You might say that Adrian Delia’s brief and turbulent marriage with the PN is on the rocks if what you had in mind was the end of freefall from a plane without a parachute.
But even now, his limbs shattered, his vision blurred, and blood pouring out of his nostrils, he still looks like he thinks he has a chance. Some time ago we thought of the metaphor from the talking torso in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. But compared to Adrian Delia’s entirely unjustified self-confidence, the knight who did not say Ni looks ready for a long swim.
At yesterday’s Parliamentary Group meeting, not even his deputies came to his defence. Robert Arrigo and David Agius have rejigged their calculus. They now think they’re better off quiet. Close as they have been to him they probably think that he would be the only one ineligible to have sight of a future after Adrian Delia.
Perhaps the worst way of dealing with crises is to underestimate the present, to be always thinking of what might happen next rather than what is happening now. The future can hardly be controlled but some possible outcomes could be eliminated if one seizes the moment.
It’s not likely that Adrian Delia was surprised by anything he was told yesterday. It’s not likely he hadn’t thought of it before. It’s not likely that had those thoughts been about anyone else in his place he would have thought the leader should leave.
Otherwise, the entire infrastructure of Net is being maintained so that the leader of the party that owns it can watch it and persist in the illusion that everything is going according to plan.
Consider for example the news yesterday that the audiences of Net continue to slump falling behind Radju Maria’s of all things. Party leaders assured us this too was according to plan. The same plan that worked out when the PN secured the result of being “the second party in Malta” has worked out when they clocked “Net FM as the 7th or something radio station in Malta”.
But that brave face cracks when Net reports to its listeners that it has kept up its audience figures.
Lying: to an audience, a support base, producers, employees, advertisers; lying even to oneself — systematically, consistently, brazenly, unapologetically — that is the most crystalline evidence of ineligibility for public life.
After a parliamentary group meeting that lasted several hours, Adrian Delia walked out alone. The crowds that egged him on spraying sweat and anger when he first marched into PN HQ as leader have vanished. He has been deserted by his closest allies.
Herman Schiavone has gone into exile. Kristy Debono has taken a vow of silence. Jean Pierre Debono is licking his wounds. Clyde Puli is too busy with the case for his own defence to be bothered with any of the decisions taken by his boss.
Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici and Edwin Vassallo spoke up in Adrian Delia’s defence but even Adrian Delia realises that that list of allies is thin unless a front row seat at Mosta’s Santa Maria feast is the last of his ambitions.
He can continue to fight a war of attrition, running away from the field after symbolic parleys with an overwhelming enemy he never really means to confront.
But this postponement of the inevitable brings him no closer to an exit on dignified terms. It is not less humiliating if the house goes down with him.
Adrian Delia may still be Leader of the Nationalist Party a year from now, or two, or even three. But when no one is following, you’re the leader of nothing. You’re a drifter who refuses to sink, washed ashore by currents you have no control of.
You’re dead. The fact that you don’t know it, does not change that.
It’s time to climb Jacob’s ladder, mate.