John Bencini ex President tal-MUT dwar Joseph Muscat
One can look at the setting up of the commission (code of ethics for the party's media) in glowing light. In this perspective, the setting up of the commission could be seen as another building block of the new political season that Dr Muscat has pledged to usher.
Joseph Muscat is absolutely right, political parties ought to meet the promises they make to the electorate before an election.
To his credit, Dr Muscat took just two days to have the matter solved. He wrote to the Prime Minister saying the Labour Party had now agreed to the nominations. If this is the way Labour under Dr Muscat plans to act, it is a good omen.
Considering all the doubt that had been expressed by many over his election as leader, the impact he has made on local politics is impressive already. Indeed, in Dr Muscat, many are seeing a leader that can lift Labour from the absolute morass it had fallen into over the years. More than that, they see Dr Muscat as the man who, like a knight in shining armour, can well and truly propel his party into office after so many years in the political wilderness. The new leader has endeared himself with the rank and file of the party for the immediate effort he made to heal wounds and, more importantly, to bring back into the party's fold those who for one reason or another felt they could no longer support the MLP. With the kind of ideas he has been expounding since his election, he has also shown that he is not afraid of making the party move ahead with the times in double quick time. The party needs this badly. … although there have already been instances when he laid himself open to justified criticism, generally speaking he has been moving on the right track. … What does this mean to Dr Gonzi and to his party? It means they now have a new, stronger challenge to reckon with, quite different to that presented by Alfred Sant. Resorting to the kind of crude, parochial pettiness they have shown so far by, for instance, referring to Dr Muscat as Joe rather than Joseph only shows they have not realised yet the kind of challenge he is presenting to them.
He once again nailed his colours firmly to the mast as regards his commitment to help turn a new leaf in the way his party plans to conduct itself both in and outside Parliament. His commitment is music to the ears of the thousands of uncommitted voters who have been growing increasingly disenchanted with local politics.
A party leader as young as Joseph Muscat, so different in outlook from his predecessors and so enthusiastic in his drive to bring about change in his party, was not expected to let grass grow under his feet. And true to form, he is piloting a reform that could, if approved, lead to a much needed renewal of the party.
The 23 proposals presented by Labour leader Joseph Muscat at a conference on the cost of living was drafted, it would be politically foolish to dismiss out of hand all the points he raised.
Dr Muscat is undoubtedly deserving of praise for the manner in which he has handled his elevation to Prime Minister in recent days and the Labour Party victory; which, contrary to some predictions, has been remarkably peaceful and serene. Much of the credit for that is down to his approach.
Dr Muscat has changed the political landscape, not only making the Labour Party electable but immensely popular. He has shed the socialist talk of old, built upon the infrastructure set up by his predecessor Alfred Sant and turned the quasi-moribund party into a success story that Dom Mintoff could not dream of.
Arnold Cassola, chairman of Alternattiva Demokratika (AD), has welcomed a remark by Joseph Muscat that all parties should be involved in talks on party financing. Dr Cassola said this was a “strong gesture of political maturity”. … Stephen Cachia, AD’s deputy chairman, also welcomed Dr Muscat’s speech. He said that this manner of rising above partisan politics was a very positive step.
THE MALTA INDEPENDENT
Dr Muscat is showing some signs that he really believes in the new political season that he himself has been advocating since his election on 6 June – and he is doing this by not being afraid to say things as they really are. He does not shy away from praising what there is to praise, and criticising what there is to criticise. By doing so, he is gaining credibility.
He had been elected as a Member of the European Parliament on Labour’s ticket, a position which he has held with flying colours.
Today, 100 days after his election, it can be said that Dr Muscat has made an impact on the two fronts – both in the way the MLP is putting forward its politics as well as the internal changes that he has planned for the party structure to function better. On the political front, he has made several attempts to raise public awareness or create a debate on issues that had either been forgotten or else were ideas that had been thrown in the public arena before but with little success. … The way the MLP is reacting to important issues, such as the one concerning the privatisation of Malta Shipyards, is also positively different from the confrontational attitude that was sometimes taken in the past. … One might agree or disagree with his ideas, but it is good to have a party leader – soon to be Opposition Leader too – who is pro-active. … in these first 100 days Dr Muscat has shown that he has the skills that are needed to bring the diverging factions of the party nearer to each other, as well as implement initiatives aimed to take the party to new highs in terms of organisation and public perception. He has also managed to steer the party into a different attitude – one that is not afraid to say well done to the government when it feels it has done the right thing, gaining in its credibility when it then chooses to criticise.
Dr Muscat has, in more ways than one, already proved himself to be a different leader from his predecessor. He promised a new political season and although he has not always been right in his evaluations and interpretations, he does come across as someone who is not afraid to say well done to the government, and this strengthens his credibility when he is then at odds.
