People are discussing the issue as though Delia is running for CEO of the Nationalist Party, not Leader of the Opposition

Published: June 29, 2017 at 12:19pm

I am looking at the debates on line – particularly those taking place in ‘closed’ Facebook groups between people who naively believe that they are discussing these matters in the privacy of their kitchen with like-minded people – with something akin to disbelief.

Can adults really be so infantile, so naïve, so childish? They sound like aggrieved teenagers hanging out in a playground (and if this only serves to upset them more, then good).

They are talking about the Nationalist Party leadership contest in terms of finding a CEO for the party. Analyse what is said, read between the lines, and that is precisely what they are thinking of: a party CEO. And precisely because they are so naïve, Adrian Delia – who himself talks in these CEO terms – is their favourite horse.

But the role of party CEO is different, separate and distinct. The party leader is either the Leader of the Opposition or the Prime Minister.

I feel in duty bound to remind the chattering classes about this. Stop thinking and talking about whether Adrian Delia (or any other candidate) can function effectively as a party CEO and start thinking in terms of whether he is up to the job of Opposition Leader. What does he know about policy, about government, about procedure, about governance? Nothing. And in parliament, he’s going to be a sitting duck for the Labour Party precisely because of that.

It’s bad enough that he’s desperate to please Labour politicians and Labour supporters socially (that’s what he and his wife mean when they say ‘unity’). All the Opposition needs now is somebody who can’t deal with Labour politicians politically.

That the Opposition leader is also leader of the Nationalist Party is completely secondary, so people should immediately stop speaking about this business as though the process is in motion to find the political-party equivalent of a football club president, and nothing beyond that.

Delia himself is making this mistake, which is why I find him inept. In the interviews I have heard – Reno Bugeja last night on TVM, Rachel Attard this morning on The Malta Independent – he could not get beyond the party this and the party that. What about the Opposition?

And it is fascinating that he writes the government and the Labour Party completely out of the equation in his current campaign. That shows that his real focus is not fighting the Labour Party to the death, but fighting his rivals for the top post in the party, and that his motivation is not defeating Labour and getting this country on the right track, but becoming Prime Minister in five years’ time (because he doesn’t want to waste 10 years of his life, though he’s calculated that he can afford to waste five).

Dr Delia discusses the Nationalist Party as though it is a football club. But the aim of a football club is to win matches. The aim of a political party is not to win elections. It is to govern. Winning the election is a means to that end. Winning a football match is an end in itself.