29 June 2005

The Web

MLP’s plan is a watered-down version

Matthew Vella

The Malta Labour Party yesterday presented a watered down version of its draft economic and social regeneration plan, a preamble for Labour’s electoral vision coinciding with government’s mid-term.
Processed through the discussion mill with the social partners and the party’s myriad organs, the new plan was nowhere near as glossy or fancy as its red ‘white paper’ that pre-empted the final product.
Instead journalists were given a bland black and white pamphlet, half the size of the first draft, with equally half as much vision as the initial document.
Gone are, for example, some of the exhaustive details that characterised the initial plan, and the economic dynamics that explain Labour’s vision. No mention, this time, of new migrant workers that can beef up the workforce, along with increased female participation, to sustain the welfare state, which features largely in the new plan. Maybe, not enough Labourites were keen on welcoming comrades from beyond their shores.
Instead Labour forged ahead with three clear-cut sections, namely kick-starting investment and productive labour, galvanising Malta’s education and human resources, and strengthening the island’s social policy to curb poverty, big on the agenda for the MLP.
Charles Mangion (see interview page 12, 13), Labour’s deputy leader, makes a straight analysis of the accident-prone Nationalist government: “It has lost all sense of management and its expenditure is out of control. We are making an emphasis on accountability, and we are not just paying lip service.”
That is however what Labour can offer until election time – lip service, and a plan to throw in the face of government.

Labour’s economic vision is replete with making life easier for shackled entrepreneurial spirit, achieving competitiveness, and spurring the educational system to churn out more graduates in science and technology.
Labour’s prognosis for the ageing Nationalist government’s record so far will all go up for vote in the upcoming extraordinary general conference that will start tomorrow and is expected to finish on Friday evening.
Also up for the vote is Labour’s umpteenth hurdle in delivering a coherent European message – the ratification of the EU Constitution, a crucial step in racking up a substantial Labour vote that endorses a parliamentary yes, will go to the vote for Labour’s delegates.
They will choose between two motions – the one proposed by the MLP parliamentary group and the one proposed by former leader and PM, Euro-sceptic champion and lifelong delegate Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici – namely a yes and no to the Constitution.



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