PN candidate Salvu Mallia is not one to play by the usual party political rules. Jacob Borg finds out that his ‘ultra-liberal’ views may not go down well at all with the more conservative elements of the Nationalist Party.

Before the election you supported Joseph Muscat. Then you had a brief flirtation with the Democratic Party. Now you are a PN candidate. Where does Salvu Mallia stand?

After voting for Joseph Muscat I realised I had been swindled by a crook, like so many others. Seeing that I am now a pensioner, I had been thinking more about entering politics, initially as an independent candidate.

Then I flirted with the idea of creating something different, away from the mainstream parties. Everybody is still very angry with these same parties. First I contacted Alternattiva Demokratika. I went shopping around, let’s put it that way.

Finally I realised that I would be playing into the hands of my biggest enemy, Joseph Muscat, by dividing the vote. In the meantime I was contacted by the PN and we talked. I set my conditions and we came to an agreement.

What were these conditions?

Everybody knows my conditions. I believe I have only one flag, which is the Maltese flag, and I have only one leader, which is my conscience.

As long as the PN follows the Maltese flag and is in agreement with my conscience we will have no problems. The moment they start acting like Joseph Muscat, they will become my enemy.

Anyone with the slightest bit of intelligence should know by now that the triumvirate at Castille never had even the slightest of good intentions for this country.

The last election was a conspiracy. It was a conspiracy because even before they took power, they were planning how to plunder the Maltese economy…

…And you voted for them. Does that make you a bad judge of character?

No, it does not make me a bad judge of character. It wasn’t as simple as that. To be quite honest I was not paying enough attention. For many long years I was rather happy with the Nationalist government.

They did things I liked and other things I didn’t like. Towards the end they went really overboard. When they went overboard and I was getting really frustrated, this guy came along [Joseph Muscat], and you start weighing your options.

There were some elections in which I did not even vote because I do not like politicians. I think it is true that most politicians are there for their own benefit. But you start seeing certain things, and decide that it is time for change.

I voted Labour in the last five minutes. I went to cast my vote in Birkirkara and in front of me there was Edward Scicluna, today’s Finance Minister. Honestly, I said to myself: “If this guy thinks these guys are good, there must be something to it.” That tipped the balance towards Labour. It was a spur of the moment decision.

As soon as they came into government, it immediately reminded me of the old days when Malta was really in the s**t.

Yes I was fooled, what is wrong with that? The important thing is not to be narrow-minded by sticking to this government just because I voted for it.

There is an obvious lack of choice when it comes to mainstream political parties. In a sense is the PN just the lesser of two evils for you?

It was actually the PN that pushed me to vote for Labour. They did some really stupid things.

So what has changed, the PN still has a lot of baggage from the past?

I know there is baggage from the past. The baggage from the past is not the same baggage that this government has. Once more, I believe the leadership is different. There are things I do not agree with in the leadership, but nothing too big.

I am more radical than them. They are a bit on the conservative side. I am ultra-liberal. Since now the PN is the only force that can oppose these crooks, I decided to help them.

If I am elected to Parliament I will make sure that what happened in the past will not happen again.

In a sense, is it not very much a marriage of convenience then?

I wouldn’t call it a marriage of convenience, because it sounds a bit, you know… I believe that there is no alternative whatsoever. Anything else you do would play into the hands of Joseph Muscat.

I consider Alternattiva Demokratika an ally of Joseph Muscat in the coming election. Marlene Farrugia is an ally of Joseph Muscat. Even if they say they dislike his way of doing things. They are helping Joseph Muscat.

I believe the best thing you can do at the moment is to create a front against a person who has already hijacked his party.

Joseph Muscat is an evil man. He and his two other cronies [Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi] are evil. They are not politicians. I would classify them as criminals because this was a planned takeover using all the weaknesses of democracy and the stupidity of the people, including mine and of Labour’s own supporters.

Is this a personal grudge against Joseph Muscat?

If you want to call it a personal grudge call it a personal grudge.

Given the context of your axing from PBS as well…

No! It is the other way round. The Labour machine spun it that way. Taking away my programme was a big mistake. There was absolutely no reason to stop it. It was done because I spoke out against Żonqor, and against the Panama scandal.

I was told there was an order to stop my programme from Castille because I spoke out against the government. PBS could not do this because there was a contract, but they assured them that the programme would be axed before the next season.

I think the PN is still not taking advantage of Muscat’s blunders. They are not taking full advantage, not even part of the advantage.

If your party, which happens to be the PN, is being an a**hole, then you tell them that they are being an a**hole

Is it just about taking advantage of blunders? What does the PN stand for and have to offer?

We will come to that. I think they didn’t take advantage of that situation when there was a clear breach of free speech. That was the only reason they stopped a non-political programme which even criticised the previous administration.

