2,294 days ago, Daphne Caruana Galizia wrote what would be her very last post on her legendary running commentary.
While practically everything that Daphne wrote was quotable, there is no quote which was used more than her very last words in that post.
“There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.”
Hardly a truer word has been spoken since then. Today, crooks can still be found everywhere you look, and the situation for the average citizen of this country is arguably even more desperate now than it used to be before Daphne’s life was snatched away from her and her loved ones.
But now, there is one stark difference – it is also clear that this despair, like poison circulating in a waterway, has finally gone around and circled all the way back to the well that it springs forth from, the Labour Party.
On 16 January, I wrote a column about the fact that prime minister Robert Abela is so desperate to shore up support for the upcoming elections that he began making high-profile public declarations about welcoming back former ousted members of the Labour party who were intimately involved in the biggest corruption scandals that occurred throughout disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat’s time at the helm.
That Muscat was doing his damnedest to crawl back into the fold of the party was obvious the minute Abela called him “his friend”. The fact that Abela is desperate enough to welcome him back is also a given. How else does one explain such a maddening decision, one which effectively aims to whitewash Muscat’s legacy of corruption and his role in the deliberate disarmament of the state institutions that were meant to prevent it?
All the public theatrics – which the mainstream press of the country predictably salivated over because Muscat’s name brings clicks and engagement – are meant to send a signal to the Labour Party’s grassroots, a core demographic which has, for the past decade, been conditioned to view the party as nothing more than a golden ticket to greater riches. In that sense, Muscat is the poster child of that era, and is idolised precisely for the role he played in facilitating people’s access to taxpayer money.
There really is something to be said about how, in spite of the voluminous amount of evidence which screams “Muscat was involved in an eye-watering amount of corruption”, major news outlets fail to provide as much as an iota of this vital context in their superficial coverage of Muscat’s banal, staged public appearances. A disgraced prime minister is a disgraced prime minister is a disgraced prime minister, and no amount of careful consideration, legal threats, and/or public intimidation are worth saying otherwise.
In its despair to keep the lights on, the Labour Party, corrupt and manifestly brimming with incompetent sycophants as it is, will clutch to anything that heads its way, even if that ‘anything’ is a corrupt former prime minister who doesn’t have a leg to stand on. More significantly, while many are quick to claim that Muscat throwing his hat in the ring for the MEP elections is going to be a surefire electoral trump card, many are forgetting that dear old invictus’ wings don’t quite fly like they used to. It is like watching the Russians whip out their old Cold War nukes only to find them rusted and in disrepair.
In fact, everyone seems to have forgotten about the delicious humiliation Muscat must have felt when one of his prime henchmen, former Infrastructure Malta boss Frederick Azzopardi, was hauled to court for one of his many transgressions as former CEO of Malta’s foremost environmental destruction authority.
In a bizarre attempt at flexing his rapidly atrophying muscles, Muscat and his favourite accessory – no, not his €23,000 watch, his other accessory, Manuel Cuschieri – had called on their great masses of supporters to descend on the court, presumably to heckle the pigeons. Out of Muscat’s claimed thousands, twenty grumpy old men yelling ONE News cliches at NET journalists showed up instead.
Incidentally, Azzopardi recently hit the headlines again following reports of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) investigation into his conduct due to “reasonable suspicion” of money laundering, fraud involving EU funds, and bribery allegations. That day, it became evident that Muscat’s protection and support, detached as they are now from the seat of power he clung onto so much, were worth precious fuck all in the grand scheme of things.
Muscat and the cohort of ousted former Cabinet members who Abela is desperately attempting to reel back in are the equivalent of Labour’s last resort. We shouldn’t despair or retreat in shock at the fact that Muscat’s formerly ginger mug is showing up on our news feeds all the time again. We should be baying for blood and hitting the streets with renewed vigour and hope. The opponent is on the ropes and all they need is one more blow for a knockout.
Remember that civil society’s greatest mistake in 2020 was to accept the transition from a fraudulent prime minister to his fraudulent lawyer without questioning how or why we still allowed ourselves to be subjected to this government’s rotten influence on the country. We must not allow ourselves to make that mistake again when we are within reach of an implosion which could finally liberate the nation from the vice-like grip of the mafia.
The fact is that, no matter how many self-edifying posts featuring an immensely cringeworthy tribute to himself Muscat uploads on his social media, his level of influence has diminished severely. While the thousands of individuals whose personal fortunes are attributed to Muscat’s neoliberal policy of opening up the floodgates of the country to every conceivable type of dirty money will likely remain loyal to Muscat to the bitter end, the rest of the country is not so easily impressed and certainly not so easy to dupe.
If Muscat were as clever as he thinks he is, he would have legged it to Dubai with his fellow disgraced former Cabinet member Chris Cardona so he can enjoy his ill-gotten gains in a country with no extradition treaties with European countries. Instead, he is so self-obsessed with his image and with redeeming himself in the public’s eye (hence the enormous PR campaign) that he has decided to give himself and his party more rope to hang themselves with.
When the moment in which Muscat and his buddies wrap the (metaphorical) noose around their necks and kick off the (metaphorical) stool finally comes, I’ll be sitting in the front row, laughing and clapping all the way.