The General Workers’ Union has really lost the plot. Last week, its newspaper, l-orizzont, was applauding itself with a front-page splash because three Bulgarian beggars were arraigned after it had photographed them begging in Valletta.

Beggars have been off our streets ever since the social reforms introduced by the great Dom Mintoff in the 1970s, the newspaper told us in shock.

Actually, the true reason why there are no beggars is because it is illegal but joining the dots may be asking too much from the GWU and its working-class readers.

Then, next day, the same GWU newspaper had to eat humble pie when it reported with much less prominence that, under the government it so blindly embraces, people at risk of poverty last year increased by 15 per cent to reach 64,000 people.

None of them are begging out in the streets though, thanks to Mintoff.

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna does not share the same mindset as the GWU for he believes that the welfare State is being abused. The next Budget, he said, will target welfare dependency because he doesn’t like it that “young people remain on welfare benefits all their lives”. The welfare system, Scicluna rightfully argued, had “unintended consequences” because it left people passive, unwilling to work and addicted to State benefits. Good morning, minister, that’s socialism: your party.

Social services, and their abuse, have always been the bread and butter of Labour. That is their traditional core vote. It is hardly likely that Scicluna will get anywhere with his plans to curb abuse.

Joseph Muscat may be worthless as prime minister but he’s no fool and knows how to garner votes by the bucketful and not just from society’s leeches.

“We are pro-business,” parliamentary secretary and hunting-lover Michael Falzon proudly declared last week as he announced the good news for hoteliers: they may now build higher.

Falzon even said he had other policies in store (God spare us) because “we are doers”. He is not going to wait for a new structure plan to implement them, he said. Of course not: a structure plan on land use has the national, collective interest at heart. It is a holistic plan. Labour does not think that way. It has lobby interests to please.

And just to prove how much he is not cut out for his job, Falzon did not exclude meddling with height limitations as a means to maximise the value of government properties before they are sold. Linking land-use policies to land ownership is anathema. It is perverse but that’s to be expected from a government that’s out to plunder the country.

Funny how Labour didn’t show the same business acumen when it sold Australia Hall.

Practically every government policy decision is intended to placate a particular interest group, never the national interest.

As a camouflage, Labour uses “public consultation”, for which read “digest and accept”. Their main voter base now is people with vested interests, be they boathouse owners, monti hawkers, hunters, hoteliers, land speculators, abusers of the welfare system or even fireworks enthusiasts, another pet subject of Falzon.

Labour is addicted to the greed that brought it to power, the greed of people out to get what they do not deserve. In a lucid oment of exasperation, Social Solidarity Minister Michael Farrugia said he had to face a man applying for social housing who insisted on a sea view flat. Makes you wonder what else Labour promised that was not included in their electoral programme.

The one good thing about Labour is that they are blatantly obvious and predictable. Their vote-buying tactics are pathetically see-through and it is up to the electorate to put a stop to it, if they want to.

There is, however, a problem with one area: government’s policy on illegal drugs. It doesn’t make sense.

There is public consultation on that as well, of course, and it’s appropriately called ‘Raise the bars’ because that is exactly what they are doing.

Labour’s new drug policy will not be sending drug abusers to jail; it will be sending them to hell

The White Paper strikes all the right cords. It says all drugs are essentially wrong and its publicity material makes clear that nothing in the policy should be interpreted as if the government was in favour of drug abuse.

Practically everyone involved has agreed that the reform is a step in the right direction, except for one moot point: NGOs and public agencies are warning the government not to make a distinction between marijuana and other drugs because the marijuana on the street today is more potent than before. It is like any other drug.

Like gay adoption was to civil union, Labour’s policy on marijuana is key to its drug policy reform. There are two propaganda videos on the social media, apparently produced by the Justice Ministry although they don’t say, one of which is about the new policy in general and the other all about how lenient other countries are on marijuana. Labour really does lack tact.

According to the White Paper, the police will no longer be able to charge anyone in court on the personal use of marijuana.

The only thing that can be done with them, even repeat offenders, is to be bring them before a commissioner of justice who will have no power other than to give them a slap on the wrist. That is all. This is effectively the legalisation of marijuana.

Our pseudo-liberals still trying to wriggle out of puberty can say what they like but what this policy means is that someone stoned on weed will now just stay stoned permanently.

Society will have to pay for that but Labour doesn’t care. It has long wiped off the common good from its agenda.

There is a sign at the Blata l-Bajda traffic lights which reads: “Drunk? Don’t drive.”

Soon it will have to be changed to “Stoned? Don’t drive” because marijuana use is being equated to drunkenness, always for personal use, of course.

This is not what Labour promised in its electoral manifesto. So the question arises: whom did they promise this to? Forget the sheer irresponsibility of such a move by this amoral government; Labour doesn’t shock anymore. Who’s being appeased?

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said he was in a hurry to move ahead with the Bill because it was creating uncertainty for people with pending court cases. Others appear to be equally restless too. In Sliema, last week, 18 kilos of marijuana were found in a basement and two people arrested.

They were unlucky because they jumped the gun. Had they waited a bit more, they’d have had a captive market out there, young people who’d be able to blow their brains out down at Ferro Bay without the worry of maybe having to sleep in the police depot.

Of all the disgusting policies so far, this even beats gay adoption. It may be popular among those very people the government claims to want to protect but we shall all have to pay the price. Labour’s new drug policy will not be sending drug abusers to jail; it will be sending them to hell.

Addiction has always been Labour’s modus operandi: an addiction to government, to patronage, to handouts or even to amnesties like we saw in the wake of the smart meter scandal and, possibly soon, for boathouse owners.

Despite the finance minister’s good intentions, the perversity of what Labour stands for remains the same: greed. This is what happens when you throw morality to the wind. This is why the GWU is in such a quandary.

Labour’s vote-buying tactics, votes from anyone, have corrupted the country’s political culture for many years to come.

Our oversized government, for which the Nationalists should answer, has made possible the absolute takeover of the country by Labour.

This government is too big and too powerful and people are addicted to it because many depend on it and those who don’t hope to get more than they deserve. Labour appeals to the worst in human nature: selfishness and envy. In effect, it is still socialist at heart. You may be in the wrong party, dear Finance Minister.

As I turn 51 tomorrow and look back upon the various addictions I have had (tobacco especially), I rest safely in the knowledge that I was never stoned on Labour; that’s one habit I don’t have to kick. It is reason enough to celebrate.

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