Back
Register for SMS Alerts
or enter your details manually below...
First Name:
Last Name:
Email:
Password:
Hometown:
Birthday:
Sorry, we couldn't find that email.
Existing users
Email
Password
Sorry, we couldn't find those details.
Enter Email
Sorry, we couldn't find that email.
michaelfalzon
Michael Falzon

Getting the PN out of the mess

The PN is lamenting the weakening of our democratic institutions, the rule of law and democracy in Malta

michaelfalzon
Michael Falzon
14 November 2017, 7:34am
Adrian Delia faces an uphill struggle to make the PN not only coherent but also relevant again in the current political situation.
Adrian Delia faces an uphill struggle to make the PN not only coherent but also relevant again in the current political situation.
In the present circumstances, last Sunday’s PN General Council should have been a show of unity. Sadly it was nothing of the sort. Certain MPs were noticeable by their absence – and this was no coincidence.

We have a situation where the PN is lamenting the weakening of our democratic institutions. Those who like to emphasise this situation are themselves constantly weakening one of the country’s most important democratic institutions: the Opposition.

We have a situation where the PN is lamenting the weakening of the rule of law and democracy in Malta. Those who like to emphasise this situation are themselves weakening the rule of law and the democratic system that led to the election of the new PN leader.

This has created a situation where the PN finds itself in a great mess.

The signs of inherent contradictions are there: the rule of law is fine so long as it leads to what we want! 

The rule of law protects the post of Attorney General. So what? They want the Prime Minister to force him to resign!

The rule of law gives legitimacy to whoever wins elections. So what? They want the Prime Minister to resign and they do not want to accept Adrian Delia as PN leader. 

"The signs of inherent contradictions are there: the rule of law is fine so long as it leads to what we want! "
The electorate is not made up of idiots who believe anything they are told. The important part that the social media plays in politics all over the world has shaken many an establishment because more people are reading more fake news and less genuine information. Malta’s electorate is not different – except that Facebook use in Malta is reported to be even higher than in many other countries. This has created both an information opportunity and a political minefield. The PN is spurning the opportunity to send the right message and wallowing in the minefield.

Last Sunday, the GWU weekend paper It-Torca published a survey that shows that since the election, the gap between Labour and the PN has widened to some 70,000 votes. I am not surprised. The number of traditional PN voters who are disgusted with the internal antics that the PN has been experiencing since it was obvious that Adrian Delia stood a good chance of clinching the PN leadership is substantial.

The disdain with which some in the PN hold the party’s own grassroots who voted for change is incredible. Earlier this week an opinion piece writer in The Times even asked: “How can the PN preach high standards if its grass roots does not place maximum importance on sound qualities in their leaders?” This is typical of those who have never touched base with the PN grassroots and pretend that everybody should follow their ‘moral standards’ and hence their choices.

This is the mess that Adrian Delia has inherited from Simon Busuttil and those who are now being evidently identified as his clique. 

And now Adrian Delia faces an uphill struggle to make the PN not only coherent but also relevant again in the current political situation.

The biggest problem that Delia has in getting on with his job is what to do with the dissidents? I think that attempting to appease them – as he seems to have done so far – is the wrong tactic. It is wrong on two counts: his will appear to be a repetition of the message that the PN grassroots have spurned and they will never be appeased before they get rid of him.

Internal tensions are not something new in any political party. Eddie Fenech Adami led the PN with a steady hand but this does not mean there were never contrasting ideas in the PN structures. This is natural and inherent in any democratic set-up. But the idea of removing a just elected and unproved leader was never on anybody’s agenda.

The next steps are the election of the two deputy leaders where results are almost being taken for granted as well as the election of other PN officials to be chosen by the PN executive. Once the official set-up of the PN is in place, I do not think Adrian Delia should waste any more time with the so-called dissidents.

"Internal tensions are not something new in any political party. Eddie Fenech Adami led the PN with a steady hand but this does not mean there were never contrasting ideas in the PN structures "
He has staked his claim and won.

He now should start pushing the new way that he has promised and ensure that the PN becomes again the source of new positive ideas rather than the eternally moaning negative machine that it has become of late.

Yes, there are many areas in which the current Joseph Muscat administration is wrong and criticism is also part of the Opposition’s role that should not be discarded.

But people decide to change their government because they hope that a change of government will make their life better. It is this hope that has not been radiating from the PN under the Joseph Muscat administrations and it is this hope that Adrian Delia must inspire if the PN is to start recovering and increase its vote tally. 

In carrying out this very difficult task the new PN leader must perforce ignore the dissidents rather than attempting to appease them... while being extra careful on how to position himself so that the expected stabs in the back do not actually reach him.

The attention economy

Last week ‘The Economist’ dedicated its cover, an editorial and a briefing to the idea that the social media are actually a threat to democracy. A new term – ‘the attention economy’ – has been coined to describe the situation where different influences compete for the attention of uninformed customers.

Some might think this is strange because the social media have created an open discussion platform that was not available before. Yet the social media are susceptible to subversive techniques, mostly those developed by ‘somewhat obsessive and technically astute coteries of amateurs whose main motivation is fun and recognition, sometimes – but not necessarily –spiked with malice.’

Add to this phenomenon the use of social media to create undue influence on political developments, as the Russians have done in the last US Presidential campaign, and one has all the ingredients necessary for the creation of a ‘brave new world’ - where liberal democracy and the early dream of enlightenment ushered in by the creation of social media are smothered to death.

The maxim, attributed to Thomas Jefferson, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’ remains true and relevant today, albeit in a very different context.

michaelfalzon
Michael Falzon is a former government minister who served under several Nationalist admini...
DealToday
follow us on facebook