I am reproducing the first two paragraphs of a Times of Malta report about George Vella’s brisk and brusque response to the question as to whether he feels he has any share of responsibility in the hospitals privatisation which a court ruled was the product of fraud.

President George Vella brushed off questions on whether he feels any sense of responsibility regarding the fraudulent hospitals deal, saying he will wait for an “objective report” with all the facts and figures before speaking out.

“We are waiting for objective reports on facts and figures, and then we speak after that,” Vella told Times of Malta on Friday.

I am going to presume that “we” is a republican version of ‘the royal we’ and that George Vella is not including with his plural self any other category.

“We,” cannot be doctors because the chorus of medical derision from that quarter after Robert Abela’s attempt to defend Steward’s record was categorical.

“We,” cannot be senior people in the Labour Party, though George Vella should in theory not count himself as one of those. Even if he did, the Labour government has decided not to appeal the court decision that ruled the contract was fraudulent which means there is no “objective report with all the facts and figures” that the government could possibly produce that might change that judgement.

I’m hoping “we,” does not mean Steward Health Care. Even after a court confirmed they defrauded the Maltese State, they found an unlikely attorney in Robert Abela. George Vella would, given his limited usefulness to them, be even more unlikely. Though there are, of course, no guarantees.

“We” should, I hope, mean ‘me, myself, and I’ … George Vella the doctor, the retired politician, the constitutional custodian, and the grandfather of the nation all in one.

Now, as president there’s nothing much George Vella is expected to do if a government acquiesces to fraud and sells off hospitals to fraudsters. Nor is there much George Vella can do if a court reverses the sale. He wasn’t being asked to do anything.

He was only being reminded that he was part of the government that authorised the privatisation and he was being asked if he felt responsible for what happened.

When you zero in on the question, the answer becomes even odder. We must ask now, what “objective report with all the facts and figures” is Malta’s President looking forward to seeing?

The Auditor General wrote several. They’re full of plenty facts and plenty-er figures. Admittedly there is yet another report on the subject which is still due for publication but that covers an area not covered by previous reports so the worst it can do is add nothing to the gravities documented in the already published reports.

Or is George Vella, like Joseph Muscat before him, expecting Steward’s appeal to somehow provide a “truth” (as Muscat called it) which will be different from the court’s ruling?

One of George Vella’s multiple personalities is the former politician whose instinct may tell him it is in his interest to discredit as best he can any court’s judgement, any auditor’s report, any opposition leader’s arguments, any journalist’s investigation because if any of those are believed, his share in the responsibility in an act of betrayal of the very values he professed throughout his careers as a doctor and as a socialist would be self-evident.

That, after all, is what all veterans of the Muscat government and the incumbent associates of his successors are doing. They are doubting, twisting, spinning, and seeking to discredit a court judgement they are unable to appeal in court in the same way that they doubted, twisted, spun, and sought to discredit the auditor general, the then leader of opposition Adrian Delia, and Daphne Caruana Galizia and all other journalists who followed her into investigating the hospitals scandal.

In giving in to that one of George Vella’s “we,” the retired but intuitively self-preserving politician, he betrayed that other personality: the President of Malta. His response, in a brief, clearly ill considered, swipe, beheaded several institutions of the country it is his function to protect.

He has cast doubt on journalism which draft amendments to the constitution propose to identify, though in a section of the constitution that make that identification as useful as a footnote in Id-Denfil, a pillar of democracy.

But he also cast doubt on other pillars of democracy that are very much written into the constitution.

He discredited the government, and the latter’s decision not to appeal the Francesco Depasquale court sentence by implying that the government had taken the decision to allow for that judgement to become definitive without the benefit of an “objective report with all the facts and figures.”

He discredited the opposition who, under three generations of leaders, has consistently opposed the privatisation and in the case of Adrian Delia successfully challenged it in court securing its reversal.

He discredited the auditor general, the self-same author of the objective report with all the facts and figures that the President implied did not yet exist.

He discredited the court’s judgement again on the implication that the court ruled without the benefit of the facts and figures.

Sometimes one of the President’s multiple personalities should prevail on all the others and force our republican king to sleep in and spend the rest of the day knocking off skittles with cut-out pictures of opposition figures he dislikes scotch-taped on their heads.