By resident guest George Farrugia Calleja:

The end / beginning of the year brings about the obligation to attend festivities usually over-populated by grey men in similarly shaded suits. Being of an ascetic disposition, I don’t indulge, preferring the company of friends to the enforced jollity of “il-kumplament” or “is-sena t-tajba”.

The Great And Good tend to foregather in these times, to wish and be wished all the best for the New Year, clad in the fifty shades of grey to which I referred just above – a more boring way to pass the time I can hardly imagine, and a limp canape’ and watered-down whisky don’t help at all, from what I’m told – I don’t bother, even with the very few I’m ever invited to.

This year, even more than any other, about the only good thing one could say about it was that it was over.

Even without the brutality that marked the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and its aftermath, when the thuggishness that is only just below skin-deep in so many of the scum that infest the country came out in spades, the year would have been one to consign to the scrap-heap and then some.

A year to forget, indeed.

That is not to say that the greatest (at least in their own minds) of the great and good seem to have felt that way.

Working up the protocol ladder, we find that the Leader of the Opposition, bless his evergreen grin, saw fit to waft incense all over the Government’s management of the EU Presidency, an ‘honour’ achieved by it by adherence to the rule “Muggin’s Turn”.

It’s as if the Presidency hadn’t been marred (and no, I didn’t mean to write ‘marked’) by the mother of all scandals, the Panama Papers, by protests and by ‘rumours’ about Egrants and 17Blacks and – let us not forget – an election called a year early for no apparent reason, though the more scandals and dodgy deals that come home to roost, the more the reason why seems to be coalescing in the shadowy underworld of governmental manoeuvering.

Daphne Caruana Galzia’s murder didn’t seem to exercise him too much when preparing his remarks to the Diplomatic Corps, presumably wanting to sound positive over-rode it.

It seems hardly worth remarking on Joseph Muscat’s remarks: as far as he is concerned, it’s all spin, the damning reports and documentaries are all the result of the efforts of the bitter rump of Simon Busuttil’s dwindling support within the PN and as long as people have money in their pocket, that’s all right then.

And listen, the people voted for me, so clearly I’m a fantastic person, worthy of all the awards going, rather like my awesomely athletic wife, is his sub-text.

The individual whose responsibility it is, at the end of the day, to be the nation’s conscience, didn’t fare much better.

Her Excellency, the President, made a speech that was interpreted widely, and justifiably, as giving the impression that – as close as dammit – the Establishment was pretty annoyed with Caruana Galizia for being so inconsiderate as to be killed, ruining the feel-good sensation that Malta under the benevolent governance of Joseph Muscat was supposed to enjoy.

She should fire her speech-writer for being so utterly insensitive and out-of-touch with the reality of our world.