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The tragedy of our times

We’ve had low points before though it’s becoming harder to compare these days with any others since our independence.

The Sunday Times today quotes “sources close to the Abela administration” saying that “the relatively new prime minister is keen to put the Caruana Galizia case behind him.” It is a truly chilling phrase. “The Caruana Galizia case” is no little incident. It is not even an ordinary murder although the fact that it is a murder has created so much untold pain that can only be made worse if justice is denied.

But ‘the Caruana Galizia case’ as they call it as they try to run away from reality, is the exposure of the institutionalised corruption and organised crime disguised as government that our country is plagued with.

How do we put that behind us? When there are so many unanswered questions, when justice is so far away, when the more we learn the more we realise is hidden, how do we hope to turn this back-breaking experience into some memory?

When I hear those ‘sources’ speaking through The Sunday Times I realise that they are truly in denial. The wounds that have been torn in the artificial caul that bound this country together will not close by wishful thinking. It will continue to spill guts for many weeks and months. Even years.

MaltaToday reports that when ministers decided to deny Yorgen Fenech a pardon to turn state’s evidence on November 29 last year, they were told that Yorgen Fenech was offering testimony on corruption in Electrogas, in Montenegro and a Hong Kong transaction that involves the then prime minister’s chief of staff.

‘Offering’ suggests this was something ministers would want to acquire. But they didn’t have the stomach to digest just how evil the regime they were part of was. Like the indicted criminals at Nuremberg faced with pictures of the crimes of their government, they all tell themselves, each other and whoever is willing to listen that they did not know.

That scene of Ian Borg going into the Labour Party meeting last week telling journalists “xorta nirbħulkom” represents what they mean by putting the Caruana Galizia case behind them.

They want to outlive the moral fall of their regime by saying they were not part of the crimes committed by their government. If they accept their collective responsibility as a college of ministers for decisions like the Electrogas contract and the Montenegro acquisition, and if they accept their individual responsibility of not resigning when, as Edward Scicluna recently said, they “internally” expressed their disagreement, they would all have to leave politics.

The fact is we should properly be facing an end of days for this short, violent, cruel regime. Post-covid, people are realising how short-term the economic miracle of Muscatonomics was. Most people are bracing themselves for the end of 7 years of plenty where no provision was made for the plagues ahead. When the Moneyval grey listing hits, if so it does, only the mindless fans of the Labour Party will fail to realise that Joseph Muscat and his clan stole the wealth of an entire generation.

The incredible corruption we have discovered should properly be the end of their days. It isn’t, not because of an inability of the majority of people living and working in Malta to see the desperate need this country has for change. On the contrary because they see it and that given the options available today the only thing worse than the rotten continuation of the Labour Party in government is a change to a government led by the Nationalist Party in its present configuration.

David Agius and Edwin Vassallo, that together form about half of the remaining bunker of support Adrian Delia enjoys in his parliamentary group, came forth with what passes for the political message of the PN these days.

They told us we must support the PN because there’s no one else but them or Labour. That simple zero-sum game which made sense when one could argue for an imperfect (as everything must be) PN over a corrupt and criminal PL, is now a tired and irrelevant argument.

And yet it’s all Adrian Delia has. Without anything at all to offer, without any way he can resort to persuasion or charisma to get people impatient to see out Labour to have something to look forward to, all Adrian Delia has left is threats. ‘I am all there is. Take it or take it.’

Consider his interview yesterday with MaltaToday’s Kurt Sansone. Many, he said, are irritated that his work has brought about the removal of Lawrence Cutajar, Chris Cardona and Konrad Mizzi. No one takes that seriously. But no one is laughing either. Historians may chuckle at this in a hundred years. They will find Adrian Delia an amusing figure of history, utterly delusional, the last person with a sincerely held good opinion of Adrian Delia. They may also find how tragic a figure he turns out to be.

Because whatever his weaknesses are, it is the rest of the country that now suffers the consequences. He said in that interview that had he been prime minister he would have fired Lawrence Cutajar from day one but Robert Abela was indecisive.

Robert Abela is indecisive indeed because he’s an over-grown baby, a narcissist, a mirror-wanker, inexperienced, a perpetual mentee, and a coward. But Adrian Delia is the person probably least qualified on the face of the earth to criticise anyone for indecisiveness. He is notorious for avoiding confrontation. He flip-flops like a cork in the ocean. People who have worked with him – professionally, in sports and in politics – confirm his congenitally incapability of disagreeing with the last person speaking to him. He could not fire a police chief “on the spot” if the police chief had a big wet fish and was using it to slap him on his hairy buttocks.

The PN Parliamentary Group has head 50 near identical meetings discussing how he should ‘consider his position’ which is press-release-talk for fuck off somewhere dark and let someone else do this. The only difference would be the extent of the support base that continues to defend him which is smaller every time. But the outcome is always the same. He’d say he’d think about it and promise to come back with an answer.

He’d then go under the blanket in his office waiting for everyone to leave so he can get a tension-releasing quickie.

The tragedy of our time is that not since 1986 has the job of Leader of Opposition been as obvious, as self-evidently necessary and as relevant as it must be now. And yet, in spite of his almost comic self-belief that the crumbling of the Labour Party has anything at all do with him, Adrian Delia is utterly irrelevant.

Worse. If he were irrelevant, the country’s despair as it looks away from the evil of a government interested only in outliving “the Caruana Galizia” case would be about its prayers for a promised redeemer having not yet been answered. Now we would wish to turn our sight away from Labour and see no one.

Instead we turn away from Labour and see the only thing that could be worse.

Adrian Delia categorically insists that after the 17 Black owner was identified, he never spoke, was in touch or communicated with Yorgen Fenech. But then again he says he’s not being investigated for that which alone suggests that Adrian Delia’s grasp on reality is tenuous at best. Memory is not optional in the business of politics. If one is not morally inclined to always say the truth, there is a practical reason never to lie. Because the truth is always easier to remember.

Chris Cardona knows something about having to remember one’s lies. ‘I was never in the brothel. I did not empty my minibar. I did not go to see the Monaco Grand Prix at the public’s expense. I never knew the Degiorgios. I never met il-Fulu at the Ferdinand Bar. I never saw him at a private party. I did not pay to have Daphne killed. I am not resigning. I did nothing wrong.’

Right now, we would want to see the back of all those ministers and officials who took pride in publicly hugging Chris Cardona, and worshipping on the altar of the religion where Joseph Muscat is god and Isiah and Elijah are replaced by Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi. We would want to see the back of Evarist Bartolo’s false morality; Edward Scicluna’s hapless incognisance; Ian Borg’s haughty conceit; and the collective blindness of a cabinet of barely competent arrivistes utterly deprived of morality.

Right now, we would want Robert Abela, the only legal adviser to a prime minister in the world who dares protest surprise at the crimes of his client and mentor, to be counting the days to his premature exit.

We would be. If we weren’t busy trying not to see Edwin Vassallo, Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, Mario Galea, David Agius and Robert Arrigo wobble like the shield bearers of the last free village in Gaul lifting above their uneven shoulders the sorry sight of Adrian Delia and his portable blanket for when he has to crash on his office couch.

The tragedy of our times.