The first quiet campaign in decades: Comparing major players

Stepping outside in the morning, does it really feel like election season is upon us? I’m only 27 years of age, but I remember the excitement, the tension and the anxiety that came every time there was a general election.

The 2022 election seems to be different in that regard. Rather than constant attacks and negativity, it seems that policy is being prioritised by both major parties. Naturally, the crises in Ukraine also resulted in a shift when it comes to local news items, so that should be taken into consideration as well.

When it comes to the two major parties, it’s observed that Labour, is always Labour: prepared, agile and meticulous. To the Nationalist Party’s credit, on the other hand, it seems as if this time round they were more prepared for the campaign than they were in previous elections, with certain measures being ready and announced during the first day of the campaign. But what are the so-called main measures of both parties so far?

The Nationalist Party

The Nationalist Party’s main measure in this regard was the €1 billion investment into the 10 “new” sectors of the economy. Whether these sectors are really new, however, is up for debate. As has been observed elsewhere, there is already significant investment in most of these sectors, so calling them “new” would be a tall order. With that being said, that’s not the thing that irked me most…the thing that irked me most was that there seems to be no strategy whatsoever when it comes to investing in these “new” sectors…it’s almost as if PN’s policymakers googled “new economic sectors” and decided on investing the first ten that popped up.

For the Nationalist Party’s proposal to be successful, there needs to be more than investment. On the contrary, one has to attract pioneer investment and then they have to form a cluster. And whereas certain investments such as investment in the Metaverse are arguably well-suited in Malta, so much so that a Liverpool XR/metaverse company has already landed on our shores, other sectors that take up too much space are simply not ideal.

On one hand, the Nationalist Party wants to invest in sectors that take up loads of space. On the other hand, however, it wants to increase ODZ land by 50,000 square metres every year.

So, what will the Nationalist Party do when we run out of space? Will it start encouraging companies investing in 3D printing and manufacturing to open in the Maltese Metaverse!?

The Labour Party

The Labour Party’s measure on the other hand concerned a €700 million investment in urban greening. This means that the Party’s environmental strategy is two-fold: firstly, to protect the rural areas that we already have, and secondly, to open up new green spaces in areas that have already been urbanised.

This idea is smart because rather than tackling the environment, it will also be tackling economic growth, meaning that the Party will be hitting two birds with one stone. In fact, one of the most successful economic turnarounds the world has ever seen was during the post-war boom in America, when Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal started paying off.

Likewise, perhaps, the post-COVID scenario promises to be equally successful in Malta, thanks to investment into environmental infrastructure, which when coupled with further investment can be described as a “Green New Deal”, in Maltese terms.

Sustainability is defined as encompassing three main sectors: The environmental, the economic, and the social. And within itself, this makes the Labour Party’s proposed investments sustainable since all three sectors will be targeted with one measure, one way or another.

The End Result

Both major parties presented ambitious plans. But whereas the Labour Party has its credibility going for it when it comes to public works, the Nationalist Party is still suffering from a hangover after a change in strategy whereby from reactive it went to proactive. This is more than clear for example when it comes to the lack of details fleshed out vis-à-vis their proposed investment, as well as their supposed strategy when it comes to economic growth.

In conclusion, whereas one party has a vision, the other one simply has a checklist that it means to check whichever way possible.

While for some this might signify improvement, for others it simply does not. Seeing this, Bernard Grech would do well to up his game as soon as possible, because as things stand, the only chance he has of becoming Prime Minister stands in the Metaverse.

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