[WATCH] Muscat: Every Labour proposal is rooted in principles

The fact that Simon Busuttil distinguishes between the two shows a lack of thought behind his proposals, said Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Muscat: Every Labour proposal is rooted in principal

For the Labour Party, there was no distinction between proposals and principles, since every proposal was rooted in an overarching principle, according to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Speaking in front of a sizeable crowd in Msida, Muscat referred to Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil’s frequent assertion that the forthcoming election would be one based on principle rather than proposals.  

“Some said this was not an election about proposals but one about principles,” he said. “This amazed me, because every election is one about principles and because the proposals we are putting forward any rooted in principles.”

He added that the fact that Busuttil was distinguishing between the two shows how little thought there was behind the proposals being put forward by the Nationalist Party.

“This was the same mentality of those who used to cut down on spending right after the election, only to then shower people with gifts on the eve of it,” he said.

One principle that was at the core of the Labour Party’s proposals was social mobility said Muscat, adding that these were intended to get people to aspire to achieve more in life.

“We are not sending people cheques to buy votes. There is a principle behind it and this principle is social mobility, for everyone to move forward,” he said.

Furthermore, he said that the fact that those who earn the least would be getting the “biggest cheque” showed that the proposals were also driven by the principle of social justice.

Equality was another principle at the core of Labour’s vision, said Muscat who stressed that a new Labour government was determined to ensure that all students had the tools necessary to succeed, irrespective of their socioeconomic status and family situation,

“From now on children and parents should not have to pay for exams because exams are part of the educational system,” said Muscat.

“I don’t want there to be one boy or girl who doesn’t sit for an exam because their parents can’t afford it or aren’t enlightened enough.”

Equality also meant equality for minorities, argued Muscat. He insisted that, after the introduction of civil unions three years ago, it was time for the country to recognise gay marriage.

“Equality is not there to pick and choose from. Equality must be there for everyone,” he continued.

It was for this reason, he said, that the Labour Party was proposing to move Mount Carmel Hospital to Mater Dei.

“One of the first principles for removing stigma associated with minorities is to make sure that those in need of help don’t have to go to a hospital where they will immediately be stereotyped,” he said, referring to those suffering with mental health problems and other disabilities.

Turning to the principle of a decent quality of life, Muscat underscored his belief that spending time with one’s family was more important than any cheque, and insisted that this was the reason he was proposing to give national holidays back to the people.

“We are giving people something that money can’t buy. No matter how much money you have, you can never get back time with your family that you have lost,” he said.

Muscat pointed to the closure of the Marsa and the conversion of the Delimara power station as another example of the principle of quality of life driving proposals.

“Now it is time for us to do the same with the people of Marsaskala,” he said, referring to plans to relocate Sant Antnin waste treatment facility to Maghtab.

While the Labour Party was driven by principles and a vision for a country, Muscat argued that the only thing that united the coalition between the PN and PD was their hatred of him.

“It’s possible to turn a country against me, but what happens the day after,” said Muscat, hitting out at the PN-PD coalition, which he has dubbed the coalition of confusion.

He also criticised Busuttil and the PN for their position on the IIP scheme which he said had now changed.

“They used to say it was not acceptable as a matter of principle,” said Muscat. “I expected [Busuttil] to now say that he will end the program once elected, but he didn’t. He has already lost his principles.”

Muscat acknowledged that many were angry and disappointed at him and other members of his administration and pledged not to repeat past mistakes and to write the wrongs of the past four years.

He said that while his government was not perfect, it would not be taking any lessons on good governance from the PN. Muscat insisted that the government had published all the contracts it had signed, unlike past PN administrations.

Moreover, he said that the Labour government had passed important pieces of legislation like the party financing law, the Whistleblower Act and the removal of prescription on crimes committed by politicians, adding that this was proof that the allegations being made about him were false.  

“Had I done something wrong, would I have removed the law that protects me,” said Muscat.

On the other hand, he said, the PN had introduced the Cedoli scheme, had been caught using fake invoices to receive donations from big business, and was now even “defrauding the EU”.

“He did all this in his own party. Imagine what he would do with the country,” said Muscat.

He also touched upon the recent announcement that former PN minister Josie Muscat would be contesting the election on a PN ticket, the Prime Minister accused Busuttil of embracing a candidate who holds extremist views.   

On the PN’s proposal to offer free childcare across the board, Muscat said the Labour Party wanted to avoid a race to the bottom.

“Through free childcare, thousands of women could afford to go out and work and obtain financial independence,” said Musact. “Childcare is not parking lot for children, but part of our plan for equality.”

Muscat reiterated that the proposal was a poverty trap, and would reverse the trend in recent years, of people coming off benefits and joining the workforce.

Finally, he said noted that tensions in the country were rising and appealed to people not to become divided in the face of the “classist ideals” held by the PN leader.

Muscat said that if anyone knew what it felt like to be attacked it was him, and that despite this, he would not fight back with more hatred.