‘Holy Metsola, pray for us…’

After all: there must be some kind of limit, in the end, to how many ‘miracles’ you can actually pray for, at once…

Ever wondered how such things as ‘religions’ even came into being, in the first place? With all their myriad components of ‘faith’; ‘dogma’; ‘ritual worship’; ‘ancestral prophecies’… and above all, the eternal promise that a ‘Messiah’ will one day come, to ‘deliver us from all Evil’? (Including, presumably, the ‘Evil’ that the same Messiah will surely inflict upon us… if we choose NOT to actually be ‘delivered from it’, after all?)

Well: if such imponderable questions have ever troubled you, in the past… trouble yourself no further! All you need to do is take a close look at what’s happening in the Nationalist Party, right now; and, just like that – miraculously – ‘all your prayers will be answered’.

In fact, you could almost describe the entire PN leadership dispute, in itself, as a handbook entitled: “How to start up your very own Religion, in three, very simple steps.”

Step 1: Engineer an artificial sense of ‘hopelessness’, or ‘despair’, among Nationalist Party voters… to the extent that they no longer believe the PN can even survive the next couple of years; let alone, actually win any more elections in future (forever and ever, until the end of Time, Amen!)

Step 2: Conjure up a dazzling vision of a new, all-powerful ‘Messiah’: who represents – not unlike Obi Wan Kenobi from that other religion, ‘Star Wars’ – the Nationalist Party’s ‘only hope’ of salvation;

Step 3: Deliver a series of ‘Divine Prophecies’, which accurately predict the fruition of all these ‘salvation’ promises– as a CERTAINTY, please note (and within a deadline of 2027, no less!) – but only on a couple of small conditions.

Namely, that: a) Nationalist Party supporters must relinquish all former allegiance, to any other ‘false idols’ they may have worshipped in the past; and

b) they must prostrate themselves humbly at their new Messiah’s feet; and implore Her, incessantly - through prayers, exhortations, and various other acts of online ‘self-flagellation’ – to “take pity upon us poor sinning Nationalists, in the hour of our utmost despair…”

Now, in case you think I’m making all this up; this is what it sounds like, in the words of the actual Prophets and Patriarchs of this new religion (which already has a name, by the way - ‘Metsolism’ – as well as its own ‘cult following’ on the Internet).

Talking to this newspaper ‘on strict condition of anonymity’, a small group of veteran Nationalist parliamentarians said that ‘they are pinning their hopes on Roberta Metsola, the president of the European Parliament, to take the PN’s lead into 2027.”

“Roberta Metsola has her own political ambitions – we know that it will be her victory, and not the party’s, in 2024. We think she can be Malta’s next prime minister if she takes over in 2024…”

“[…] Only Metsola is the best-placed to help the PN make a quantum leap in time for 2027. Bernard cannot bring the party together nor attract new blood. Metsola, on the other hand, will be a formidable opponent to Robert Abela, and her success story will galvanise new voters and bring back others to the Nationalist fold.”

There, see what I mean? Just count the number of times those Nationalist MPs used the Future Tense, to dangle their ‘Messianic vision’ before our eyes. “Metsola WILL be a formidable opponent to Abela”; “Her success story WILL galvanise new voters; it WILL bring back others to the fold”, etc, etc…

… for all the world as though Roberta Metsola’s future success, as the pre-ordained ‘leader of the Nationalist Party’, were practically GUARANTEED from beforehand; despite the fact that…

Well, do I even need to go on?  For starters: there is no indication whatsoever that Roberta Metsola herself is even remotely interested in abandoning her stratospherically-successful (not to mention infinitely more glamorous) international career… for any reason at all, I would imagine: but least of all, for the sole purpose of ‘cleaning up the ungodly mess that those same Prophets have already made of the Nationalist Party’ (whilst they themselves just sit back on their lazy arses, of course; and watch her do all the hard work…)

No indeed: I certainly know what MY answer would be, if I were in Roberta Metsola’s place (and I’ll give you a hint: it would be too impolite, to even reproduce in print). But I don’t want to make the same mistake myself, of predicting future events that may not actually materialise, as foretold.

Because this, as I see it, is the main problem with this new cult called ‘Metsolism’. Like all other examples of religious ‘dogma’, those prophecies hinge directly on a rather large number of assumptions, and pre-suppositions: all of which could just as easily turn out to be… well, WRONG.

