Why the Delia groupies are bark­ing up the wrong tree

It is not just his wife who re­port­edly has lost faith in Adrian Delia but also many oth­ers who were pre­pared to give the PN leader the ben­e­fit of the doubt.

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - THE FACT -

Over the past year or so, they have watched while Delia lost the wide sup­port with which he was elected. Many of those who so vo­cif­er­ously sup­ported his elec­tion have now fallen silent while those who a year ago op­posed his elec­tion have re­dou­bled their op­po­si­tion.

One soli­tary ges­ture in a whole year, that of lay­ing a bou­quet of flow­ers at Daphne’s shrine in front of the Law Courts, did not rec­on­cile him to those who still mourn her as­sas­si­na­tion. He has not made any sen­si­ble steps to rec­on­cile him­self with the Daphne fac­tion.

Take his per­for­mance at the press con­fer­ence af­ter the rev­e­la­tions on 17 Black. Re­plete with lawyer talk, it was full of empty words, as many of the com­men­ta­tors on news web­sites promptly saw. At no point was Daphne men­tioned.

This is what Daphne wrote on her blog on 29 March 2017: “The deal with Elec­trogas is cor­rupt not nec­es­sar­ily be­cause Elec­trogas is go­ing to make an un­rea­son­able re­turn, but be­cause this pri­vate com­pany, which is partly owned by the state of Azer­bai­jan, is go­ing to be the de facto main sup­plier of power gen­er­a­tion when Malta does not need this ad­di­tional third power sta­tion at all. And it will be the main sup­plier at rates which are higher than the al­ter­na­tives which are avail­able al­ready.

“In brute terms, Kon­rad Mizzi, Louis Grech, Keith Schem­bri and Joseph Mus­cat have given the busi­nesses owned by Tu­mas and Gasan an oper­a­tion with a guar­an­teed re­turn run­ning into the hun­dreds of mil­lions of eu­ros, when they have not in­vested any­thing at all.

“All fi­nanc­ing has come from the banks on the back of guar­an­tees from the gov­ern­ment of Malta or, af­ter clear­ance from the Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion, of the gov­ern­ment of Malta’s com­mit­ment to buy all the elec­tric­ity which Elec­trogas pro­duces for the next 18 years, whether Malta needs it or not, whether Malta can get it cheaper and more con­ve­niently else­where or not.

“It should be high­lighted that the much-vaunted ‘Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion clear­ance’ is spe­cific to the re­turns that Elec­trogas will make. The Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion is to­tally silent on the mat­ter of whether it is in Malta’s best in­ter- ests to com­mit to buy­ing ev­ery­thing pro­duced by the State Oil Com­pany of Azer­bai­jan and its busi­ness part­ners in Elec­trogas – Fenech, Gasan and Apap Bologna – even when there are cheaper al­ter­na­tives. This is where the cor­rup­tion lies.”

But do you think Delia re­minded the coun­try of what Daphne had writ­ten and said ‘Daphne was right’? Not on your nelly.

Nor has Delia made any over­tures to the Daphne fac­tion in the par­lia­men­tary group or in the coun­try. Nor has he made any over­tures to the other small group­ings such as PD. Now if he does not at­tempt to mend fences with such groups that are op­posed to the PL gov­ern­ment, how does he hope to add num­bers to his al­ready mea­gre sup­port?

One can also gauge the scorn and de­ri­sion which his re­peated press con­fer­ences elicit in com­ments to news por­tals to see he has not a hope in hell of turn­ing the PN into a party of gov­ern­ment.

He has been at the re­ceiv­ing end of neg­a­tive sto­ries and com­ments both from the Man­wel Delia fac­tion as well as from Saviour Balzan’s Mal­taTo­day who has even tried his hand at sug­gest­ing a re­place­ment (Clau­dio Grech) and a pos­si­ble tran­si­tory leader (Louis Galea) only to be promptly de­nied by the two.

Maybe one does not buy the rea­sons ad­duced by th­ese two opin­ion lead­ers, but what is one to think of the groupies’ mo­ti­va­tions and am­bi­tions? It does not look like Man­wel Delia and/or Saviour Balzan har­bour such mo­ti­va­tions or am­bi­tions.

All the paeans of praise meted out in huge dol­lops by the groupies are not, and will not, change the wider per­cep­tion of Delia in the coun­try at large. It will only make him, and them, look silly.

Even at this late stage, there is still a small chance for Delia to emerge as the leader the PN must have, but this will only hap­pen if he shakes off the stran­gle­hold his close en­tourage has over him and of course the groupies with their in­ter­ested fawn­ing. But I se­ri­ously doubt if he can do that or even if he un­der­stands why he needs to do that.

He is not reach­ing out to the Daphne fac­tion or the Si­mon Busut­til fac­tion. Nor is he reach­ing out to the wider pop­u­la­tion, not even with faintly xeno­pho­bic un­der­tones. The bedrock of racism present in Mal­tese so­ci­ety lis­tens to his speeches but is not con­vinced.

It is a pity, seen from this per­spec­tive, that only (or al­most only) Mal­taTo­day runs sur­veys but I pre­dict the next one will not see a surge in his pop­u­lar­ity. And of course, the May EP elec­tions will con­vinc­ingly prove this point.

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