The latest internal election within the Nationalist Party can easily be described as the most contentious election in the Party’s history. Regrettably, absurd fabrications played an important part in the short campaign for party leader.
A sector of Nationalist apparatichiks used all the tricks in the book to deceive voters. All sorts of excuses were set in motion to put Adrian Delia in a bad light. Unfortunately, this played havoc with the party members. These allegations started before Adrian Delia became leader. They remained and many of the tesserati swallowed them hook, line and sinker.
Then, Adrian Delia did the cardinal mistake to withdraw the libel that he had started against Daphne Caruana Galizia, the person who started all these allegations, because of the horrendous way she was assassinated. But if Delia hoped that by that gesture, he was going to appease them, he was greatly mistaken. In their eyes, he appeared a weak politician. This was a signal that they could continue to puke on their adversaries.
To date, all the stories used and accentuated during the campaign have not been proven but the end justifies the means. Even worse, Bernard Grech’s team used party machinery, quite numerous, to engage in all personal attacks.
The opposing team, that is, the one favouring the incumbent, sought to defend their turf but the defence was very weak and did not have the main media support. Moreover, those against Adrian Delia used the tactics that they pretended to be loyal and concerned Nationalist members while attacking Delia.
They lied repeatedly about anything and everything Dr Delia tried to achieve. They even concocted disgusting myths about Dr Delia’s personal life. Sadly, this behaviour by the party’s parliamentary members and other high ranked operatives has set a terrible example.
Talking points have become more outrageous and less truthful. These were then being repeated within the grassroots level without regard to honesty and accuracy. The only goal was to remove Delia from Kap, come what may. Truth and the desire to work as a team to face the real opposition from Government’s side and for beneficial public policy were cast aside.
After all the votes of confidence, no one ever imagined that it could get worse. But in their quest to annihilate Dr Delia, they used any means and methods to ridicule him. They wanted the Nationalists to believe that unity was impossible under his watch. They wanted the Nationalist supporters to believe that his argumentation, vision, proposals and oratory were not leading to positive achievements. They wanted his supporters to believe that his aim for camaraderie was a futile exercise but they forgot to tell us that it takes two to tango.
Dr Delia was the target of this smear tactic from day one. This tactic was designed to silence him and to portray an alarmist and reckless fear mongering of a worse defeat at the forthcoming polls. Dr Delia always condemned violence, being physical, moral, psychological or otherwise. During his years at the helm, he preached loyalty to the party and unity. The Party was placed even before his family which speaks volumes. His tireless hours at Dar Centrali meeting everyone and anyone were a show of total commitment.
However, the politics of personal destruction, that fills every crack and crevice of a political party, may be as dangerous to a nation as violence itself. Dr Delia ran his politics as an open book. He always explained his views the best way he could and as an excellent orator, he did his utmost to draw people towards the Party. He was interested in debating solutions to our crushing problems.
His political acumen was to talk more and not less, to talk freely and not restrict, to hit hard when necessary, but alluding to no personal vengeance, to put his political adversaries to shame when necessary but to praise them when it was due. As a Nationalist leader, he knew that he inherited a Party which had its ups and downs, he knew that he had an almost unreachable summit. He knew that the odds were against him but he never expected endless vindictiveness from his group and their acolytes. The so-called rebels and others with the same mindset never respected him. They considered him as a liability before he even started. They watered down the glue needed to reconstruct the Party’s organisation.
Disappointedly for us poor mortals and Nationalist sympathisers the rebels crushed the Party to an irreparable state. Their personal agendas have dismantled our trust. Their superior egos have rendered them despicable for their disgustful acts. Their vengeful camaraderie against a human, who was their leader after all, has shown us amply clear that they are in politics for a purpose known to them but surely not to serve the country.
In 2017, after such an electoral thrashing, everyone was asked to start a clean slate, everyone was asked to speak his or her mind, everyone knew that nothing would shut them up. Everyone had the possibility to show his/her mettle. But what couldn’t be understood was how one side of the spectrum never learned to disagree respectfully which is what the Nationalist Party needed and still needs.
After what the Party has been through, in these last years, the rebels need to desperately redeem themselves. But can they?