Muscat says politics must not sink lower - John Bencini speaks at PL mass meeting
Labour leader Joseph Muscat told thousands of supporters at a PL mass meeting this afternoon that the last few days had not done the country any good as it had seen the worst type of politics.
Speaking at Mqabba, he said he wanted to appeal to everyone to be positive and not let politics sink any lower.
“The people deserve better, we need to speak about the proposals and not make personal attacks, I appeal to you to see our positive proposals,” he said.
He insisted that Labour’s election proposals were realistic and doable because they were well costed against economic projections made by the EU and the IMF. In contrast, PN promises were based on the government's own economic growth projections, which the EU had shown to be wrong. This meant the PN, if in government, would have to raise taxes or not keep its promises.
He said Labour would not chase after the people before the election and forget them after. Nor was it going for 'auction politics' by promising everything.
'Each time I propose something I know we can implement it,' he said.
Dr Muscat hit out at the government for having given ministers an extra €500 a week while at the same raising the utility tariffs, burdening the people. The government had opted for an oil firing power station when gas was the best option, Dr Muscat said - although he made a mistake by initially saying that oil was the best option.
Dr Muscat spoke on how he had put the country before his own family when he opted to seek election as Labour Party leader and then when he was co-opted to parliament, leaving his better-paid role as an MEP."I got into politics to bring about a change and not for money," he said to cheers.
"Politics is a service and that's why we can't be negative. I want my children and your children to live in a better country".
Dr Muscat went over some of Labour's election promises, saying soldiers and police would be able to join a union, without the right to strike. They would also have better conditions.
Talks would be held on the overtime owed by policemen.
VAT law would be amended so that those who owed VAT would not be imprisoned but given the chance to work and pay their dues.
Labour, he said, would create good quality jobs with more flexibility in order to ensure a good work family balance.
People would not be judged by ‘the colour of their faces’ ,
A law on party funding would be among the first laws to be enacted.
Dr Muscat thanked Mcast students for the support they had given him during the recent debate. He said they should not worry about the attacks being made against them.
He insisted that the country needed a change of direction. Opting not to vote was good for others - those who had forgotten about the people - but that was not good for the country.
Concluding, again appealed to his supporters not to be negative. "Our role is to be positive," he said.
JOHN BENCINI ADDRESSES MEETING
At the start of the activity the party announced it would hold another meeting at Corradino on Thursday at Corradino for young people.
John Bencini, former president of the Malta Union Of Teachers took the stage called for people to show their full support with Kevin Drake, the former head of PN radio, who was criticised for his participation at a PL activity.
He said this was the first time he had taken the stage on a mass meeting and he was proud to be part of this movement.
He said he did not want to remain a spectator and was responding to Dr Muscat's call to be a protagonist. "Speak to you friends and tell them that their place is in the movement."
This, he said, was the time to take the country out of mediocrity and towards a country with vision.
Mr Benicini said Dr Muscat spoke words of unity. "I want a government of good governance". This meant that the government had to be accountable and it was something that the Nationalist government was not. It brought the country to its knees with the introduction of Arriva and no one was held accountable, he said.
"I want a responsive and inclusive government," he said.
The government could not be in an ivory tower and it needed to keep in touch with the people.
"I want a government that isn't arrogant ...I tasted it. The day after the utility bills were increased, we tried to give the government a letter in front of Parliament. The government voted against the people in the House," he said.