It would have been helpful if Robert Abela gained some experience running an organisation, any, before he took on his first government job ever, as prime minister and Labour Party leader.

His handling of Chris Cardona is pathetic. If Robert Abela had spent some years as president of the village stamp collecting guild, or the bocca club, he would have learned not to assume other people in the organisation will do his bidding merely because he wishes it. That sort of power is a fantasy. Even absolute monarchs have to cajole, threaten, flirt, bribe and compromise to get people to do their bidding.

Robert Abela’s has become a government by wishful thinking. For days he’s been assuring everyone, primarily as is now obvious himself, that Chris Cardona would do the right thing by his party. Since the options were either resigning the deputy leadership or not resigning the deputy leadership, the prime minister’s attempt at subtlety was as pathetic as his failure.

Yesterday morning then Robert Abela thought it would be a good idea to tighten the screw: ‘I told Chris Cardona I wanted him to leave and he’ll be resigning in the coming hours’.

They’re still coming. So now we have to watch, bored, as Robert Abela sweats, pants and beats vigorously in the hope of the much-awaited money shot.

Apart from over-estimating his own authority, Robert Abela completely misread Chris Cardona. To call Cardona a loose cannon is to wrongly assume that even if at random he’s capable of shooting in any direction. Chris Cardona is an inexhaustible time bomb.

Never mind what we know he’s done: drunk himself silly on a regular basis during office hours, booked himself trips at the public’s expense of such decadent opulence people must have suspected he was some Saudi oil sheik, made a speech in a party conference about wielding axes at political opponents like some thawed out Jack Torrance, took a cold shower in a brothel and still felt warm enough for a threesome, and on and on.

But none of these were the reasons for Robert Abela to wish Chris Cardona to leave the Labour Party leadership. The reason he now expects Chris Cardona to leave his last toehold on political power is that Chris Cardona is suspected of having some involvement in the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia. ‘Involvement’ is a brutal understatement. His name keeps coming up in court placing him at the vilest centre of an assassination: as its originator, financier and wilful perpetrator.

He’s innocent until proven guilty and all that. But even the Labour Party cannot continue to grin and bear Chris Cardona in its number 2 post.

As I write this, Chris Cardona may be handing in his resignation from the Labour Party. Or it may happen ‘in the coming hours’. But every minute that passed after that statement by the prime minister yesterday morning, Robert Abela looked weaker and weaker. He is here negotiating with a terrorist, an error in and of itself. If Chris Cardona is still capable of taking offence at anything said about him, the term terrorist here does not mean he’s likely to blow up a plane soon. It means that he will not hesitate to wield his metaphorical axe to have his way.

Not only is Robert Abela trying to look reasonable when dealing with an unreasonable man under his authority. He is also putting his cards on the table for all to see and for himself to be fucked over by Chris Cardona. He is exposing his vulnerabilities and insecurities and allowing Chris Cardona to trample on them.

At some point, presumably, Chris Cardona will leave. But he’s letting everyone know he’ll do that when he’s ready, not when Robert Abela wishes it.

If the Nationalist Party were not led by the only person alive who looks like a worse prospect than Robert Abela, the Labour Party would be smouldering in ruin right now. Its internal divisiveness is torrid. And they’re not fighting over fiscal policy or leadership rivalry. They are fighting over who gets to pay for the greedy corruption of the last 7 years and the murder that was committed to ensure that sweet money keeps rolling in.

Chris Cardona is not merely resisting losing his plush desk at the Labour headquarters. He is resisting losing another vestige of inoculation from the gripping arm of the law. If he goes down, he will be hissing right about now, many will go down with him.

Robert Abela too.