Much of the credit of the decision to reverse the decision (progett tal-Kon-Katidral ta’ San Gwann) must go to the opposition, which was adamantly against the project right from the start and brought on several arguments as to why it was saying so. The Labour Party’s arguments were constructive, well thought out and justified in the circumstances, and the fact that there was a government u-turn is, in itself, a feather in Labour’s hat.
Labour leader Joseph Muscat made his reply to the budget speech on Monday night and largely focused on the problems which grip – along with others that are perceived to grip – Malta. Let us be frank in our assessment. Dr Muscat was right on a good deal of things. He pointed out that money is still being wasted through mismanagement and corruption. We agree. We also agree with Dr Muscat’s quip that the Prime Minister seems to be the only person around who does not want to admit that living in Malta is becoming harder and harder. We also agree that the levels of service which Maltese taxpayers are subjected to by government departments, especially Arms, are far below any normal given standard. We agree that the burden on the taxpayer has grown exponentially and we also agree that water and electricity tariffs are too high and that their introduction was done ham-handedly. Dr Muscat’s list was not a short one, and he was right in a good deal of the things he criticised. He was also right when he spoke of the millions of euros which were spent in the build up to the last general election.
He (Joseph Muscat) said that his party considered EU membership to be a closed chapter, and that its priority was to ensure that it reaps the full benefit of this membership, within the existing terms. This newspaper wholeheartedly agrees.
Agree with his politics or not, Dr Muscat emerged to be a competent leader of his party, securing a landslide victory over the Nationalist Party in the General Elections. In one way or another, he has also maintained control of the party, and its members. He is now, of course, Prime Minister of Malta. Many said that they would have preferred the now President George Abela to lead the party because he would have offered the PL a better chance at success. Well, history speaks for itself. Dr Muscat was hugely successful. He is nothing like his predecessor and has led the party as he sees fit.
Dr Muscat proves he is really listening to what the country is saying and acting accordingly.
Joseph Muscat’s persona seems to be growing in stature at every test and he has proved to be a master tactician who can read the political landscape like a book.
The prime minister has become a sort of a globe-trotter. One day he is here, the next he is there. In recent days he has spanned the world’s continents: holding a conference in New York one day and in Moscow a few days later. We should rejoice that Malta, through its leader, has become known and appreciated around the world.
EDDIE FENECH ADAMI
Dr Fenech Adami said that in the past the country was too politically polarised and he welcomed the tone of Dr Muscat's speeches, which he felt had not taken such a stance.
ASTRID VELLA (F.A.A.)
Labour played a critical role in this issue. (irtirar tal-progett tal-Kon-Katidral ta’ San Gwann). We were very impressed with Joseph Muscat and his keen and personal interest in this issue.
THE SUNDAY TIMES
It cannot be ruled out that he (Joseph Muscat) was genuinely against the project, his handling of this issue did far more to enhance his political credentials than his green ones. He sensed that all was not well on the government benches and capitalised on its slender one-seat majority with enormous success. By proposing the motion he seemed to place the Prime Minister in a corner even an accomplished negotiator like Dr Gonzi could not emerge from unscathed. And that can only count as a feather in his cap.
Joseph Muscat has presided over significant wealth and employment creation, has started to reduce poverty, implemented effective social measures as well as introduced previously undreamt of civil liberties, achievements that have benefited thousands.
Despite giving up his seat to become opposition leader, Joseph Muscat was chosen by respondents (MT poll) as Malta’s best MEP. While 21.1% chose Muscat, 17.2% opted for Nationalist MEP Simon Busuttil.
As a young man, it's not easy to replace a general secretary and put him in a different post. For me, that's called leadership - whether it's good or bad. These are the decisions that make a person.
I am not a fan of Joseph Muscat, as you know, but in this respect (divorzju), I think he did the right thing.
Muscat has indeed become a bigger and stronger political giant. … Muscat had his feet on the ground.
GIFT OF LIFE
(Gift of Life) added that it welcomed the stand taken by Joseph Muscat - who said that discussion should be an opportunity for him to declare his opposition to abortion. “We are pleased that he and the Labour Party view debate as an opportunity to strengthen pro-life values in Malta. We recognize that the Labour Party maintains an anti-abortion position,”
It seems that Joseph Muscat has taught Lawrence Gonzi a lesson as to what political responsibility is. Saying sorry is not enough. At least so it seems!
ARCISQOF CHARLES SCICLUNA
There are many things that I agree with Muscat on, and it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where I disagree with him. Muscat promised that he will strive for wealth to be distributed more fairly, and that he will not forget the people who are struggling to make ends meet. I’m glad that he promised that and I’m sure that he’ll carry it out, and I admire him as a man who sticks to his word.
