we don’t have they can promise the world to the Tonio’s, the Austins, the Georges and their sons and grandsons who make up the PN voting machine.”

I’m not quite certain what that means, but I do know this: it is not ‘the PN’ that wishes to have information on what Karmenu Vella is lining up for the country, but the electorate.

People who habitually vote Labour come hell or high water might not care, but the rest of us do – yes, even those of us who have no intention of voting Labour should be accorded the courtesy of being told what plans there are, lest we suspect there are none at all.

Maltastar’s editorialising continued:

“Joseph Muscat knows, as all people of goodwill know, that if we manage our affairs with prudence and foresight that this negative trend in our economy can be reversed. It is imperative though that government comes clean on what our financial situation really is. It is also time for the Finance Minister and the Prime MInister to acknowledge that their eyes have been off the ball for quite a while.”

Unfortunately for the Labour Party, ‘Joseph Muscat’s foresight’ is an oxymoron. He has demonstrated that he has difficulty seeing things clearly even with the benefit of hindsight.

As for the government coming clean “on what our financial situation really is”, the Leader of the Opposition, of all people, should know that little about the finances of an EU member state can be kept hidden, let alone from the government-in-waiting.

If Muscat has nobody competent enough to assess the available figures and to sniff the rest out, then he’s got nobody competent enough to be finance minister.

When carping about Tonio Fenech, he hasn’t even bothered to let us know who the alternative is.

80 Comments Comment

  1. Wayne Hewitt says:

    When I asked this specific question to Joseph Muscat in person and publicly on Xarabank, his answer was ‘Issa nigi f’Xarabank ta’ qabel l-elezzjoni u nghidlek ezatt x’ser naghmel Sur Hewitt’…


    • John Schembri says:

      I travelled and worked for a few weeks in China. I felt some of the sensation the writer here felt.

      You know that you’re being watched by Big Brother. I received telephone calls at my hotel from “a clandestine Catholic”. If you key in, for example, Tienamen, the great China Firewall will tell you on your computer screen that it is not available and if you still want to browse on the subject you can always contact them by email on the address available on the screen.

      Chinese people don’t know what’s really happening in Libya,Tunisia, Syria and Egypt.

      If the internet had happened during the Golden years of Labour we would have had The Great Mintoff Firewall for sure.

  2. Brian Gatt says:

    I agree that we should be made aware of the PL plans, what I dont agree however is that PL should make those plans available now. The target for each party is to finally make the Govt Seats in the Parliament, by showing his hand now could trigger a campaign by the PN to discredit his plans beofre theya re ven launched (we all know how the PN propoganda machine works) or if the PL plans are really that good then the PN can take them up and claim them for his own. So yes PL should publish his plans together with a tome frmae for implementation however I think it would be a political suicide to do it now !!!

    • Joe Micallef says:

      Brian, what a sorry vision of politics you have.

      It is “vision” (which forms an electoral programme) that distinguishes miles apart both parties. Remember the visions Xoghol Gustizzija u Liberta, Biex hadd ma jibqa lura and the EU

      These weren’t dished out a couple of weeks before an election.

      • Lorna saliba says:

        However, given the current economic situation, it would be premature to forcast one’s moves and far too early to announce anything which seems like an electoral manifesto.

        If Labour proclaims that it intends to curb the deficit (which is after all, an immediate EU requisite) this would automatically mean austerity measures which no party is willing to spell out.

        It is important to indicate guidelines and give the nation an idea on how it intends to proceed and what policies it intends to adopt.

        Labour evidently does not feel it needs to make unnecessary statements at this stage knowing full well that the current government is faced with a multitude of problems which it is duty bound to resolve.

        Problems which have been brought about by a lengthy international economic crisis.

        It is evidently banking on the fact, that numerous voters are dissatisfied at the on-going performance, unwilling to cast their vote come next election and its singular aspiration seems to be to get elected by default.

        But there again, this is no concrete political strategy.

        People do need alternative options to evaluate and weigh their options.

        The electorate will not shift its political choice based upon isolated events, but on the aggregate performance over the last 5 years.

        These were hard years and the western world has, after all, been at war with inflation and uninterrupted recession.

    • Snoopy says:

      Then you really do not have an idea what the role of the opposition is.

      A responsible opposition should give its ideas on how to run the country, and if these are taken up by the government of the day and they are really successful, then they can really state that they have contributed to the well being of the nation.

      By describing it in the way you did, I am not surprised that most of the PL supporters just think that winning an election is akin to winning a champions cup in football.

