The Nationalist Party got thoroughly trashed in the last general elections, in its third consecutive super-defeat, and while the Party itself is busy casting around for villains to blame, its perpetual nemesis, the Labour Party has cast itself in the role of all-seeing, all-knowing adviser. It alone knows what the PN must do to turn things around – or so they would have the electorate believe.
The PL has been cannily successful in persuading the electorate that they hold the secret formula to winning elections. And so, the narrative goes, the PN should heed their advice.
The PL has also somehow managed to convince the electorate that it knows exactly what is going on within the four walls of the PN party headquarters. The factions, the turf-wars, the in-fighting, the financial situation – the PL wastes no opportunity to portray the chaos it claims reigns within its main opponent’s camp.
Of course, it’s not that there are no factions or turf-wars within the PN. There are, and plenty. But in its sanctimonious pronouncements about the PN’s disarray, the PL is attempting to dupe the population into believing that there is no in-fighting, no turf wars and no people with a sense of entitlement within the PL itself.
The only thing the PL isn’t facing at the moment that the PN is struggling with is the disastrous financial situation. Otherwise, it’s dealing with the exact same woes as the PN.
Indeed, the PL is no different except that in a Party that adopts the tactics of Orban, even Putin, on misinformation and disinformation. All these are managed brutally and kept under wraps. Meanwhile, attention to what is going on in the Labour Party is deflected by hyped up stories as to what is going on within the PN.
Perhaps the PN’s most important priorities are dismantling the PL narrative about it and finally creating its own. The real picture, warts and all.
The PN needs to disregard the PL-driven calls for younger faces at the expense of the older ones. Yes, new faces must be ushered in, but not at the expense of the old. Youth brings energy, drive, new ideas and new ways of doing things, relevant to the times. But people who have lived the history of the country and of the Party still have experience and wisdom that they can contribute.
The PN needs to stop its “partit glorjuz” discourse. Yes, the Party does have a glorious past, but all this talk of “partit glorjuz” is an invitation to hang on to the past, like a hamster on a wheel.
In the film Groundhog Day (1993), Phil, a self-centred weatherman, is dispatched to the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual 2 February celebrations, which revolve around a groundhog supposedly foreseeing the exact date of the arrival of spring. Phil makes no secret of his contempt for the assignment, the small town, and the “hicks” who live there. He is later shocked when he wakes up the next morning and realises that he is reliving the same day, 2 February, over and over again. He remains in a time loop, the 2 February rebooted each day at 6am, until he figures out how to break the cycle.
The secret, it transpires, lies within him. The PN, by constantly returning to its “partit glorjuz” label is living its own Groundhog Day. It needs to figure out the answer as to who it is today, without losing the principles on which it was founded.
The PN needs to disregard the self-serving PL-driven calls to be ‘positive’ – which is nothing more than an attempt to silence criticism of corruption and wrongdoing. This is a country whose prime minister was dubbed the OCCRP 2019 Person of the Year in Organised Crime and Corruption, who had to resign in disgrace and whose only legacy is a country transformed into a cesspit of crime and impunity and a journalist assassinated, a prime minister’s chief of staff who had to resign in disgrace, a former super-minister who had been elected deputy-leader of the PL who was thrown out of the Labour Party. Not speaking about corruption benefits only the corrupt.
The PN needs to dismantle the ideological drivel instilled by PL that what matters is only the economy – “it’s the economy, stupid”.
This is a country that has been overrun by criminals, and crime always has victims, whether it’s the taxpaying public as a whole or a specific individual that suffers.
This is a country overrun by money launderers, which has earned Malta the greylisting by the FATF.
This is a country that is seeing its Freedom of Expression eroded year on year, as can be seen from the World Press Freedom Index.
This is a country that needs a new government yesterday, one for whom rule of law, good governance, democracy, human rights, freedom of expression matter, and that can inspire people to believe that they do matter.