The Malta Independent 22 September 2018, Saturday

Bitter people at PN

Stephen Calleja Wednesday, 3 January 2018, 10:53 Last update: about 10 months ago

There was a time when families whose members did not share the same views banned all discussion on politics during the end of year festivities. It was the only way to stop relatives from engaging in a debate which could have potentially disrupted what should be a peaceful gathering.

A new phenomenon emerged this time round.

Many families (and friends) who for many years defended the Nationalist Party colours found themselves on opposing ends – those who have welcomed new leader Adrian Delia with open arms and the rest who cannot bring themselves to accept him.

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It all started the moment Delia threw in his hat for the job. Many allowed themselves to be influenced by what was written about him, and have retained their negative stand in his regard even though more than half of the party members voted for him last September to elect him leader. And, let us not forget, Delia won in spite of all the hurdles he had to overcome, with so many influential people within the party – what he described as the establishment – working against him.

All political parties go through a period of division when a new leader is to be elected, but then once the contest is over, they rally behind the person the majority chooses.

It has not happened in the PN this time. And the same people who wanted to keep Delia out of the top PN post have continued to work to bring him down, possibly at the first opportunity. They would be happy to see the PN succumb to a (another, possibly bigger) heavy defeat in the European Parliament election next year, just to satisfy their lust for power.

They are doing their utmost for this to happen. They would rather see the party they belong to and which they are supposed to serve collapse than see Delia make any headway. They did not lift a finger when the party held its traditional fund-raising activity. Worse, they are already planning to see him out the door.

That the poison spewed against Delia has taken root and spread can be seen in many little things. Just to mention one of them, never has a politician been the target of so much cruelty than Delia was during the Comedy Knights performance at the Salesian Theatre in Sliema. People who attend such events have come to accept that politicians are made fun of, but the venom disgorged against the PN leader this Christmas season was extraordinary.

That this happened in an activity which is traditionally more anti-Labour than anti-PN and is geared mostly for the Sliema community carries more significance. That the way Delia was attacked received so much approval by the audience – at least at the performance I attended – also goes a long way to understand how much the toxin has seeped.

It’s a pity. Delia has been in office for three months and still needs to prove his worth.

And yet others who have already been pushed aside in democratic processes still believe they have some right to lead.

The Labour Party is correct when it refers to them as bitter people.

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