    • Marku says:

      By your logic, if a country is facing economic problems due to an inept government, the opposition should not lift a finger and instead say “to hell with the people” – so that the government may not be tempted to implement any useful ideas coming from the opposition.

    • Kenneth Cassar says:

      @ Brian Gatt:

      Politics is not a game of football. The possibility of discrediting policies before they are actually put in practice is what makes a healthy democracy.

      If a leader is an honest leader, and his policies are actually discredited, for the good of the country he/she would trash them.

      On the otherhand, a “leader” who treats politics like a game of football, either does not care about policies (or has none), or else leaves them for the last minute – without giving sufficient time for the electorate to evaluate them.

      “Leaders”who are only interested in power show their utter contempt towards the electorate by expecting the electorate to vote for their party because they believe the party deserves it, and not because voting for their party is good for the country.

      Joseph Muscat is the worst thing that could happen to Labour.

      • 'Angus Black says:

        The question is: Which of the last four Labour leaders can be considered as ‘honest’?

        Don’t rush with Sant as a possibility although he may come closest.

        But even he proved to be less than forthright in many instances or was so far out with his proposals that during hiss 22 months in office, had to reverse a number of his projects including the removal of VAT and introduce CET which many had already told him it would not work including his own minister at the time, Lino Spiteri.

        Joseph Muscat cannot reveal any plans because he hasn’t any.

        Sant’s ideas were unworkable and caused the collapse of his own government.

        Mintoff and KMB were dictators and therefore revealing plans to the commoners was out of the question.

    • Rover says:

      Brian the reality is that PL is completely bereft of any ideas and il-Guy must be struggling to come up with anything half decent to present, not just to you as a Labour supporter, but to all the electorate as is his brief.

      Truly what can you possibly expect from a cabinet minister during the stagnant economy of 1971 to 1987.

    • ninu says:

      The PL plan to save Malta:

      Korp tal-Pijuniri, Izra w Rabbi, Bahhar u Sewwi, Dirghajn il-Maltin, Farrak u Kisser, Kappar Immuffat, Skema tas-Sahha Bin NOFS LIRA, Taxxa Fuq Id-Dranagg, Skarsezzi, Favuri, Discriminazzoni u HAXIX.

    • La Redoute says:

      That strategy serves the PL. It is telling that you admire both.

      Anyone in their right mind would admire a party that serves the electorate and not one that serves itself.

    • Not Tonight says:

      “we all know how the PN propaganda machine works”

      We know how the PL propaganda machine works too, to discredit even those who have nothing to do with politics.

      However, I can see why the PL wants to make its policies known on the eve of elections and not before. Because they will not hold any substance which would not crumble if scrutinised for more than a few hours.

      You are obviously one of “around 47% of the electorate (who) will vote for it however awful it is”. If Karmenu Vella can inspire such faith in you, I give up on you. You must feel right comfortable with the lot in Joey’s refuse skip running the country, so nothing will make you come to your senses.

  3. A. Charles says:

    Joe Muscat, on the first day of snatching Castille, will declare that Malta is bankrupt.

    This will be a repetition of when Mintoff became prime minister in 1971.

    We all know the subsequent result which was stalemate in the economy because Labour had no fiscal policy to write home about.

    • WhoamI? says:

      eh bankrupt u mhux bankrupt, lili irit itini il-livink wejc issa la wedili kif ukoll ir-refound tat-taxxa li seraqli GoNeZIpN fuq il-marsedis li xtrajt!!!!!!!????????????!!!!!!!!!????????

    • Banca rotta says:

      Hear hear! Its the truth! How are we going to pay the 5 billion of debt? it the case that the more debt we have the richer we are?

      • La Redoute says:

        So Joey tieghek had better get his fiscal policy together, hadn’t he? And he’d better tell you about it so that you’l know how ‘we going to pay the 5 billion of debt’ (sic).

  4. Jozef says:


    Labour have for the past three years promoted themselves as a nationwide movement surpassing ‘class’ divisions, creating business forums and sections dedicated to minority groups.

    Surely all this was done according to some underlying principle espousing public participation and pluralism.

    So what exactly have they concluded?

    That if anything positive has to come out of this exercise, it should be primarily beneficial to the PL as a vote-catching mechanism?

    If he has been discussing with stakeholders, to what extent has he committed his ideas? In other words, would you entertain dialogue with such a bloke?

    It’s a mistake to think that elections are some five-yearly period along which everyone plans their business. The running of an economy is not a game of poker.

    Political suicide is implying that the party comes before country.

  5. Lorna saliba says:

    Completely hopeless! This is a party which aspires to be in government but yet choses to keep everybody in the dark about its plans.

