The race, to the bot­tom, is on

The race is on for Jean Pierre De­bono’s seat in par­lia­ment, but the per­son who wins it will not be keeping it.

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS -

He or she will be giv­ing it up in an act of great sac­ri­fice for the Na­tion­al­ist Party, for which read its leader. For Adrian Delia and the Na­tion­al­ist Party have now be­come syn­ony­mous: the leader is the party and the party is the leader. Or at least, that’s the way the as­sorted crooks, hang­ers-on, op­por­tunists, per­verts, sex ma­ni­acs and heavy-debtors who are busy hi­jack­ing a po­lit­i­cal party which was once sup­ported by half the elec­torate would have us be­lieve. Many of those key individuals are now ma­noeu­vring them­selves into po­si­tion to fill the key roles in the party ad­min­is­tra­tion, with the in­tel­lec­tu­ally-chal­lenged Clyde Puli and David Agius gag­ging for the twin deputy lead­er­ship po­si­tions and Delia keen to slot them in. Be­cause what does a cun­ning and avari­cious, but ul­ti­mately, not very clever party leader like Delia need most if not two deputy lead­ers who are even less in­tel­li­gent than he is? That means that who­ever it is who is behind Delia – his Keith Schem­bri, so to speak, who might well be his law part­ner Ge­org Sapi­ano, who is con­sid­er­ably sharper and even less scrupu­lous than Delia but who failed at the polls in the gen­eral elec­tion, can have an eas­ier time get­ting his way.

But not if other con­tenders can help it. So far, Robert Ar­rigo has thrown his name into the mix de­spite an ex­press re­quest from the party leader’s ap­pa­ratchiks that he not do so. Re­ports in the me­dia sug­gest that he sent them fly­ing. I haven’t had kind things to write about him in the past – be­cause, let’s face it, he didn’t exactly bust a gut trying to dec­i­mate Labour over the last two par­lia­men­tary terms, but I’m glad some­body is stand­ing up to those re­ally aw­ful spec­i­mens, Puli and Agius. I truly be­lieve there are few things worse in a po­lit­i­cal party than ab­jectly dull-wit­ted individuals with the per­son­al­ity traits of cun­ning ex­ecu­tors of Machi­avel­lian machi­na­tions. The com­bi­na­tion of stu­pid­ity and be­lief that they are bril­liant plot­ters and ex­er­cis­ers of po­lit­i­cal strat­egy makes one weep. It is tragic.

Of course, it is dif­fi­cult to know what to do if you are a Na­tion­al­ist MP who can’t stand Delia and the op­por­tunists and per­verts around him. Do you stay and op­pose from within? That sounds good at the out­set, un­til you re­mem­ber that there’s going to be a gen­eral elec­tion in five years’ time. What will these op­pos­ing MPs do then? Tell peo­ple not to vote Na­tion- al­ist? Not vote Na­tion­al­ist them­selves? Vote Na­tion­al­ist, which means a vote to make Delia prime min­is­ter, while op­pos­ing him? These are de­ci­sions that have got to be made at the out­set, bear­ing in mind that in 2022, which will come soon enough for those of us who are over 30 un­less we pop our clogs first, we are going to have to vote. And that means vot­ing to make Delia prime min­is­ter, or vot­ing to make Mus­cat’s suc­ces­sor prime min­is­ter. I can’t think which is worse, and we don’t even know who Mus­cat’s suc­ces­sor will be.

Delia’s ap­peal, as far as I can gauge from con­ver­sa­tion and ob­ser­va­tion, is mainly to bit­ter late-mid­dle-aged men or those who have only re­cently got their bus pass. Women, bar ran­dom and mostly chicken-brained ex­cep­tions who left school at 15 and still speak, write and prob­a­bly even think the same way they did then, gen­er­ally can’t stand him. We think he is slimy. Maybe work­ing-class women like him? Pos­si­bly. But the Na­tion­al­ist Party can’t af­ford to lose the non-work­ing-class.

Part of the dam­age of Delia’s elec­tion to a post for which he is man­i­festly un­fit is the fact that there is so much dis­cus­sion about him and his baggage, about the peo­ple tacked to his coat-tails, that the fo­cus is com­pletely off the gov­ern­ment and the var­i­ous crooks and nasty pieces of work of which it is com­posed. That was bound to hap­pen. Delia is the news of the mo­ment. Dis­cussing him is far more press­ing than dis­cussing the Na­tion­al­ist Party, and from a news point of view, peo­ple are cur­rently far more in­ter­ested in the mess into which the Na­tion­al­ist Party has de­volved than they are in the crooked­ness of the gov­ern­ment. This, too, is a nat­u­ral con­se­quence of things: the Na­tion­al­ist Party was a bul­wark of hope against the seedy aw­ful­ness of the Labour Party and the gov­ern­ment it forms. That has gone now, and many peo­ple are des­per­ate be­cause of it, with nowhere to turn. Be­cause ev­ery­where they look, there is a crook.

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