A serious PN own-goal

Suddenly the PN has become more positive than negative. Then the PN media abruptly undermines everything it had managed to achieve by publishing a conspiracy theory intended to contradict another silly conspiracy theory that was floated by the Prime Minister

Just when the PN seemed to be winning some credibility, its published media makes a silly own goal.

The PN’s action on the reported overcharging in water and electricity bills hit a raw nerve among all voters and the government’s incredibly weak response helped in boosting the issue to the front. This was followed by the PN’s proposals on detention, prison and discipline – proposals that were welcomed not just by PN supporters but by many who had voted Labour in the last election. This is to be followed by the PN’s proposals on mental health – another issue that seems to have been abandoned by the Labour government.

Suddenly the PN has become more positive than negative. This was what the PN actually needed to change the perception of negativity that was all the time pulling it down; its replacement with the discernment of a party ready to take over the reins of the government was vital. Without this change in perception, the PN was doomed. So things have finally started to move in the right direction.

This was a win-win situation for the PN that should have been used to boost its ratings.

Then the PN media abruptly undermines everything it had managed to achieve by publishing a conspiracy theory intended to contradict another silly conspiracy theory that was floated by the Prime Minister.

The PM had suggested that with its actions, the PN was abetting the criminals that were responsible – directly or indirectly – for the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. It was meant to make people forget the serious – albeit unproven – allegations about former minister Chris Cardona and sitting minister Carmelo Abela. Avid Labour supporters prefer hearing allegations against the PN than allegations against two of their own, and Robert Abela was playing for this particular gallery when he hinted at the PN being in cahoots with criminals – alleged or hardened. This was just fodder for the more inane of Labour supporters and should have been pooh-poohed by the PN as something that does not make sense.

Someone in the PN decided to take another road – that of inventing a counter-conspiracy theory in which it is Robert Abela who is in cahoots with criminals. That seems to have been the raison d’être behind the main story published in last Wednesday’s issue of the PN paper, In-Nazzjon. The idea of attacking a conspiracy theory by propagating an opposite conspiracy theory is ridiculous and does not wash. People who are being lured to return to the PN fold will not be impressed. The story published in In-Nazzjon has the same characteristics that pushes it into the ‘dismissible’ empty words’ cloud as much as the original conspiracy theory floated by the PM.

One doesn’t fight silly short-sighted allegations with contradictory silly short-sighted allegations.

All this means that while the work that was entrusted to Claudio Grech was starting to bring about some positive results, the PN’s lack of control over its own media is undermining all its efforts to look like a fresh party with a fresh agenda.

There are people in the PN’s media set-up that, apparently, cannot understand the effects of their invented stories.

Bernard Grech and his people have, up to now, proved unable to realise the danger of such stories. The danger is in people who are afraid to vote PN – switchers or not – because they do not see the PN being the more serious party and therefore the obvious choice, come the next general election. This might be sooner than many realise.

It is no use for it to publish serious proposals intended to lure serious people to vote PN while its media shows that it does not know where seriousness lies. Moreover, the PN media also lacks the vision how to present the good points in the PN’s new policy vision.

The PN sorely needs an intelligent media supremo. Last Sunday’s issue of Illum, for example, presented the PN’s proposals for prison reform and detention in a much more sensible way than the PN’s own paper, il-mument.

I honestly don’t know why Bernard Grech and his team have yet not tackled the problems that the PN’s media is causing to the PN itself.

Digital nomads

A report in Business Today indicates that the government intends to launch a new Nomad Residence Permit aimed at non-EU remote workers, freelancers, and business owners, who will be able to obtain a one-year residence permit in Malta against a €300 fee.

At first glance, this looks like a good idea, but is it? Are these just ‘permanent tourists’ like the six-penny settlers of the late sixties?

With so much public rancour about the construction industry, do we need to attract more people who will certainly make a negative impact on Malta’s infrastructure? Do we need to create more demands on our rental market with its lion’s share already consisting of foreigners living in Malta?

Do we need more cars in Malta? Does it help to exacerbate the population density in this way?

Whoever thought of this scheme probably made the simplistic sum on what such digital nomads will spend in Malta, apart from the €300 fee.

However, has anyone calculated the toll on our infrastructure that this scheme will necessarily generate? Are we back to ‘the more the merrier’ as in the Joseph Muscat times?

What all this means is that the Robert Abela administration has no policy on population density and the necessary infrastructure that is needed to support an ever-increasing population.

Labour’s penchant for their lack of deep thought by going for attractive ideas that are not really thought-out seriously is notorious. This sort of thing will get more serious during Labour’s third term that Robert Abela foresees after an election victory within much less than a year.

The PN is usually more cautious and tends to see things in a long-term scenario. That is why, perhaps, the best situation for Malta’s democracy is changing the party in government every ten years, after two full terms in government.

Alas, that rhythm has long been lost – mostly because of Alfred Sant’s stubbornness. It was not just him alone, of course.