    There has been so much damage inflicted on the PL by its own leadership already. The choice of AST as foreign policy advisor, and monuments like Karmenu Vella, does very little to provide comfort to the electorate.

    Secondly, nothing that Labour can provide can boost confidence.

    With all its flaws the PN has the best foreign policy.

  6. Patrik says:

    Shhh. Don’t give them ideas Daphne, you know they actually listen to you. Perhaps if we keep quiet they’ll still be without a policy in the months prior to the election.

  7. Jozef says:

    The plain truth is that following Gaddafi’s defenestration any possible ‘business plan’ has been thoroughly wiped out.

    Is it a coincidence that barely a month after his downfall, Alfred Sant restarts his economic prose?

    They’re worried themselves, following Joseph’s laments to the disappearance of bulk buying, the living wage proposal and his attraction for deficit spending. Hardly anything worthy of note within the ongoing Eurozone debate.

    The fact that they’re purportedly European socialists with an anti EU history must have left them with a deep sense of inadequacy faced with the reality that is Malta in 2011.

  8. maryanne says:

    We may not know what the PL’s economic plans for Malta will be but we do know how they are going to govern. It will be back to the old days for sure.

    “When contacted, Dr Fenech said that PBS would be taking up the matter with the BA to ensure that steps are taken against whoever issued the PL statement.

    He said that what had happened was that the director, who was a PL delegate, had made a mistake and started broadcasting the footage of the following story as the right of reply was being read.

    The footage was stopped as soon as the mistake was realised.

    Dr Fenech complained of a systematic attack against him by the PL. He pointed out that on the day of the incident, he had been in Gozo.”.

  9. H MIZZI says:

    A Charles is either a dreamer or a liar. In 1972 all earnings of the whole nation were not charged income tax. Consecutive Labour Administrations had, apart from a fiscal policy,
    a plethora of infrastructural, social and economic
    policies and projects which were introduced and maintained from 1971 to 1987. Following all the remarkable improvements, completed by the Labour Administration, in 1987 the financial reserves of the Central Bank of Malta exceeded Lm 400,000,000 amounting to around 1,000,000,000 euro.

    • A. Charles says:

      Wow! Rich government, poor people.

    • John Schembri says:


      The Central Bank’s gold bullion which the Borg Olivier administration bought at a good price was re-valued by Dom Mintoff and voila’ we made more money than them.

      After Mintoff resigned as prime minister, he kept an office in the House of the Four Winds meddling in money matters.

      He lost Lm4 million (10,000,000 Euro) in one fell swoop.

      Mintoff also made the ‘timber carriers’ deal with Communist Russia, on which Malta lost millions of dollars and he was the one who got us for ‘free’ a post war 28% efficient power station from Palermo, which simply was already a fuel guzzler, and that’s why the Italians scrapped it.

      Where there are monopolies, companies employ a lot of people, run inefficiently and ask exorbitant prices for their products – Air Malta comes to mind. That’s Mintoff’s ’success’ story.

      In historical terms Mr Mizzi can quote to us the ‘achievements’ made in the recent past when Labour was at the helm of Malta’s ship in the calm waters of the world economy. Just for starters we can have CET and the HOFRA which it enlarged, together with the freezing of our application to join the EU.

      Hallina Mizzi !

  10. Ed says:

    How do you expect him to take a position? He’s been sitting on the fence so long that a fence post must have got stuck up the nether regions.

    At this rate, he’s in danger of being known as Joseph the Great Impaled.

  11. Adrian Meli says:

    All I can say is this – the PN promised many things prior to the last election and yet there are many which were not delivered. A case in point is the income tax cuts which the party made so much fuss about.

    Yet, I don’t recall any PN supporter complaining…

    [Daphne – Probably it’s because those who vote PN tend to see sense, and factor in the financial crisis and attendant problems.]

    So you expect Dr. Muscat to tell everybody what his plans for the future are? Why are you all in such a hurry?

    [Daphne – You know, I’m still flummoxed by the way true-red Laburisti just don’t get democracy. For the Opposition to talk of its plans, precisely so that they may or may not be torn to shreds, is a democratic requirement. As for the hurry, well, well, well – I don’t think you’ve realised that 18 months go by in a flash, unless you’re 12 and at school.]

    Most of the people who read this blog simply believe that the government is doing everything right so in reality they don’t give a toss what Dr. Muscat has to say!

    [Daphne – That’s not the case at all. Please distinguish between doing everything right and being the most capable set of persons on offer. People are not programmable robots. I look at Joseph Muscat and I wouldn’t trust him to get the supermarket shopping done right.]

