Politics isn’t always like football

Marlene Farrugia has just done a Nigel Farage

saviour_balzan
Saviour Balzan
21 August 2017, 7:43am
Marlene Farrugia and her partner Godfrey, elected to Parliament on the PN ticket, have both said they will not be running for leader of the Democratic Party
Marlene Farrugia and her partner Godfrey, elected to Parliament on the PN ticket, have both said they will not be running for leader of the Democratic Party
A football fan swears blind loyalty to his chosen team at a young age and it is generally frowned upon to abandon allegiance even when times are tough. It’s a choice that can be backed up by little respect for say, empirical evidence for success; it could be your home-town, some childish affectation for the team colours, a star player, or the hottest team of the year. That dream team is chosen, or it picks you, and it’s a beautiful, subjective choice that will never leave you, possibly until death. It’s a strong and everlasting bond, the one with your football team.

Outsiders to the sport find such an obsession odd and curious. They might find it abnormal to consider how adult men and women lose their cool over 22 men running after a leather ball, screaming, full of emotion that is only seen inside a football ground.

And as football changes, all the more a reflection of the free market and its speculative force to generate millions, we see ever-changing team formations of men from different nations coming together in a Babylon of footballers, with an asset value that could easily rack up a cool billion in just one match.

The anthropology of team sports is fascinating. So it is tempting to compare the same tribal culture in politics, an art which today is also losing its soul and thought-process, excelling only in communication and visible deliverables. 

On both sides of the political divide, the majority of people continue to support their party whether right or wrong. If it’s down in the doldrums of relegation, or just managing to scrape through the Europa League rounds, the Maltese party supporter sees his PN or PL as just any other loyal Juventus or Milan fan sees their team. That absolute devotion to the football club, is no different for the political party supporter.

And just like the football fan, winning is the most important thing, even if it means bankrupting the football club to pay over €200 million for a player, just like Paris Saint Germain – which is actually owned by Oryx Qatar Sports Investments – and has spent $260 million for 25-year old Brazilian Neymar.  

Now many Nationalist Party members with a right to vote for a new leader want to win the next general election, and they want to do so even if it means electing someone who might not be fit for purpose. Their craving to have the PN victorious in the next general election means they are getting all excited to see former Birkirkara FC president Adrian Delia become leader.

To them it is not important what Adrian Delia has done or stands for, but rather whether he seems likely to win the next election. It is very much what counts in politics.

That Delia and his business partner Georg Sapiano, will be easy fodder for the PL propaganda machine is of no concern to them at this moment. They come with baggage which will provide ammunition to the Labour machine. Delia and his hoarse invective is what they see as the natural choice for leader, together with Pierre Portelli, the Independent’s ‘head of content’, as secretary-general.

But consider what David Griscti, the head of the PN’s think tank, AZAD, said last week:

“I am sorry but I need to put the party before my friendship of 43 years with Adrian. Maybe people will now realise just how difficult it is for me to say this. Discussion, dialogue and debate do not exist for him, and this is a problem for a democratic political party. But I know for a fact that Delia does not represent a New Way of doing things… It’s a fact that he benefited like crazy under the Nationalist governments and that he was one of the blue-eyed boys.” 

Griscti of course knows things that many of us do know but are unwilling to say for the moment. They know how Delia deals in business and that it is not just a different or aggressive way. Other business people in construction have few words of praise for Delia’s and Sapiano’s style.

So in their blindness to win the next election, many PN faithful think Delia and the single-mindedness of Portelli will turn the party into a fighting machine.

Griscti’s parting shot on Facebook on Delia was this: “Do you think it a New Way to have the King of Contractors, who has made a lot of money in this sector (and that is his business), elected PN leader when the country is suffocating in construction, etc?”

Politics, however, is not football. You need to stand for something. Before rushing to elect a man who did not even once find the time to raise his voice in the last election campaign, on NET TV or radio, the PN’s paid-up members should ask themselves what team they would like to have and then perhaps to think of the right person who can take them to the finishing line.

Those sycophants who spill venom on Facebook whenever Adrian Delia is criticized, should really know that at least we are spilling the beans now. Not later, when Delia gets elected. After that, all comment will be superfluous once the rest of the amusement will be in the hands of the ruthless PL machine.

Then I am sure you will pardon me, if I say… I told you so.

 

s

 

That Marlene Farrugia and Godfrey Farrugia did a Nigel Farage is not surprising (I told you so...).

The Farrugias are not really interested in third-party politics. Their real aim was to get back into parliament. They jumped on the PN’s bandwagon on the contrived ‘Forza Nazzjonali’ ticket, got the seats that could have gone to the PN’s own, then abandoned the PN, and finally, have decided to abandon the PD ship by not even staying as leaders.

PN electors, and others, voted for the two unaware that only the wild jump ship a mere two months after the election. The Farrugias in the meantime will be relaxing by the pool in Qrendi, Sliema, or at their Sicilian hideout.

The next leader is now touted to be the unknown, but well-meaning Anthony Buttigeg, a doctor of limited communication skills, or maybe anyone else who might be interested in taking the helm of a party that came on the scene with little ideological ballast. The dreams of those who saw Farrugia’s ‘coalition’ as a future for third-party politics, boasting about it with such abandon, are now faced with a recurring phenomenon.

It’s the Farage phenomenon. Farage had the biggest hand in screwing up Britain, ushering it out of the European Union and then destroying his own party after his decision to quit.

Farrugia too has done a Farage, shafting the PN by siphoning off its votes when Simon Busuttil single-handedly consented her to rent out space on his party ticket, and after pontificating about the virtue of third-party politics and the holy political movement she envisioned for saving Malta, she has decided to f*** off.

I’ll just take a moment as I ponder on the fact that… well, I was right. Do the people who voted for her feel betrayed and dejected by the Farrugian desertion? Welcome to the new way of doing politics! 

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