1. He acknowledges a worst-case scenario where he doesn’t become Opposition leader
Delia admitted his current quandary whereby a sitting PN MP must give up their seat in Parliament to make way for him to become Opposition leader is an unpleasant one.
“The situation isn’t nice. It isn’t nice to tell people ‘Look here, you’ve earned this seat, now could you kindly move away for me.’ This isn’t a question of me not having planned in advance, but a question of the PN always having kept open the possibility of someone who is not in the parliamentary group to contest the leadership elections. However, the PN statute does not provide specific mechanisms for this if one of these outsiders becomes leader.”
He admitted the worst-case scenario would be for the PN leader and Opposition leader to be two different people, but said he is confident this would not prove to be the case.
2. He won’t disclose details on PN debts, despite campaign rhetoric
During the PN leadership campaign, Delia fended off questions on his personal financial situation by telling journalists to investigate the PN’s finances instead – namely how money it owes, to whom, and who was responsible for the debt.
However, Delia is now refusing to disclose these details he is now privy to.
“Financial sensitivity must be respected and the party’s agreements must be adhered to,” he said. “Four years ago, the PN was in a dire financial situation but this has been taken stock of and structured and the PN is paying every single amount of debt and obligation.”
Simon Busuttil had refused to take a salary as PN leader
3. Unlike Simon Busuttil, he plans to take PN leader’s salary
Delia does not intend to go down the route of his predecessor Simon Busuttil, who had refused to take a leader’s salary from the PN and to rely solely on his salary as Opposition leader.
“I think there is nothing at all untoward about someone receiving a salary for a full-time job,” he said “We need to be transparent in politics, but what’s the point of giving gestures simply to give off an impression? I appreciate that previous leaders refused a salary when the party’s finances were what they were, but there’s nothing wrong in me taking a salary if we manage to create new income streams and balance the party’s finances.”
Delia’s lawyer Arthur Azzopardi was expelled from the PN because of his freemasonry past
4. He considers PN’s red line on ex-freemasons ‘pseudo-puritan’
Delia indicated he is ready to loosen the PN’s harsh stance on members with a history of freemasonry, which recently came out into the open when his lawyer Arthur Azzopardi was unceremoniously expelled from the party after admitting to have been a freemason six years ago.
“I will be looking into the statute’s provisions for expelling members, but I don’t think the PN should take a stand of pseudo-puritan policy,” he said. “If a person does something morally wrong, then the statute’s mechanisms should kick in. However, if we’re talking about private life choices which are now in the past and which aren’t in any way impacting the party’s moral fibre, then one must discuss this.”
5. He was schoolmates with Simon Busuttil but doesn’t think you can have a rivalry with him
Delia’s history with Busuttil goes way back, indeed all the way back to their childhood – when they were in the same year (but not the same class) at St. Aloysius.
Later, the two also found themselves in the same university law course.
“We were schoolmates, but we had such different characters,” a reminiscent Delia said. “I was with the naughty ones and the football ones, while Simon was more of the academic guy.”
He denied every having had a rivalry with his predecessor because, in his words, “Simon Busuttil isn’t somebody you can exactly have a rivalry with”.
“He’s very calm, very discreet and very private…”
6. He thinks Busuttil’s no-show at his mass meeting was a sign of respect
Delia said he hardly even noticed Busuttil’s absence at his first mass meeting on Sunday, because “I was too excited to realise who was there”.
“I think his non-attendance was a sign of respect and not one of disrespect,” he said. “Simon Busuttil is a gentleman and he’s been coming to this office everyday to give a professional and seamless handover.”
7. He thinks Maltese society is ‘very simple’
Delia said the PN must get off its high horse, eat a slice of humble pie and start getting to terms with the real aspirations of Maltese people.
“The PN has for long preached the divine right to govern and has looked down on everyone who disagreed with them,” he said. “The new way of politics is understanding what the people want – not in the sense of being populist but in the sense of being humble enough to understand the texture of Maltese society.”
