From warriors to wimps?

The Nationalist Party was founded in 1880 by Fortunato Mizzi as the partito anti-riformista, in order to fight. And so it fought. Its name always signified a national struggle for freedom, independence, democracy, solidarity and justice.

It fought against its colonial masters under Enrico Mizzi and Ugo Mifsud and won freedom. It fought under Giorgio Borg Olivier and won independence. It fought under Eddie Fenech Adami against the Mintoffian regime and won, regaining democracy. Again it fought under Fenech Adami for EU membership and won, joining Europe’s family of nations.

Following EU membership, there seemed to be a weakening of the Party’s raison d’etre, although there were three notable achievements during Lawrence Gonzi’s leadership: entry to the Eurozone; a crucial role in expat evacuation (universally acclaimed) during the Libyan revolution; and successfully riding a serious financial crisis which crippled other countries.

Then, with Joseph Muscat’s ascension to power, little time went by before the then PN leader Simon Busuttil led the Party into another fight, that against sleaze and corruption and in favour of justice, democracy and the truth. But, unfortunately, that latest fight has been far from won.

In fact, the heavy electoral defeat of the PN in 2017 brought a marked weakening of the fight, with the Party leadership noticeably moving close to Labour in many ways; beginning to sing from the PL hymn book. There had been a “concerted effort” from some quarters – and this from per-2013 – to displace what became the so-called “establishment”, a nomenclature conveniently also nurtured by Labour, and which has now been swallowed by the PN and adopted together with the mantra of “negativity”.

This effort, with the wide vacuum then existing in the Party as a result of the leadership’s resignation and a heavily demoralized party officialdom, provided the space for the “concerted effort” to succeed in what was hailed as an outsider, non-establishment leadership – “a new way”, no less.

A brazen attempt was made to eradicate the preceding leadership but this was unsuccessful – in fact, it was a flop.  Further, a hard core from the so-called ‘establishment’ continued the fight from within the ordinary ranks.

The leadership’s impotence in the face of Labour’s continued sleaze also lost the Party its mantle of the champions of justice, democracy and the rule of law to civil society, which in effect, and thank God, came to our defence. After months of acrimonious turmoil, with Party officials, including its leadership, being revealed as having ties with Labour politicians and other very undesirable characters, Bernard Grech was elected as a new leader, with both a sigh of relief and some hope; by default? – time will tell.

The new leader owes his position, ironically perhaps, to the hard core of warriors within the Party’s ranks who continued to fight.

But unfortunately, the result was not accepted by all, and what had then become the old regime refused to cooperate and in fact actively undermined. The two factions remained. But the new leadership, instead of working for reconciliation, appeared to take sides and shockingly chose the old regime and not the warriors who were preserving the PN’s legacy.

Further, the Labour narrative of “negativity”, “establishment” and the well worn out, expired “klikka ta’ Simon Busuttil”, and its harsh, relentless attacks against the warriors were taken on board and actually implemented by the new PN leadership.

Those who fought for what the Party was meant to believe in were actively and openly abandoned and side-lined. Eh, we have to change the “attitude” we are told, whatever that is. It sounds like a wishy-washy word to cover a whole range of excuses and vague justifications of sorts. What’s wrong with an attitude that fights against corruption and in favour of the rule of law?

What’s wrong with an attitude that seeks justice? What’s wrong with an attitude that fights for our democratic rights? And what about the term “expiry date”? What is such a date? Is it defined by age, by length of political life, by competence, by fighting spirit? Or by a lack of such spirit? Another meaningless term, apparently used as an excuse to dispose of inconvenient personalities. And was the shunning of Lawrence Gonzi’s Cabinet members an affront to the former leader or merely another psalm taken from the Labour “establishment” hymn book?

Some of the core of the PN’s fighters have survived the blitz but their force within the Party has, regrettably, been seriously weakened – and by design. The ranks of those who fought for the election of a new leader, known as the “warriors”, have been seriously depleted to the detriment of the struggle for justice, democracy and the truth.

Fortunately, civil society has grown from strength to strength. The targeted victims of the electoral process are well known, but what happened to Therese Comodini Cachia and what really happened to Claudio Grech?  Instead, you have the previous leadership being promoted and its templates being adopted (viz. Delia’s meeting with Muscat in 2017 – so disconcerting at the time).

We are seeing one shadow minister after another beaming by the side of rogues who, until a month ago, were despised by the very Party that now seems to embrace them (to be fair, there are conflicting reports of whether they were by invitation or requested – but they should have been kept under wraps in any case).

The leader’s sudden new stance on abortion is also worrying. What did he mean by “not interfering in people’s lives”? Why are there laws then? And why has he been weak and non-committal on hunting and trapping and on cannabis? We also have a leadership contest in the form of a one-horse race, which is very unhealthy, particularly when the leader has, in his recent statements, shown a stance that borders on the intolerant, to say the very least. When he was elected at least there were two contestants; when his predecessor was elected there were four. Even Labour had two contestants.

What the heck is going on with the PN? What exactly is it up to? What has changed? What has it done with its raison d’etre? Where is the fighting spirit? Where are the fighters? What does it stand for? What does it hope to achieve? Has it moved from a Party of warriors to one of wimps?


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N Scerri
N Scerri
2 years ago

Calling JA a politician past his expiry date was so disrespectful and BG lost all credibility.He could simply have said that it was the electorate’s choice not to elect JA.

2 years ago
Reply to  N Scerri

Can you quote exactly BG’s words, not what was spun ?

2 years ago

Joseph Muscat impregnated all Maltese media and the PN with trojans.
Mintoff tried to burn the Times of Malta into oblivion. The opposite happened.
Muscat got Hillman into the Board, the rest is history.
Muscat did the same to the PN with the compliments of the PN leaders who thought that the PL had changed. Putting a PL politician into the presidency simply showed how naive the PN became. The destruction of Malta is works in progress. Muscat and his goons made their millions, EneMalta is broke , its Chinese Owners make millions. Wake up Laburisti. Your party gave Malta to the ” BARRANI”. Our housing is sold to Chinese , Russian , billionaires while we, those who built Malta with our sweat , have to work double simply tp pay the rent. Do Not Blame the WAR. Blame Muscat who burnt down Malta’s productive economy that was built with sacrifice by the PN , with all its faults .

2 years ago

It is way beyond clear that the party considers itself of more importance than the people it eschews to represent, making it no more than a self enriching/ vanity project, just like the labour mafia.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
2 years ago

Dr Sammut – well done for this realistic evaluation of the PN situation.
With the arrogance of Robert Abela, riding roughshod on a big electoral victory, and showing it immediately with the reappointment of a court jester as Leader of the House, and by shouting arrogantly at the Constitutional Leader of the Opposition for opposing this irresponsible but convenient appointment.
As an outgoing ‘tesserat’ of the PN, I will never forget the warriorship of the past leaders we had, who always stood up to the anti-democratic Labour/Socialist/Dictatorial Party, and boycotted Parliament whenever it started abusing of its majority.
Unfortunately, I have to answer in the affirmative, your concluding question, “Has it (the PN) moved from a party of warriors to one of wimps?”

2 years ago

The PN needs less of these militants who are still stuck in the 1980s

Godfrey Leone Ganado
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Don’t bother. I gave up my tessera ‘as it is past by date’ and will now enjoy my retirement as an armchair critic. I now intend to render my vote as ‘past by date’ too, as I did my part for the country, and the future of the younger generation, paid more than enough to support my pension and that of others, and will leave it up to the ‘best before date’, to decide freely for their future and our ‘bin’ date.

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