Look at this headline and unwind the logical knot in what Robert Abela is saying. He was fielding questions from the press challenging Labour’s self-proclaimed newfound love for Malta’s environment and their vocation to protect it.

He can’t ask anyone to ignore the greedy over-development that has taken over both islands over the past 10 years. He can’t ask people to unsee the eyesore on the Xlendi shoreline, to mention a symbolic and recent example, one that has taken the place of so many other scars to the country’s look.

How can Labour be believed when they’ve been so callous about excessive construction during their first two terms?

‘It wasn’t us,’ Robert Abela says. ‘All those developments were permitted because of policies drawn up before 2013 when the Nationalists where in government.’

Let’s, for the sake of argument, accept that at face value. Let us accept the premise that had the Nationalists been in government after 2013 and after 2017 the same policies would have applied and the same damage to the countryside and the urban landscape of the country would have been inflicted.

Why is Labour better then? Why didn’t they change the policies when they had the chance, the power, and the responsibility to do so? Why did they have to wait for 10 years of irreversible, environmental devastation before promising to make changes? And why should anyone believe they would make those changes now? Did Robert Abela discuss new restraints on construction at his private dinner with developers hosted by Joseph Portelli?

Of course, even if conceded for the sake of argument, there’s no truth in the claim that what happened over the last 10 years was because of what had been decided before. The freeze on local plans, allowing them to lapse in practice was a decision that was taken every day that Joseph Muscat and Robert Abela were in office as prime ministers. The decision not to adopt policies that restrain the mindless savagery that passes for construction was taken every day by Labour ministers and their appointees to the so-called regulatory boards.

Robert Abela is now attempting to blame Lawrence Gonzi and his retired ministers for sending a private jet to Sicily to bring a board member from holiday to vote to approve the dB development in St George’s Bay. Lawrence Gonzi is apparently to blame for having Keith Schembri’s banker appointed to the Planning Authority to decide on a permit for apartments he was already selling on plan as a part-time realtor.

These are the policies of the Labour Party and the government it ran for 2 consecutive terms. They’ll be out of the third term, and they’ll still be speaking as if they were stuck in a time-warp and were still playing at being the Opposition of 2010.