I wasn’t far wrong when I wrote on 17th September that the 36,000-vote gap had shot up to 60,000

Published: October 10, 2017 at 1:15pm

On 17th September, I wrote that the 36,000-vote gap between the Labour Party and the Nationalist Party had shot to at least 60,000, overnight. Adrian Delia had just been elected leader of the Nationalist Party.

I had no surveys to work off but only years of experience in writing about Maltese political behaviour and an obvious understanding of how a big chunk of the Nationalist Party’s core support thinks. My own views are not at all unusual, as those who would undermine me seek to make out. They are actually pretty typical of a great, big, key category of electors and that’s exactly why I have the readership I do: I understand my audience and the fact that I am one of them.

I had spent the past few weeks writing about how the Nationalist Party would be scripting its suicide note by making Delia its leader, not only because he himself is a knave but, crucially, because when the party allows itself to be hijacked by anybody walking in from the outside, it looks weak, vulnerable and structurally disorganised. And that means people won’t feel safe trusting it to run the country.

Also, the very fact that people as sub-standard as Delia and Frank Portelli were allowed to stand for the leadership election at all has decimated people’s trust in the Nationalist Party’s ability to maintain standards, let alone set them.

It talks about safeguarding standards in public life and protecting important state and government roles from poisoning by terrible appointees, and then it can’t even safeguard itself from leadership candidates who include a bankrupt to the tune of many millions and a sleazy lawyer who is as slippery and evasive as a skink.

I put my point of view across in person, too, to people in the Nationalist Party, or connected with it, who support Delia and actively worked for his election as party leader.

“I’m damned if I’m ever going to vote to make that man prime minister,” I said, “or even feel any kind of support for the Nationalist Party as long as he and his chimps and assorted root vegetables lead it. And that means that thousands of other people are going to be doing and feeling the same because my thinking may not be typical on a nationwide scale, but when it comes down to a crucial category of people who vote Nationalist, it most definitely is. The way I’m feeling, they’re feeling that way too.”

If I had Mrs Delia’s strange and frivolous mind-set, I would now say that I feel vindicated. Instead I feel angry at the mindless stupidity and rabid personal ambition – a combination of factors that is a predictor for catastrophe – that have caused this.

Two days ago, Malta Today published a survey that shows how the vote-gap between the two political parties has actually doubled, from 36,000 to 73,000.

My instinctive understanding on the day of Delia’s election that the gap had shot to 60,000 had been correct – probably because it was not ‘instinct’ at all but a real understanding of how the people for whom I write actually think, for no other reason than that I am like they are.

I have no idea whether the survey results caused a panic in Delia’s hen-house, or whether it has begun to dawn on the more sensible people around him, who may perhaps have been blinded originally by other factors, that the only thing to do now with what they thought was their prize cock is to wring his neck and broil him for supper.

Some people have begun to acknowledge in private that they were wrong – it takes a big person to do this, and far too many protect their ego by sticking to their guns instead of using those guns to shoot their cock Delia. One or two people who supported Delia, and who probably still like him at a personal level, now see in the face of those survey results that the fact that they like him doesn’t mean Nationalist Party voters do. To understand how a Nationalist Party voter thinks, ideally, you have to be one. Otherwise, you are more likely to understand how a particular segment of Labour voters think, and that is not what is useful here.

Whichever way I look at it, it’s a disaster. Some people who are active within the Nationalist Party have defended their choice to stay on by saying that they can’t leave the party to be taken over entirely by the invading parasites, that they have to fight from within.

Fine, I say, as long as this ‘fight from within’ has one sole aim, which is to defenestrate Delia and his collaborators immediately the Nationalist Party is wiped out in the European Parliament elections in 2019. Because if that doesn’t happen, what are they going to do in the three years which follow – campaign for the Nationalist Party to win the 2022 general election with Delia as leader, and vote in that election to make him prime minister? How do you ‘fight against’ somebody and then at the end of it all vote for him and the party he leads? It makes no sense.

