Roselyn Borg Knight and the PN's broken record: 'I expected better survey results'

Nationalist Party International Secretary Roselyn Borg Knight says that while she is behind the party’s leadership, it should be doing more to speak the language of young people and the electorate in general

Roselyn Borg Knight (right) with PN leader Bernard Grech
Roselyn Borg Knight (right) with PN leader Bernard Grech

Roselyn Borg Knight expected the Nationalist Party to perform better in the two political surveys published on Sunday that gave the Labour Party a very comfortable lead.

The PN's international secretary vented her frustration in a Facebook post, lamenting that her party was unable to attract new voters.

MaltaToday caught up with Borg Knight, who was recently approved as a general election candidate by the PN, and asked her what was holding back the party from attracting new voters to it.

“Evidently the PN is playing a broken record, its music does not resonate with the young and those who deserted will not return when they see that the reasons they left for are still there,” she said.

MaltaToday's April survey released yesterday showed that although the PN has registered improvement, the Labour Party still enjoys a majority of just under 26,000 votes.  Furthermore, the trust barometer shows that Prime Minister Robert Abela's rating increased by 7.4 points after hitting its lowest point last month. Opposition leader Bernard Grech increased his trust rating by one point, to score his best result since becoming leader last September but still trails Abela by 11 points.

Another survey by it-Torċa gave similar results with a slightly stronger lead to the PL.

The numbers are shouting out loud. PN is not attracting the new voters and those who left the Party along the years. The...

Posted by Roselyn Borg Knight on Sunday, April 11, 2021

The numbers were welcomed by some PN exponents, who pointed out the constant improvement the party has been experiencing since Grech's election as leader. However, others have expressed concern over the party's inability to significantly cut the gap with Labour, especially with a maximum of 12 months until the next general election.

Borg Knight is one of those who are concerned. “While I believe the leader is moving towards the right direction, I would have expected better results for the party given the ongoings of the last few months,” she told MaltaToday.

She believes the PN has a problem with getting through to young people.

“I feel the message we are sending out is not resonating with youths. We speak about them in our political activities and events, but we need to start speaking their language. And you speak their language by issuing policies that reflect their realities,” she said.

But the problem is not limited to young people. Borg Knight feels the party’s message is not getting through to the electorate.

“The party speaks a lot about corruption, and I am 100% against it, but we need to start speaking more about bread and butter issues,” she said, reflecting a sentiment that has long been felt by a section of PN functionaries.

Asked what is wrong with the party’s message, she said that its down to a number of issues.

“People want to see faces they can relate to. I am not speaking just about new faces, but experienced ones who can be re-shuffled in better positions for a more streamlined approach,” she said.

The PN under Grech has managed to shorten the distance with Labour but the gap is still very wide, which raises the question as to whether the party has enough time on its hand to get within striking distance when the general election is called.

Frank and simple as it may be, Borg Knight's analysis may have struck a chord that PN strategists cannot ignore.