The putrefaction of Labour 2013 stifles the air. These would be heady days of excitement for the promise of change for the better if such a promise existed. It doesn’t. For better or worse there is little to look forward to.

What happens after the fall is in the mist. What is happening now, before the fall, is clear as day.

The film festival of the last week was like Sunday lunch in Versailles. They stuffed swans with sparrows, they had fireworks burn to music, they brought shipped exotic animals, and oiled up muscular slaves for display. Opulence has become decadence. There was barely any attempt to provide public interest justification for the lavish expense. It was money spent for its own sake, just because they can.

They paid untold hundreds of thousands to fly stars from across the world with whom to pose for photos. And they put up billboards to dazzle security guards and hairdressers and graduates of part-time beauty courses with the notion that the government would get them glamorous jobs in the film industry.

The government refuses to answer clear questions about the money they spent. They make no attempt to dispel rumours of six figure sums spent on a dinner. They make no claim that dinner has led to any deal or even that there’s any realistic hope that it ever might.

The government refuses to answer clear questions about anything. Times of Malta asked them about annexes to which explicit references are made in an international deal between Malta and Libya that has been published by the government itself. The annexes “do not exist” they say, without explaining how the deal with Libya is working if the annexes that govern the relationship truly do not exist. They don’t mind that everyone knows they’re lying.

In the meantime, Alex Dalli who was fired from running the gulag of Kordin after years of allegations of depraved sadism and cruelty has been given license to “fight migration”. He is assigned new victims, further away from any scrutiny than his prisoners were here.

Any barbarities perpetrated on behalf of the Maltese state in Libya and in the waters between the two countries are as depraved as they are vague in detail, hidden from view, rewarded by the effect of not seeing migrants unknown.

Two years in and the recommendations of the inquiry into the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia fade out of everyone’s memory. Everyone, that is, apart from her mourning family, still denied justice and mocked with a fresh hell of slander and insinuation. While the government’s efforts to avoid consequences from a murder they’ve been found responsible for they do their damnest to prevent another inquiry from finding them responsible from another. A government that refuses to subject itself to an independent inquiry when a man with no politics is killed by a building which should not have been there, is a government afraid of truth. A government which cannot coexist with the truth, cannot exist for long.

MPs in Robert Abela’s government are bold enough to whisper anonymously to newspapers that they are unhappy with his stewardship. They say he is a control freak; he is petty, touchy, inconstant, and cowardly. After the Prudente situation they thought they had found the narrative to convince the population it was time to allow women to have abortions, albeit in very restricted situations. Robert Abela, instead, introduced a law that at best makes it likelier than ever that women and doctors are prosecuted in situations where they wouldn’t have when Lawrence Gonzi was prime minister.

There are whispers of treason in the palace. Some speak of finding a replacement for Robert Abela but this is nothing like 2008. There are factions now. Liberals and conservatives. Socialists and Libertarians. The Labour Party from the inside is looking more and more like a party run by Simon Busuttil or Adrian Delia, a soup of tough vegetables too stubborn to share their flavour, too puritan to agree to mix.

Profligacy, brutality, mendacity, and strife. The empire is consuming itself.