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MW 13 September 2017

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maltatoday, WEDNESDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2017 5 Opinion Better than Labour T he Nationalist Party over the last five years of Opposition has been very good at holding the Labour government to account. And there was much to hold. Labour is beset by corruption and nepotism. It has chosen cronyism over good administration. It has swallowed up institutions and conducted affairs in secret covering up decisions that have cost us higher taxes, higher fuel costs, higher electricity costs just so its leaders could line their pockets. The PN fought this corruption with all its might. And it must continue to do so every day. The day it back-pedals on its battle against corruption and bad administration will be the day it becomes yet another institution swallowed up by Labour's greed with which it would have become an accomplice. It is clear though that revealing and criticising all that is wrong with Labour does not make us the natural choice for the people of Malta to elect us as their government. The knee- jerk reaction would be to think that we must tone down our criticism. To 'stop being negative' as Joseph Muscat would have us do. To go by the old chestnut that since we couldn't beat them, we must join them. I disagree. I do not think any of our eagle-eyed scrutiny and fierce criticism should be compromised. What I do propose is that coupled with this we invest in the political capital that come election time would give us the credentials not only of a more honest alternative – which we must be – but also more competent, more visionary: simply the better option for Malta. And frankly out-performing Labour is by no means impossible. Labour's vision for the economy is blind. Its record is blank. It has been successful only in convincing the country that it could feel rich for ever by raiding its savings: by building properties as if our resources were infinite and there would be no consequences to porcine consumption. Cracks in that myth are now beginning to show in the hardship suffered by hard-working families squeezed out of their homes which they can no longer afford. Drunk with the easy money of unsustainable construction, Labour has done nothing to ensure the economic stability of our future. It has not created a single new stream of economic activity. It has left untouched the school programmes it inherited without even an attempt at renewing the curricula to tomorrow's economic needs. It has shelved all the infrastructural plans for the country it inherited in favour of focusing its planning bodies to grant odd permits for cronies encroaching on the little countryside left. The PN, perhaps out of overstated humility, has not reminded our people that from the Iron Curtain emptiness left by Labour governments of the past, our party built a prosperous economy, but also a fair society where none are made to sleep in cars for want of enough money to pay the rent for even the most basic living conditions. By the next election the generation that successfully navigated Malta out of the rough waters of the 2008 crisis will have been retired for 10 years. This is our greatest weakness. There has been a break in continuity that must be bridged again. Not with nostalgia but with the scouting, mentoring and training of a new generation of leaders with a fresh vision for Malta, a competent long- term plan, seeped in the successes and mistakes of the PN's past and ready to build its future. For this is the key to our readiness to run the country. During the last five years the PN put its house in order and ensured its financial sustainability for the future. That massive effort had to precede any other work because it had become mission critical. Malta's democracy, even those who live in it who would never dream of voting PN, owe a debt of gratitude to the outgoing leadership of the PN for saving and rebuilding a viable opposition party. We must now continue their work by re-investing the return from their investment in the building of a fresh team of expert policy makers, leaders and administrators. I have repeatedly stated that I am proud not to be a career politician on the eve of this leadership election. That statement has been misrepresented to mean I think there is something inherently wrong with being a politician. Hardly, since I am seeking to become one in a few days' time. What I meant by that statement was that coming from the outside lets me bring a fresh new look at the needs of the party and the country. I will learn from the veterans but I will add to their experience with a reinvigorated vision. My first job will be to bring together the experienced and the new recruits: to give a new life to the articulation of our vision, to the development of new policies that are relevant for our time, to the planning of our economy, to our media and communications and finally to the team the PN will be presenting to our voting public in 2022 that Malta will recognise as the more honest, competent, innovative and visionary option. We will not beat Labour by joining it or even by outmanoeuvring it. We will beat it by being better. Adrian Delia is contesting the election to become the next leader of the Nationalist Party By Adrian Delia PN LEADERSHIP ELECTION I will learn from the veterans but I will add to their experience There has been a break in continuity that must be bridged again

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