Taking the bull by the horns

This country needs a strong Opposition. Those in the PN working underhand to weaken the position of the Opposition leader are doing a disservice to the Maltese

It has now become very obvious that a small part of the PN is acting as if it is not led by the party leader but doing its own thing in its own way. Too obvious, in fact.

I do not know the nature of the relationship between Adrian Delia and those who had opposed his bid to become PN leader at all costs but from out here it does not look good at all.

It is time, therefore, for Adrian Delia to take the bull by the horns and call a spade a spade – or a bloody shovel, if need be.

Delia has inherited a sick political party with its fortunes in the doldrums – a party that needs nursing back to reflect some of its former strength. The PN is a divided party that has lost credibility with a large part of its former voters, mainly because it had acted in a paranoid way and had closed up unto itself. While Delia struggles to get the PN out of this rut, there are those who apparently enjoy wallowing in it at the expense of Adrian Delia, but more importantly, at the expense of the party’s image and its unity.

I understand Delia trying to give the message that everybody has a place in the party he leads, but this message is being continually undermined by those who resent his being democratically elected by the party ‘tesserati’ – its card-carrying members. The party needs to be cleaned of the webs that are obscuring its image. The spiders must be controlled – or even removed, if need be.

Perhaps Adrian Delia should take a leaf from Joseph Muscat’s book. Many felt that the point when Joseph Muscat found an excuse to ditch then Deputy Leader Anglu Farrugia, was a defining moment in Muscat’s leadership. Anglu Farrugia was giving the wrong image and the wrong message, clinging to the old ways of doing things for which Labour was resented by many.

There were conflicting messages both in the substance and in the delivery of the future vision of a Labour government evident between Anglu Farrugia’s and Joseph Muscat’s speeches.

Joseph took the bull by the horns and emerged as a strong leader who knows what he wants and does not let anybody stand in the way – not even people who were acknowledged as party stalwarts. Not just that: by replacing Anglu Farrugia with Louis Grech, Joseph Muscat made the Labour Party more palatable and acceptable to a swathe of people who were considering switching from PN to Labour.

Delia, on the other hand, is still trying to pick up the pieces that he inherited from his predecessor. It is no easy task. People, for example, are asking whether Adrian Delia is aware beforehand of what certain members of his parliamentary group would be intending to say in Parliament and whether some of these speeches fit in Delia’s strategy as the Leader of the Opposition.

The editorial of this newspaper’s midweek edition, last Wednesday, argued that the time has come for Delia to outline his vision for a Malta under a PN government led by him. At the moment this seems a far-fetched prospect in practical terms but without such a vision, a Delia-led PN cannot assert itself. More so since certain PN personalities seem to be attempting to steal the limelight and leave Delia in the shadows.

One can hardly argue against the need of a new political vision for the PN, of course, but at the moment Delia needs – even more importantly – that defining moment in which he comes across as the undisputed and unchallenged leader in the party.

Taking a leaf from Joseph Muscat’s handbook, asserting oneself as a leader in control of all the party came before defining the party’s vision – although both aims can be pursued concurrently.

While Delia’s popularity ratings in the country are still dismal, the latest survey carried out by this newspaper shows that he is slowly picking up.

This country needs a strong Opposition and those in the PN who are working underhand to weaken the position of the leader of the Opposition are doing a disservice to the Maltese people by putting their personal interests and ambitions before their own country.

 

Trumping the USA

After months of threatening, President Trump withdrew from the historic Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, unravelling the Obama Administration’s signature foreign-policy achievement and putting the United States on a collision course with its allies, as well as with Teheran.

As far as I know, this was the first time that the US has reneged on an international treaty that it had signed, thus destroying its international credibility. Iran, on the other hand had stuck to its commitments.

European leaders, who unsuccessfully pressured Trump to stick to the deal, condemned his decision to pull out of it.

In fact, European companies were the biggest beneficiaries of the weakened Iran sanctions. In boardrooms and offices across Europe, executives are now assessing the fallout of the US decision to scrap the Iran nuclear deal – a decision that threatens to stall an investment boom that started after Iran returned to the international fold two years ago.

Writing in ‘The New Yorker’, Robin Wright said that Daniel Kurtzer, a former Ambassador to Israel and Egypt now at Princeton University, told her: “The United States used to be the leader, the convener, and the engine of international diplomacy. Trump’s actions have turned us into an untrustworthy and erratic diplomatic outlier.”

Robin Wright also quotes Mark Fitzpatrick, the executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies office in Washington, saying: “Not a single European state sides with the US on this matter.”

Beyond Europe, American credibility worldwide “will go down the tubes,” he also said, adding: “Who will ever want to strike a deal with a country that, without cause, pulls out of a deal that everyone else knows has been working well? America will be seen as stupid, arrogant, and bullying. Pity the poor US diplomats who have to explain this illogical decision to their host countries.”

Ah! But now America is great again!

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