06 August 2003

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Alfred Mifsud says Labour is in state of denial

By Kurt Sansone
There was no reprieve from the constant criticism levelled toward the Labour Party by former Super One chairman Alfred Mifsud in his customary Monday-evening article on maltastar.com.
Mr Mifsud reiterated what he has been saying since Labour’s poll defeat that the election of the leadership should not have taken place before the completion of the electoral analysis. He also criticised the party for being in a state of denial.
The criticism comes flying in the face of recent statements made by Alfred Sant that the people will start realising that the Labour Party was right. The Labour leader has also hinted toward an early election on two separate occasions, a tactic often used by Dr Sant to alienate supporters from internal party trouble.
In his article, Mr Mifsud left no stone unturned. He insisted: "In deciding future policies one has firstly to examine and form an opinion on why past policies did not succeed to gain popular support in spite of having the advantage of facing a tired and fatigued government that had messed up things quite significantly on the domestic front."
The working group entrusted by the Labour Party to analyse the electoral defeat has not yet published its report and no time frame has been set for its conclusions.
The working group composed of people from outside the Labour Party has come under intense criticism from party delegates during the Friday meetings held behind closed doors.
In his article, Mr Mifsud maintained that the party would be mistaken to start formulating policy before the reasons for defeat are known.
Mr Mifsud also said that since the election defeat the Labour Party’s policies have become incomprehensible. "One is finding difficulty to understand what its policies are and what it stands for. One has to arrive at this by conjecture... I propose that this policy is ambivalent, confusing and risky and will lead to eventual denial by the electorate condemning the MLP for more terms in opposition."
Mr Mifsud then listed the reasons for Labour’s defeat: "People did not vote for the PN but voted for EU membership. In choosing EU membership people were aware of the critical state of domestic policies under a tired and corrupt PN government. Labour’s successful criticism of the government’s handling of domestic affairs fortified people’s mind to vote for EU discipline to sort us out of our problems. People did not believe that Labour, that could not stay in government for more than 22 months when elected, could deliver the sort of high quality leadership and discipline needed to make a success of the Partnership policy."
Mr Mifsud also cautioned against complacency. He argued that in four years time the discipline brought about by EU membership would start bearing fruit albeit the pain created by the inevitable restructuring process.
Mr Mifsud warned Labour that despite the probable hardships "those Labourites who voted for the PN would not necessarily be disappointed with such an outcome."
He continued: "It is what they voted for. It is what they expect. They would continue to hold a grudge against the leadership for forcing them to vote against their own Labour Party. They would not be ready to come back if the party insists that it was right and the electorate was wrong. Second denial is always easier than the first."
Mr Mifsud argued against wrapping new content in old wrapper because it would keep voters away. He ended his article with a clear warning: "Labour’s state of denial is dangerous. It obfuscates visibility for political strategy. Denying the denial is however even worse then the denial itself."
kurt@maltamag.com



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