What’s the opposite of a miracle? We’re soon going to need to find that word to describe what Adrian Delia is going to pull off at the MEP election.
At the last MEP election, in 2014, the Nationalist Party lost with a 34,000 vote difference and a 13% gap between the parties. Yet it still managed to retain three of Malta’s six MEP seats. That’s why many polling experts have advised that even a more resounding win for Labour in 2019 won’t necessarily earn the party a fourth seat.
But since the PN’s campaign is a bad copy-paste job from five years ago – with little to no innovation and a lacklustre effort at bringing out the Nationalist vote – a 4-2 scenario is practically a given at this stage and 5-1 shouldn’t be ruled out either.
And call me delusional, but after his comment yesterday that the MEP election is a referendum on abortion, I won’t be surprised if Delia pulls off the unimaginable and fails to get even the 40,000 votes he needs to secure a single seat in the European Parliament.
Seriously, at this point an absolute wipeout of PN at EU level is an active possibility.
I’m saying this not because he’s blatantly using the abortion ghost to pitch himself as a righteous politician in a terribly transparent way, but because his comment demonstrates an incredibly poor understanding of basic strategy, which makes you wonder what else he’s getting wrong internally.
In fact, if I were rabidly against abortion, I would be very wary about getting Delia’s ‘support’. Just like the conspiracy-theorist Nationalists who feared he was placed at the helm of their party by Labour mastermind strategists, I would probably start to worry he is a Trojan horse coming to harm the pro-life lobby group from within. Why else would he describe the election he cannot win as a referendum on abortion? Why weaken the position of pro-lifers to such a huge extent?
Just think about the corner he has worked himself and pro-lifers into.
What exactly is he planning to do when the inevitable happens and Labour wins the MEP election with historic vigour? Is he going to accept defeat and say a clear mandate has been given for the introduction of abortion? Or is he going to appear anti-democratic and keep up his fight against the ‘will of the people’?
This is no longer a question of just poor vision. There is a serious strategic handicap here.
I’ve tried my best to think of a scenario where Delia’s comment could make strategic sense. The most generous explanation I could think of is that he is trying to create his pathway for a dignified and principled exit out of politics. In other words, when his party inevitably loses by a massive landslide, he can resign on the basis that the Maltese public clearly want to introduce abortion and since that’s a red line for him, he is forced to bow out.
But even then, surely there’s a more strategic route out than throwing pro-lifers under the bus like that and having to be remembered as the guy who erased Malta’s pro-life majority.
If my prediction is correct, the anti-strategic leader of the Nationalist Party is going to achieve an unfathomable calamity for his own party on May 25th: he’s going to lose more seats than was previously thought mathematically possible, he’s going to double the gap between the parties from what was meant to be the worst it could ever get and thanks to his banal comments today, he’s also going to give the government a resounding mandate to introduce abortion.
And that’s without getting into his scaremongering on migration (which is also going to translate into the reverse of what he intends: Malta being the only country to return a strong vote against anti-migrant rhetoric).
Basically, Delia is so bad strategically that everything he has set out to achieve is going to result in the precise opposite of what he intended. Just when the PN needed a miracle, Delia is single-handedly delivering the antonym, even if the dictionary doesn’t have a word for that.