A house divided against itself

Delia is probably delusional, but so are those who want to oust him… they refuse to face the truth why so many PN voters switched. They lack political vision that can lure back voters

Opposition leader Adrian Delia
Opposition leader Adrian Delia

The hapless situation in which the PN finds itself today should surely remind everyone of the Biblical admonition: “every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matthew 12:25).

What the PN does not need is a leader who just considers the legality of his position while dismissing whether his very tenure has led to a political crisis within the party – irrespective of whose fault it is.

What the PN does not need is an MP who describes himself as a ‘hero’ and offers to be a martyr by being ready to die for the cause.

What the PN does need is a good dose of common sense – the sense to look at the big picture and realise that fighting over the details while ignoring the raison d’être of its very existence and the vision that it inspires is complete madness.

Unfortunately, everybody seems to have gone bonkers, recalling the old Greek saying: “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad”.

Has anyone asked how the PN is coming across to the common man in the street considering the current mess it finds itself in?

Does anyone really believe that all the PN needs to recover the large swathes of lost ground is to change its leader?

Will a new leader with a new team perform some miracle that would make the PN a credible alternative to the party in government?

Everybody knows what the answers to these rhetorical questions are and everybody chooses to ignore these answers – opting to push full steam ahead towards an unknown and unplanned future.

Adrian Delia is probably delusional – if he thinks the PN under his leadership could increase its popular support, after all that has happened since he became party leader. He might have believed it when he contested the PN leadership, but sticking to this belief after so much dirty water has passed under the bridge is certainly delusional.

But those who want to oust Delia are also delusional. They think he is the problem. He is not. In fact, he was elected PN leader as a reaction to the problem. They refuse to face the truth – the real reasons why so many PN voters switched to the other side. They also lack the political vision that can lure back the voters the PN has lost.

Admittedly, some of the problems, like the financial difficulties the PN faces – irrespective of whether the reported amounts of debt are correct – have been inherited and one cannot place them at the door of either Simon Busuttil or Adrian Delia. The struggle to overcome them, obviously, is not made easier when the party is divided, when the party’s administration has to continually dodge booby traps and underhand manoeuvres while pretending that all is fine.

When it was the time for choosing a successor to Eddie Fenech Adami, Louis Galea – who was beaten by Lawrence Gonzi to the post – had written an interesting piece in The Times. His described his vision for the future in this way: “I see this as a time to reorder priorities, to make sure this country picks up economically, socially and politically as early as possible. And I wish to see a far more united country and politicians serving the national interest more and wasting energy in fruitless squabbling less.”

This is exactly the opposite of what we have in the PN today. Wasting time in fruitless squabbling has become the order of the day.

Unearthing Louis Galea after all these years and asking him to revamp the party organisation and its political vision has not led to any solution yet. Louis had no easy task. Many have stuck to their positions, willy-nilly. The real heroes are those officials who resigned their posts as they put the party before their personal interest. Some were perhaps not up to expectations. Others might have given up trying to persuade those who cannot be persuaded. But they did the right thing so as to give the party a chance to recover.

Unfortunately, all this is bad news – not just for the PN. It is bad news for Maltese democracy itself. Maltese democracy cannot subsist without an alternative government ready to take over the reins of the country. Today we miss this important piece in the democratic jigsaw.

And so, while everybody watches the PN imploding and falling to pieces, Maltese citizens of good will wait for a modern version of Hercules – the one who took 12 years to carry out the 12 tasks he had to do as a penance for killing his own sons.

Among other tasks, Hercules was asked to kill many monsters... and cleaning the Augean Stables was just one of his tasks.

Police farce (part II)

My piece last week about the Maltese police force becoming a farce was somewhat prophetic. Two days after it was published The Times last Tuesday revealed that following a whistleblower’s report, a large number of traffic police were being investigated about a racket in overtime, with many claiming and being paid for overtime that they never carried out.

Over the last few days, the scandal became even bigger with claims that police officers had collected ‘protection money’ from a number of construction and transport companies who were committing traffic contraventions and other violations with impunity.

I had quoted a study carried out in the US that concluded that police misconduct spreads like a contagion. In Malta we now have more indications that this contagion has become a serious epidemic.

Since 2013, there was obvious political pressure on the Police administration to accept back in service officers who had resigned during the previous administration. Some of these had left because they could not hide their crooked way of doing things

Moreover, the negative effect of politicians in power pressuring the police to be selective as to whom they investigate and prosecute is obvious.

It is good that the new young minister responsible for the police is reportedly taking the bull by the horns.

He seems to have the courage to do it – but he then also has to have the wisdom necessary to rebuild the force, practically from scratch.

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