    No – when the right time comes I am sure that the party will convey its message and the electorate will make its choice accordingly.

    So I guess you might have to wait a bit longer – although how much will depend on the Prime Minister.

    [Daphne – Pathetic. He’s really sold it to you, hasn’t he? The proverbial fools being suckered for a ride. Have some pride, for God’s sake. Demand to know. Your reasoning is no different to that of the subliterate throngs who gathered round Mintoff to lionise him while he laughed at them behind their backs.]

    • John Schembri says:

      Adrian, we were promised tax cuts by GonziPN, true! As things stood, I bought the promise.

      For a moment , try to recall whether GonziPN promised extra social assistance because of the high fuel prices

      I would start grumbling like you’re doing if the fuel prices remained the same. The 34,000 families got this bonus (which was not an electoral promise) and we got no tax cuts.

      When Mintoff was in the opposition he outrightly opposed lots of things which made him unpopular but he said them nonetheless.

      I recall the CET debate in parliament where Nationalist MPs tried to minimise the damage instead of maximising it so that Sant would get into even more trouble. They begged the obstinate Sant on their knees to keep the audit trail and minimise harm to the country.

      I recall Eddie Fenech Adami telling Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici that the PN would install RO plants to produce potable water from sea water. Karmenu grabbed the great idea but Eddie won more public confidence.

      The people voted in the PN with open arms after the ‘unknown’ Sant showed us what New Labour was worth.

      Up to now, every time Dr Muscat has opened his mouth, all hell has broken loose against him. The family wage comes to mind as an example.

      There will be no next ‘unknown’ PL prime minister’. Malta will not take another leap in the dark.

      It would be good for Labour if Joseph shows his alternative or the different way he would tackle the economy, education, social issues and whatnot.

      I don’t know what he is up to and neither do you, Adrian.

      This is no football match between my favourite team Juventus and your favourite team Barca. After the game we would still have to go to work next day. Coaches are not expected to divulge their plans, but politicians are expected to do just that.

      We are being treated like mushrooms by this blok , that is: he is feeding both of us bullshit and keeping us in the dark.

      • Adrian Meli says:

        That is your opinion and you have every right to believe it, but I don’t agree with you. I firmly believe that when the time comes everyone will be able to choose according to what both political parties have to offer. I agree with you that this is no football match and that is why I expect Dr Muscat to divulge what the party has in mind when the time is ripe.

      • John Schembri says:


        “when the time is ripe” would be too late for us.

        We need time for a discussion to mature.

        And we don’t need another Mistra ‘Terrinata’ on the eve of the election. We should be served with a decent programme and policy.

        I find it highly unfair when public attention is turned on scandal and nothing is discussed about how our country is going to be run by a new administration for a five-year term.

        I would not dump Labour because a Gozitan MP built a villa in an ODZ area without a MEPA permit. It’s the MP who should be dumped by his constituents.

        We should have time to savour Labour’s new progressive, liberal, socialist and moderate policies on how to make housing affordable for young people, or how to reduce the price of fuel and electricity, and how to woo more young people into tertiary education.

        Opinions are up to the individual, but facts are facts. You don’t agree or disagree with facts. You agree or disagree with opinions.

        That the Nationalist Opposition begged Prime Minister Sant to keep the audit trail in VAT, and that it was Opposition leader Fenech Adami who suggested to Prime Minister KMB to install RO plants is not an opinion, but fact. There is nothing there for you to agree or disagree with.

    • Adrian Meli says:

      As regards to trusting him with a shopping list at the supermarket…. I may agree with you there. I bet he’s got more important things on his mind….

      [Daphne – He seems to have plenty of time on his hands, Adrian. He might as well do the shopping. Or has he been brought up to think himself too important to do something like that?]

      I see you make one point clear. The fact that the PN did not decrease the income tax AS PROMISED is excusable and on the other hand you seem to think that it makes sense.

      [Daphne – Look around you, Adrian. No, really, you should. And I don’t mean Malta, either.]

      Well if the government didn’t have a problem with excessive public spending than tax cuts would mean more money in the taxpayer’s pockets which would stimulate the economy and in the end resulting in more revenue being collected.

      I see that no matter how we look at things, it seems it’s a question of seeing the glass either half full or half empty….. Well that’s Malta after all.

  12. Yoyo says:

    Such a pity that there are many Maltese brainwashed by videos (such as the one you’ve posted last time) and other PL’s propoganda (which only reminds me of George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’).

