[WATCH] Adrian Delia on PN’s future: ‘We can’t criticise others with no proposals in hand’

The former Opposition leader on his three years at the helm of the PN, his critics, and what he calls ‘the politics of hate’ inside the party

Adrian Delia (right) on Reno Bugeja Jistaqsi
Adrian Delia (right) on Reno Bugeja Jistaqsi
Adrian Delia: ‘We can’t criticise others with no proposals in hand’

Has the Nationalist Party changed enough to overcome a trust gap that could prevent it from winning re-election in the next year?

Former PN leader Adrian Delia posed this rhetorical question on Reno Bugeja Jistaqsi in an interview during which the MP acknowledged the effect of Bernard Grech’s leadership in reuniting a split party, but which still lacked the necessary impetus to convince other voters to change allegiance.

“It is fact that there were those who were unhappy with my election from day one, and that they are now pledging their vote for the PN. But I don’t see it just from that perspective – but will that vote gap be surmounted in an election against a government which has come under such serious accusations? That is how I see it,” Delia said.

Delia insisted that it had been his intention to change the ‘attitude’ of the party which he said was responsible for the PN’s electoral losses in 2013 and 2017. “I think we can see this in certain persons and that voters out there can make their own assessment of who is responsible for this attitude.”

Delia admitted that bread and butter issues have been paramount in voters’ concerns, and said that it formed the core of his own policies when he was PN leader. “How can we criticise others if we do not take into account what we are proposing, our constructive criticism – not the destructive type – our discussions with stakeholders, our policies…?”

But he also said that he had little time as PN leader to implement his ‘New Way’ slogan, or, as he said it, “to change attitudes and minds in just three years, and remove the politics of hate.”

“I’m not trying to justify anything here… I still think it is the right thing to do for the Opposition not to be cruel in its words and actions, and to help and serve others, rather than lording it over others,” Delia said.

Delia refuted suggestions that his three years as leader of the PN were ‘wasted’, and questioned his critics’ wisdom in withholding their cooperation for the benefit of the party. “Today I am doing all I can to help my party, rather than fostering division. It is really not important whether you’re the leader or the porter, but it’s what you do to help others.”

Delia immediately discounted such views by critics as Manuel Delia, the one-time PN government aide now turned blogger, of his time at the helm of the PN as having wasted three years of the party’s time in trying to close the gap with Labour. “I don’t read what he has to say, because he has lied about me many times. My weeks in politics are spent in speaking to people and to help them…. The discussions are not wasted on what someone or the other is saying, but on real life issues such as the costs of medicinal products and health problems.”