The PN's reaction to Labour's proposals for an energy policy that would permit reductions to utility tariffs through efficiency and lower cost of production resembles that of a boxer that has been floored after a straight punch from an under-estimated opponent.
As the boxer tries to get back on his feet he is torn between two opposing instincts on how to react: whether to discredit his opponent or whether to show that he can come up with a stronger punch. In trying to do both the boxer projects confusion and muddled thinking showing that the punch he suffered is having lasting consequences on his brain.
The immediate reaction of the PN was that the PL were in the pocket of a foreign supplier who had a gas power station to sell. Than realising that this is not credible and does nothing to prove what they had long been denying with the force of a papal dogma, that utility rates cannot be reduced, they argued that Labour proposals were underestimating the investment necessary and the execution time involved.
I am technically incompetent to confirm whether Labour proposals are accurate, realistic and feasible but Labour got corroboration from world renowned technical experts and they are proposing to use technologies and systems which are tried and tested.
Furthermore there is logic in the PL's proposals. They accept that the ultimate supply solution for the LPG source would be a pipeline from Sicily. But they realistically explain that this will take years to execute as this would involve co-financing from the EU and if we wait that long for execution we would be paying over the top for years operating expensive inefficient and environmentally offensive High Sulphur Fuel Oil. So while not closing the door for an eventual pipeline solution, Labour offer a quicker transportation and re-gasification solution for operating an LPG fired power station.
However when the PN come out and argue that Labour's proposal can be done but it would cost double their estimate and take twice longer to execute, I start gaining additional confidence on the feasibility of Labour's solution.
It's all a matter of standards. Whatever the PN do costs twice the budget and takes twice the time to execute. Mater Dei Hospital is a living example of this. So the PN are applying their standards to Labour estimates. Standards do matter.
Labour's culture is to do more with less. The billboard campaign proves it. With the same money Labour's campaign is fresher and specific to the location of the billboard rather than standard throughout the country like the PN's.
Take another example. The only appointment of a person from Labour's stables is the President of the Republic. The PN gave this one and only position to Labour following their wafer thin 2008 election win, as it was a high profile position but without any executive power. All executive positions were reserved for the Party lads and lasses.
Yet President Abela is unquestionably the most effective President Malta has ever had. Without any increase in budgets his energy and ideas rendered the Presidency vibrant. efficient and closer to the people, a unifying force in a nation which tends to divide itself on every issue.
New ideas and fresh energy can render possible what to the tired and clueless seems impossible.
Standards do matter.