    I’m still young and I cannot talk of the ‘Golden Years’. bBut all of that together with Muscat’s propoganda is truly a proof of ‘min jitwieled tond ma jmutx kwadru’ – suits the PL.

    They just keep on mocking and criticizing from the back seat. They continue to complain about the prime minister and through all their media they have masked his merits.

    If the plant in my garden is drooping, it must be Gonzi’s fault – he caused acid rain.

    If I wake up in a bad mood, it’s Gonzi’s fault – iI refused to switch the a/c on. Bills are too high.

    If I fail my exams, oh that should be Gonzi’s fault.

    If the Arriva buses are late, it’s Gonzi’s fault – he introduced them.

    It might sound hilarious, but I feel they’re acting this way. and worse than that, their supporters blindly believe their twisted facts.

    They don’t even acknowledge the turmoil that has dominated the world, let alone help find solutions for our problems. It is this that worries me.

    What a pity. I can predict what the future ‘leader’ would declare as soon as he’s no longer in the comfy opposition seat: ‘il-kaxxa ta’ Malta falluta’. What are we to do then? What about his ‘Success’ plans?

    I wonder if he’d give our electricity for free then, or if we’d still have to pay tax.

    Ix-xemx minn filghodu turik, but pity that some Maltese who dote on PL and their media are cocooned in thick fog.

    I might be talking nonsense, but I definitely feel there’s something which I can’t take in about this Muscat and his pals. And yes, I believe that history can repeat itself.

  13. Peter Pan says:

    The presenter from Inkontri on Super One is asking for anyone who suffered discrimination to call.

    Can those who suffered discrimination under Old Labour apply?

  14. SDS says:

    What I find strange is that Labour supporters are willing to take Joseph Muscat’s word on the changes whatever they may be.

  15. John Schembri says:

    As a voter I’m not really interested in his plans. My real interest is in what would he do in a specific scenario.

    From there, one can deduce how he would run the country.

    Right now he’s trying to anticipate what Gonzi would decide, state the obvious and behave as if Gonzi is following his ‘advice’.

    In other words he’s behaving like the cock who convinced the hens that he’s the one who orders the sun to rise every morning with his crowing, until the farmer slaughtered him and the sun rose as usual.

  16. xmun says:

    One of the problems I see is that too many young people have no idea what it was like living under Labour.

    They do not know who AST or Karmenu Vella are or what the policies they came up with meant to Maltese society of the time.

    They don’t remember the abysmal standard of living and the constant struggle for survival in an increasingly anti-democratic environment. You have to have lived it to believe it.

    Unfortunately my first twenty years were characterised by the likes of AST and Karmenu Vella. And living in Bormla simply made it worse.

  17. Joe Micallef says:

    There was a talk show on Favourite Channel yesterday. Somebody called Darren, sporting what looked like a wet wind-tunnel hairdo, interviewed Labour Gozo MP Anton Refalo. It was simply revolting but a few bits are worth sharing.

    – Refalo said that in Gozo many people are living in poverty and only a Labour government can solve the problem.

    – He repeated that Gozo is a web of corruption and nepotism, in which he of course plays no part.

    – There are many unemployed people in Gozo, most of them graduates. His solution is to have all back office work done there, which must be an exciting prospect for those graduates.

    – Refalo said that his leader knows what has to be done, but he was short on specifics.

    – Refalo said that no Nationalist government has ever had a plan for Gozo, yet Labour intends to continue with this government’s Gozo Eco Plan because people like it.

    – The man with the wind tunnel hairdo announced that Anton Refalo will be minister for Gozo under Labour. Anton Refalo pretended to be surprised at this.

  18. 'Angus Black says:

    Daphne, I know this is off topic but last night I watched the TVM news and one prominent item was regarding the Commission for the Administration of Justice not responding to a question sent by the TV station regarding Magistrate Consuelo Scerri-Herrera.

    You may not wish to comment but I hope that your testimony will put pressure on President Abela who chairs the Commission to make the correct recommendations to Parliament as soon as possible.

    I hope that your case will not drag on long enough that judgement will be delivered after the 2013 election!

    Thousands upon thousands wish you the best outcome possible because without people like you the wheels of justice will move even slower.

  19. Viva Joseph says:

    While Labour does the dance of the seven veils with its economic proposals, Republican candidate Mitt Romney unveiled his plans to create jobs.

    This from a country which is over a year away from elections and from a candidate who doesn’t yet know whether he’ll get the endorsement to go up against Obama in November 2012.

  20. Hidden Hand says:

    Smart Joey.

  21. Dudu says:

    Daphne, you forgot to mention that Joseph Muscat’s academic is in public policy.

