The Malta Independent 7 August 2020, Friday

PN vs radical chic

Edwin Vassallo Friday, 31 July 2020, 09:17 Last update: about 6 days ago

The PN crisis is not one related to Adrian Delia; it is one affecting both parties and results from a shift in culture and mindsets. A handful of puritans on both sides have awarded themselves the ability to decide who is right and who is not, what is and what is not, what can be spoken about and what cannot.

Nowadays elitism based on education, power or personal net worth knows no party, class or ideology. This class happily sets itself high above others (irrespective of what means, lawful, inherited or otherwise, were used to achieve said position) and, while spouting calls for equality verbally, bring about classism and inequality with actions that marginalize and ridicule those in need, those whom we, as politicians, have a mandate to help and are duty-bound to speak up for in the highest and mightiest of platforms.

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Class struggle, to this very day exist, are spreading to new places as the middle class disappears, and is worsened by ideological and financial conflict. This nonchalance attitude, where a human’s value is equated to his/her economic strength, whether this was legitimately gained or not, is spreading far worse than COVID-19. King makers look to their own interests as they push this candidate or that, what is good for the country is of little importance.

It is the country and its people that are the ultimate customer of a government. Sadly, the level of customer care is on the decline in all too many businesses, where a customer is valued right up until the sale, after which s/he becomes a nuisance and aftersales considered to be a bother. This regrettably does not only apply to businesses alone, politicians follow suit as they consider citizens not as fellow human beings but as voters to be manipulated, force fed lies they must believe or be badgered into believing, and once election is over, cast aside for four or so years.

As PL moves closer and closer to laissez-faire capitalism, where the law is there to stifle friends’ competition only, after the last general election calls for PN to shift left grew louder and louder. This from people in branded suits and leather shoes, while protestors in the streets called for an end to corruption in favour of clean, honest politics.

Hard work and results is sadly not a ticket to success. Successfully joining the EU, pulling Malta and Gozo out of the terrible 2007/2008 recession still led to a 35,000 vote loss. As a result PN’s administration chose to shift to the left and become liberal, the result being a loss in the next general elections of 40,000 votes. This after a considerable campaign against corruption and for honesty.

Why? Possibly because economic wealth is not enough, possibly because people want a government that listens, supports, understands and is just. Of course distributing favours will win you a few thousand votes in the short run, but where will your friends be when your underbelly is flashed? As PL’s gods fall one after the other, it becomes increasingly clear that actually there is little honesty among thieves.

One after the other, Adrian Delia exposed PL’s shady contracts and deals, dubious connections and contradictory words and actions. Yet somehow this too was not enough for prima donnas who will bow to no one, not even their legitimately elected leader. Winning a vote or two of confidence also held no sway with them; it was going to be their way whatever the cost. Hurting the country, party, your very own voters, that is of little consequence. National interest is of as little importance to these demi-gods as the little man is to the supposedly socialist government we currently have. So with left wing nationalists and right wing socialists what are we to do?

For one thing we are to support a democratically elected party leader. If we have a valid reason for wanting to oust him, then we are to produce it. Bar that, rather than slander and produce vague allegations, perhaps we should focus on the national interest, stop deviating media and public attention away from grave, very grave, matters that are putting country and lives at risk.

Despite the good work the nationalist government had put into its administration, people felt, and indeed often were, ignored or marginalized. Today the same can be said of the many disillusioned labour supporters and floaters who have realized that what they got is quite the opposite of what they had hoped for. Any reason for shifting from PN to PL in the last eight years has been amply contradicted by PL’s behaviour. Corruption, arrogance, inequality, despotism result from this shift in administration. Vulnerable people, be it an economic, health, educational or social vulnerability, have been told to be happy as a two-digit cheque is handed to them to atone for the misery they have been plunged into.

However, this is not on the liberal-left wing nationalist faction agenda. The sole item on their agenda is ridding themselves of Adrian Delia and anything that will get in the way of their taking centre stage. If this enables PL, if this is to the detriment of country and party, well, that is not their problem. Their obsessive hatred of Delia and anything truly nationalist clouds judgement and vision. Hearing too apparently, as they will keep the pressure up until they have bullied voters, vote after vote, election after election to choose a new leader. 

They may very well get their way in Saturday’s election, enough bullying and lies will do that, but truly what will they have achieved? They have successfully alienated a good portion of voters, made a joke of the party and proven that they have no interest of serving the people unless the people ask of them only what is palatable, easy and desirable to them, all this while fuelling the PL fire and providing them with ammunition to use at their discretion. United we stand, why attack that very unity if it serves to help country and electorate alike? Why, if not because that detachment from the people still prevails among a faction of PN? A faction Adrian Delia could have easily removed, but, as was the case with Julius Caesar, one is betrayed by the very ones that were trusted and given a second and even third chance.  

Adrian Delia has, against all odds, survived challenge after challenge, won the hearts of many whose loss of faith in their party seemed ultimate, brought coherence and integrity to the party, the latter not being the one we speak of, but the one we actually have. For it is easy to say one thing on a podium or in front of a microphone, but a totally different thing to do it even when no one is looking. Adrian Delia has had to fight injustice on a national and Party level and as his strength grew so did his opposition, who felt no qualms hitting below the belt, using falsities and slander. If they do not share his values, which are the value the party espouses and those a good number of its loyal voters look for in it, why don’t they leave, why cause this strife?

Adrian Delia has worked hard to win the trust of the people by being their voice. He has put to their service his skills and knowledge, his perseverance and endurance. He has shown face where no party official has shown face in decades, he has walked where these demi-gods shun, he has coherently and consistently acted in line with his values and for this he is attacked. Values, real and sound, have no place in modern politics. Values have become vote-winners, much like kissing a child or planting a tree. Whether one believes in them or not, whether one will act in accordance with them or not is a different matter. So, for instance, the call for equality is not really that. It is a ‘value’ we put on for the public, a child strategically placed to be kissed in front of the camera. Adrian Delia never learnt to play that game. Adrian Delia has always believed that actions speak louder than words. Adrian Delia’s error lies in not believing that those actions will be drowned out by an onslaught of unjustified, unfounded accusations no one has deigned to take legal action on or provide a shred of evidence about.

I believe in Adrian Delia. I have heard all the charges levelled against him and looked hard for any truth in them. I believe in a leader that does not bend to the wind, adapts to change yes, but with a spine and a value system that informs both words and actions. Adrian Delia’s achievements are plentiful. If he had not been sabotaged over and over again, the Nationalist Party would today be faring far better than it currently is. So let us get over ourselves and look to the people with the respect they deserve, giving an opposition they deserve so as to sooner, rather than later, provide a government they deserve. With God’s help, if we stand united, we can succeed. If we stand divided then together we lose, not in the next year or two but over and over again. Let us be humble, for rather than fall as a result of pride I would see our party rise to the benefit of its members, voters and country alike. 

Edwin Vassallo is a Nationalist MP

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