It’s all about standing up

There is no one person bigger than the Nationalist Party. Our party is comfortable taking decisions because the answers to the critical questions Malta faces are all rooted in the values and principles of our party.

It is our values and our guiding principles that make the party the natural home for tens of thousands of Maltese and Gozitans and why I call it home. Politicians and personalities come and go but values will remain.

As the leadership campaign kicked off, many of us have done a lot of soul-searching. We have always prided ourselves on being different to Labour in that we have structures in place that will not allow anyone to compromise our collective principles. Our leader is beholden to the party and not the other way round.

But what happens when structures fail? When the board of ethics, our administrative committee and our party leader call on a party member to toe the line, that is what must be done. Even if it seems unfair. Even if it is a flawed decision.

Because truly for us to say that the party is bigger than even its leader, we must respect our institutions that were put in place precisely to deal with these difficult situations.

We need strong structures that are respected because we must be able to say with conviction, that if it comes down to it, we will change leader before we give up our values.

The PN is and has always been different from the Labour Party. Values unite us, not blind allegiance

Adrian Delia’s dismissal of the party structures and his refusal to look beyond his own immediate electoral interests makes him, in my view, not the ideal person to lead the party.

His lack of proper financial disclosures add more doubt. In the current climate in Malta where the fight against vested interests, corruption, lack of transparency and the ineffectiveness of our constitutional institutions are paramount, our leader must be beyond reproach.

It is true that Delia has managed to gather enthusiastic crowds of supporters and galvanised party members seemingly stunned after another election defeat, but he should have and could have done it without dragging the party to a point where it will have to become a shield for his own battles. That’s not leadership.

Delia spends his time rallying against what he calls the PN ‘establishment’. Does he consider me, as a long-time PN member, part of it too? I’ll never know because he never names anyone, preferring to speak about unseen and unnamed enemies.

The implication is that Chris Said is part of this mysterious ‘establishment’ and must therefore be swept out. I suppose he also includes in this list people like Eddie Fenech Adami, Louis Galea, Anton Tabone, or even this generation’s politicians like David Casa and Roberta Metsola – all of whom, with tens of thousands of others, have answered our party’s and nation’s call time and again and stood up to be counted as our party led the electoral battles to reform the country, to join the EU, to fight corruption.

If that makes me part of an ‘establishment’ then I am proud to be part of it, and I am in good company. Perhaps it was just the fog of war but it was surreal indeed to watch as people who have been employed for years in positions of influence by the PN applaud as Delia promises to throw everyone out.

The PN is and has always been different from the Labour Party. Values unite us, not blind allegiance. We will win but we will win because our core beliefs are built on strong foundations. When we stand up, we stand for something.

The PN ‘establishment’ in the 1980s understood that it was wrong to prop up Mintoff and Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici’s Labour regime with intimidation and violence, just as the PN now understands that corruption must be stopped if our country is to ever move ahead.

We know that sometimes you have to stand up. Even if that means standing alone. Even ‘when all around you are losing their heads and blaming it on you’ – especially then.

Chris Said has done that, he knows the odds, he knows the prospects but he has stood up and stood tall.

Because that is the only way to hold your head up high.

Kevin Wain is a member of the Sliema PN sectional committee.

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