    [Daphne – His doctorate? What does that have to do with the price of eggs?]

    • La Redoute says:

      Does Joseph Muscat have an academic? Where does he keep it? In a kennel?

    • Dudu says:

      It has to do with the fact that Muscat, being an ‘expert’ in policy, should be talking policy at every possible occasion.

      [Daphne – His doctorate is actually in management research. It’s only his first degree that’s in public policy, which means that he knows roughly as much about public policy as I know about archaeology.]

    • il-Ginger says:

      Ooo he’s got a Phd, he MUST be an expert of EVERYTHING.

    • John Schembri says:

      “Joseph Muscat’s academic is in public policy” ; that’s one thing which should make people think twice about voting for him.

      It would not make him any better in his field if we vote for him.

      When Architect Michael Falzon replaced Lorry Sant, the joke was that ‘il-Lorry’ was a minister posing as an architect while Michael was an architect trying to be a minister.

      Herbert Ganado used to call Mintoff ’sappi tutto’ , because when Mintoff was in power he imposed his ideas on others on everything, sometimes even unintentionally because he was surrounded by yes-men.

  22. Joseph (not Muscat) says:

    If Moody’s got enough info on the situation to downgrade the credit rating, which I do not think got them from some hidden file in Tonio’s drawer, so could the future PM of Malta. If we follow his model of Cyprus we would have a rating of BAA1 so I think we’re better off! Right?

  23. nobody says:

    Both parties usually make their electoral programme public just a few months before the general election, which is just about time for the people to know it before voting. I really can’t understand what the fuss is all about.

    [Daphne – You’re completely wrong, Nobody. It’s the specifics that are put into the electoral programme. The main tranches of policy are spoken about all the time, through the intervening five years of opposition. We didn’t find out about the Nationalist Party’s EU membership plans from its electoral programme, did we.]

    And for those who are definitely not voting PL, why would they need to know its policies exactly? Just so they know what they’re not voting for? I would have thought their mind is made up already.

    [Daphne – It’s called good manners in a democracy, Nobody. The Opposition should discuss its plans PRECISELY SO THAT THEY MAY BE EXPOSED TO SCRUTINY. Clearly, that is a novel concept to Labour supporters raised in a home environment where democracy has no meaning.]

    • 'Angus Black says:

      “And for those who are definitely not voting PL, why would they need to know its policies exactly?”

      You are only half right, nobody.

      The point is that the LP is AFRAID to reveal its policies come 2013 to its own fanatics just in case, they too, will start having doubts about their ‘brilliant’ leader. Another reason is that the LP and its cronies themselves have serious doubts about winning in 2013, so why bother with any plans?

      What is amazing is that there are still so many who refuse to use whatever number of cranial cells and determine that the LP today is as bankrupt of ideas as former MLP regimes.

      Malta does, however, deserve a Labour government in 2013, if, for nothing else, to give them the chance to screw up yet one more time, but if they do, then they will also screw their own. That would be enough reason for another 25 year stint by Nationalist governments.

      • nobody says:

        So what you’re saying is that Malta should ‘martyr’ itself for 5 years (or less, you would say) under an LP government, in hope for another 25 year stint by the Nationalist governments. Go figure!

    • nobody says:

      Daphne/Angus Black,

      If right now the Labour Party does not have any policies to talk about, they’re gonna have such a hard time presenting the ‘specifics’ of their policies in the electoral programme in 2013.

      Needless to say, it will also be hard for the voter to understand those policies in such a relatively short period of time. This is obviously a disadvantage to Labour and no one else.

      Since I have yet to decide who to vote for in the next election (I have no vested interest in any of the parties) [Daphne – Nobody has a vested interest in the parties except the politicians themselves, but EVERYONE has a vested interested in how the country is run. We are all stakeholders in that.] it is in Labour’s interest to start marketing and preaching their idea of governing.

      For the time being they seem to be focused more on marketing the image of the party than their policies.

      If in doing so the LP is ill-mannered towards anyone, it’s towards me, the undecided, or whatever appropriate name you deem fit for floating voters.

      On the other hand, for someone who is voting PN whatever may come, and is also absolutely sure that Labour has no policies to boast of, what’s the point of asking for something that does not exist over and over and over again?

      [Daphne – To point out that it does not exist, Nobody, and that it should exist and that we should be told about it. Don’t be so complacent. Citizen power, remember.]

      At face value, the PN can only benefit from the fact that Labour is keeping its policies behind closed doors.

