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I am grateful for the opportunity to speak on this occasion, in what should have been a debate on the 2010 budget. I had missed most of the exchanges in this House last week but, in following what was said, I felt that I had not missed much in terms of rational argument from the Opposition. This week was more interesting, because individual hysteria is always more entertaining than mass hysteria. But it was sad that the same simple and in fact contradictory themes emerged in most of the speeches of the big guns, in terms of noise if not of content, of the opposition.
The two themes that seemed to reverberate were those of submission to the International Monetary Fund and carelessness in dealing with the International Community. There were charges of inconsistency this morning from the Brains Trust of the opposition, the Hon Kabir Hashim, who failed singularly to grasp that this budget is based on three very simple principles. They are fiscal responsibility, social justice and national unity and security. The last of these had for obvious reasons had to predominate in the last few years, and it is satisfying that now the opposition too at least pays lip service to this principle. But their new found conversion to patriotism should not blind them to the need for continuing engagement with those who support our national goals. They should certainly be ashamed of encouraging demonstrations against the IMF, and I hope the Brains of the Opposition will refrain from such cheap debating points in the future – unless indeed he was hoping to be taken seriously.