The games they play.

First, they got Joe Debono Grech to glorify corruption, if it is Labour Party corruption because they can profit from Labour Party corruption but not from any other corruption.

Having secured the sympathy and support of those for whom corruption is a job requirement for the politicians they choose to vote to, Robert Abela distanced himself with heavy words like “condemn” and “we changed so these words are not used.”

Parenthesis. Don’t pretend to be perplexed by the notion that there are people who choose a candidate because they’re corrupt, rather than despite that. If you stick to the pretence that everyone votes according to conscience and public utility, you’ll never begin to understand the perversion of this polity we still half-jokingly describe as a democracy.

Back to the thrust of this. First, they had Joe Debono Grech celebrate corruption. Then they condemned Joe Debono Grech.

You’d think then that Joe Debono Grech spoke out of turn and that he does not represent Robert Abela and today’s Labour Party. Again, stop fooling yourself.

It may or may not surprise you to learn that Joe Debono Grech is a staffer on Robert Abela’s team. He is listed as a “Special Delegate” heading something called the “Office of the Special Delegate to the Prime Minister” in the Office of the Prime Minister.

His official address is the Auberge de Castille. He has an email account and you can reach him by calling the general phone exchange at the prime minister’s office.

It’s not just that Joe Debono Grech was not speaking for Robert Abela when he celebrated Labour’s corruption. He was, quite literally, his “special delegate” there.

What games they play? Their messaging is intentionally loaded with mutually exclusive contradictions so that everyone walks away with what they prefer to hear. It’s one thing to promise conservationists and construction magnates that you can make them both happy. It is an altogether different level of Mephistophelian equivocation to persuade people who admire corruption and those who despise it that they can both support the same gang into re-election to power they have so heinously abused.