And that is exactly why I and a big chunk of those who voted Nationalist in the last general election now say that we won’t be voting at all: because we don’t want Delia to become prime minister and we no longer trust the political party which was crazy and disorganised enough to allow him and Frank Portelli to be contenders in its leadership election, and a party which was so lacking in political insight and so unable to read the runes that its people actually chose Delia. People with such poor judgement can’t be trusted to take their aged mother or grandmother out for a walk in the park.

My post on 17th September

88 Comments Comment

  1. james micallef says:

    ” I and a big chunk of those who voted Nationalist in the last general election now say that we won’t be voting at all”

    In quite a few posts over the past year I have noticed from your part a certain admiration for Marlene Farrugia, at least of the person and character if not for the politics. Would you not consider voting PD rather than not at all?

    • I like Marlene Farrugia very much at a personal level (even though, you might be surprised to know, we have never actually met in person). But I can relate to her on many levels.

      It is too early to say whether I will feel able to vote for the PD as a stand-alone party in 2022. It largely depends on which candidate/s they field on the constituency where I live.

      But it is not too early for me to say that I won’t be voting for the Nationalist Party led by Delia and his coterie. And you can take it for granted that I won’t be voting Labour either.

      • Genn says:

        I think Marlene Farrugia’s the only one there with her head properly screwed on. Come next election, my votes and that of my family will not go to that Delia guy. It’s been almost a month since he’s been elected Opposition leader and he’s not even mentioned corruption. How can he be trusted?

        Granted, as Michael Borg said, the image is there, nice clothes – the house is nice, spotlessly kept, children and wife represent a sense of family values, but everybody shows off that on Xarabank – the Maltese are experts in that, just like the Mafia is.

        In today’s world, it’s not enough to show the world you’ve got the family unit to prove yourself – as a politician, you’ve got to show the world you’re made of stuff ready to fight corruption, because in politics, once you fail in that, it means you’re a lousy politician – no more and no less.

      • lord sloth says:

        You are correct, of course, in that the Democratic Party still has a way to go because most of its people lack experience, except for Godfrey Farrugia and Marlene Farrugia.

        Clearly, their heart is in the right place and they can never be accused of being in it to achieve power for its own sake. I would appreciate your opinion on that. Would you give a ne comer as is Anthony Buttigieg or Lee Barbara your vote?

      • I don’t know Lee Barbara, and Tony Buttigieg suddenly revealed before the general election that he is extremely antagonistic towards me in what appears to be a personal rather than political way, so the answer is no, and no.

        In any case, Dr Buttigieg – is supposed to have resigned and was busy posting pictures of the vegetables from his roof-garden in the middle of the Delia crisis, so No again.

  2. callixtus says:

    The writing has been on the wall since this website exposed Delia for the rogue that he is. How can anyone have assumed that the substantial number of decent, well-educated people who have made up the core of the Nationalist Party for the past half century would go along with such a scumbag for a leader?

    We’re not interested in replacing one scandalous government with a similar one, nor an amoral Prime Minister with another. We supported the Nationalist Party not for its own sake, but because we saw it as a vehicle for our democratic and European aspirations.

    We cannot be expected to keep supporting it once it has become totally alien to the way we think.

    Nationalist MPs had better distance themselves from their leader and scramble away from this sinking ship.

    • Les Bon Bons says:

      There is no such thing as a clean politician or party leader. Each and every one of them have skeletons in their cupboards and that includes ALL past PN and MLP leaders. It just happens that Delia was unlucky. We are talking of a small issue which happened two decades ago ffs.

      Politics the world over has always been about choosing the better of two evils and the bigger evil is Joseph/Keith/Konrad PL. In the past the PN lead by Gonzi and with lots of nepotism and arrogant Cabinet Ministers was the lesser of two evils, the worse one being the MLP of Alfred Sant.

      So fine, don’t vote PN after all it is your right who you vote or don’t vote for but remember that by not voting PN you are allowing the greater evil, that being the Malta Labour Party to stand a better chance of reelection and allow the same thieves like Brian Tonna and Keith Schembri and Michelle & Joseph to sell citizenship and pocket all the commissions.

