Plotters who have lost the plot - Claire Bonello
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Plotters who have lost the plot - Claire Bonello

Social media has been agog with “leaked” videos of the Leader of the Opposition engaged in a domestic argument. The people sharing the clips can hardly contain their glee as they spread them.

Little thought is being given as to why recordings of arguments in a domestic setting were made in the first place (is it a widespread practice to record parents telling off teenagers who are playing up?) and why they are being made public right now.

There’s nothing which warms the cockles of some people’s hearts more than gloating at other people’s embarrassment. Never mind that they are making themselves complicit in the instrumentalisation of children for reasons other than their well-being.

There will be casualties of course – with Adrian Delia probably being the first one. It is exceedingly difficult to lead a party when you are being undermined from all quarters. There are not-so-subtle hints that further damaging recordings will be disseminated.

I can see no queue of eager contenders to take on the poisoned chalice that is the PN leadership

But this episode will have other repercussions as well. Ironically some of the worst fallout will be for the PN as a party. I don’t really go for conspiracy theories but it is evident that Delia was never really made welcome by a segment of the PN. Many of his current woes stem from this fact. The constant leaks, the petty divisions, the hostility aimed at him for not managing to revive the party – there never was any honeymoon period.

The anti-Delia faction has been roiling along undermining him at every turn. Of course, it’s a free world and if they choose not to support him, it is their choice. However, it is the way in which they choose to defenestrate him which is despicable. There is no head-on confrontation or vote of no confidence. No – it’s just a relentless drip-drip-drip smear campaign.

In the short term they may reach their aim of forcing the current Leader of the Opposition to resign. It will, however, be a Pyrrhic victory as their behaviour will repel people from the Nationalist Party. I can see no queue of eager contenders to take on the poisoned chalice that is the PN leadership – not with the constant backstabbing, smear campaigns and behind-the-scenes machinations. People will run a mile from this toxic atmosphere. A party which is a hot bed of hatred is hardly going to enthuse anybody to join it and take on the demands of life of public service.

As it is the PN has nothing to offer potential supporters and candidates by way of status, lucrative consultancies or power. All it could (or should) offer, is the possibility of working as a team with a common purpose to reach a shared goal. But that’s not the case here, when it is clear that the PN is teeming with divisions and warring factions. Who would want to be associated with such spite?

There will be those who argue that all leaders should be beyond reproach and that the slightest shadow on their reputation should be enough to make them resign – at least until they clear their name. Ideally, this would be the case.

However, I cannot fail to observe the double standards being applied in this case as well. Why do the same people baying for Adrian Delia’s blood not howl for David Casa’s resignation as well? Isn’t that also a case of allegations being made? Or is that a smear campaign? It smacks of a convenient moving of the moral goalposts depending on the identity of the subject of the allegations.

The sordid leaks and spite dressed up as concern for a moral standard which they do not uphold themselves shows up the Nationalist plotters as people with no clue as to how to rebuild the party, or how to inspire citizens as to a shared ideal and values for our common future.

They remind me of an article which award-winning journalist Andrew Rawnsley wrote about the British Labour faction which sought to oust Tony Blair from power. He said, “There is not much logic to it. Those who would bring down Tony Blair are plotting without a plot-line. They want to get rid of him, but they don’t know how. They want something different, but they don’t really agree on what. This makes you wonder who it is who most needs a psychiatrist’s chair.”

drcbonello@gmail.com

This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece

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