Despite being an island which seems to be split smack down the middle when it comes to political allegiance, there is quite a chunk of people who are not particularly enamoured of either party. For every diehard who swears to be “PN sal-mewt” (PN till I die) or “Laburist minn guf ommu” (Labour supporter from his mother’s womb) you will find those who can, and often do, walk away from both parties on polling day. These are the ones who will either vote AD or else stay home and clean out their garage instead.
This section of the electorate will continue to grow as more and more people become disillusioned with the choice which lies before them.
On the one hand you have Muscat’s Labour party which seems to be so paralysed with fear at putting a foot wrong that it is wary of giving out any information about its electoral manifesto until it absolutely has to. This leaves the voter with more question marks than answers, and that is no way to conduct a successful campaign.
On the other hand you have the Nationalist party, which seemed to have been given a renewed invigorating injection with the election of Simon Busuttil as deputy leader, and yet has managed to commit two very serious gaffes within a few days. Two incidents which I feel have nuked any goodwill which those on the fence may have started to feel towards the PN.
The first gaffe was by the Junior College branch of the student organization SDM (studenti demokristjani Maltin) an offshoot of the PN. The picture below, taken from their FB page (and which has since been removed) demonstrates in one fell swoop why people continue to brand the PN as insufferably arrogant. No amount of smiling or softly softly approach by Simon can wipe away the message of these students after the SDM won the student elections at Junior College. I can understand if you give the finger to someone in anger if they cut you off in traffic, but to give the finger because you won yet again? That speaks volumes, especially as it is presumably being given to their adversaries, Pulse, which is a Labour party student organization. Maybe these self-proclaimed Christian Democrat students need some lessons on how to be gracious in victory.
The second gaffe is even worse, and will probably cause more harm to the PN than Franco Debono’s daily blogs. The flyer below was sent to various households, addressed specifically by name to people who work within the civil service (where did they get their addresses from?). The text reads that if Labour is elected, the person concerned will be given a transfer. The deliberate twisting of Labour MP Helena Dalli’s words is bad enough, but to make it even more appalling, PN President Marthese Portelli first denied that the flyer was sent by the PN, only for her to eventually admit that yes it did originate from the PN.
A scaremongering campaign, coupled with deceit and an outright lie. Nice.
If this is how the PN plans to win re-election for another term, it had better go back to the drawing board. I don’t think that even Simon Busuttil’s sugary charm can undo the damage caused by this one.