      • You cannot possibly be serious.

      • Xemiz says:

        Aren’t you contradicting yourself ”If things at the PN remained the same i.e if Chris Said won the leadership race I would not have voted PN either for the simple reason that I would know 100% they would lose the next elections whether I hassle to go vote or choose to remain relaxed at home.”

  3. Odyssey says:

    The Malta Independent’s interview with Mrs. Delia is so amateurish and fluffy. It’s also demeaning to women in general, if you consider both the questions and the answers.

  4. Chalie15 says:

    The whole “fight from within” argument doesn’t convince me. I think that those people are just blindly loyal towards the party no matter what and want to stay on to save what’s left of it, rather than concede a walkover to the Labour Party and subsequently rebuild the Nationalist Party on solid foundations.

    I too think that 2019 will be a crucial moment. A disastrous European Parliament/Malta election result should set off enough alarms in view of the general elections three years later. But even then it might be too late and the general election would just become a matter of damage control.

  5. Grow up. The house, the car, the branded clothes and the branded wife are all part of the pathology. I know three or four men exactly like Delia (I actually worked for a couple of them for a while) and they come straight out of a mould. One of them is in prison awaiting trial, another two are bankrupt after years of living the high life on other people’s money while racking up debts. Psychology profiling is exactly that because nobody is unique or original.

    • carl barthet says:

      Bull’s eye

    • Chalie15 says:

      Malta is full of examples of people who lived/live beyond their means. Several times they go belly up, leave the country and several creditors behind, and many others who will curse them for the rest of their lives.

      The fact that he’s in the limelight might make it more difficult for him to do a runner, but it also means that he’s under greater scrutiny.

    • Galeforce says:

      Or frittering away the family fortune, including wife’s dowry at the card tablēs, horse racing or expensive mistresses as was often the norm in those bygone days.

  6. He has the most incredibly tedious voice and predictable intonation.

  7. Mariatheresa Micallef says:

    Right you are. The biggest mistake that the Nationalist Party councillors and members made was to think that the focus should only be on winning an election, deluding themselves that Delia was the guy, for reasons I still cannot fathom.

    They totally disregarded ethics, morals and principles – ideals that a good chunk of us still hold on to, no matter what. Ergo the mess that the party is in and I’m sure that as far as many of us are concerned, if this situation persists, the Nationalist Party is just playing a losing game. Sad very sad.

  8. Genn says:

    It’s not the branded clothes that worry me, but the fixation on having nothing but branded clothes in your wardrobe, to be seen wearing branded clothes everywhere, to let the world know you’ve made it in life because there’s nothing else left to prove you’re good.

    Real millionaires don’t sweat about this stuff. They’ve made it and they don’t care.

  9. Osservatore says:

    Those who voted for the Nationalist Party last June for reasons for personal integrity and because they are strongly opposed to corruption will inevitably find it impossible to vote for Delia’s party simply because it is led by a person with a sleazy past and a dodgy present.

    Delia is now in, but I am so very out.

  10. Jozef says:

    It is very Nationalist to transcend the cacophany of crossed interests claiming the nation for themselves.

    It is therefore very Nationalist to sublimate the pitiful state of each by subverting their very existential non-purpose.

    Time to out Malta’s very own deep state. Those who invariably offer advice and lawmaking techniques to government. Suppliers of ever increasing demand.

  11. Yes, people in Malta are extremely naïve about money. They don’t understand that when people want to impress on you how much money they have, it’s because they haven’t any. Creating the impression that you’re flush is just another way of getting extended credit.

  12. For the good of the Nationalist Party, you should do ANYTHING BUT vote for it while Delia leads it.

  13. observer says:

    Mrs Delia spoke about “outrageous lies”. Does she mean the documented personal debts of almost one million euros, and their exposure to a debt of 7.2 million euros to HSBC for the failed Mgarr Bay development?

