[WATCH] Adrian Delia beats the drums of war in rabble-rousing speech hitting out at PN’s top brass

He is the anti-Busuttil... Adrian Delia has made it clear his party does not belong to Gonzi or his successor

He strode onto the stage, made the sign of the cross, blew a kiss to the side of the stage, his hands behind his back in business-like fashion.

Chants of ‘Delia, Delia’ from his well-wishers, off-camera, at Friday evening’s last rally set the tone for newcomer Adrian Delia’s last event in his campaign run. He then intonated his trademark rabble-rousing growl, and took the volume up to 11.

Never before has a candidate for the party leadership sounded so distant from the party itself and its traditional pretenders, usually MPs. In the last weeks, revelations of Delia’s legal services to Maltese businessmen in the Soho property game led to a party ethics’ inquiry. The PN’s administrative council then asked him to reconsider his candidature. He refused to back out of the race and doubled down.

“Thank for you for those Nationalists of the 1970s and 1980s, who were the heroes who fought for our country, for liberty…” Delia roared at well-wishers.

“Thank you to those who know what the PN stands for, not the party we’re seeing today, but the party of 140 years of history.”

More thanks followed, and even in giving thanks to his parents – “the ones who instilled in me these values, who made me who I am” – Delia’s gruff tone was incessant.

He looked at his brother. “They called him ‘another thug…’,” a reference to the image of Delia hanging outside the PN headquarters with supporters that included the cadre of regular heavies that usually lend some muscle to parties.

“He’s my brother! He’s no criminal, no thief! He’s our blood! He’s Maltese!” Delia rumbled on.

And then he cried. He walked off stage. The mic went into a feedback loop. He got back on stage, stifled those tears, and started speaking again.

“Many of you here have been ready to die for these principles. Please everyone: we are at a crossroads in this party, where the fundamental principles I was ready to die for at 16, are being threatened within our own party! This is no joke! No argument! This is our sorrow! Our hearts are crying!”

Again he turned the volume up to 11. This time the applause was muted.

“They are threatening to kick people out of the party for supporting me, for having a photo taken with me. They are threatening him with their jobs. They are getting vindictive transfers [on government jobs] and our party is silent. And Eddie Fenech Adami warned us that whoever stayed silent was an accomplice!”

Then he hit out at some MPs.

“There are those who told [others] to form their own party,” a reference to a Facebook comment by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi, whom he also gave mention to in the last final leadership debate, as being particularly unwelcome to his candidature.

“This is not the PN as we know it. It is not the party we recognise. It is not Borg Olivier’s, Fenech Adami’s party,” he said, refusing to mention Lawrence Gonzi or Simon Busuttil.

“It isn’t the party of those who have never asked anything in return, those of us who fought for democracy… it’s not your party!” Delia told the ‘establishment’ he claims to rail against. “It is the councillors’ and the members’ party. Give us our party back!”