Charlo Bonnici | Sunday, 21 June 2009
Bookmark and Share

A shattered PN? It’s a fantasy

Losing a battle is never a pleasant experience. The result of the EP elections was understandably a bitter pill to swallow for the PN and unavoidably led to some soul searching within the party. The Nationalist Party would be losing a golden opportunity if it simply covers the proverbial dust and moves on ignoring the main message of the electorate: don’t take us for granted; don’t ignore us; listen to us!
Honestly, I don’t think that this electoral defeat can be attributed to a single issue. It may be that the first year of a legislature is the worst year for any government, particularly those who embark on radical reforms. It may also be that having a new PL leader who keeps promising everything to everyone did make a difference. Probably we failed to meet people’s expectations and therefore deluded many who were expecting our help.
Whereas in the days prior to the elections one could sense that there was a substantial sector of the population that was not exactly in sync with government or with the party, in the aftermath of these elections I met a substantial number of hard-core PN supporters who did not feel the need to go out and vote. If I had to draw a conclusion of why they felt they should abstain from voting I would say that they there was a relevant number of groups of voters who belong to sectors which were badly affected by regulations, laws or reforms introduced in the past few years.
Others felt ‘forgotten’ by the party they have worked for all their life. Others missed the feel-good factor which they had always attributed to a PN administration. Nobody I met said that the candidates presented by the PN were not valid. Nobody told me that the PN’s MEPs were not up to the job. Nobody told me that they would rather have the PL lead the country. Indeed some of them had actively campaigned for the PN in the last general elections!
The outcome of the other elections held on June 6 seem to indicate that when it comes to elections which affect them directly (MEP elections may still seem to be irrelevant to the daily needs of the people), people vote for hard-working, target-oriented individuals and for politicians who connect with people. It seems that in some localities voters decided to send a message to the government by voting for another party or not voting at all in the EP elections and voting for PN candidates in the local council election. Indeed the PN managed to regain two ‘lost’ localities and increase its majority in a number of others.
I am not surprised that a blame-game followed these elections. Some blamed party officials, others pointed their finger at individual ‘arrogant’ and ‘disconnected’ ministers. What I find absurd is that some decided to point their finger at a particular Minister almost forgetting that this same Minister was hailed as a hero some 16 months ago for revolutionising the IT sector in Malta and for getting the biggest foreign investment ever in Malta. Having said that, I also think that whoever is in politics has to do his or her utmost not to be abrasive, be nice to people and show understanding and empathy even in circumstances where one feels totally convinced that one is on the right side of the argument.
What I also find absurd and unacceptable is that a few of our own were ready to bite their nose to spite their face, feeding the hungry media with bits and pieces of information on what should have been an open and frank discussion about the election and the way forward for the party. Hopefully, they will soon realize that foolishness rarely pays.
The image of a shattered party is just Labour’s fantasy and wishful thinking. As the aura of Labour’s victory in the 6 June elections abates, people will soon start realising that Labour’s vision for Malta is distorted. The PL’s leader has already stated that his party cannot bind itself to lower the water and electricity bills they criticised so much in the campaign. The Nationalist government’s ability to create and save jobs, which was made fun of by the PL, has been commended by the EU. Labour’s furore about irregular immigration has now faded into oblivion. Probably because they are realising that months of hard work and intensive diplomacy may finally be paying off.
The road ahead is bumpy. After all we are living in challenging times. Moreover, there are reforms which we need to embark upon. Others need to be concluded. As a serious government we cannot please everyone all the time, therefore even reforms aimed at solving issues many people have been hampering about for such a long time, will not go down well with everyone. One important question we need to answer before doing anything that has an impact on people is: is what we are doing beneficial to the people, does it improve their quality of life? If the honest answer is no, then we should just forget whatever we have in mind and change course.
I am sure that in the coming months the electorate will be watching us closely, expecting us to put into effect the necessary changes. Undoubtedly, the electorate has become very impatient with politicians particularly with the party in government probably because it has been there for quite some time. For this reason I think all those who somehow represent the face of the party should be extra careful how to behave in public, how to treat people, how they are perceived by people. We need to stand up to nest-feathering individuals whose only allegiance is to their own interests. Although the road ahead seems thorny and bumpy, I am very confident that the PN is able to take this setback in its stride and manage to be successful, as it has always been, where it matters most.

Charlò Bonnici is a Nationalist MP


Any comments?
If you wish your comments to be published in our Letters pages please click button below.
Please write a contact number and a postal address where you may be contacted.



Download MaltaToday Sunday issue front page in pdf file format

All the interviews from Reporter on MaltaToday's YouTube channel.


The day ‘Smart Island’ stood still


Copyright © MediaToday Co. Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann SGN 9016, Malta, Europe
Managing editor Saviour Balzan | Tel. ++356 21382741 | Fax: ++356 21385075 | Email