The European Parliament published the report of the delegation that visited Malta in the heat of the crisis when protesters were meeting almost every day in Valletta calling for Joseph Muscat’s immediate resignation.

The report recalls the reasons why the EP delegation effectively joined those calls. It reports on meetings with lawyers, journalists and activists and the MEPs themselves shared the fear that Joseph Muscat staying on could allow him to manipulate evidence, could continue to prejudice the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation, would increase the divisiveness of the current political crisis, would continue to erode confidence in Malta’s willingness and ability to be ruled by law.

Of course, Joseph Muscat is still prime minister. All of those fears materialised. Joseph Muscat flew half way around the world to get his exit organised and the Labour Party dug its heels long enough to regroup and emerge from the initial shock when Yorgen Fenech was arrested.

The question Labour Party supporters are trying not to ask themselves is ‘why is Joseph Muscat actually resigning?’ No one from the world they listen to – One TV and the new candidates to replace Joseph Muscat – is actually saying anything wrong happened. On the contrary he seems to be resigning because he’s some sort of hero.

In the short term the Labour Party can congratulate itself for still having such an insane ability to control minds that not even a scandal of bribery, corruption and murder could compromise its unchallenged political control of the country.

They’re not just any philandering husband that gets away with it. They can bring their mistress home and have their wife cook dinner for her. That’s the deal they seem to have with their supporters.

This is why the bitterness and the resentment will be all the more painful when we face the proper consequences of what has been going on.

It’s not all the fault of the Labour Party. The philandering husband who brings their mistress home so their wife can cook for her is cruel, brutish and nasty. But no one’s forcing the wife.

The analogy wears a bit thin, I know, but Malta’s main opposition party should just down the pots and pans and stop being the Labour Party’s whore.

All that the Nationalist Party leadership managed to do is make a taboo of arguing that they should fire the party leader and most of his management team, such as it is, rethink their political positioning and reform to offer the suffering Maltese voting public an alternative government. The present Nationalist Party leadership also seeks to present their leader as some form of hero. Unlike Joseph Muscat, Adrian Delia should not be resigning in disgrace. He should be quitting because he’s plain out of his depth.

If perceived as a “chance of winning”, the process of making some serious changes in the PN becomes as callous as Labour wanking to the mirror because they still hold a majority even if their old boss has been caught in the worst political scandal in history.

It’s not about “winning” anything. This is about living up to the moral obligation of public service. We expect our judges to do their job. And our firemen. And our teachers. And our nurses. Hell, sometimes we even ask our government ministers to do their job. But why are we so coy about our opposition? They get paid to do their job too.

The leader of the opposition gets the same salary from the State as a government minister. To be fair it’s nothing to write home about. But it is what it is and every job should be measured against performance. If he’s over-performing, he can ask for a raise. Right now, Adrian Delia is performing as solidly as a ninety-year old eunuch with a lot of pressure at work who’s going through a particularly bad patch, not to mention a urinary infection.

After spending almost two years saying he wasn’t bothered speaking about corruption because people really wanted to talk about bread and butter issues, he’s thrown out the bread and butter and suckles on the dry teat of corruption like his life depended on it. Which it does.

He’s taken to ‘addressing the nation’ standing up behind a lectern without a studio audience, haranguing his unlistening audience trying hard to pretend they’re there. He looks so hopeless at what he does that if he were to follow the advice of a guru with a habit for sleazy metaphors and fantasize that he’s making love to his audience when he’s giving his urbi et orbi speeches to a camera and the guy in shorts who used to clean the lobby before he was rapidly promoted to Camera One, Adrian Delia will have to fantasize that he is someone else.

Quite literally, if Adrian Delia’s political rival were to be caught in a murder investigation, Adrian Delia would still not beat him. Precisely what does the PN still need to find out before it fixes this?

And for the sake of the incorrigible trolls this one is not just going out to the MPs who in any case, like their Labour counterparts across the aisle, have somehow forgotten that they have a job to do. Yes, Adrian Delia has been elected democratically by the party’s members. So yes, the party’s members now need to get their act together, realise they didn’t choose right and have him replaced.

Why is this so bloody difficult to understand? After the sunset of the worst political year of the worst political career of the worst prime minister we ever had, the PN trails Labour to an extent never seen while the party was in its second consecutive term in opposition.

Of course, Adrian Delia sees all this. All he’s interested in is in a lucky strike, that is losing a general election by a gap somewhat narrower than the loss the PN suffered in 2017. He would call that a win. He then gets another 5 years of collecting a salary waiting out the years till he’s of pensionable age. This is politically irresponsible. Metaphorically speaking – I hate having to disclaim that I don’t mean this literally but needs must – this is criminal behaviour.

