The Labour Party’s first reaction to Bernard Grech’s election on Saturday was predictable. “Simon Busuttil’s faction had won”. Which was their way of conceding defeat because the extension of their will had lost.

But they described Simon Busuttil’s faction as the faction “that wants migrants brought to Malta” which even for them felt odd and out of place.

Robert Abela wanted to make sure we did not think there had been some mistake at his speech yesterday. From Times of Malta’s report of his speech:

“I urge the opposition: let’s have a common policy on migration. The main message should be that we are full up… we cannot take more pressure from migration.”

He also urged Grech not to hinder the government’s work on migration as a member of a civil society group.

“We cannot have civil society factions, or opposition MPs, that instigate some other investigation because the government is taking a strong position on migration… middle roads don’t work.”

He referred to his statement at the Special European Council, held his week, where he insisted on a holistic, rather than compartmentalised, solution when it comes to issues relating to the Mediterranean.

“We cannot consider Libya as a problem but as a country with which the EU can build good diplomatic relationships, the same way that Malta did over the past nine months.

“This would not only solve the migration issue, but the country could also offer an opportunity for potential investment by our businesspeople.”

Labour is going full on fascist.

Malta is not “full up”. Migration is a challenge but the bulk of the pressure does not come from the migrants themselves but from the monster of domestic racism that Robert Abela cultivates like a volatile bomb in his mad scientist’s attic.

What does “full up” mean? Does it mean that we let people drown at sea rather than let them in? Or does it mean they are to be treated inhumanely once they’re brought back from certain death? No, we’re nowhere near that full.

By referring to the police complaint filed by Repubblika (which he does not name because he wants to conflate it with “il-fazzjoni ta’ Simon Busuttil” that he says has retaken the PN), Robert Abela explains exactly what he means by “full up”.

It means he does not want to be stopped taking “a strong position on migration”. Because “middle roads don’t work”.

What was the “strong position” Repubblika complained to the police about? What happened before Repubblika intervened?

First: the government used privately owned fishing vessels in place of military assets, holding back resources that could have saved lives, allowing people to drown instead. So Repubblika objected to the decisions to cause the deaths in and of themselves and to the use of deaths as a policy of deterrent.

Second: the government pushed migrants rescued in an operation led by the Maltese authorities back to Libya. So Repubblika objected to the government’s breaches of Malta’s obligations under international law not to push back migrants to a dangerous country they have escaped from, collaborating with perpetrators of false imprisonment, systematic rape, violence and slavery.

Robert Abela thinks of Libya as a “business opportunity” because that’s all we’re interested in apparently. But the UN has repeatedly documented the horrors of Libya’s concentration camps. Pope Francis last July called them ‘lager’. That’s short for Konzentrationslager, or Nazi prison camps. Maybe Robert Abela should take his family for a weekend break in one of those and take a trade delegation with him while at it.

Third: the government pushed migrants out of Maltese territorial waters, escorting them out and pointing them towards another country, Italy. So Repubblika objected to government’s breaches of Malta’s obligations under international law.

An inquiry conducted by Robert Abela’s former party colleague Joe Mifsud found the government committed no wrongdoing. But it was a sham inquiry and Robert Abela knows this. We know he knows this because after the inquiry was concluded and the government was absolved, Robert Abela did not attempt to reuse any of the above schemes.

Instead they went for a fourth ‘solution’, which presumably Robert Abela thinks is a “middle road with does not work”: the government detained rescued migrants indefinitely on ill equipped boats out in the open sea without allowing them to be advised of their rights and processing their applications for asylum in spite of the fact that, like the migrants pushed back to Libya, the UNHCR had open processes for these illegally detained migrants’ asylum applications. That too is a breach of Malta’s obligations under international law and if repeated will need to be resisted.

I don’t speak for Bernard Grech. I don’t care to. He can form his own policies. His party’s policy up to now has been tossing between support for the government “full up” diktat to ambivalence and ambiguity.

That, prime minister, is why Repubblika exists. Because in protecting the rights of the most vulnerable, we do not need to work out the political calculus of how popular the position we take is. This is the luxury of not being a political party. This is why we’re of any use to a democracy because civil society does not mind being in the minority. It minds being wrong.

When Repubblika took a position against the wilful drowning of migrants, it was not a popular position to take. Our lawyers were intimidated, officials of Repubblika were heckled and spat at openly in the street and threatened over nasty phone calls and if anyone felt “the pressure of migration” that was us.

But it wasn’t in vain. The crimes perpetrated last Easter were not repeated. This is why Robert Abela yesterday said that “we cannot have civil society factions instigating some investigation”. Because the investigation Repubblika “instigated” had the effect of stopping the government’s “strong position” precisely because they knew that if there had been any other magistrate looking into those crimes rather than Joe Mifsud, they’d be in serious, serious trouble right now.

Incidentally, investigations are not ‘instigated’. One instigates a fight or violent retribution. That’s what Robert Abela had done with a prime-time press conference about Repubblika that April instigating the threats and violence described above.

Filing for a police investigation with a formal report, which is what we had done, is a legitimate act that every citizen is entitled to. It is not ‘instigation’. It is a public service. Whatever Robert Abela calls it, we’re not going to stop doing it just because he doesn’t like it.

Not that the fascists were happy about it. They still aren’t. Just last week some of them gathered in Valletta to heckle Nello Scavo and myself for reporting about it last April and for Nello Scavo to have had the temerity of testifying in the police’s case against Neville Gafà for threatening him. Neville Gafà was the man Robert Abela asked to arrange the illegal push back to Libya. Some hero.

It didn’t matter then to Repubblika what position the PN took on the matter of saving lives at sea and treating migrants with basic human dignity and in respect of Malta’s international obligations. And it won’t matter now. The PN can draw up its own policies on migration. If we agree with the PN, we’ll say so. If we don’t, we’ll say so too. It’s not like you haven’t seen us do that every day for the last two years or so.

The “fazzjoni ta’ Simon Busuttil” exists only in Robert Abela’s head. If he starts believing his own bullshit – ‘if One TV said it, then it must be true,’ said nobody ever – he’s even dumber than he looks.