Sunday 17 February 2019

Energy talks

I will leave it to energy experts to determine if Labour’s proposals are economically viable; all I can say is that, at last, some progress has been made in this campaign.  We have moved away from mere rhetoric and have now been presented with studies and options of how we can switch over to other forms of cleaner energy, which they claim will make electricity more affordable for the consumer and a public declaration of accountability.
Ideally we would have someone who is completely independent of either party (does this someone even exist?) who can give us the public the honest truth in terms we can all understand.  And even more ideally, all three parties would come together, forget trying to win the election, and pool their resources and ideas to do something for the good of the country in this crucial sector which affects families, businesses as well as public expenditure across the board.
But idealism is called that for a reason.
There was a sublime touch to yesterday’s presentation by Labour – it has used the government’s own consultants to come up with this energy plan. No wonder Tonio Fenech looked so irritable and kept muttering and interrupting the whole time Konrad Mizzi was trying to talk on Bondiplus as well as TVAM this morning. I find this behaviour so ill-mannered and childish – from what I have seen this is the tactic which is going to be used by PN speakers. How puerile (not to mention insulting to viewers who want to decide for themselves).
The main criticism, of course, is that Labour’s proposal is a shot in the dark, if you will excuse the pun, because there are too many unknown variables. So it all boils down to how much faith people have in the PL to actually make this work and keep its promise to lower electricity bills without incurring even more debt. Here is where the Opposition has a slight advantage because in the eyes of a large chunk of the public the PN has already failed miserably on delivering results and accountability  in this sector by choosing HFO instead of gas in the first place.  Not only that, but in these last five years, government costings have gone haywire and debt has accumulated alarmingly not only with the power station and Enemalta, but on a whole list of other major projects and investments.
Who has the most credibility? We will know soon enough when we go to the polls.
Meanwhile, the PN did not do itself any favours yesterday when it called a press conference to announce its manifesto, only to give us a vague list of principles and values because the actual electoral programme will be published “in a few weeks, erm, sorry, days” (Paul Borg Olivier couldn’t quite remember which). I thought a manifesto is an electoral programme?
If politicians are wondering why people are so fed up with the campaign already, it is due to these petty games which the parties are playing with one another, in full view of an electorate which resents being treated like morons.
And really? Did the PN actually think it was a good idea to begin the manifesto by talking about civil liberties?  For a party which has no problem recalling every minutia about the EU referendum they seem to think we’ve already forgotten the referendum on divorce.
Make no mistake – if there are voters who can never forgive Labour for its no to EU stance there are also voters still angry at the PN for doing its best to prevent Malta from ever introducing divorce legislation.  In both cases people’s personal lives were potentially affected through the intransigence and hard-headedness of politicians who thought they knew best what people wanted.
They then asked people for their opinion, and tossing that opinion in the dustbin, they plowed ahead with their own agenda anyway.
So when we read, “The PN’s policy is not to interfere with people’s private lives”, don’t blame us for being incredulous.

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