Now when I write this, I find myself accepting something I prefer not to have to accept: that the only alternative to the Labour Party is the PN. I’d rather it wasn’t. I’d rather have a ballot sheet which is a smorgasbord of options ranging from left to moderate providing me with alternative solutions and a range of management styles.

Right now, the ballot sheet looks like the menu at Fawlty Gourmet Night: duck with cherries, duck with orange or duck surprise. If you don’t like duck, then you’re rather stuck.


Adrian Delia’s party seems to think this is a good thing. Traditional PN voters, their logic goes, in despair of any other alternative, will vote PN no matter their misgivings. They won’t make up the numbers to win an election. That, Adrian Delia’s party seems to have decided, is out of the question. But losing it by less than the 2017 loss allows Adrian Delia to renew his lease agreement.

I doubt they’re right. I can only judge by my own measure. At every general election I’ve only ever voted PN. I’m sure not voting Labour in the next three years what with the ministers who supported Joseph Muscat’s corruption seeking confirmation and all. But I won’t be voting PN either. I don’t like duck, but I’d rather be stuck than having to eat it.

(Incidentally the bit about not liking duck is just to sustain the analogy. I think duck is very good, though I’ll probably pass on the combination with cherries which has probably not improved since 1978).

Adrian Delia feared one fly in his ointment. He feared the formation of a new political party to mobilise former PN voters who have been using the rather subservient term “orphans” when describing their detachment from their grand old party. If at least some people who voted PN in 2017 felt they had an option in an upcoming election then maybe they would have taken it.

Gone would be the dream of shortening the gap from Labour. With a wider margin between the two parties his political fate would be sealed earlier than he hoped.

All the news gossip you read about in the last few weeks about Repubblika having a secret plan to form a party? That’s where it came from. It wasn’t completely new anyway. Before the last European Parliament elections, the PN spread rumours the “Daphne crowd” would put forward candidates for the European Parliament.

Why would they spread those rumours? Because the first effect they would have is to galvanise traditional party support to stay away from civil society activists that are breaking the party’s squandered leadership on civil rights and democracy issues. They don’t like seeing people actually having a mind of their own and taking action without waiting for instructions from the party.

You may recall how the PN went through a phase of an outright onslaught on Occupy Justice activists saying they were hatching a secret plan with the government to introduce abortion while no one was watching. I’m only mentioning that rather than going through the whole list of episodes because it’s the easiest to remember and it’s enough to make the point.

Rumours reached fever pitch before last weekend that a new party would be announced by Repubblika. The PN officially stayed away from the protest having attended the other national protests called for November and December last year.

The broad consensus of opposition against the corruption in Joseph Muscat’s party and government that now included left wingers like Moviment Graffitti no longer includes the PN, technically the largest party in parliamentary opposition.

But they were listening. Consider this Facebook post by Dione Borg who rubbished my speech which did not, as he seemed to have expected, launch a new party. He still needed to tell PN supporters why they should not be listening to civil society. He said I blamed Lawrence Gonzi’s government (for which, incidentally, I worked) for Labour’s corruption.

My speech should not have offended anyone who supported Lawrence Gonzi’s premiership because there was no criticism in it in that regard. I’m told Lawrence Gonzi was actually in the crowd at the time and he had no complaints I’ve heard of.

But it offended Dione Borg. And if I were to hazard a guess his real objection was that it wasn’t Adrian Delia giving it.

Dione Borg has been long enough in this game that he should realise by now that that’s never going to happen. We will not unhear Adrian Delia do the biċċa blogger speech. We will never unsee the paperwork about his Jersey account which he had denied existed. Our jaws will never seal shut from our amazement when we saw Adrian Delia fire Simon Busuttil over an Egrant report he had never seen.

It’s nobody’s fault that he undermined his own chances of gaining any credibility by securing the publication of the Egrant report.

It’s nobody’s fault he’s the wrong man in the wrong job at the wrong time.

But it is his fault, and Dione Borg’s fault, and all those who go “he was elected demokratikament ħi”, that Adrian Delia remains in that job. I frankly could not give a flying feather any more about how this damages the Nationalist Party. That residual affection has been pissed upon most emphatically by the likes of Dione Borg.

But I am sad for this country that at the time when it needed them most it seems to have no options anymore.

That’s on you guys.

Is it hopeless? Is there no way this can change? Are we to see an election with no options, a parliament with no parties, a government formed by the smug infallibles and the rotten untouchables faced by a rump of a masochistic opposition intent on its own prolonged demise?

Decisions are taken by those who show up. Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum and the office of the leader of the Nationalist Party has long been one. What will be sucked in is anybody’s guess.