Someone with a serious case of pathological optimism described the outcome of yesterday’s meeting of the PN’s parliamentary group as a truce, a temporary ceasefire of sorts while a modus vivendi is found.

Armistices can be reached because combatants become exhausted and stop being confident further military action could bring them any closer to the outcomes they desire. At that point the guns go silent, so that solutions are sought around tables.

They can also be reached after one side’s surrender, seeking the satisfaction of whatever conditions it could still impose in exchange for reducing the cost of the other party’s victory.

None of this happened yesterday at the PN’s headquarters.

Instead, it seems, the silence that came after all the shouting of the last two weeks, happened because all sides ran out of bullets.

On one side is Adrian Delia now cognisant that even his most desperate illusions can no longer give him comfort. His deputies have deserted him. Pierre Portelli, who first dragged him into this, has gone rogue. The supporters he had in the party leadership are too busy licking their political wounds to care about his fate. He has long doubted having a majority in the Parliamentary Group. It is now clear to him that he enjoys nothing near a majority in the Executive Committee.

There are a couple of dozen trolls who will applaud him come what may. Perhaps a fifth of them would end up going to Labour if he were ever removed but even for Adrian Delia that is hardly a consolation. He’s frankly bored with them but he still politely hides his shaking hand as he pins futile medals of gratitude on their chests.

Like Macbeth he runs in a half daze around the field, last man standing in his own army cursed by the blessing that none of woman born can kill him begging the question of how his apparent immortality could be reconciled with his utter defeat in the field.

On the other side of the Parliamentary group a large minority, perhaps even a small majority tells him he must resign. But all of them are born of women.

The culprits of the situation are all the MPs who privately agree with the rebels but whose inexplicable fear of actually doing something rather than letting things happen to them freezes them in paralysis.

Hell has a special place reserved for the tactical neutrals. They are in Parliament for no other reason but the countdown to their re-election. Listening to Andre Callus yesterday in Guardamangia talk business to the developers lobby he needs nothing from, I could only think what a waste a Parliamentary seat all those do-nothing, say-nothing neutrals bobbing in the wavelets of the view that happens to be held by the majority that morning while proper opposition to the tyranny of corruption, injustice and cronyism has to be conducted in the street or in the court room.

Adrian Delia at the end of the Parliamentary Group meeting yesterday lied saying no one challenged him to resign. That’s when more than two handfuls had just done so. He lied even knowing the information he was lying would be out there by the time he got in the car and the echo of his hollow voice would have died out.

Imagine that. A party leader who wants to be prime minister and practices with lies he knows no one believes.

The cushion around his existence is the deadened slime of inertia: those MPs who fear they might collapse if only they would stand up.

Pierre Portelli today got the message from Adrian Delia who told journalists he would consider an attack on any of his MPs as an attack on him. Call it a rereading of the collective defence dogma of the Atlantic treaty.

About time as well. PN MPs have been targeted directly by Adrian Delia. Is Adrian Delia telling us that was suicide? He doesn’t have to.

Consider the background of how Adrian Delia’s declaration came about. Pierre Portelli, in another deranged and unhinged Facebook post, said Karol Aquilina had done worse than agree to be my lawyer. Sometime in the past he was in an official position in the PN when the PN accepted funds in a manner incompatible with the electoral law.

The offences he was briefly hinting it are criminal matters that are punishable by prison.

It looks like Adrian Delia has been made to realise just how dangerous Pierre Portelli is, even to himself. Pierre Portelli’s declaration of today that he will impose silence on himself has an important qualification. If Adrian Delia is ever forced out he has beans (presumably of the prisonable kind) that he would gladly spill.

Such is the truce at the PN. Threats of mutually assured destruction now that all conventional ammunition has been exhausted.

Half a dozen MPs told Adrian Delia at yesterday’s meeting that were he to lead the PN to an election in 3 years’ time, the very existence of the PN after that date would have to be in doubt.

That’s not an armistice. That’s a slow simmer on death row. Not a modus vivendi as much as ita ut moriatur.