Chris Fearne yesterday continued his act in Parliament of proclaiming his virginity while running a brothel. He admitted what the government denied for months, whether by omitting to say the truth or by bare faced lying about the owners of the 3 hospitals. Chris Fearne confessed VGH was a flop though he did not go as far as admitting it was a flip: a flip, that is, of a lucrative contract designed to fail and resold for a massive profit to a new set of owners.

Chris Fearne had the flop argument (VGH went bust); Adrian Delia had the correct flip argument (VGH meant to go bust).

In an attempt to flatter Adrian Delia, Chris Fearne offered to improve on his predecessor’s insultingly redacted publication of the new contract that will replace the deal with Vitalis. He invited him to a private viewing of the contract once its done.

This is a classic no-win scenario. If Adrian Delia sees nothing untoward, the government gets an endorsement from the opposition and can then proceed to do its worst whether the opposition knows about it or not. If Adrian Delia sees something he thinks is off, he cannot criticise it because he’s bound by the ‘responsibility’ of secrecy the government burdens him with. That silence is interpreted as endorsement and |go back to the beginning of this paragraph.

Under normal circumstances restricted access to cross-party legislators for scrutiny of government affairs that requires secrecy is a good practice. Say Malta has a security issue. Public debate on that issue would jeopardise further the country’s security. But excluding legislators from any form of scrutiny is unacceptably undemocratic. The balance is closed door cross-party consultation. Not a million miles from what the government is proposing to Adrian Delia here.

But this works under normal circumstances: where the intention of the government can be presumed to be legitimate and sincere. This government’s record does not allow for that assumption to be made, even by a new and positive leader of the opposition. Specifically on the contracting and privatisation of hospitals this government has lied, hidden and manipulated facts, given away national assets, squandered public funds in complete futility and in the process reduced the quality of health provision to the public.

Now it is time for the government to come completely clean and act in a fully transparent manner. If the new buyers of the hospitals have something to hide they should be sent just where they came from and the hospitals can revert back to public ownership. For starters that is a desirable outcome whatever the deal on the table is. Secondly we have suffered quite enough from secrecy as it is and these games with our assets behind our backs must stop.

This is what the opposition should be demanding right now.

Adrian Delia should be reminded of that scene of a relatively novice Simon Busuttil standing beside a smug Joseph Muscat after a secret meeting of the security committee. Simon Busuttil too wanted to work on the assumption that the newly elected Joseph Muscat, in his heart of hearts, meant well. He allowed himself in on the secrecy and was politically gagged and bound by Joseph Muscat.

Adrian Delia should not allow himself to be used in this way. He should refuse to be given access to the new hospitals contract unless the rest of the country can see it as well.

Now is not the time to trust the government.