The Malta Independent 20 March 2019, Wednesday

PL brings out the big guns in preparation for May's elections

Noel Grima Sunday, 9 December 2018, 11:57 Last update: about 4 months ago

It may have been the last public meeting before the Christmas lull and the New Year. Or it may also have been a preparation for a full day of fund collecting at the Centru Nazzjonali Laburista being held today.

The Labour meeting at the PL club in Naxxar included a past prime minister, the present prime minister and the party deputy leader, big guns indeed.

It was one of the rare occasions where Alfred Sant spoke in the presence of Joseph Muscat and the two traded barbed comments. Dr Sant said that just as Dr Muscat had recently urged him to stand again, so too he would like to urge the prime minister to stay on. Later Dr Muscat said this was one rare occasion where Dr Sant was facing him as he made the speech.

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In his speech, Dr Sant roamed all over Europe as he saw it from his perspective as an MEP. There is turbulence all over Europe, he said, from the UK facing a crucial decision on its place in Europe, to France where President Macron's popularity a year ago has now disintegrated to riots on the streets, to Spain where a far-Left party registered wins in a local election, to Italy, to Germany where the governing party now has a new head instead of Angela Merkel.

Dr Chris Cardona said the life being lived by the Maltese is better than any before. The Maltese economy is enjoying a growth four times the growth of other EU nations. Apart from growth, Malta has advanced in the sector of civil rights.

PL has succeeded because it had a strategy and hard work. The growth that was registered is not due to the foreigners working in Malta, as Adrian Delia is saying, but due to the investment being attracted to Malta.

As a case in point, Malta Enterprise, in one year has attracted 28 projects of Foreign Direct Investment bringing €90 million over three years employing 1,000 persons.

PN, on the contrary, were dilettantes and did not feel what the public was feeling. In particular, the PN MEPs had attacked Malta's rule of law situation in their speeches in the EP whereas the PL MEPs had worked to protect Malta's good name.

Prime Minister Muscat, in turn, chose not to begin by speaking about the economy like the two preceding speakers but spoke instead of the inauguration last Monday of a respite centre for parents of children with a disability.

This government aims to create a new middle class and promote social mobility. He spoke of his attendance at many graduation ceremonies and described the emotions on the faces of so many parents working in a low-level job and their evident pride their child was graduating from university and then even going further by continuing to study at prestigious universities abroad.

He played a bit with history when he said this was the result of policies drawn up by the PL administration on which the PN administration then continued to build.

The Maltese economy, as shown by figures released this week, had grown by 7.5% in the third quarter, four times as much as the rest of European nations. The €90 million investment mentioned by Minister Cardona is spread over 26 companies, each rather small, which is better than investment coming from a big multinational.

The government is working to make the Maltese economy future-proof. At the PES congress he had been introduced as the socialist prime minister who has been longest in office. 

Dr Muscat veered into a rather long description of the Industrial Revolution and the Luddite reaction against the introduction of machines. At the end, the Luddites lost and the machines won. Henry Ford used to say his aim was to create a car his own workers could buy and own.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is coming and its name is Artificial Intelligence. Malta must be in the forefront of this revolution, not like the Luddites, nor like the PN governments of the past who raised electricity bills and raised them again.

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