Monday 09 December 2019

Labour seems to be content to stay in Opposition

When a couple of months ago, I read a Times of Malta headline that  “(Joe) Debono Grech to contest next election”,  I found it funny that it came a couple of pages after a headline which read “Government all ears over noise pollution.”

When Grace Borg had announced she was going to be a candidate, we all found the idea hilarious because, well, leopard prints and three inch long nails decorated with flamboyant nail art really cannot be taken seriously in the political milieu.

However, the news that Yana Mintoff is going to be running on the Labour Party ticket is far less amusing.  What on earth was Joseph Muscat thinking to accept her candidature?

It is not merely because her father’s name (as we have seen) is enough to make people go berserk.  It is because, from the interviews she has given so far, it is clear she is a liability and not an asset.  Her objections to the Dear Dom film could, perhaps, be excused on the basis of family loyalty, but her interview in The Sunday Times was just mindboggling.  Being able to field a journalists’ questions and express yourself well in the media are as important as what you do if you are ever in office, and that interview was just a disaster.

I wonder if the Labour Party does any market research on how its choice of candidates is being perceived by moderate, floating voters?  Because, from where I’m standing, it seems it is simply pandering to its grassroots hardline supporters. As we say in Maltese, mhux ghal xi haga, but those type of voters hardly need any encouragement to vote Labour.

And it’s not just the choice of candidates ….today Muscat said he is willing to open up the debate on abortion.  If both political parties are firmly against abortion, what is there to debate?  In a country where people thought the world was coming to an end because divorce legislation was introduced, we need to debate abortion like a hole in the head.

It is true that the PN is going to have a problem about getting out the vote because its core support is dwindling, but frankly, the Labour party is still struggling to win back the still unconvinced voters who have deserted it along the years. Then there’s that swathe of disgusted voters who have had it to the back teeth with both parties and election after election, are staying firmly at home.

We have a party in government which has been there way too long, and many people are restless for change. But sometimes, my conclusion is that Labour is so used to being in Opposition, it is perfectly content to stay there forever.


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