Time for Bernard Grech to bow out | Frank Camilleri

I believe the one and only person who can put PN supporters on a sound footing and for sure able to rally the troops is Adrian Delia

Bernard Grech
Bernard Grech

He is bright, intelligent, hardworking, honest and loved by many but unfortunately these qualities are not enough for one to be a good and great leader. This sums up the leadership of Bernard Grech so far.

I have met innumerable Nationalist Party supporters and PN-oriented people who share this opinion. Even Labour supporters, not always for obvious reasons, share this opinion and as a result they do not consider him as a valid opponent. They for sure do not think Bernard Grech would ever be able to win over Labour supporters to his side.

The point is that the electorate, not only in Malta but anywhere else, first looks at the messenger and then takes note of the message. Take Donald Trump, Dom Mintoff, Joseph Muscat, Eddie Fenech Adami, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin – these leaders could say whatever they want to their supporters and they will simply love it. They don’t care as much about the message.

Their opponents would not love it so much, but they are always keen to listen because this type of leadership creates an aura around them that somehow compels people to want to listen to them. These listeners may not always agree with what is being said, they may even ridicule what is being said but somehow are compelled to listen to the messenger. Whether one believes the message or not, is another matter altogether.

Such leaders have a vibe that irrespective of what they say, people want to hear them out. They are charismatic in their own way, but what is so important about them is that people   want to listen to them. And this is how eventually their message becomes more popular and more widely acceptable. This is how a political message eventually filters down to the political base where it matters.

Unfortunately for the PN, with the incumbent leader, people do not flock to listen to his speeches as regrettably, and irrespective of how much they respect him, including myself, he has no vibe. People are not interested to listen to his ‘messages’ albeit they are good and valid. They are not bothered to listen to the messages because they are not in any way able to identify with the messenger.

Why does Labour keep losing votes and the PN gaining nothing? Logically, it shouldn’t be the case. The answer is simple: Bernard Grech’s message is not filtering through to the electorate because the electorate does not care to listen to him. So, if you don’t listen to the messenger, you cannot listen to his messages. Simply put, Bernard Grech needs to absent himself from the position he deservedly occupies.

I know that at this stage, it is not ideal for the PN to engage in any leadership contest as the situation is bad enough as it is. But the party is unable to make any electoral inroads and something must be done. The writing is on the wall, as it had been before with Lawrence Gonzi. Dr Gonzi failed to see it and lost miserably. Bernard Grech must go.

Any such change of leadership needs to be made now and not much later if one is thinking of the next general election. Such a change needs to be done in a smooth and coordinated way, by consensus to show solidarity. Any other way, will throw the party into an abyss, from which it will never recover.

There is presently no one, and I mean no one, in the PN ranks that has the vibe to make any electoral inroads and break the impasse to possibly win over those Labour supporters who are showing signs of weariness with their own party.

I believe the one and only person who can put PN supporters on a sound footing and for sure able to rally the troops is Adrian Delia. He has a strong charisma and his forceful way of talking, his expressions, his fighting spirit is much admired by PN and PL supporters.

The Delia of today is not the same Delia of 2017. He has matured politically. His opinions are sound and coherent. He has gained gigantic stature by winning the Vitals hospitals court case. He now enjoys respect by all sides. Although, as to be expected, not everybody always agrees with what he says, from my experience in being around people from different sides of the political spectrum, people enjoy listening to him.

He is the one with the vibe, who is capable of delivering the message because people are interested to listen to the messenger.

The author is a company director and holds an MBA from Queen's University Belfast