      However, from what I read on most of the online newspapers, blogs and anything politically related that I follow at home, I am getting the impression that the people that are mostly bothered with this issue are those people who actually have no interest in knowing (good manners you said?) because they will not be voting for those polices anyway.

      [Daphne – Back to square one, nobody. It’s because people who vote Nationalist are more demanding and have higher expectations. The Nationalist Party leader who says ‘I’m not going to tell you what my policies are; you’ll have to take me on trust’ is a dead man. But a Labour leader can get away with that and much worse, as we have seen, because Labour voters have a really high tolerance threshold for the absurdities and poor performance of the Labour Party.]

      And being the inquisitive type of person that I am, I had to ask.

      • John Schembri says:

        “What’s the point of asking for something that does not exist over and over and over again?”

        The thing is that there are people out there who think that it exists.

        Adrian Meli further up wrote: “So you expect Dr. Muscat to tell everybody what his plans for the future are? Why are you all in such a hurry?”

  24. Jozef,

    I thought that that took place in Prague and sparked off the Thirty Years War?

    Who of the Gaddafis have they thrown out of the window………..literally or metaphorically?

    Whatever it is I simply am tickled pink by the way you used it; shows you have a historical brain.

  25. red nose says:

    How can Muscat tell us of Labour’s “plans” when none exist?

  26. Jozef says:


    Do you agree Gaddafi is quite Qattara depressed at the moment?

  27. Chris Ripard says:

    This article is biased, I’m afraid. Let’s be honest, the PN haven’t had a decent finance minister since the late Bonello duPuis. John Dalli, whilst bankrupting the country (and giving Bastjan the odd lift) made a such a hash of VAT that, to this day, doctors, lawyers, mechanics, plasterers etc etc etc just don’t bother. I used to insist on receipts for the first year or two, hoping to see income tax rates lowered – fat chance. Tonio – x’ghamlulhom il-United – Fenech seems quite happy with this disaster too. The PN led governments’ projects are always years late and miles over budget. They’ve totally squeezed their voting core (middle class employees).

    Your trouble, Daphne, is that you don’t work in private manufacturing industry and have no ear to the ground for what the people who really foot the bill for this God-forsaken country of ours are feeling.

    Trust me, Tonio is difficult NOT to be better than.

  28. H MIZZI says:

    A Charles you have proved once more that you are either
    a dreamer or a liar. From 1971 to 1987 Labour Administration ensured a rich nation. Most Maltese citizens could afford to build and own their homes. John Schembri your myths do not hold. Could you explain how the current Nationalist Administration invested millions in the bankrupt Brindisi port.

  29. John Schembri says:

    The Brindisi port investment looked good, but proved not to be.

    Companies sometimes make bad investments – just look at GO and Middlesea Insurance.

    The difference is that Mintoff was always alone in taking the decisions which were backed by his yes-men.

    Mr Mizzi, you forgot to tell us your interpretation of history of the more recent Alfred Sant years. If Mintoff’s were the Golden Years then undoubtedly those two years were the “Anni di Piombo”.

    When people think about what they experienced thirty years ago, nostalgia creeps in.

    On the other hand, it gives me the creeps when I recall that twenty-two month blip when when Alfred Sant was the driver of our car which had its four wheels deflated including the spare wheel.

    I shudder when I remember the hofra talk, CET, removal of VAT , freezing of our EU membership application (Gaddafi was pulling the strings, we hear), drainage contribution, and exhorbitant utility bills which Leo Brincat presented in his budget speech as “taken as read”.

  30. A.Charles says:

    Mizzi, I must have hit a raw spot with you. Truth hurts. I may be a dreamer but am not a liar. I lived and work during the difficult days in Zejtun and am still there; therefore, I am immune to “cwiec” like you.

  31. H MIZZI says:

    A Charles stated that Dom Mintoff had not a fiscal policy.
    It transpires that Labour Administrations ensured
    value for money which enriched the whole nation.
    Both John Schembri and A Charels are birds of
    the same feather using such words as “cwiec” and
    “hallina”. It is evident that they cannot rebuke
    achievements of consecutive Labour Administrations.
    1972 was a tax free year for the whole nation.
    A plethora of infrastructural, social and economic policies and projects ensuring value for money abd enriched the whole nation.
    In 1987 the financial reserves of the Central Bank of Malta exceeded Lm 400,000,000 equivalent to around 1,000,000,000 euro.
    All other dreams, myths and lies expressed by both John Schembri and A Charles do not hold any ground.

    • John Schembri says:

      @ H Mizzi: but in 1987 under Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici we had an unemployment rate of 11% and just before the election the Labour Administration employed 7,000 people with the Government and its parastatal entities

      you’re missing the Alfred Sant administration.

