Playing hide and seek inside the PN

No wonder many switchers are convinced they will never be welcomed back in the PN if certain PN politicians are in power: these politicians have shied away from publicly playing a direct honest part in the moves against Delia

Defending Busuttil’s follies is not on... so those against Delia have to attack all those who remind us of them
Defending Busuttil’s follies is not on... so those against Delia have to attack all those who remind us of them

As I write, only some 500 PN councillors have already voted in answer to the simple straight-forward question whether Adrian Delia should remain party leader until the next general election.

Many of the remaining councillors – some 1,000 – voted last week.

I think that this question is much clearer than the one originally proposed by those who are serving as a screen for the real persons who want Delia out at all costs. The people who are hiding behind the screen manouvering to oust Delia from the PN leadership have recently sought to avoid the searchlights of the public domain.

I am sure that they must have also already decided whom they want instead of Delia. However, at this point they are keeping the name of the ‘anointed one’ close to their chests so that the issue is not reduced to a battle between Delia and their chosen one. Rather than a struggle for power, they prefer to depict their cause as some just search for the Holy Grail.

There is no doubt that a number of PN MPs who are openly against Delia have not endeared themselves with the general public. Their stances reeked of sour grapes and prejudice because Delia is not ‘one of them.’ However, recently they have done their best not to make any utterances in public and act as if they are only spectators of the farce that they themselves authored in the first place.

They do not want any discussion on the real reasons why the PN grass roots opted for Delia – the abject failures of the tactics of Simon Busuttil, to say nothing of those adopted in power by Lawrence Gonzi.

Last Tuesday, ‘The Times’ published a contribution written by Louise Tedesco about ‘The PN’s Barra Brigade’. I suspect that the article was written for Tedesco by someone else in the Delia Camp – hiding behind screens is no monopoly in Maltese politics and ghost-writing is much more common than one thinks. But this is beside the point.

The article made some not so subtle references to Simon Busuttil’s major flops, the same flops that led the grass roots to rebel against the PN establishment and opt for Delia. The article provoked a barrage of personal attacks against Tedesco in the social media. No one defended Simon Busuttil’s bad decisions but they all turned the tables into a personal attack on Tedesco. Shooting the messenger is also a favourite stance in politics – not just in Malta.

The point is that defending Busuttil’s follies is not on... so those against Delia have to attack all those who remind us of them.

Another point that the pro-Delia camp was pushing in the social media is that Delia was defended in two or three editorials that appeared in the GWU papers. They cannot fathom that there is such a thing as reverse psychology. If the Labour camp wants Delia out, they do not say so. Instead, the Labour media writes in his favour so that PN supporters will react by adopting an anti-Delia stance. This is also an old trick in the world of Maltese politics. The PN used it many times in the past in the contests between Alfred Sant and Lino Spiteri as well as in the Toni Zarb/Manuel Micallef confrontation and in the Joseph Muscat/George Abela race. There is nothing new under the sun... but the same old tested gimmicks keep fooling the suckers.

When Delia was pushed to contest the PN leadership, he explained the reasons why the PN could take a new direction with him as leader. That this did not actually happen is another issue. But at this point some were expecting the councillors to vote Delia out without knowing who his intended replacement is. This person certainly exists but he or she is hiding behind the screens, because those against Delia have surmised that it pays to wage their campaign as an anti-Delia move rather than one in favour of somebody else. It is easier to be against someone than to be in favour of someone. Perhaps that is why these people are just negative – they are against a lot of things but can hardly begin to agree on what they stand for. This is one of the reasons why Simon Busuttil failed to impress the average Maltese voter.

The way some PN so-called ‘stalwarts’ have fought one of their own augurs badly for the PN. More so in recent weeks – ever since that press conference presided by Ivan Bartolo when he gave details of the original motion calling for a PN General Council. The motion was unclear as regards Delia’s future and therefore a waffle more than anything else. The people behind the move were nowhere to be seen. They opted to play hide and seek – because they knew that putting themselves in the limelight would only hurt their cause.

No wonder that many switchers have been convinced that they will never be welcomed back in the PN and that they will face problems if certain PN politicians are in power. No surprise, therefore, that these PN politicians have shied away from publicly playing a direct honest part in the moves against Delia.

But in Malta everybody knows everybody else. As the Maltese idiom goes: Malta zghira u n-nies maghrufa.

Helena gets the prize

Finally, the answer to the question everybody has been asking these last few weeks is out.

European Affairs and Equality Minister, Helena Dalli, has been nominated for the post of European Commissioner and is set to replace Karmenu Vella as Malta's representative.

Dalli immediately resigned from her ministerial post to focus on preparing for the hearing with the European Parliament. She will stay on as a Member of Parliament until her eventual confirmation while Edward Zammit Lewis is to replace her in the Maltese Cabinet.

Not so coincidentally, Claire Bonello in The Sunday Times of Malta two weeks ago, wrote a cutting article about the stark difference between what Dalli used to say in 2008 – when in Opposition – about the appointments of consultants by Ministers, and what Dalli and her peers actually did about this when in power. They abused the system more than their predecessors did, of course.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Perhaps Belgian biscuits can withstand more pressure.

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