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Delia! Delia! OMG

Saviour Balzan says that Adrian Delia has the gift of the gab; when and if he does win the leadership battle he would have done so on the strength of his delivery and capability in making a lie sound like a truth

saviour_balzan
Saviour Balzan
11 September 2017, 7:30am
How important is the election of the next PN leader to you as a reader? Probably not as important as we may think. It is all, after all, in the hands of the party people.

Probably not many people really care who will win the leadership contest. Which all works in Adrian Delia’s favour.

And if they do care, they would probably go for Adrian Delia anyhow, simply because he is a fresh face and could, in their opinion, give Labour a run for its money – apart from his good delivery and attractiveness as, for them, the ideal PN candidate.

All of a sudden the issue of governance has faded altogether, though that and corruption were the PN’s battle cry for the general election, which they lost so badly. It just goes to show how ‘deep rooted’ the battle for governance and against corruption was.

It goes further, people with such a high moral standing now find no issue with the fact that the potential leader of the Nationalist party serviced clients who were well known for their shady dealings. More importantly, he acted as director in a Jersey offshore company. 

Delia can argue that he was a lawyer and that he acted in his capacity as a professional but that does not exculpate him from the choices he made in his life. Can he really stand up and question anyone about their probity? If he did, isn’t the retort likely to be “what about yours?”.

Delia made choices in life, such as his interest in the Mgarr construction development, a development that should have been limited to that of a hotel. 

That change in use was only possible thanks to the Planning Authority, whose chairman was so very kind to cast his very useful vote to determine the change of use for this prime deal. 

As a result this development turned into a goldmine.

This was not the only income for Delia, and anyone who is in the business of doing business has had experience of his particular abrasive style of going about things, his high handedness and his fees. 

That does not make him a crook, but it does elevate him, or relegate him, depending on how you look at it, into a mini Berlusconi or a mini Trump.

Needless to say the glamour in the equation derives from his wife Nicky, who in social circles is well known for the good and for the less good. I’ll stop here, and I will definitely not be the one to throw the first stone when it comes to sizing up the potential leader’s wife. But if Michelle was fodder for some, Nicky will be manna.

Delia brings to the Nationalist party the hope that they could win, tenuous though that hope may be. Let us face it, he does not stand for anything in particular. He has no particular crusade planned, at least he has not bared any thinking on those lines, neither does he have a particular fetish for any subject.

As in his profession, he serviced clients as long as they had sizeable and deep pockets and he did not look at their backgrounds or origins when accepting to represent them.

The Nationalist members believe, and they could be right, that Delia gives them some hope that they could have a fighting chance. After all, he made it to the second round of this contest in spite of all the mud thrown at him by the queen of bile, and Simon Busuttil’s shot at him, to give up his candidature.

The situation in the PN is so bad, that nobody is really worried about his curriculum vitae. This thinking is fortified by a very simple reasoning: if the electorate did not give two hoots about Panama when voting, why should they give a toss about Delia’s dealings as a lawyer.

There is some rationale in all this. It is not without logic.

So now, what we are facing is the era of a mini Berlusconi. It is no longer a question of what you have done, but how good you are at deflecting criticism, at covering up the stains that critics will paint into your image.

There is also another ugly truth, which I repeat with some trepidation. It appears that we as the independent media have lost our ability to bring down politicians when we have a damning story. The public is not taking us as seriously as heretofore.

The reasons for that are not obscure. Some in the media have rendered themselves useless and powerless as a result of obsessive reporting and poorly investigated stories. It will be an uphill struggle to undo that: To win back our credibility we need to come back fighting with solid stories and irrefutable evidence.

Some politicians may think that this will not be possible. But it will be, there will be some journalists who will have to disappear. Move on is perhaps a better word. But new journalists will come forward with the zeal and the motivation to put together the truth and present it to the public.

Adrian Delia has the gift of the gab, when and if he does win the leadership battle he would have done so on the strength of his delivery and capability in making a lie sound like a truth. There is a lot of rhetoric in the language he uses. 

After four years denying that they had lost an election, and losing yet another with a bigger landslide, coupled with the incredible arrogance and self-conceit of Simon Busuttil, who got them to their present stage, Nationalist militants want a go-getter. Someone who will give them hope and look a leader.

Busuttil never looked a leader. Everyone seems to agree on that now, but before ‘now’ everyone went to great lengths to stand up for him, and look where that got them.

Delia’s pretentiousness gives them some hope. It could be ill-thought, a mirage. Though that will be decided definitively only in the future.
But beyond the applause and head banging in the PN clubs, and Delia’s melodramatic presentations, there is another world, very real and needing to be dealt with.

That other world is the well-greased and well-oiled machinery of the Labour party, firing on all cylinders. That machinery will have learnt many more lessons over the last two years and is hungry to remain in power. It will take much to unseat Labour.

When Delia steps down from his bed for his morning coffee in his furry, blue bed slippers, they will be there, waiting for him and ready to pounce. 

And then, and only then will the delirious PN militants remember that the Muscat machine is still around. And it will take them much more than someone fiddling with his spectacles and long white shirts to repel the onslaught that will be.

Then I am afraid there will be no turning back, the leader will have been chosen and one will have to wait another five years before yet another chance comes to reconsider a change in the leadership.

Some mistakes only happen once, others simply repeat themselves.

 

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Saviour Balzan is the founder and co-owner of MaltaToday. He has reported on Maltese poli...
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