“Maltese people aren’t very complicated, indeed they’re very simple people. They want to wake up in the morning, they want to go to work and afterwards they want to enjoy their hobbies – some go to their garage to work on their car, others have their birds and things, others enjoy their motorsports…it’s a very simple, Mediterranean life and the PN must go back to its roots and understand that this is where we came from.”
8. He is unaware ‘trapass’ is becoming his buzzword
Delia said he is unaware he has been over-using the word trapass in his speeches, and described the obscure word as meaning “a leap forward…like moving from youth to adulthood, from being a private life to a public life.”
“I might have been using it subconsciously because I’ve been trained as a lawyer,” he said. “I didn’t know I’ve been using it so often…”
9. He voted in favour of divorce
Despite often spouting pro-Catholic rhetoric, Delia said he had voted in favour of divorce – which the Church had strongly opposed – back in 2011.
“Although I am strongly committed to a family and, thank God, my family is still united, I could understand that other people are living different circumstances.”
10. He voted against spring hunting
In a surprising moment, Delia said he voted to ban spring hunting in the 2015 referendum – making him the only mainstream Maltese politician besides Marlene Farrugia to admit to voting that way.
“I voted against spring hunting, not because I’m against it in principle but because I was worried about the scarcity of bird life in Malta and that hunting was contributing to rendering birds extinct,” he said.
Malta legalised gay marriage in July
11. He thinks gay marriage was a pointless law but would’ve voted in favour of civil unions
Delia said he is in favour of LGBT people entering civil unions, but saw no point in extending their rights to gay marriage – a law which passed back in July.
“In my mind, there is no difference in practice between civil unions and gay marriage…with civil liberties [sic] we had closed a chapter, and I still don’t understand the trapass to gay marriage. What was the added right of gay marriage? Was it symbolic? I don’t think we should be thinking in terms of symbols when legislating.”
12. He thinks science hasn’t proven that morning-after pills are not abortive
Delia said he believes the majority of morning-after pills are abortive, but that some non-abortive products do exist on the market.
“I’m not a scientist and will have to give it some thought, but my principles and morals dictate to me that if a pill is abortive then it shouldn’t be allowed,” he said. “If science can prove that there exists a particular pill which is not abortive, then that shifts the argument.”
13. He will start an internal discussion on abortion to have a very strong no vote
Delia pledged to start an internal discussion on abortion within the Nationalist Party, with the intention of ensuring there are no dissidents in favour of it.
“I will certainly start an internal discussion on abortion, so as to reach a consensus in favour of a very strong No vote.”
14. He thinks gender quotas are discriminatory
Delia poured cold water over Joseph Muscat’s plans to phase in parliamentary gender quotas from as early as this legislature, arguing the very concept is discriminatory.
“I don’t make any difference between men and women or any other sexual orientation [sic],” he said. “This is like the feminism of the 19th and early 20th century. If there are strong enough arguments [in favour of gender quotas], then sure, but my gut instinct is to say no because we will be discriminating.”
Security concerns about Marsa’s African immigrants has grown in recent months. Photo: Nicole Parnis
15. He thinks Malta’s migrant population is reaching breaking point
Asked whether he wants Malta’s migrant population to increase or decrease, Delia said he doesn’t think the country can take many more immigrants on.
“If this is a yes or no question, then certainly I won’t want the population to increase, especially if we are creating ghettoes and not having a more unified society.”
Donald Trump’s impact on the world has ‘not been positive’, according to Delia
16. He thinks Donald Trump’s impact has been ‘not positive’
Asked whether US President Donald Trump has overall left a positive or negative impact on the world, Delia initially struggled to give a straight yes or no answer.
“I think its a little bit of a…not a positive impact overall, no,” he said eventually.
17. He thinks waste and water are Malta’s biggest unspoken problems
Delia cited water scarcity and waste as Malta’s two greatest unspoken problems, but insisted he will refuse the government’s request for an Opposition MP to sit on a technical waste management committee.
“We are willing to sit on consultative and decision-making boards, but not on boards where our presence will simply be used by the government to justify its decisions and prevent us from criticising them.”