Robert Abela does not have the courage of his conviction that in spite of the fact that the risks of the consequences we would face today from a spike in Covid-19 cases are identical to what they were in March, he is the one to carry the responsibility of deciding we should now face that risk outdoors rather than in lockdown.
He fears Covid-19 as much as the rest of us. If things go wrong he needs to be able to blame Charmaine Gauci for advising him to open up. He not only wants to overrule her, as is his dubious and irresponsible discretion as a prime minister. He wants her to support his decision so that he can blame her if and when things go wrong.
He fears Covid-19 but he fears lobbies more. He fears the funders of his party. He fears his voters who are more likely to be unemployed as a result of lockdown than to be killed as a result of Covid-19. And if they are killed their views won’t matter at an election anyway.
So, like the coward he is, he is hedging his bets.
Charmaine Gauci cannot be held responsible for what the prime minister decides, especially if he takes his decisions by overriding her recommendations. She is not the prime minister. He is.
But if out of some misguided sense of loyalty, some disciplined sense of hierarchy, some Nuremberg defence, she abandons her professional obligation to consider only science when she speaks – or, just as importantly, when she stays silent – then her conscience is going to have much more to grabble with.
This is not a suggestion that Charmaine Gauci should see through her alleged threats and resign. It is a suggestion merely that if she stays on, she does so to do her job, to safeguard our health from all that threatens it, including policy making which she thinks is hazardous.
The fact is that from out here, we cannot know what she’s thinking. We used to see her every day and now we see her much less. She is being asked questions which have become uncomfortable and which she now does not answer for fear of some consequence which clearly has nothing to do with her job as our doctor. Nothing in her two-month warnings to stay home seems to have changed except that Robert Abela no longer thinks we’d be right to do so.
I’m sorry doctor, I’m confused now.