If the surveys are proved correct

If MaltaToday’s surveys are proven correct, we are looking at a 44,000-vote difference between Joseph Muscat’s party and Adrian Delia. If that does materialise, then Adrian Delia should go

Adrian Delia at a political activity in Zurrieq
Adrian Delia at a political activity in Zurrieq

This time round it will be more about who loses the European Parliament election than who wins these elections. For it is a foregone conclusion that the Labour Party will be the winner of these European elections.

By how much, we will know later today. But the issue at stake is by how much will the Nationalist party leader Adrian Delia lose. This is the big question.

In 2014 the difference between the PL and PN was 33,677 votes or 13.3%. If the PL increases on this difference in a big way and manages to win the fourth seat, then the writing is clearly on the wall.

It would be the end for David Casa and Francis Zammit Dimech. In the case of the former it would be a democratic and corrective measure after his unacceptable behaviour, both on a personal and political point of view.

In the case of Francis Zammit Dimech it would serve as an eye-opener that everything has an expiry date, including one’s political career.

It would also serve to show that, whether he likes it or not, PN leader Adrian Delia is in a corner and in a fix.

No matter how hard he has tried to water down the importance of this election, if the final result is far worse than the one in 2014 and more dramatic than the one in 2017, then Delia should be confronted by reformist Nationalist MPs and asked to step down.

In his last political rally last Thursday Delia said that the real campaign would start on Monday, but if he fails miserably in this election, anyone with any sense will confront him and ask him to go.

That initiative should not come from the Simon Busuttil camp, or from some Beppe Fenech Adami or Jason Azzopardi. That would backfire and lead to open civil war in the PN, and do little to attract support from the public and media.

But the PN is in desperate need of a respectable leadership with a clear vision and strategy. It also needs to have an administrative set-up that is inclusive and that does not work against segments of the party.

Clearly, the fact that a parliamentarian in the House is the secretary-general is not a good working arrangement. Clyde Puli, for better or worse, has worked to favour some MEP candidates against the interest of others, and it is an open secret that he has greased his own electoral ambitions by making the work of certain colleagues in his electoral district, shall we say uncomfortable?

There is also Media.link chief Pierre Portelli. Adrian Delia has no real cabinet, so he depends on Puli for advice and also on Portelli. He thinks that just by meeting people in bars and public places, he is gaining support. It does not work that way in politics. Perhaps it works wonders in football circles, but not in Maltese politics. Until June 2017, Pierre Portelli was at the heart of the Egrant saga as the facilitator of the canard inside the newspaper he ran, working actively to take Simon Busuttil to power when he knew that his Egrant allegations were founded on a lie. He is now an important cog in the wheels for Delia, but a new leader would have to replace him.

If Delia does suffer a debilitating electoral defeat and stays on, then he will only be resigning himself to a bigger defeat in the near future and the demise of the Nationalist Party, just like the conservatives in the United Kingdom.

His electoral setback will be determined by his tarnished personal and political image but will be further burdened by his political agenda, seemingly ingrained in two resolutely conservative concerns – abortion and foreign migrants.

On these two Adrian Delia, with his fresh looks, attempted to rekindle the hearts of the conformist Maltese, those that traditionally embraced the ‘religio et patria’ motif. But Malta is changing. The relevance of this motto for a mainstream party has long been questioned, even more today.

If MaltaToday’s surveys are proven correct, we are looking at a 44,000-vote difference between Joseph Muscat’s party and Adrian Delia. If that does materialise, then Adrian Delia should go. If Delia loses in such a big way, the writing is on the wall: he should leave or be deposed by reformist Nationalists – for the good of the party and the country.

If Partit Laburista reduces its majority from 2014 and the PN retain their third seat, and with it David Casa, then one will have to truly revisit the polls.

Would it also be a question of humble pie? Sincerely, I believe that our country deserves better politicians in Opposition (as well as in the government benches and in Europe, of course).

It will be more a point about where we want our politics to go. The PN would not have won, but they would have catapulted their retrograde politics back into the mainstream.

And if the PL wins convincingly, then we will have to keep hoping that Muscat’s party and government renders itself more accountable, takes urgent measures to protect the environment, and work for an inclusive, tolerant and multi-cultural society.

Even more importantly, it will be crucial to see that Joseph Muscat does not start believing that he is unstoppable and that everything he says or does, is beyond reproach.