Labour’s proposals are still far too nebulous
In a discussion programme on the Labour Party’s television station some time ago, surprise was expressed at the fact that the Nationalist Party and others were constantly calling on the PL to come out with its election proposals when the party had already rolled out no fewer than 51 at the time of the presentation of the Budget last November. It was hardly conceivable, it was argued, that a party aspiring to take over the administration would not have prepared itself well in advance for the time it is elected.
This makes sense. It is also true that Joseph Muscat had presented 51 “proposals” at Budget time. Suddenly, however, it seems the party is also gradually changing its attitude as it is occasionally leaking a new proposal or two. The problem is that these are either nebulous or most of those that make sense are already being done in some way or other. The feeble attempts to try to appear as if answers are being given are inadequate; the country wants to know exactly how it plans to do this and that.
The party’s fear, apparently, is that if it were to reveal how it planned to implement its proposals its opponents would demolish them in no time. But if this is the case, does it not show that it is not fully confident of what it is proposing? This does not reflect well on the party.
Of course, the most notable proposal of the 51 made by Dr Muscat, and which is still one of the most significant in its vote-catching armoury, is that, if elected, Labour would cut water and electricity rates in a “realistic and sustainable manner”.
As to how and when it would do this, however, the party keeps mum, leaving the electorate guessing what the party’s intentions are. Even so, despite the speculative nature of the proposal, it remains a powerful election gimmick, one that the party will definitely not let go. But should the party then be surprised if people conclude that its proposal in this regard is purely an election gimmick?
Another proposal linked to it is that Labour in government would keep investing in the interconnector and use it to stabilise the energy demand. Is not this precisely what is being done now?
Only recently, a party spokesman was quoted saying that if the water and electricity rates were reduced, as the PL is pledging to do if elected, the economy would get a boost and the country would start cutting its national debt. Is this an indirect indication that the party plans to lower the utility rates substantially? If it plans to do so, how would the energy corporation make up for the loss in revenue? Will it do so through further direct government subsidy? What guarantee does the PL have that the money the consumer saves from the cut in the utility rates is actually spent and not saved, particularly in the prevailing economic circumstances?
At least, the PL leader is saying that, if elected, they would stick to the deficit reduction targets but the party would concentrate on economic growth. The question is: What would the party do differently, policy-wise, to what the present Administration has been doing so successfully in such turbulent economic times?
This is what the electorate would want to know. If the party respects the intelligence of the people, it should start discussing its ideas in detail now not when it feels like.