Let’s start with the most glaring of the lot: “we know that it will be her victory, and not the party’s, in 2024”…

Erm: sorry to ask, but… what ‘victory in 2024’ are they specifically alluding to, there? Robert Metsola’s own personal triumph, in next year’s European elections? Or – because the sentence can also be interpreted this way – a ‘victory for the Nationalist Party, as a whole’? (Perhaps because Metsola’s landslide will be so utterly earthshattering… that she’ll even win the PN a couple of extra seats, over and above her own?)

In the latter case: I am told that Psychiatry has made significant advances, in recent years… so who knows? Maybe those people can be cured, one day, of the psychotic delusions that clearly afflict them….

In the former scenario, on the other hand: it suggests that those Prophets must possess some kind of ‘crystal ball’, which gives them pre-emptive insight into the results of any election… a full year before a single vote has even been cast!

And not only does their crystal ball magically inform them – beyond any doubt - that Roberta Metsola is cruising towards comfortable re-election, in 2024…. but she is also expected to ‘substantially increase her own share of the vote’ (for THAT is the only outcome that can realistically qualify as a ‘personal victory’ for Roberta Metsola: an improvement over past performance).

Now: to be fair, I concede that such an outcome remains fully within the realms of possibility (and yes: it may even be a ‘likelihood’, all things considered). But… is it really as ‘guaranteed’, as those Nationalist MPs seem to believe?

I doubt it, myself. For starters, because Metsola’s meteoric ascent, in European politics, also came at the cost of some of her own domestic support. For instance: by promising to sign the [pro-choice] Simone Veil Pact, as one of the conditions to become European Parliament president… Roberta Metsola may have alienated (in some cases, PERMANENTLY) a sizeable chunk of her own voter-base, within the Nationalist Party’s pro-life camp.

Admittedly, it is difficult to predict just how seriously this will impact her 2024 performance – on its own, my guess is ‘not very much’ – but it also has to be viewed in the context of all the bitter infighting that the PN has been experiencing, over the past couple of years.

For better or worse, Robert Metsola ‘took sides’ in that conflict: she was even named as one of the ‘Blue Heroes’, whose actions led directly to the downfall of Adrian Delia (which, in turn, precipitated so much of the PN’s current, woeful situation, to begin with).

All that, by the way, happened AFTER the last European election she herself contested, in 2019; and so – as with the abortion issue – it remains to be seen whether (or to what extent) it will dent her otherwise ‘pre-ordained victory’, in 2024.

Put it all together, however, and the picture that emerges is rather different, from the one anticipated by all those ‘Metsolist (Metsolian?) Prophets’. Not only might Roberta Metsola actually end up STRUGGLING, next year, to ‘improve over her past performance’ (and possibly – albeit not probably – even to ‘retain her EP seat’)… but she will almost certainly face considerable resistance, when it comes to Phase Two of the operation: i.e., successfully installing her as the next PN leader, after Bernard Grech.

For that, her acolytes will have to do a little more than just ‘sit back, and hope (and pray) that Roberta Metsola might one day descend from her dizzying heights in Brussels; and use all her magical, mystical powers to ‘deliver the PN from yet another humiliating defeat, in 2027’.

They’d also have to engineer yet another farcically-uncontested ‘PN leadership election’, to guarantee the ‘pre-ordained result’ they so clearly desire. And failing that, they would have to mount a ‘whispering campaign’ against any other leadership-hopeful – which may-or-may-not include both Bernard Grech, AND Adrian Delia – who dare commit the ‘heresy’ of actually challenging Metsola’s ‘divine claim’ to that same position.

In other words, they would have to resort to precisely the same tactics, that have already caused so much of the ‘predicament’ they themselves are supposedly trying to solve.

But that only brings us to the biggest flaw by far, with this entire “Holy Metsola, pray for us” approach. The predicament we are talking about here is, after all, a POLITICAL issue… and NOT a religious one.

As such, it clearly requires a POLITICAL solution… instead of just encouraging “blind faith in the supernatural capabilities of any one, individual human being” (especially when you also consider that – when it comes to the crunch - it would be a ‘miracle’ indeed, if Robert Metsola actually accepted that offer, in the first place).

After all: there must be some kind of limit, in the end, to how many ‘miracles’ you can actually pray for, at once…