11 takeaways from Adrian Delia’s first PN meeting as leader

Step into Delia’s “revolution of the mind”: patriotic nostalgia for Catholic values, Labour turning Malta into a “soulless state”, and no sign of Simon Busuttil

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Matthew Vella / James Bianchi
20 September 2017, 10:51pm
Photos by James Bianchi
Photos by James Bianchi
1. No show from MPs and no mention of Simon and Chris

Of course Chris Said was there. But not the de facto Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, or Jason Azzopardi, who publicly backed Said and dubbed Delia ‘Labour’s Trojan horse’. Therese Comodini Cachia was not present either. Not the auspicious start hoped for, for a PN leader who needs party support to claim his seat in the House. Additionally, he made scant reference to Simon Busuttil and his rival Chris Said, a political faux-pas for such a new leader. And... towards the end, it was just hardcore Delia supporters on the stage singing 'We'll take the chance' to PN supporters: that means his wife, his brother, councillor Pierre Paul Portelli, the Debono power couple, Carm Mifsud Bonnici and Mario Galea, as well as Clyde Puli and Hermann Schiavone.

Squares dancing. At least Chris Said was there...
Squares dancing. At least Chris Said was there...
2. No mention of his ‘seating’ problem

Delia has been flying by the seat of his pants now on his bid to seek co-option into the House and become constitutionally, the Opposition leader. On 7 September, a week before his election, Delia said co-option was “no longer an issue”. Clearly it was a lie: he has been rebuffed by most MPs elected by casual election, and Marlene Farrugia is not guaranteeing him a painless route if an MP resigns to trigger a casual election.

You know who has no seating problem? Robert Arrigo, far left, who decides to miss out on the standing ovation.
You know who has no seating problem? Robert Arrigo, far left, who decides to miss out on the standing ovation.
3. History lesson: Delia’s political formation

Delia described himself as a child of partisan oppression, having witnessed “the darkest political chapter in Maltese history” and who found his school-gates chained – a reference to the 1984 closure of Church schools, when Delia was 15. “His dream was that everybody’s duty would be to change his country’s destiny. That child has now grown up and stands before you.”

With wife Nickie Vella De Fremeaux
With wife Nickie Vella De Fremeaux
4. Malta under siege

Quick run-through of history of Maltese under colonial powers, and Delia references a “fight against religion that faith won”, Malta’s struggle in WWII, and its leap of faith to gain independence instead of the easy way out, integration. This was Delia’s tribute to Nationalist forefathers who sought national emancipation form foreign powers and finally the country’s coming-of-age with EU membership.

5. Delia is a Nationalist nostalgic

He used it during his electoral campaign, but now he is referencing the PN’s pre-war anthem in his first official meeting speech: “the party that loves its patria, the party made up of Catholics and Latins, of true Maltese, who are ready to die for liberty, the party of Borg Olivier that made us a nation…”

Chris Said's nose scrapes off the fluff off Delia's shoulder
Chris Said's nose scrapes off the fluff off Delia's shoulder
6. The PN’s battle is against corruption

Delia’s reference to Simon Busuttil’s ‘let’s continue what we started’ spiel. The PN leader vowed a continued fight against corruption in Malta.

7. Fight against hate

“We are too small country to keep fighting against each other, too small not to use all our resources, to divide ourselves for political convenience. We must think differently, and create a revolution of the mind. We must look towards the future.”

Beppe Fenech Adami is busy checking tweets...
Beppe Fenech Adami is busy checking tweets...
8. Delia claims the surplus is not reaching people’s pockets

Delia, a successful litigation lawyer with interest in fiduciary services, vowed to fight against precarious work and then railed against the Labour government’s surplus record. “Although the country is performing well, our families, the vulnerable and the less fortunate, and pensioners, are not seeing this surplus. In whose pockets is this surplus and wealth that is being created?”

Unlike Kristy Debono (left), who is a Delia backer, Roberta Metsola seemed to have spent the evening ruminating on whether PN members are indeed the best judges of character...
Unlike Kristy Debono (left), who is a Delia backer, Roberta Metsola seemed to have spent the evening ruminating on whether PN members are indeed the best judges of character...
9. A non sequitur on law and order

Criminality is increasing everywhere, Delia said. “Our government boasts of its records… where is the government of workers? The ‘taghna lkoll’ government? The government of the people, of the Maltese.”

Delia fanboys and MPs Hermann Schiavone (left) and Clyde Puli (right) with the son of Gorg Borg Olivier, Alexander (centre), who welcomed Delia onto the stage in an opening speech
Delia fanboys and MPs Hermann Schiavone (left) and Clyde Puli (right) with the son of Gorg Borg Olivier, Alexander (centre), who welcomed Delia onto the stage in an opening speech
10. Hark back to the 1980s

Delia claimed that thousands of vindictive government transfers are taking place today. “30 years ago we were fighting for liberty when they were beating us in the streets. They would not let us read our newspapers. They would not let us express our political opinion, with clear political violence. Do not think for one moment that the same is not happening: hundreds, thousands of Maltese are being transferred vindictively because of their different political belief… we’ll be seeing to these cases one by one.”

11. Labour wants to turn Malta into a ‘soulless’ state

Delia said Labour wants to introduce laws that “attack not the Curia or the Bishop this time, but the values that truly make us Maltese. Prostitution, drugs, surrogacy, and abortion… the government wants to commercialise the human body, and put a price on the individual. The PN will not be silent. We will defend the values that makes us Maltese.”

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Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.