    Does she mean the documented money-laundering for a Soho prostitution racket?

    With all that to worry about, instead she feels VINDICATED because her husband is now the Opposition leader. Un-fuckin’ believable.

    • Don’t ask me why, but something tells me her sense of vindication has nothing to do with the “outrageous lies” of the leadership election campaign, but with her lingering feeling over all these years that she married beneath her and that her peers looked down on her husband. Now she feels vindicated because he is the Opposition leader.

      • NeverBeenSoVocal says:

        My first reaction to her sense of vindication was that she now probably feels that she can, to a certain extent, hold her head up high.

        Had Adrian not won, she would have had to disappear from the face of the earth with all that has been exposed about them.

        In fact we joked between friends that she would ask for a private meeting for Parents Day at San Anton School rather than strut around the corridors shouting out whatever comes to mind to be seen and heard.

  14. Neo says:

    I am of the same opinion, Galeforce. This is actually the first time, after a PN leadership change, that you listen to Radio 101 and you are inundated with a stream of ‘give him a chance’, ‘you should not judge him so early’ and ‘you should meet him in person’. It’s nauseating.

  15. Neo says:

    Same here.

  16. Grace Galea says:

    Jien dejjem ivvutajt lil PN u dan għamiltu għax kont narah l-aħjar partit biex imexxi lil Malta. Qatt ma għamilt dan għax kont narah l-aħjar partit biex jirbaħ.

    Ir-rebħ ġie għax ħafna raw l-istess bħali. Dawk li fl-2013 u fl-2017 ivvutaw xorta lil PN iktar u iktar għamlu dan għalhekk għax kieku xtaqu jirbħu kienu jivvutaw lil Labour. Huwa għalhekk ma nistax nibqa nivvota lil PN iktar sa kemm jibqa Deliar Kap.

    Għax issa m’għadux l-aħjar partit biex imexxi lil Malta. U anki jekk il-PN b’xi mod jirnexilu jirbaħ l-elezzjoni li jmiss xorta nibqa ngħid u naħseb l-istess.

    Ma nivvotax biex inkun nista nagħmel jumejn niġri mat-toroq ta’ Malta għax irbaħba imma nivvota biex nagħmel 5 snin moħħi mistrieħ minn governanza tajba.

    • Les Bon Bons says:

      I have always voted Nationalist too and I will keep doing so. The only one time you could say I did not vote PN was when I voted YES for divorce.

  17. Joseph Cachia says:

    I have been voting Nationalist since 1971. Now I shall not as long as Adrain Delia is its leader.

  18. Reflections says:

    I don’t agree with persons scrambling away from a ship heading towards destruction. But rather remove the captain who should not have been there in the first place. Meanwhile while the present situation isn’t the ideal, I have my reservations about MaltaToday surveys, knowing very well how easily ‘ surveys’ and ‘statistics’ can be manipulated.

  19. Pat1254 says:

    These results don’t surprise me at all. With the feeling there is out there, I think the Nationalist Party will be very hard pushed to even elect two Europarliamentarians.

    I certainly won’t bet even one measly cent on them getting two members elected.

  20. Rosie says:

    Hear hear.

  21. Jan Farrugia says:

    The next shock for the National Party: the annual December fund-raising marathon.

  22. Genn says:

    You should ask yourself whether you’ll be voting for Delia and why, because to date he has done nothing and doesn’t seem to be interested in doing something for the country either.

  23. Orlando Ellul Micallef says:

    Don’t worry – they have 600 new party members to make up for it.

  24. Marija il-maltija says:

    U int temmen li ghad fadal irgulija?

  25. Tom Double Thumb says:

    I am not a body-language reader, but the expression on the faces of the two men at the top of this post are very telling. They could easily and readily fit into “News without Comment” programme.

  26. Gladio says:

    Not voting for the Nationalist Party in the next round of European Parliament elections and local council elections is the only way to save the party from Delia. I am sure that thousands of honest Nationalists will feel the moral obligation to do so.

