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PL ‘will set us back 30 years’

The Nationalist Party’s new billboard mirrors that of Britain’s Conservatives in 1979.

The Nationalist Party’s new billboard mirrors that of Britain’s Conservatives in 1979.

The Nationalist Party has borrowed a billboard used in the UK 30 years ago to depict the situation Malta would be in if the Labour Party is elected to power.

Finance Minister Tonio Fenech insisted this was not the beginning of an electoral campaign but simply the party ’s way of getting its message across.

The billboard depicts a long line of people queuing behind a stand saying Register of the Unemployed and words in red reading: “Labour won’t work”.

Launching the billboard, PN president Marthese Portelli said this had been used during an electoral campaign in the UK 30 years ago and the PN had opted to use it to show that a Labour government would send the country 30 years back.

Mr Fenech and Justice Minister Chris Said, who addressed the media event at the PN headquarters, explained the billboard reflected how the Nationalist government had created 20,000 jobs in the past four years.

The PN had one of the lowest levels of unemployment while the Labour Party had a track record in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as between 1996 and 1998, of creating unemployment.

Labour’s policies, the ministers said, were not conducive to creating jobs but rather the opposite.

They mentioned a long list of achievements by various PN governments, especially those of the current legislature, despite the difficult economic scenario, saying these contrasted with the track record of the Labour Party.

Asked why the PN had chosen to attack Labour over its performance back in the 1970s and 1980s and whether this was going to be the party’s electoral strategy, Mr Fenech said the electorate would be voting on important issues such as unemployment. Dr Said added that the PN was “duty-bound” to make these comparisons.

“While everybody knows where the PN stands on employment, Labour’s policies remain unknown and when Labour was in government its failed policies ran the country into a wall. Why don’t you ask Labour what their proposals are?” Mr Fenech said when it was pointed out that people wanted to look forward.

Dr Said added: “We are obliged to make these comparisons because the future of the country is at stake. The ones who implemented wrong policies in the past are the same people leading the Labour Party, with former industry minister Karmenu Vella responsible for writing Labour’s manifesto. Until recently (Labour leader) Joseph Muscat was giving wrong advice about Malta following the example of Cyprus.”

Labour reacted saying the PN was “stuck in the past” and had itself gone back 33 years by launching a billboard used back then.

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