No matter how one looks at it, Partit Nazzjonalista are at crossroads. No, this is not another article that emphasises the point that PN must change their leader. That is obvious enough. Changing the leader is just the beginning. What the party needs is to reinvent itself. Failure to do so, PN will die a natural death.
Come the first week of October, PN will hopefully close the chapter on the leadership election and will be able to look forward. In order to understand where the party wants to go, we need to do some soul searching and realise where we are today.
As it stands, the PN are currently a small minority party with the support of more or less 25% of the Maltese population. That means that only one in every four people see PN as a government in waiting. In order to change these figures, we need to do much more than just changing the leader.
Today I read a very good article on The Malta Independent in which the author highlighted the difference in which the Labour Party and the Partit Nazzjonalista operated in the last years. On one side you have a political party in which they are in government and they have regenerated themselves so much that only 3 ministers remain from Joseph Muscat’s original cabinet of 2013. On the other hand PN failed to regenerate itself so much that most of the last Gonzi cabinet are still very much involved in the top echelons of the Party.
I must insist that I have nothing against anyone that served in the last Gonzi cabinet that are still involved in PN. These gentlemen (because they’re all men) have all given so much to the country and also to the party. They have all been elected over and over again and definitely deserve the roles they occupy today. Their continued success is the result of two things however. It’s a mixture of them being efficient in remaining relevant and important to they party by taking care of their constituents in order to get elected and at the same time; a failure from the party’s end to regenerate itself and expose the younger generation in order take the next step.
Sitting on the Government’s Cabinet table one will find ten Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries that are still relatively young and in the prime of their political career. This apart from the various top officials on the leadership team which also includes the Party President and Deputy Leader. On the other hand, PN has struggled to keep their youngsters involved in the party, let alone occupying top roles.
I remember clearly when I was in my late teens and early twenties when I was involved in the youth sector and various other organs of the party; when I used to look around me and see an array of brilliant minds from all sectors of society. All sexes, different professions, others with less letters behind their names but a lot of life experience, yet all group/ring leaders that are well respected amongst their peers. We used to spend endless hours discussing our ideas how we can improve this party, introduce amazing schemes of how to involve people, help society, boost the country’s economy and govern this beautiful island.
Yet as the years rolled by and the party stagnated, one by one we bid farewell to the party we loved to be involved in so dearly. Some of us left very early during the party’s downfall, others remained there for a tad longer hoping that change will come and some are still involved to this very day. Still looked at as the “youths of the party that one day will be involved”. This was and is happening whilst at the same time, their counterparts at the Labour Party are running the country.
PN must reinvent itself as soon as possible. If it doesn’t the party faces a certain death. If that happens the country will ultimately suffer. This country needs multiple political parties but the bare minimum of two strong parties. If not then no one will be able to put a halt on the corrupt practices that have engulfed certain section of this government. Yet prior to start pushing the government to be better or make way for us, we need to clean our house first.
In order to reinvent the party we need to involve some of the brightest young minds in the top roles in the party. We need the brightest women to get involved too because it still baffles me how in a country where 50% of the population are women (as is in most of the world of course!) we have such a few number of women involved in politics. We need to strive to make it easier for everyone to be involved. If need be we need to change the hours in which we work, the way we work and how we work. We need to be inclusive and open our doors wide. Not only physically but socially. Only when we have the best minds from all ages and sexes involved in this party can we start moving forward.
Before anyone says that I want to kick those that served the party so well out of the party, please hold your horses. I would love to see EVERY past and present MP to remain involved in the engine room of the party. To be involved in the party one doesn’t have to be an official or an MP, there’s space for everyone. Some of our current and previous MPs have so much experience to share and when mixing this experience together with the energy and ideas of the youth, great things can happen.
Once we open our proverbial doors to everyone and we engage people back in the party, we need to look inside to see what makes us what we are. What does PN stand for? What are our ambitions, our goals and our targets? How do we want to achieve these? What are the red lines drawn in the sand that we will never cross and which boundaries are we willing to push forward?
There must be long nights of discussions in order to formulate, renew and challenge the very foundations as to why we exist as a party. In order to be relevant we need to understand what the people needs from a political party and this can only be done by involving people from all spectrums of society.
I might be a dreamer, most probably I am, however I still dream that once again PN can one day become an important political party in our country that can drive positive change and help people’s lives.
Our country clearly needs this!