  32. red nose says:

    H.Mizzi, spare us your tears.

  33. Jozef says:


    maybe if you repeat that once more you’ll believe it yourself.

    all together now…..

  34. John Schembri says:

    @ H Mizzi: but in 1987 under Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici we had an unemployment rate of 11% and just before the election the Labour administration put 7,000 people on the state payroll. The exchequer had to fork out approximately Lm20 million(40 millionEuros) per annum.

    And again you miss Alfred Sant’s 22-month government, or were they really the “anni di piombo” of the MLP?

    Sorry if you felt insulted with my “Hallina!”. I hope you accept my apology.

  35. H MIZZI says:

    @John Schembri. Although the Labour Administration employed 7,000 Maltese citizens, in 1987, the reserves
    of the Central Bank of Malta exceeded Lm 400,000,000
    equivalent to around 1,000,000,000 euro. It is an undeniable
    fact that consecutive Labour Administrations had a tangible
    fiscal policy from 1971 to 1987. A Charles the bird who shares similar feathers with you, dear John Schembri, stated:-
    “when Mintoff became Prime Minister in 1971 Labour
    had no fiscal policy to write home about”. It is proved
    that this statement is a mischievous dream, myth or
    lie. Dear John Schembri and Josef maybe if you both
    repeat the siad misconception stated by A Charles
    you will believe it yourselves.

  36. Jozef says:

    It’s not Josef.

    I can assure you my mischievous dreams do not include a ninety-five year old man with a big nose.

    As for the very many millions, could it be because he forgot to invest in an adequate infrastructure, education and his nation?

  37. H MIZZI says:

    @Josef. Your comments regarding the anatomy and
    age of Dom Mintoff renders you a bird of the same
    feather as A Cachia and John Cachia. Labour Administrations
    invested in various corporations and companies employing
    locally educated Maltese Citizens as pilots, aircraft crew,
    sea vessels captains, bank managers and staff. Consecutive
    Labour Administrations created jobs for the Maltese.

  38. Jozef says:

    Jaqaw kellek xi erbgha karrozzi ma’ tal-impressed?

    Jew forsi kont xi wiehed li kienu johorgu mid-drydocks bir-rombli tar-ramm mohbija fil-bagoll tal-karozza?

    Ghadekx tahseb li wiehed ‘jidhol xoghol’?

    Intiex xi wiehed li akkwista plot jew appartament u issa tippretendi li tbiegh?

    Gawdejt mid-dehra Sur Mizzi. Mintoff ma holoq xejn, hataf dak li hadem ghalih haddiehor u roxxu fuq min belaghha li il-perit kien il-bidu u t-tmiem ta hajjithom, u li minghajru il-Maltin m’huma tajbin ghalxejn.

  39. H MIZZI says:

    @Josef. All you stated are illusions not facts. Your biased
    comments expose your frame of mind as a blindfolded and misinformed person who has lost all credibility.

    • John Schembri says:

      Listen, H Mizzi, wasn’t Alfred Sant’s administration a Labour administration?

      The most recent Labour administration seems seems to prove to be a sore point.

      I am not really that interested in what happened 30 years ago – we tend to forget the bad parts, and most of the people who formed those years are down and out ..well, almost.

      I want to hear about the same people Joseph whose modus operandi Joseph is promoting: like bulk buying, anti EU policies, pro-Gaddafi and pro Communist policies, CET, and door tax.
      We want to hear about Alfred Sant also. He’s still there.

  40. Jozef says:

    And you owe yourself the truth.

  41. H Mizzi says:

    The initial point raised by A Charles was the following:-
    “Joe Muscat, on the first day of snatching Castille, will
    declare Malta is bankrupt.
    This will be a repetition of when Mintoff became prime
    minister in 1971.
    We all know that the subsequent result which was
    stalemate in the economy because Labour had no
    fiscal policy to write home about”.
    This was the dream, myth or lie of A Charles who
    has ceased to comment probably he has realized
    he owes himself the truth.

    • John Schembri says:

      Mizz, not long ago we had Alfred Sant as our new PM who declared that Malta’s finances were a hofra, which he continued to dig.

      What’s your interpretation of events – was Mintoff or Alfred who brought the Sant government down?

      In the seventy one election programme the MLP (or shall we say Mintoff?) wanted a “One Man, One Job” policy, do you think that it was right?

  42. H Mizzi says:

    @John Schembri your statement of “One Man, One Job policy” is another dream, myth or lie.

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