I remember Daphne writing about the plague of fragile men who must do more than inhabit your life, they must possess it. For them, politics and public life is vital, like air is for most people. They must consume the space around themselves with their real or imagined importance. They must have people speak of them or they will starve.

I am no hermit. I am not innocent of this caveman masculinity. I too forget myself until I lift my chin off the fat of the attention of others. I am not one to point fingers.

But oh my God, Franco Debono is on the agenda again. He comes back like a re-emerging tumour, for some time too small for scans, and before you know it too big to carry.

Times of Malta’s headlines of Bernard Grech’s speaking event yesterday says that “Franco Debono is contributing to the PN”. That is the take home message from the Leader of Opposition in the week the government is proposing to let people in possession of 499 ecstasy pills pass off as victims.

Make a list of people who were persuaded by that headline to consider voting the PN for the first time in 15 years and that list will have but one name. Like all of Franco Debono’s favourite lists it will only bear the name Franco Debono.

For the question begs itself, what contribution could Franco Debono possibly be making? Is he leading policy research? Is he writing policy papers? Is he developing strategy and long-term planning?

Is that what he was doing when he swooped on Andrew Azzopardi’s radio show last Friday to make sure we hear his side of the story after someone dared to answer a question about how they feel about him coming back to politics in a manner that didn’t describe Franco Debono as the coming Messiah?

I’ve heard it said that when in opposition and polling behind the government, you don’t want to be saying ‘no’ to people who are willing to close ranks with you, no matter how much you dislike them. I’ve heard it said that toxic masculinity is not the worst characteristic of your average politician. Franco Debono may be many things, but there’s no reason to think he’s corrupt. Why not let Franco Debono in?

I don’t get a say on the PN’s recruitment policies. Which is why I get to criticise them. When you let Franco Debono through the door, when you invite him to contribute, you won’t be accused of corruption. You’ll rightly be accused of chaotic instability, egomania, a pathological inability to fit in a team, and stormy, pubescent, utterly unpredictable, spontaneity.

If the PN had coherent policies to make up for that, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. But does it? Where are they?