What does the PN stand for? Well, if you try to look for perfection you will never find it. The PN has a lot of shortcomings, lots of them. I mean it is a fact that when I spoke in a certain way, many Nationalists wanted me to be thrown out. That is part of the PN. Very conservative, which I do not like.

Then again, I remember back in the 1970s I was apolitical. Malta at the time had deteriorated to the worst form of third world country. The Nationalists literally grabbed Malta from the gutter and turned it into a European country.

What needs to change within the PN to give it back its past appeal?

I think the PN, mind you I am no PN apologist…

…That in itself sounds funny, you are a PN candidate yet you distance yourself from the party. How do you explain that?

That is democracy. For heaven’s sake. This is the problem with this bloody country…

The system in Malta is based on party loyalty…

Yes, and this is bad. Sorry I am getting so angry. Listen. When someone like Leo Brincat says he wanted to vote in favour of the Konrad Mizzi no-confidence motion, what the hell? Why didn’t he? What guides politicians?

My guideline is one flag, the Maltese flag, and one leader, my conscience. I think every politician should be like that.

There were some people I used to admire, take Evarist Bartolo for example. Today, I think the Labour Party is rotten to the core. They will pay for this for a very long time.

Are you worried that you are going to spend more time battling internal PN dissent against you than taking on the Labour Party?

This is what people are missing. We cannot be Nationalists or Labourites. We have to be Maltese. If your party, which happens to be the PN, is being an a**hole, then you tell them that they are being an a**hole.

Why? Because you love your party. If the PL is being an a**hole, then its supporters should tell the party that.

After the Franco Debono saga, can you see why the PN would be hesitant about you?

Why? They accepted me.

They accepted you, but there have been a lot of question marks internally about your candidature.

That is good. That is fantastic. Why not? What is the problem with that? We do not want fascism. The Franco Debono saga, well I was an outsider at the time.

Going back to the government, I think we are in a national emergency. The PN needs to take drastic action. Joseph Muscat is using them as a front, now more so during the EU presidency, to cover his undemocratic principles.

How can a government take your money without telling you where it is going? The government is duty bound to offer an explanation about this.

He [Joseph Muscat] had been promising to publish all the big contracts signed. I think the PN needs to be a lot more forceful.

He [Muscat] clearly doesn’t need an Opposition. He treats them like s*it. It is a bloody fact. I am pissed off at them [the PN], not at him. He is a dictator. He never showed on iota of goodwill since elected as Prime Minister.

Muscat stands for everything I hate. With the PN, there are things that I hate and things I approve of.

What do you hate about the PN?

Being conservative. I am for euthanasia. I am for divorce. I am for gay marriage. I am for everything. Why? Because I do not think they are things that should be regulated by a government. The government should provide a good education system, allowing people to think and decide for themselves.

If I am suffering and want to die because I have had enough, why should some a**hole in Parliament decide whether I can do it or not?

I will never condone these [conservative] policies. I am against abortion but I think it is something personal and should be decided by the person, not by a government. The government should provide guidelines and advice. Let’s face it, if someone wants an abortion they will have it. In Malta abortion was being done way back in the 1970s and 1980s.

You are clearly a person who speaks his mind. If the PN in any way tries to silence you, will you walk away?

Yes. Definitely. I have said it many times. I believe that the PN should adopt my policies.

Simon Busuttil has been criticised as not coming across as being forceful enough. Do you think he needs to work on that?

I think so yes. Maybe he won’t like that I am saying it publicly. It is a matter of personality. Simon Busuttil is who he is. I think he is an honest person. If I were to choose between an honest person who is not forceful and a crook with a forceful personality, I would choose the first one.

Muscat is a tasteless crook who exploited all the weaknesses of society. For me this is a battle against evil. No dictator is ever up front about their intentions to screw you.

Dictators pretend to be nice. If you look back at Adolf Hitler, he was very progressive. The first campaign against smoking was carried out by the Nazis. Society was affluent. That was Adolf Hitler. Was he good? I don’t think so!

The economy is doing well, people have money in their pockets. Do you think the PN can really win the next election?

If they play their cards right they should win it… if this country was mature enough, because as you said we are easily bought. The government is doing its job when it comes to the economy, there is nothing to be thankful for.

The PN has to be more aggressive by saying these things to people, particularly the young.  A lot of it is a bubble. We have already reached our saturation point when it comes to construction and population size. Prices are going up. The effects of economic growth are not trickling down to the people who need it most.

Everything is becoming more expensive. The gulf between the rich and the poor is getting bigger, and they don’t care.

One of the conditions I made to Simon Busuttil before joining was that culture will feature ahead of the economy under a PN government. Some people may see this as unacceptable. The problem with our country is not the economy. The problem with the economy is that it is being managed badly. Our problem is that we are like a contractor who has become rich but is still an a**hole.

That’s a problem for a country, because we will have no soul.

See Simon Busuttil's reaction to Mr Mallia's comments here.

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