Adrian Delia and the ‘cup of tea’ test

The idea that one can measure one’s distaste to one’s own party leader in such a stupid manner is puerile

Adrian Delia’s strategy of confronting his internal enemies at a time of his own choosing has apparently succeeded
Adrian Delia’s strategy of confronting his internal enemies at a time of his own choosing has apparently succeeded

Apparently some think that whether a political leader deserves to carry the responsibility of leadership is tantamount to whether he or she is one’s cup of tea.

An anonymous Opposition MP reporting to a gentleman of the press what happened during a recent Opposition parliamentary group meeting explained that, although Delia was not his cup of tea, he fared well during the meeting. As the MP explained: “Before this meeting, I was 95 per cent against him. After the meeting, I would say I am 60 per cent against him.”

Frankly the idea that this particular anti-Delia Nationalist MP saw his leader in a less negative perspective after a four-and-a-half hour meeting is just a lot of crap. It is hardly the front page ‘news’ that the Times of Malta made it out to be on Wednesday morning.

Adrian Delia’s strategy of confronting his internal enemies at a time of his own choosing has apparently succeeded.

Some had probably hoped he would resign after the circulation of leaked video clips and recordings from his personal life; videos that Delia insists are heavily – and maliciously – edited.

But the trick did not work and rather than offering his resignation, Delia fired up his internal party support and challenged his adversaries to come out in the open to confront him. They never did, and kept hiding as anonymous informers working with particular journalists.

Leaders are not made by the elite of the party agreeing on what should be the party’s choice – that Tory way of doing things in Westminister has long been considered outdated. Nor do they have to be some MP’s cup of tea. And resisting the choice made by the party card-carrying members for over a year and fomenting stories about this choice instead of doing one’s duty is nothing short of scandalous.

A scandal worse confounded, considering that the party ‘elite’ – or the party’s establishment (take your pick) – decided to leave the final decision of electing the party leader from among all the card-carrying members (tesserati) and then did not like the result of their own handiwork. It was almost delightful by degrees to hear them invoke order from the chaos they themselves had created.

The problem is that the ‘cup of tea’ test is not part of the PN statute – as so many other things are not, after all.

And why one should expect a party leader to be a cup of tea to every party MP is not all clear. The six leadership skills that every manager should have are communication, awareness, honesty/integrity, relationship building, innovation, and developing leadership skills. It is on the issue of honesty/integrity that Adrian Delia was attacked before day one. He has given satisfactory replies and explanations to the points raised but the witch hunt goes on.

And then how does one decide to be 95% against a person and have this precise indication go up to 60% against? A leader’s job is providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. Not an easy task for someone taking over a political party in the doldrums. Were these aspects of political leadership in any way leading to this – 95% up to 60% – crap? I don’t think so.

The idea that one can measure one’s distaste to one’s own party leader in such a stupid manner is puerile. To go on to say that your degree of personal dislike was reduced after one particular meeting in which the party leader apparently fared quite well continues to exacerbate the pointless undermining of Delia’s leadership that started even before he was democratically elected party leader and continues on to this day.

Should an MP elected in the name of a political party have the luxury of focusing on whether the duly elected leader is one’s cup of tea rather than following the party line and – if need be – express disagreement and insist on revising the areas of disagreement in the appropriate party organ rather than invoking personal taste or distaste that the expression ‘one’s cup of tea’ implies?

This silly pseudo-journalistic exercise has only served to let the cat out of the (tea)bag: the resistance to Delia’s leadership is not one inspired by political concerns but simply on personal grounds. As Margaret Thatcher would put it: Is he one of us?

Has crypto hit the fan?

DQR, the company that the parliamentary secretary for the digital economy, Silvio Schembri, hailed as one of the largest Blockchain companies in the world – with its presence in Malta touted to “cement Malta’s reputation as the Blockchain Island” – is in trouble.

DQR has been forced to fire most of its 65 staff and freeze its operations in Malta after one of its main investors, the German Bitcoin mining company Genesis Mining, ran into difficulties.

This news provoked yet another tit-for-tat exchange of pointless citicism between the Government and the Opposition.

The truth is that cryptocurrency markets have had a torrid time over the past 12 months, with prices crashing from all-time highs and struggling to regain momentum. Perhaps it was government’s timing when to enter into the crypto fray that was completely off target!

Bitcoin was worth $3,300 on December 11. That is amazing considering that the cryptocurrency was created out of nothing 10 years ago. But this value is also depressing as Bitcoin had previously hit a high of $20,000 at the peak of what could be the one of the most dramatic economic bubbles in history. At present the price of Bitcoin has dropped below the point of being profitable for most miners when the costs of equipment and energy are included. It can cost $4,500 to mine a Bitcoin – about $1,200 more than the market price on December 11.

For much of its first ten years, cryptocurrency was a form of digital populism, backing a belief that it would fight greed and financial manipulation while proving to be a secure, efficient and independent payment system.

Bitcoin today has been freed from these ideological underpinnings and has become many different things to many different people.

In 2017 companies sought to take advantage of investors’ fear of missing out. The word ‘Blockchain’ became the latest buzz with hundreds of database managers rebranding themselves as ‘Blockchain experts’. Enthusiasts started believing that their particular digital currency – and no one else’s – will one day replace all other forms of money.

To be trustworthy, money should be simple and boring, which Bitcoin has never been.

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