'One of us'

In my book, their actions eclipse by far Adrian Delia’s shortcomings as party leader. If there is anyone who thinks that Adrian Delia’s time as PN leader was just a blip in its history, they are completely wrong

Relax and consider the following:

Last Tuesday The Times and The Malta Independent published the same article written by PN stalwarts Paula Mifsud Bonnici and Richard Muscat appealing to all PN councillors and asserting that “the best way forward for the Partit Nazzjonalista is for members (tesserati) and councillors (kunsilliera) to erect a leader of the party”.

Last Wednesday The Times published an article written by Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola saying that the PN first needs to be in a position to win an election and that means getting the PN house in order. Among other clichés she insisted that the PN “need(s) to run on future plans not on nostalgia” so that the public can consider the PN to be a government-in-waiting. She ended her piece with a flourish: we change or we die.

Last Wednesday The Malta Independent published an article signed by two PN MPs, Claudette Buttigieg and Ivan Bartolo, insisting that now the PN needs the courage to hold a true and representative election for a leader.

Imagine if these articles were all written before the PN was to elect a successor to Simon Busuttil after the PN’s debacle in the 2017 general election – and you find that they all make sense in that situation.

These articles ignore what has led to the General Council having to decide again a question that was already decided three years ago. These articles practically imply that the situation then and now is the same but... it is actually not the same. This is why they hover somewhere between being fake and surreal. Because three years ago, the PN was in exactly the same situation implied by these contributions when the tessarati – acting undoubtedly in good faith – elected a leader that the PN ‘elite’ never accepted as he was not “one of us”.

Obviously, the tesserati can choose anyone, so long as they  are approved by the elite – much like Henry Ford telling prospective buyers that his Model T could be in any colour, so long as it is black.

We even had an exponent of the PN elite referring to Nationalist supporters of different tiers on social media; presumably the lower tiers consist of docile persons who are good for nothing except to vote PN in elections so that the elite can rule over us...

“One of us” happens to be the title of Hugo Young’s excellent biography of Margaret Thatcher. Young chose the phrase as the title of this biography because before Thatcher would meet one of her own MPs, with whom she was not well acquainted, she would ask her aides whether the MP was “one of us”. She considered a substantial number of own her party’s MPs as “wet” and they were not “one of us”.

I dare not prospect how this mess, created by the elite even before Adrian Delia had a chance to prove his worth, is going to end up. They were against him even before the first poll reflected his popularity or otherwise.

But to ignore – as if they never happened – all the manoeuvring, the dirty, underhand tricks and obscene, disloyal tricks of those who claim to be on the right side of the PN’s history, is really surreal.

To pretend that Christian love for one’s neighbour oozes out of the PN self-appointed ‘elites’ when hatred is their main motivation is beyond credibility. There is a limit of the amount of hypocrisy that I can stomach. Can they sell the idea that once they get rid of Delia, they will forget their obscene ways and become a party of ‘gentlemen’ once again?

I, for one, will not buy it.

In my book, their actions eclipse by far Adrian Delia’s shortcomings as party leader. If there is anyone who thinks that Adrian Delia’s time as PN leader was just a blip in its history, they are completely wrong.

The PN will never be the same again after this mess.

And I do not blame the electorate if it concludes that it cannot trust a bunch of sly, sneaky and disloyal people to lead the country.

Mass events

Last Tuesday, the GWU daily l-orizzont editorially disagreed with those who do not want any mass events being organised this summer because the COVID-19 threat is not over yet.

This seemed to follow some unannounced decision taken by the Prime Minister. On that same day he visited a hotel in St Julian’s in a sign of his support for the tourism sector. He was accompanied by Tourism Minister, Julia Farrugia Portelli, who dismissed calls to ban mass gatherings after a surge in coronavirus cases. She suggested the risk could be mitigated by ‘clearer and more definite’ protocols.

Since then the COVID-19 figures took a turn for the worse, with a number of new in cases being associated with particular mass events.

The Medical Association of Malta (MAM) and many other organisations and individuals, including former Labour PM, Alfred Sant, are all urging the government to ban such events. Many band clubs and other organisations voluntarily cancelled such events that were on their calendar but the government has stayed mum.

Even the Commissioner for Health in the Ombudsman’s office expressed his agreement with the cancellation of such activities. He pointed out that Malta should not risk losing what it had achieved in the last months thanks to the sacrifices of professionals and workers in the health sector, as well as people in the commercial sector and the public in general.

The health authorities seemed to be dragging their feet but late on Thursday announced new restrictions that did not ban all mass events outright.

Uncannily, the tourism minister’s comments and the l-orizzont editorial coincided with the BBC report that a private company in Malta saw the opportunity to organise mass festivals here. The BBC even interviewed someone from the organisation behind these concerts – 365 Entertainment.

For a long time, some people in the tourism sector have been pushing for Malta to emulate the club scene in Ibiza. It seems they have sensed that this is the right time to push their plans forward. This is sheer madness, not only because of the COVID-19 pandemic but also because Malta competing with Ibiza as a party destination is a non-starter and should not be encouraged in any circumstance.

Malta can never – and should never – be a clubbing destination. Ibiza – that is well known for its association with nightlife, electronic dance music and for the summer club scene – has an area of 571 sq. km and a population of some 150,000.

Compare these figures with those of densely populated Malta and the reason why Malta should not even try to compete with Ibiza is obvious.