Those dreaded numbers

Every survey commissioned in Malta, in a highly polarised political society, draws attention, reactions and even actions.

For quite some time, three different surveys commissioned by three different newspapers had the same conclusions and results: The Labour Party has practically maintained the lead garnered in the last general election in 2017 and has even gone a step further and increased that lead.

The Labour Party of course lauded these surveys but did so in a composed manner and with both feet firmly on the ground.

On the other hand, the Nationalist Party, and its Leader, tried to give the impression that these numbers meant some sort of improvement. Well, should they want to think that way, it’s their business, but of course everyone can see that they did so only to protect themselves.

We must not forget that Adrian Delia was ousted from the PN’s helm because of these surveys, which frankly did not change under Grech’s leadership.

Those dreaded numbers (that’s probably how PN strategists see them) have exposed once again the internal political turmoil inside the PN, reaching its culmination at the Floriana Granaries.

But what’s the issue? To put it mildly, the PN seems to go nuts after the publication of every survey.

As happened during Simon Busuttil’s tenure and to some extent even during Delia’s, the Party leadership is busy trying to portray the PN as ‘electable’. Firstly, by trying to convince their core supporters that their house is in order and by giving them hope, and then they try to convey those messages to the electorate at large.

But how can a divided party aspire to lead a nation? Especially since every time a survey is out, past grievances come afloat again.

How can a divided party aspire to lead a nation? Especially since every time a survey is out, past grievances come afloat again.

As soon as numbers are out, the cycle starts over again. Firefighting with those with the faintest idea that the PN had improved, and they do so fast enough to mitigate any unpleasant reactions.

But of course, the story does not end there. The artful dodgers and the knights in shining armour always seem to come to the rescue of the establishment.

It became almost standard practice that soon after a survey is published, a new “story” comes out.

Just after the latest survey, which coincided with the European Commission issuing its recommendations on the protection of journalists, out came Manuel Delia, supported by Jason Azzopardi, saying he’s fleeing the country because of threats he received.

To be clear, all threats are condemnable, especially on journalists and bloggers. They are condemnable now, just as they should have been condemned a decade ago. But it was interesting that Caroline Muscat, once Simon Busuttil’s campaign manager, called out Delia, saying that his departure from Malta was to pursue a 6-month programme in a European City whilst being paid by Repubblika.

Despite this revelation by Muscat, Jason Azzopardi still continues to sing from Delia’s hymn sheet.

But that’s how it is.

Those dreaded numbers drive them nuts.  

No wonder the Opposition Leader remarked that “the PN has been in Opposition only­ for 8 years.”

Freudian slip? Maybe.

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