When I wrote this piece about the qualities I hoped to see in the next PN leader, the election result that extended the PN’s term in Opposition for another 5 years, was 20 days old.
Simon Busuttil had confirmed his decision to leave as did all the administration of the party. The process of changing leaders had barely started and names of possible candidates for the leadership were being bandied about like sports.
I sat down to list what I felt the qualities needed for the person filling that position ought to be, pushing from my mind any particular face or faces I could have in mind that would condition my thinking. I wanted to be ambitious and make no compromises in defining the ideal.
No one is perfect. Which means there is no such thing as a perfect candidate. But that does not mean we should not spend the time and energy to define the ideal and match the available options against it.
By keeping our expectations low we do nothing but limit our imagination and energise a pursuit for the least common denominator. There can only be one PN leader and eventually there can only be one challenger to the post of prime minister and if that challenge is successful there can only be one prime minister at a time.
It is in our own interest, and that of our families, our towns and villages and our country that we make the best choice possible.
At the time of writing that piece last June, when nominations had not yet opened and closed, the winner could have been imagined to be a woman. So I made no assumptions on the gender of the faceless candidate I was imagining and wrote the whole thing describing the ideal candidate as a woman.
We have known for some time that would not happen. The choice there is, is between 4 men. Fine. We also know that none of them tick all the boxes I listed. If anyone equaled the ideal, the imagining of the ideal will have proven too timid.
But there was one skill I listed at the end of that tall order that is a sine qua non given the necessary fallibility of any chosen one: and that was the ideal candidate’s ability to understand their shortfalls and work with a team that can help them overcome them. I continue to hope for this.
I continue to hope for a choice that takes our country forward.
If you are voting this Saturday or perhaps only voting in the second round 2 weeks from now, consult this list or make up your own and with a clear mind and a heart committed firstly to the good of the party choose the candidate that gets closest.
When you’ve done that, hold the winner to account and judge him every day by the list of qualities you are right to expect. Support him in his effort to promote the cause of the party but no one, least of all your leader, should ever ask you to compromise with your reasonable expectation that your leader is qualified to do the job.