Since its foundation in the late 19th century, the Nationalist Party was always made up of great minds, thinkers and game changers. Likewise the people inclined to vote Nationalist, never did so blind folded. The PN hardcore is much smaller than that of Labour, primarily because Nationalist hardcore supporters come from all walks of life and are more difficult to rally since there is no one cause that brings them together but a series of situations that brought together pushes them away from Socialism, whilst labour hardcore support hails primarily and massively from the proletariat where unity is the name of the game, there is no one place of work that is made up of an absolute majority of Nationalists, but take the now defunct Malta Dry-docks for example shrines of Dom Mintoff and KMB budded in every corner, this just does not happen with PN support. Hence the reasons that Labour mass meetings are always larger, rowdier and nosier than Nationalist gatherings. Labour hard core is much less difficult to convince and to rally up in arms than the Nationalist faction, every word uttered by its leader is considered a dogma and one rarely hears diehard labourites questioning the actions of their leadership, on social fora or elsewhere. Throughout the years, Labour leadership, aware of this fact, and certainly not as gullible as its ever faithful hardcore, has taken full advantage of this and when they called the labour mass up in arms so to say, the response was always overwhelming. Mintoff, KMB especially knew only too well that whenever cornered, they had a secret weapon they could unleash to ease the pressure and avert any crisis they might have been facing. Those of a certain age will surely recall trucks of Dry-docks workers parading from Cospicua to Valletta like they were cropped out of a 1950’s Soviet Union propaganda poster. What I mean to say is that it is much easier for the PL to rally its troops than it is for the PN.
The average PN voter needs to know how, why and what if before willing their backside from the couch and leave the comfort of their homes to engage in public protest. Yet they find it much more natural than their red clad counterparts to criticize their leadership mainly by means of the pen, moreover that think they are duty bound to do so. Having thought before acting makes the average Nationalist supporter, mistakenly so, believe that one’s final decision is the right one, in situations where most of the time it is not a question of good against wrong but good against better. In many other societies and fora the ultimate result would be accepted as the call of democracy and life would keep on going, indeed practically all PN voters accept this as the norm in everything but… within the Nationalist Party itself. The result of this rocambolesco style of thinking is that there are those who will hold grudges, and by grudges I don’t mean being long faced for a week or a month but proper grudges that take whole generations to eradicate, a classic example is a sizeable number of Guido de Marco canvassers. Whilst Prof de Marco himself accepted the result humbly and help Eddie Fenech Adami lead the party and the country out of political instability and wilderness, those close to him never quite forgot the leadership race of 1977 and the shenanigans that came with it and never quite warmed up to EFA. Criticism of EFA was subdued because he achieved not because it did not exist.
This is the only way Adrian Delia has left to hang on to leadership. He must emulate the last winning leader of the PN and start achieving and start achieving now. Delia started off with all that could possibly hinder him in full force. He must be fair but he must be ruthless. In politics there are not friends, there cannot be any, the best a leader can hope for is loyalty and that does not come in a kinder surprise egg. Up until now Delia was too counter reactive, even his closest supporters, those who gave up a lot because they believed there really could be a new way to make the PN a winning force again might start having second thoughts.
There is no use beating behind the bush, there are decisions that only he can make and it is about time that he makes these decisions for crying out loud. He knew what he was getting into from the start. What happened since he was elected leader has not helped, bickering between his inner core does not do anything for the cause either apart from weakening it.
Adrian Delia is not the problem within the Nationalist Party, he has potential that can be fulfilled but this will not happen unless he puts his foot down and tackle the usurpers. This goes for those who want his head at all costs and moreover for those who are underperforming and indirectly undermining him albeit their good intentions, but as I often say, the road to hell is paved with those. Dear old Ronald Reagan could not have put it better “when you can’t make them see the light; make them feel the heat”