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michaelfalzon
Michael Falzon

The resignation that never was

Call them ‘the clique’ or ‘the political establishment of the past’ or whatever, but the people behind the PN facade are still there attempting to ensure that the new party leader will be the candidate of their choice

michaelfalzon
Michael Falzon
15 August 2017, 8:18am
Simon Busuttil is still PN leader. Rosette Thake is still General Secretary. Everybody is in an ‘as you were’ position, wielding the same power and authority that they had before they theoretically resigned
Simon Busuttil is still PN leader. Rosette Thake is still General Secretary. Everybody is in an ‘as you were’ position, wielding the same power and authority that they had before they theoretically resigned
Shortly after the electoral debacle suffered by the PN in the election on June 3, the Partit Nazzjonalista issued a statement saying that all the members of the party’s Administrative Council had resigned.

There was no reference to any interim measures as to how the party would be run until the people who had resigned their posts were replaced. Anyone who thinks that this development has created a power vacuum in the PN, is advised to read carefully between the lines. This was no real resignation – eventually it turned out to be just a suggestion that the present incumbents might not seek re-election. This was the resignation that never was.

In the meantime, the people who have allegedly resigned still run the show and they are still referred to as occupying the posts from which they were supposed to have resigned.

Simon Busuttil is still PN leader. Rosette Thake is still General Secretary. Everybody is in an ‘as you were’ position, wielding the same power and authority that they had before they theoretically resigned. They have even decided that they do not need to appoint a commission to report on the reasons behind the enormity of the last PN electoral loss, for which they are responsible. They still know it all.

In my book, ‘resignation’ has a different meaning. But my book is probably passé by now!

Meanwhile, the election for the new PN leader is on. This will be followed by the necessary processes so that the persons occupying the different posts indicated as ‘to be vacated’ will be chosen. Simon Busuttil has decided not to seek re-election, resisting the pressures of some well-meaning but short-sighted simpletons who insisted that he should seek re-election. 

Meanwhile the PN continues to issue official press releases in which it still pursues the political strategy that led to its most recent debacle. Simon Busuttil – as PN leader – obliges by filing a criminal complaint against the Prime Minister’s personal assistant, Keith Schembri. The PN issues statements ‘correcting’ two PN leadership candidates – one rebutting Adrian Delia who had commented that a particular PN electoral promise was not sustainable and the other taking Frank Portelli to task about some of his staccato Facebook posts that could be easily misinterpreted – his fault, of course. 

The Administrative Council and the Executive of the defeated party have laid down the rules such that the PN Convention (made up of all the PN card-carrying members) are given only two choices – the two candidates obtaining most votes in the preliminary ‘dry run’ entrusted to the party’s General Council. This is a procedure that cannot be found in any part of the party’s statute. In fact the statute simply states that the election is to be held according to rules designed by the Party Executive and approved by the General Council. This is a perfect example of the ploy of changing the rules as one goes along. Whether whoever thought of the wording in the latest amended statute in this way was inane or malicious is beside the point.

The candidates have been asked to sign a declaration about their personal financial situation and other relevant private matters. Again, there is no such thing as this requirement in the party statute but introducing new rules and procedures seems to be the order of the day. Some might see this as some obstacle race, without the obstacles being visible, of course! Meanwhile two candidates have publicly declared their assets and the other two have chosen not to.

Someone got the bright idea of having a televised debate between the candidates without first obtaining the candidates’ consensus. Who is taking these decisions, the ordinary card carrying PN member justifiably asks? Or, better still, who comes up with these ideas in the first place?

The least the PN could have done was to take a leaf from Labour’s way of replacing Alfred Sant, whose resignation after the 2008 election was no fake. It was so real that he ceased to consider himself as Labour leader as soon as he resigned, with the party choosing an interim leadership team to keep things going until the new leader was elected.

Call them ‘the clique’ or ‘the political establishment of the past’ or whatever, but the people behind the PN facade are still there attempting to ensure that the new party leader will be the candidate of their choice.

Meanwhile, the horse-trading that is going on behind the backs of genuine PN supporters is flabbergasting. People pushing one candidate or another are already distributing the spoils if their candidate wins. Anonymous malicious Facebook posts against one candidate or the other is the order of the day. Some are cleverly dressed up as genuine concerns. Others are not so careful.

This is the road to perdition. Whoever becomes the new party leader must ensure that the new PN leadership team includes those who worked for other candidates, as well as the other candidates themselves, if possible.

The PN needs to be saved from itself even more than from Joseph Muscat’s Machiavellian manoeuvres.

Trump’s newspeak

Newspeak, the fictional language in George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, is alive and kicking in Donald Trump’s Washington.

A recent report in the ‘The Guardian’ said that to be consonant with the Trump administration’s shift away from climate change as a focus, staffers at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been instructed to drop the term “climate change” from their published writings and correspondence and use the term “weather extremes” instead.

An email obtained by CNN advised Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employees to avoid the term “Climate Change” and to instead use “Weather Extremes”. Instead of “Climate Change Adaptation”, the recommended terms include “Resilience to Weather Extremes”. Rather than “reducing greenhouse gases”, the emails suggest: “Build Soil Organic Matter, increase nutrient use efficiency”.

The NRCS is a branch of the Agriculture Department that advises and assists farmers on topics ranging from finance to conservation. In the email detailing the changes, Bianca Moebius-Clune of the NRCS wrote that “we won’t change the modelling, just how we talk about it.” 

Any comments from my part would be superfluous.

[email protected]

michaelfalzon
Michael Falzon is a former government minister who served under several Nationalist admini...
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