Mid-June 2017, the mood within the Nationalist Party was low. A hard-fought campaign ended in yet another defeat at the polls. Yet, it was a campaign based on moral and ethical values, which would personally leave a lasting impression.
This is when Adrian Delia entered the scene. I did not know him personally, yet, being a rather curious person, I decided to meet him. His energy, plans for the future and his vision for both party and country were pretty much aligned with my own.
So I decided to involve myself in his campaign. Through the sweltering summer heat, off I went from każin to każin presenting Delia’s vision in Q&A fashion to the members of the general council.
It was all going well, until Daphne Caruana Galizia started publishing serious accusations aimed at Delia.
I had been following her blog since 2014. I was not always in agreement, yet I always respected and valued her work as the country’s prominent investigative journalist.
Together with other journalists, she represented a fundamental pillar of any functioning democracy. You may not agree with what a journalist writes, you may debate her arguments... but to attack and vilify a journalist is an anti-democratic act.
This is when I started getting mixed feelings about Delia’s possible leadership and vision. More than the accusations published (which raised big question marks on his modus operandi as a lawyer), it was the way he was approaching these claims that worried me. The hysterical shouts of “Dik il-biċċa blogger” still resonate clearly in my mind.
One may also argue that instituting libel suits against a journalist at the beginning of a campaign does not really inspire trust in the so-called “new way” of doing things.
An individual has every right to defend himself against such accusations by being calm and open to presenting all contrary proof. Yet, Delia chose the ‘Labour Way’ of attacking Daphne.
It was then that I decided to take a step back. Once the unpaid taxes issue surfaced, I decided to confront Delia directly.
An aspiring leader of the Opposition and aspiring prime minister should never have such a stain.
At this point, I was convinced he was not the right person to move the party forward. I therefore thanked him for putting his name forward and informed him that I would stop backing his campaign.
The events that followed his election eventually proved me right. His libel suits and his vilification of Caruana Galizia meant that upon her assassination he lost all credibility to defend her. This, in turn, further alienated a large portion of the electorate.
Delia and his team created a division so deep that the MEP electoral result was inevitable
His handling of the conclusion of the magisterial investigation on Egrant, his decision to isolate and oust Simon Busuttil showed his lack of political acumen and further alienated the electorate.
This meant that less than a year before his first electoral test, Dr Delia and his team created a division so deep that the MEP electoral result was inevitable.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem is rooted deep in his persona.
The values he is transmitting are in direct conflict to those that attracted so many people towards the Nationalist Party.
The results of the 2019 elections really proved that Delia has no place as leader of the Nationalist Party.
His refusal to willingly submit himself to a vote of confidence is a clear sign of weakness – a saga that has dragged on for seven weeks –that has now clearly proven his lack of humility and disregard for the fundamental democratic values which have long been at the core of the Nationalist Party.
His most recent attempt at changing the question put forward by a petition signed by over 150 council members clearly shows this. It is now very clear that Delia and his closest allies are ready to do anything to ensure their political survival.
Like Joseph Muscat, they will do anything to hold onto the seat of power.
I urge all councillors to keep in mind the true values that have always represented the Nationalist Party when answering the question put to them by their fellow Nationalist councillors.
Jeremy Gingell is a paid-up member of the Nationalist Party.