And at the end of long days and nights counting votes, it was time to get ready to go home. But before they left they had to give credit to the man who had made all their countless victories possible. “Delia! Delia!” They shouted.
This is not a fantasy in my unfulfilled dreams of glory.
This is today in the Naxxar counting hall as Labour Party agents slammed the perspex and celebrated their greatest asset in the domestic political scene: the leader of their opposing party under whose stewardship his party’s colour has been effectively swept off the map.
Tonight was the last in a series of tragedies and it was pregnant with defeats that represent more than is obvious.
Yesterday the PN failed to turn Birkirkara around. It was lost before Adrian Delia took charge but if a turnaround was possible anywhere it ought to have been there. In his previous life, Adrian Delia was a community leader in Birkirkara, President of their football club one of the most unifying identifiers in that largest town of Malta. The PN leader said he’d fight to win back Birkirkara. He may have fought but nobody noticed. The turnaround did not happen.
Today the symbolism continued. Adrian Delia has lived in Siġġiewi for 20 years. That town, a PN-majority community in the South, has been governed by PN Councils since it ever had one. There has never been a PN leader from Siġġiewi. Party leaders are expected to rally support around them, bring out the pride of the town, mobilise the energy and the promise of greater things in the future. Not all the country will ever know a party leader personally but they will turn to his or her constituents, people who have known them buy their groceries and push their children on the playing field swings.
But Adrian Delia’s own town switched to Labour. It didn’t sign a glowing recommendation for him.
The Mayor who lost her job in Siġġiewi is the wife of Frank Psaila, the anointed one of the party leadership for the European Parliament. The whammies keep doubling up.
There are more such stories all over the island. Labour pushed through the front-line battleground of Mosta. The PN minority leadership in Ħal Qormi has been taken away from Clyde Puli’s brother Ralph and passed instead to Jerome Caruana Cilia whom the leadership kicked out of radio while leaving Frank Psaila on TV during an election campaign.
Labour canvassers have much cause to celebrate. It is fine to win handsomely, but it is finer to know there’s no one to change that. For as long as Adrian Delia stays, there’s no one to stop Labour grasping all levels of power and influence in the country.
And as they call out his name, what could ever make him think there’s anywhere for him except on that stage where someone is always cheering him.