A coalition of confusion

The Opposition in total chaos on Government's measures to limit rent abuse.

After having argued for months that something needed to be done to limit rent abuse where, in some cases, too many persons are being rented out shared accommodation, the Nationalist Opposition is in total chaos about government’s measure to limit such abuse.

We have had Opposition economy spokesperson Ivan J. Bartolo calling the measure of limiting those renting to six persons a populist measure. Now he has been joined by the Gozo spokesperson Alex Borg, who is describing the measure as draconian.

Borg, like Bartolo, is stressing that this is a measure on which there should have been ample consultation as it is unreasonable. Now, at the same time, another faction of the Nationalist Party is taking a completely different take on the same subject. Using blogs such as The Shift News, they are instead saying that this reform is not a reform at all as there is already legislation that stipulates a maximum of six resident in shared accommodation.

There you have it. One faction of the Nationalist Party is calling this measure draconian and populist. The other faction is saying that this reform is a sop and a gimmick. This is exactly the same kind of confusion that the Opposition is displaying in other important policy areas. Very infrequently Opposition spokespersons find enough unity of purpose to take a similar line on a subject. They mostly take diametrically opposed lines.

Even those who adopt a similar line of thinking disagree greatly. Ivan J. Bartolo is claiming that Government should give some form of compensation to those landlords who, until now, are renting to many people, as they will not be able to rent their apartments at the same price they are getting now. Alex Borg, on the other hand, is saying that, because of this measure, rents will rise so much that families will not be able to find a place to rent. Once again two speakers saying completely opposite things. One says rents will collapse and landlords will need help. The other claims that rents will explode and that tenants will need help.

The only thing on which the Opposition spokespersons agree is that they need to spread their populist narrative on foreign workers and resist all actions taken by Government against those who are abusing the situation, be them temping agencies, rogue landlords, or foreign workers who come to Malta knowingly without proper jobs.

This extreme negativity is the root cause why the Opposition is making no political breakthroughs.  A coalition of confusion of this magnitude can never inspire confidence.

Photo: Times of Malta

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