Joseph Muscat has guaranteed a prominent place in Maltese history for himself. As an MEP, an MP and Prime Minister, he certainly deserves to be included among the most important political figures of independent Malta.
THE SUNDAY TIMES
One cannot but praise Dr. Sant's tough stand against intolerance and provocation.
To his great credit, the Labour Party leader, Dr. Alfred Sant, has consistently urged party supporters not to resort, or to react, to provocations and they have in their vast majority gone along with that instruction.
Dr. Sant, a man of great culture and a Maltese writer of no mean standing.
Alfred Sant managed to exorcise the demon of political violence from the Labour Party soon after he became its leader in 1992.
Indeed, the short-lived Labour administration made an effort to bring an end to the political polarisation.
VINCENT FARRUGIA (GRTU Director General)
Alfred Sant is the best listener I've ever encountered.
DR. EDDIE FENECH ADAMI
I think it is to his (Dr. Alred Sant’s) credit ... He knew what he was doing, he pushed himself hard, and, I have to admit, his methods did succeed in giving the credibility the Labour Party needed.
Today I am a happy man. I am really happy to admit that time has proved me wrong and to Dr. Alfred Sant goes the honour of being the first socialist leader since Dr. Boffa who seems to really respect all the rules of democracy.
As for Dr Alfred Sant: After the 1996 election I was the first one to praise him publicly for his part to get rid of the violent elements in the Malta Labour Party.
THE MALTA INDEPENDENT
Alfred Sant has often proved to be too committed to his electoral promises.
Certainly some of the political dirty tricks of the trade have been used in the past year and a half against Dr. Sant.
Dr Sant, party officials and the candidates themselves made it a point to get close to the people, to listen to their problems and so on. All they did was show the people that the Labour Party has a presence in their life.
Dr Sant, himself a victim of slanderous comments that were made prior to the last election, and which turned out to be untrue.
GUIDO DeMARCO PRESIDENT EMERITUS (irrapurtat minn The Times)
President Guido deMarco yesterday praised the Labour Party for upholding the principle of democracy on the issue of EU membership, a principle that the party, he said, has cherished for years.
MICHAEL FALZON (Ex Ministru Nazzjonalista)
Dr. Sant is very intelligent and a good strategist.
Labour Prime Minister Alfred Sant, in his own first-ever stint between 1996 and 1998, had tried tackling the financial problems of the country.
I am not a fan of Alfred Sant or the MLP, but I think their idea about devaluation of the lira should not be dismissed out of hand. Unfortunately devaluation has now become a partisan issue, but I believe it could be economically advantageous.
MARISA MICALLEF LEYSON
Just look at what Alfred Sant achieved. From being a man all thought could not win again, he stands in that position today or tantalisingly close to it. Alfred Sant has in many ways distanced himself from the old Labour years.
Alfred Sant has been proved right. It is impossible to remove party politics from our system of democracy in terms of central government, but we certainly need to do so locally because political opinion polls were not why local councils were set up in the first place. We are sowing what we reaped and we should correct this before it is too late and voter apathy really sets in.
He (Dr. Alfred Sant) portrayed himself as a moderate, a man who would decide on issues in the best interests of this country and not in the interests of old-fashioned loony left politics. He won, and as the recent news on the Drydocks is showing, he will try to tackle areas where to do so would formerly have been seen as folly.
DR. LOUIS DEGUARA (ex Ministru Tas-Sahha)
Alfred Sant will probably be remembered for succeeding in ridding the Labour Party of its violent elements in just a couple of years.
The new leadership of the Labour Party, particularly Alfred Sant, have done their bit too, helping to successfully check the excesses in their own party. This has opened a new chapter, as it were, away from the nonsensical ways of doing politics that had become a way of life to so many.
The key word is “disconnected”, which the Labour leader is now using liberally to highlight his argument that the Gonzi administration is detached from the people's feelings, and he gave, as one prime example, the government's stand on the extension of the development boundaries. On this, Dr Sant would seem to be quite correct, for despite widespread opposition to the move, the government plans to go ahead.
The promises the Labour leader outlined in his reaction are laudable. The country cries out for greater transparency, accountability and efficiency in administration. Sticking to deadlines is a praiseworthy aim too. In fact, the Labour leader is also promising that in his programme for a “new beginning” his party would “straighten what is crooked” and build on any correct action that has been started. Who can ever be against such course of action? Admirable talk.