  27. Well, unfortunately there are fewer like you than there are like us.

  28. M Farrugia says:

    I have been a Nationalist Party member for the last 27 years and always voted PN in every single election: local council, general and European Parliament. Now no member, no vote. Looking forward to 2019.

  29. NeverBeenSoVocal says:

    The difference is that Austin GATT and John Dalli were, as you yourself pointed out, Nationalist MPs/cabinet ministers while Adrian Delia is the leader of the Opposition and possibly a future Prime Minister. So yes, this WILL stop me from voting PN.

  30. Muscat isn’t planning to be around in 2022.

  31. I doubt very much that Delia will manage to improve on the Nationalist Party’s 2017 vote. At any rate, it’s still too early to make up one’s mind about what’s best to do in 2022.

    Some are hoping that the trashing that’s waiting round the corner will be enough to set him packing, but he’s already said that his “project” is to win the general election, so he intends to stick around a while longer.

    We need to be careful. If Labour gain too much power, they may very well end up having enough seats to amend the Constitution at will. Given that prospect, I’d rather vote PN and risk having Delia stick around for another five years.

  32. Yes, well, the news cycle is what it is. Right now, Konrad Mizzi and friends are not in the news and Adrian Delia is.

    • Major Tom says:

      I wonder whether or not they will ever be because one expects them to have become extremely proficient in covering their tracks.

      I cannot imagine another ‘fortunate’ event such as the Panama breaking news. It would be against all odds.

      If we get to know anything new which is significant, that would suggest that the probability of anything going wrong would have been increased simply because there is many more crimes going on.

      People have become insensitive to corruption anyway. €1.75 per week is enough to keep ‘everybody’ happy. The poorer one is, the cheaper the price of installing blind faith in ‘the great Joseph’.

  33. And the statute of limitations is 15 years, which means that Adrian Delia is still exposed to investigation and prosecution for crimes committed in 2003.

  34. Loshon says:

    If Delia had not put himself forward to be the new PN leader we would not be mentioning his name ….But he did ….And we are!

  35. Having “a little baggage” is one thing. Having “a little baggage” and painting it a different colour practically every single day for days on end is another.

    The man is a pathological liar. You can’t trust a single word that comes out of his mouth. Everything about him is a bright flashing red light.

    He may have got enough votes to become PN leader, but that’s getting him nowhere fast at the national level.

    What more proof than this do you need? People in general simply do not trust him. The situation was already bad as it was.

    And with him at the helm, the situation simply got a lot worse. He’s not going to recover from this, and the sooner you all see that, stand up, admit that you’ve made a mistake, and get rid of him, the better for all.

  36. Osservatore says:

    It’s actually Gonzi’s fault, or at least his legacy. The party went broke under his watch, plus he anointed Busuttil as the next leader who then spent two to three years of fire-fighting and crisis management to stabilise the party’s finances whilst Muscat, like Nero, fiddled as democracy burned.

  37. Osservatore says:

    John Dall isn’t. Neither are the likes of Konrad Mizzi, Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri, Jimmy Magro, Michael Falzon, Ninu Zammit et al. There. You can now stop wondering and get some rest.

  38. Pandora says:

    Yes true, bit for all intents and purposes Dr. Busuttil is still there…or not?

  39. leon 1 says:

    In no way am I am a supporter of Delia, however these comments are doing more harm than good to the PN , which is already in a precarious situation.

    Let us stop these unnessary comments because they will get the PN nowhere.

    • I don’t think you understand that lots of people no longer support the Nationalist Party as a consequence of Delia’s election.

    • Antoine Vella says:

      Harm to the PN has been caused by those who insisted that Adrian Delia should be leader because ‘the people ‘ want him (“In-nies lilu jridu”). The survey shows that such a claim was tragically wrong.

      Delia’s supporters may try to explain away the survey’s results by saying that Delia is still new and largely unknown, but his newness was actually his selling point, his main asset. We Nationalist Party members were bombarded with propaganda that the party needed somebody new: a fresh face.

