The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday

Crucify him! Crucify him!

Andrew Azzopardi Wednesday, 16 January 2019, 10:08 Last update: about 2 years ago

Last Saturday during my programme on Radju Malta, Ghandi xi Nghid, I had a LIVE one-to-one interview with the Leader of the Opposition, Dr Adrian Delia. 

My first impression of him as he entered the studio was that he looked weighty but somehowevenly energized.  We discussed an array of political, personal and Party issuesin the 55 minutes I had at my disposal.  Themes of discussion ranged from his election as Leader to the siege mentality that might be creeping in the PN; from the party structures and how they are/not functioning to his personal issues with his wife; from allegations around domestic violence to the alleged crispy description he gives on his Secretary General Clyde Puli; fromapparent orchestrated clips to the case ofMioslavKopric, the former Bkara FC goalkeeper; fromthe current dire party financial situation to issues aroundloyalty, amongst other. 

The non-stop feedback I got from my listenersfollowing the interview was second to none.  It is clear that people are interested in having an Opposition that functions and that people are worried about whatever is going on in the PN.  I would dare say that the vast majority of citizens,including the adversaries, would like thisclamor to be resolvedASAP.  A political spectrum without a serene and functioning Opposition tantamounts to a weak Republic and if this situation persists it might lead to a Constitutional crisis (vide Article 90 of the Constitution of Malta).

I have said this publicly on a number of occasions, I am serene in this Country because notwithstanding the misdemeanor of a couple of the Prime Minister’s buddies, Joseph Muscat still inspires in me a lot of confidence and I am appreciative that he has led this country these last years.  He has managed to bring in a spirit of enterprise, recalibrated the civil service to respond and by and large made use of the best people on the Island.  He has taken bold decisions on the social and economic fronts.  There remain matters that I feelMuscat let me down, foremost being the butchery of the environment, theuncanny positons he takes at times on migration and the lack of action in regards to the Panama Papersfiasco.  Nonetheless, my point here is that we are in safe hands because the Country has Joseph Muscat.I’m sure that any other leader wouldhave taken advantage of the PN’s chaos and we would see that Party plunge into an abyss even more.  But in many ways, even though Muscat is of the strategic type and is the master of perception politics, political impression and political marketing, all in one, yethe held up aprincipled behavior and rather than knocking the opposing team to a 10-0 drubbing,he tries to keep his players respectful of their opponents on and off the ‘pitch’. 

Any other Leader would have drawn every drop of blood left in the Opposition.

Back to Delia.

I have not changed my mind that since Delia has been leading the PN, the Party has slipped down the ‘right’ leaning agenda.  The political continuum that FenechAdami and Gonzi represented was way closer to my beliefs. 

I still think it will take nothing short of a miracle to see him win an election because people will not vote to chary characters and thorn out parties.  However, from what I gather, what a coterie of people are after is that Delia is crucified.  Not that he hasn’t made his share of slipups (including the very serious DV allegations),which I do not defend.  He is obliged to answer to these blunders.  But it isvery clear that ‘they’ are trying to destabilize and strategically damage him beyond repair. 

It is clear that there is a ‘hand’ behind all that is being thrown at Delia. 

Somehow thismysterious establishment is keen on seeing him flushed out of the system.  By hook or by crook he created discomfort and pushed out people who felt that theParty is theirs.  It is clear that he hasn’t won the traditional, verging onhidebound, ‘nazzjonalisti’ over.  Now if it was ‘just’ about issues, principles, behavior, the Party has all the necessary structures to process thesecalamities. The priority in the Party Statute is that it protects the Party first and foremost, rather than the Leader.  If you had to have a look at the Party statute, as I did, it is clear that there are so many checks and balances that he could ‘easily’ be ousted if there was a genuine sweat to remove Delia using the reputable channels. 

Let’s go back in time.

You might remember the resistance that there was at the start of the leadership for ‘FenechAdami’, ‘Gonzi’, ‘Sant’ and even ‘Muscat’.  Eventuallythey weathered the storm because the structures are there to defend the respective parties and the plotters did not have enough ammo to remove the Leader.  Eventuallythe critics adopted him whether they liked it or not because the Party structures are solid enough onlyto flush out Leaders who are proven (using the pertinent channels) that they are unable to function effectively. 

Now what I think is happening is that people initially tried to knock Delia of his feet during the Leadership electoral campaign - and that failed. 

They tried to do that again after he was elected - and theyfolded once again. 

The next strategy in line seems to be outside in.  Now I believe they are using possibly manipulating personal matters to ‘kill him off’ because they have not managedto do so by using the party structures. 

I think that there is an orchestrated strategy that sees newsrooms, MPs, MEPs and candidates that are systematically and well-oiled to try and pull him down.  Now whilst I believe it is completely legitimate that Delia is made to provide everyone with clear and parsimonious factually evidenced answers, yet it is simply ridiculous to try and subvert him.  This risks reading as simply messing the legitimacy of his role as dictated by the Constitution itself.

I think the Party needs to do the decent thing and let the system run itself.   The Party is no-one’s property.  True, it can be a cash cow for some and it could open up opportunities for others but if we had to speak about correctness the Party is there to serve the Country.  So all the plotters need to let go of the Party. Behaving fairly,honorably anddecorously ismandatory.  Not having a proper counterbalance to Government is a dangerous precedent and leaves the Country incapacitated and thisfor the ambitions and aspirations of some, few or many.


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