Bernard Grech is asking people to read their manifesto online.
This is convenient as the document, much like the metaverse they are championing, is ever-changing.
The PN manifesto is not a document based on firm principles. It is not well-researched and not based on wide consultation. Rather it is a list of ideas thrown out for feedback and then quickly changed in the face of negative feedback. The perfect example of amateurish populism.
To give an example of this approach, one can focus on a particular policy strand: how best to attract investment in Gozo.
On his first visit to Gozo, Bernard Grech showcased a few proposals for the island. He said that the island had been left without any investment and to address this key measure of a PN Government would be to set up an office of the Malta Enterprise there.
The moment he spoke, the PN was quick to upload a nice post on Facebook reaffirming the policy.
The first version of the PN manifesto available as from the 24th February also had the same proposal, word for word.
Just moments after he had uttered this proposal, a ONE News journalist faced Bernard Grech with the address of the Malta Enterprise Gozo Office which has been established at least since 1996.
Faced with this fact, Grech argued that having a building there is just for show. The PN would ensure there would be officials there working to attract FDI.
So by the 25th February the PN’s proposal on the Malta Enterprise Gozo Office changed to saying that the existing presence of Malta Enterpise in Gozo is ineffective and they would set up a completely separate unit.
Don’t worry about the numbering…in the PN manifesto metaverse this changes all the time. In the real world, numbers are meant to help you keep track of where you are. In the PN metaverse they are there to disorient you more.
Now consider proposal 141 of the PN manifesto in its 28th February version.
At the end of the proposal there is a sentence stating that foreign firms relocating to Gozo will get a 50% better deal than those relocating to Malta. What a touch of genius!
Let us go back in time…easily done in the PN manifesto metaverse where time is relative. Let us wind back to the 24th February version. Voilà. Proposal 141 is proposal 140. But wait… the last part of the proposal is not there. Firms relocating to Gozo do not get any special package.
So, what happened between the 24th and the 28th February? Well on the 26th February, Robert Abela went to Gozo and said that under a new Labour government Gozitan businesses will get a 10% increase on any incentive Maltese businesses get.
The PN looked at how good that proposal went down on social media, and hey presto, they thought: let us offer five times more and plop it in. In the metaverse where everything is relative, who will notice that we had said differently before?
Now for anyone living in the real world talking about how to attract foreign direct investment is not a matter of just coming up with quick soundbites based on Facebook views or likes. This is serious stuff. An island like Gozo which under the PN had been left bereft of any industrial policy or economic development strategy knows this full well.
How can you trust someone to really deliver what they promise, if what they promise is changing all the time? Is this just a case of amateurs making mistakes and then correcting them? Or is it a case of opportunists who care very little about policies but care very much about how many votes they will gain by promising something?
What a sad state the Nationalist Party has ended up in. For decades this was a party that was at the forefront of economic thinking in this country. It not only does not have an appointed economic spokesperson as the ones previously occupying the post were all kicked out. It is putting to voters a manifesto that changes at a touch of a button.
Are these the economic experts that we want to trust our livelihoods to?