      Now we are seeing that, far from closing the gap between the parties, this new face has doubled it; he doesn’t convince PN voters, let alone Labour ones. As some said before the leadership contest, you cannot choose a party leader just for his novelty value, and Delia doesn’t even have that, unfortunately.

      And let me tell you something else, leon: it’s not the people who comment who should worry you, but the silent ones, the thousands who say nothing but have quietly decided they won’t support this PN.

    • il-Ginger says:

      I don’t support the PN. I support Manchester United. I voted Nationalist to keep the shady types out and now they’re two sides of the same coin.

  40. NeverBeenSoVocal says:

    It might not have been clean – however, it did not have a blatantly corrupt leader.

  41. Simon Busuttil will not be “taking up a job overseas”.

  42. Antoine Vella says:

    Paul Caruana, as we have seen in the last two general elections, the maximum difference between government and Opposition is nine members. It’s against the Constitution for an electoral result to give a two-thirds majority to any party.

  43. Who would arrest him and interrogate him – Lawrence Cutajar and Ian Abdilla? Don’t make me laugh.

  44. We’re not in court though, are we.

  45. How low your standards are. Do you like him because his political views are far right, like yours?

  46. It IS money-laundering. If a lawyer receives into an offshore bank account in his name the cash proceeds from a prostitution racket, then pays or is supposed to pay the money out again to other bank accounts held by third parties concealed behind nominees in offshore companies incorporated in the BVI and the Marshall Islands, that is money-laundering – because the purpose is to conceal the money and its source from the authorities through layering.

    Also, you don’t seem to understand that the statute of limitations for money-laundering gives the police 15 years to investigate and arraign, which means that the Opposition leader is right now and until 2019 exposed to investigation by the FIAU and arraignment by the police for these crimes.

  47. You are not qualified to assess public opinion surveys or comment on them. The survey reflects reality. Any leader who starts off by losing almost half of the electors who only a few months ago voted for the party he leads has no chance of getting anywhere.

  48. Unfortunately, Les Bon Bons, you fit the profile of the other men who fought for Delia’s election simply because they think as you do. That very same psychological profiling leaves them unable to see how wrong they were.

  49. The Constitution of Malta guards against one party holding two thirds of the seats.

  50. I am proud of the fact that I help open people’s eyes. It’s my job as a journalist.

  51. rcamilleri says:

    The horror of all this is that the Labour Party is moving towards the horrific possibility that after the next election it might have enough MPs to change the Constitution at will.

  52. The senior policeman who heads the Economic Crimes Unit.

  53. anton cassar says:

    So you voted for the wrong reason because they are both corrupt to the core. Then and now. Nothing really changed.

    • Rumplestiltskin says:

      Simon Busuttil was certainly not corrupt and he made it his mission to fight the blatant corruption we were experiencing. Unfortunately, the Maltese electorate couldn’t care less about corruption, which says a lot about us as a nation.

  54. Turi kemm tifhem fil-politika.

  55. Gina Caruana Caligari says:

    My thoughts, exactly.

  56. Rumplestiltskin says:

    This post reflects my mindset exactly. I have been a lifelong supporter of the Nationalist Party but cannot get myself to vote for it so long as Delia is its leader.

    This talk of rallying behind the leader irrespective of which candidate we supported is absolute hogwash. One rallies behind an elected leader, even if one supported his opponent, only when the two individuals are equal in terms of the things which matter.

    If one does not have faith in the elected leader of a party, then voting for that party would be the ultimate act of hypocrisy. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I did.

  57. Rumplestiltskin says:

    You can’t be serious!

  58. Rumplestiltskin says:

    The scale is different because the others have much more opportunity since they have the power and the purse strings.

  59. Rumplestiltskin says:

    Teething problems indeed. Hallina tridx?

  60. ‘Joseph’ and ‘Delia’. Fascinating. Not Joseph and Adrian, or Muscat and Delia, but Joseph and Delia.

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