Abela certainly activated that very same knee-jerk antagonism by choosing to list the GOOD done by Steward, just to piss the Nationalists off

No. 183 – Stewarding Scandals in Style

What are we skinning? Prime Minister Robert Abela enumerating all the things that Steward actually did, during a parliamentary sitting largely defined by raucous Opposition-organised protests happening outside... which protests were defined by precisely what Steward in fact failed to do.

Why are we skinning it? Because it displays a remarkably paradoxical spectacle: Abela appears to be both bullish and hopelessly submissive at the same time.

How so? Well, by refusing to show contrition for the Labour Party's role in spearheading the disastrous hospital deal, Abela appears to be entirely unwilling to show any sign of humility. But in choosing to go about this by actually highlighting the 'good work' that Steward did, he is also striking a very abject figure...

Especially given that Steward are getting testy and combative in the wake of the ruling. Yep. They haven't exactly been holding back on giving the government a strong lashing. Only to find Abela effectively rooting for them in parliament.

What does Abela hope to gain from this, exactly? It's likely an attempt to puncture some holes in the PN's unexpected leap back into some form of political relevance following the resounding success of Adrian Delia's legal battle against Steward/Vitals.

Bit of a petty thing to focus on at this stage in the country's fresh political cycle. Perhaps, but it does betray that the fight is most certainly ON.

How do you mean? Now that the government is cornered, it's gonna fight dirty. We've seen it before and we're seeing it again.

To say nothing of the drubbing in the polls that Labour got... That's exactly it: we're gonna see more and more of these kind of weird games of political aggression going on.

Speaking of aggression, that protest came with a generous dollop of, erm, bile, did it not? When I said it's gonna get weird, I meant from all sides.

An older PN protester spitting at a ONE journalist is the kind of grotesque that isn't even funny. Yeah, it's the depth of sadness. An old-school attitude that's hard to feel nostalgic about.

But then, what can you expect when tribalism appears to be the default mode here? Abela certainly activated that very same knee-jerk antagonism by choosing to list the GOOD done by Steward, just to piss the Nationalists off.

Wouldn't that be cutting your nose to spite your face? We'd need to acknowledge that the nose is actually part of our faces, and as a country, we don't seem to be ready to do that just yet.

Do say: "While Abela was within his rights to list the things that Steward actually did for us, we would all be hard-pressed to believe that this was done in the interest of dispassionate comprehensiveness. Such a sad re-enactment of tribalism is a bit dispiriting to witness at a time when humility and unity should be the order of the day."

Don't say: "It's great to know that come rain or shine, our prime minister will be at the ready to defend the rights of the weak and downtrodden. In parliament, no less!"