Petulant and fraudulent behaviour won’t help PN build bridges it burnt | Edwin Vassallo

Vainglorious, petulant and fraudulent behaviour will not help PN build the bridges it has burnt with so many. Now is the time for PN to disentangle itself from ties that destroyed a once glorious party

Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo
Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo

The Nationalist Party’s resurgence as a strong, capable, relevant and credible party must be informed by ideals. The PN can and must rise from the humiliating ashes it has been turned into and soar over this 21st century baptism by fire.  

A party is as relevant as its ability to welcome, acknowledge and respond to people, be it your average Joe or the loftiest of personages. When one sees a candidate on their district, one must perceive an individual who will leave no stone unturned in an effort to assist.  

That is the true politician’s role, to serve. Such a service is not to be confused with clientelism which turns leaders into puppets or plasticine that moulds itself spinelessly, having no shape of its own; a servitude that makes one vulnerable to corruption and blackmail. Political service is one based on truth, justice, education and above all hope; hope that together a new, brighter, sustainable future awaits our country. 

This future need not come at the expense of cultural heritage and identity, nor need it be the result of the raping of our beloved islands for short-term wins we are and will be paying a hefty price for. The PN has a unique opportunity to restore political ethics to remind Maltese and Gozitans what politics truly is and what politicians truly stand for. 

Politics is not intrinsically corrupt, self-serving and short-sighted. Politicians are not vote-chasers with pockets that seem to be bottomless and always hungry. By learning from its own mistakes and failings, as well as of others, and by forgiving itself and all involved in its current plight, an enlightened PN has the unique opportunity to lead Malta to a political renaissance. One where people look to a party not with hurt, not with greed, not with power-lust. A party that projects sound, unwavering ideals and trepidation in achieving the best for its people and country not only in the immediate future, neither till the next elections, but sustainably for many a generation to come. 

A party’s relevance to its people and their future is its raison d’être. A politician, lawyer or otherwise, that believes politics starts with a lawsuit and ends with a verdict, or one who enters politics for money, power or a stage, has no business in legitimate politics.  

Politics is about equal justice for all, better salaries, sterling health services, exceptional education, excellent social services, a sound, healthy economy, innovation and opportunity, all rooted in honest ideology and the people’s needs present and future. A party must be of the people, by the people, for the people, and, if I may dare to add to Abraham Lincoln’s wise words, with the people.  

It is with a saddened heart that I admit that the latter was not PN’s strong suit when it was in government. It is now, summer of 2020, that the party has the opportunity to own up to its shortcomings and overcome them. A deep cleanse of all that is arrogant, petty, short-sighted and money-grabbing is long overdue. Many efforts have been made, but some members’ pettiness, vainglory and pride got in the party’s way.  

No more.  

With one voice all who seek a strong opposition that works with the people for the good of the people shout, no more! Get out of your silo, do not do a Marie-Antoinette/Louis XVI on the country. A party that serves does not sit on a high horse, a politician that serves does not put their own agenda ahead of that of the people or party. A politician who lives up to their vocation and profession and is worth their salt, knows when to fight which battles and above knows why battles are being fought. Platitudes, unsupported claims, manipulated figures, the convenient forgetting of facts, not opinions or ideas, but facts, all of these have no place in sound politics. 

Vainglorious, petulant and fraudulent behaviour will not help PN build the bridges it has burnt with so many. Now is the time for PN to disentangle itself from ties that destroyed a once glorious party. Now is the time to jump off the high horse and walk the walk, for talk is cheap, and talk is all we seem to be getting. It is up to PN to restore people’s faith in it, to help the many who were hurt, ignored, belittled and snubbed by their very own representatives forget the shabby way they were  

Internal bickering and backstabbing your leader, the very one you elected and who just a few months ago won a vote of confidence, does little to convince people that the party’s infamous arrogance is buried in the past.  

On the contrary, it reopens wounds. How many of its very own people, did the Nationalist Party throw under the bus when it was in government. How many pleas were left unheeded then? How can these very same people now ignore the appeal to unity, to strength?  

Profiling Hitler, the United States Office of Strategic Services said of his strategy ‘never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.’ Is this not like the strategy of those who seek to build themselves at the risk of hurting country and party alike?  

Why not focus on truths instead? Truths like the success with which PN handled the local economy in the global 2007/2008 recession. Truths like the self-importance that alienated so many people from PN. Truths as are the closed doors so many honest, loyal voters found when the Nationalist Party was in government.  

Adrian Delia is right when he says that it is time to return the Party to the people, to throw open its doors to all who seek justice, to open a wide ear to feedback, unselectively, and ponder it seriously so as to take affirmative action.  

So, like the Phoenix that rises from its ashes, like the kernel of wheat that must die to bear seeds, so must the Nationalist Party extricate itself from the haughtiness of old and with humility, self-sacrifice and perseverance return to the people with a strong ideology, a clear vision and vocation to serve, support and nurture. The people deserve it, the country needs it.