His success in building a new Labour Party should not be underestimated. … After his electoral victory in 1996, Dr Sant kept the celebrations in check. The fact that they went on without a hitch, without any unpleasantness, let alone violence, will remain one of the most tangible examples of his turnaround of the party. … there were occasions where he agreed - and even supported - the government's strategy on given issues, financial services perhaps being the best example. … Dr Sant was dignified in defeat. His final message did not wallow in bitterness or paranoia … He leaves the political arena knowing he won the highest number of first-count votes in this election, as the man whose party won more seats than the incumbent. … It may be too soon for Nationalist voters to assess his performance dispassionately but, hopefully, the day will come when they too will realise that he served his country well, seeking what he believed in.
Alfred Sant went into the heart of the matter when he wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives arguing the matter exposed MPs to ridicule, rage and contempt, undermining the constitutional function of parliamentarians. One may doubt the validity of the contribution some of the parliamentarians give but Dr Sant’s argument can hardly be faulted. He was also quite to the point when he argued that other parliaments had transparent processes and parliamentary resolutions to abide by regarding salaries of MPs.
DR. AUSTIN SAMMUT
What I agree on is his (Alfred Sant) stance on Xarabank not being the right forum for serious political debate. … it is not the right place for political leaders to carry on a debate or discussion, particularly in these delicate times.
Alfred Sant, whom I continue to regard highly for his genuine intentions … Any attempt to demonise Dr Sant in the process is not only inhuman, but will only serve to distort this objective.
It must be pointed out that in his brief stint as Prime Minister between 1996 and 1998, Labour leader Alfred Sant did more to cleanse the police force of its former violent elements than the Nationalist government has done in the past 20 years.
The Lord knows I’m no Alfred Sant fan or supporter, but I was utterly disgusted by Daphne Caruana Galizia’s article “Growing old gracelessly” (TMIS, 26 August). I never thought that someone of her class and standing would stoop so low as to attack Dr Sant on his physical attributes or lack of them. … this latest attack on Dr Sant is hitting below the belt … I think she owes Dr Sant an apology, which, if she is only just half the woman I think she is, she should do immediately.
I have known Dr Sant - and the solid resolve that marks his character - for several years. He is a fighter of fine calibre and should win through his current predicament in no time. He has been in the line of fire before and has fought his way out of the trenches with remarkable courage several times. Since taking up my appointment as head of the EU Representation in Malta I have come to appreciate, through our regular meetings, his deep and wide knowledge of EU affairs - which is what makes him a valid partner.
Dr. Sant recognised the need for (shipyards) reform, so much so that he threw out the then board, which was dominated by the workers' representative, and put in a professional set of people led by Noel Zarb Adami with the clear strategy to implement the diversification strategy of the Appeldore report, a strategy this government agreed with and implemented it as Dr Sant had done.
DR. JEAN-PIERRE FARRUGIA
Former Labour Prime Minister Alfred Sant was “frankly, bang on” when he accused the government of ridiculing MPs and being in contempt of Parliament by the way the pay rises were granted and announced.
DR. FRANCO DEBONO
Politikament ma naqbilx ma Alfred Sant, pero meta gie dahru mal-hajt ghamel li kellu jaghmel, Gonzi lanqas ghandu l-icken idea ta’ rgulija, qisu tifel zghir u l-poplu kollu gugarelli tieghu.
DR. JOE PSAILA SAVONA
Former MLP leader Dr. Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici came in for some praise in parliament on Tuesday. Nationalist MP Dr. Joe Psaila Savona said he deserved to be thanked and seen as an example of what solidarity and courtesy should be like.
DUN ANG SEYCHELL
Karmenu ghandu certu rizorsi interjuri bhal perezempju l-umilta, l-imhabba genwina ghall-hadddiem.
Dr. Mifsud Bonnici's commitment to the socialist cause as he came to see it, there can be no doubt, nor can there be the slightest uncertainty as to his personal incorruptibility his followers recognised both qualities and admired him for possessing them; it explains the emotional expressions on many faces at last Friday's mass meeting organised by the MLP in Gzira
UGO MIFSUD BONNICI
To be fair to Mr. Mintoff, I have often heard from him words which show that he is deeply and fundamentally influenced by Christ and the gospel message.
THE SUNDAY TIMES
The Sunday Times declares that... during his long political career, there is ample evidence that on a number of occasions he voluntarily resigned from public office as soon as he felt unable to fulfill his obligations.
FR. MARK MONTEBELLO
I am a convert. I realised that Dom Mintoff was not the demon he was said to be. And the Nationalist Party was not the holy society it projected itself as.
EDDIE FENECH ADAMI
Dom Mintoff's positives outweighed his many negatives. "He believed in his country and wanted to bring about change quickly, possibly too quickly at times.”