The Malta Independent 27 June 2019, Thursday

Why the Delia groupies are barking up the wrong tree

Noel Grima Sunday, 11 November 2018, 09:56 Last update: about 9 months ago

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.

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.

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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 interests 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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