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Since to my knowledge, nobody else said it yet, I’m going to go ahead and claim you heard it here first.

Prime minister Robert Abela is now the undisputed king of making premature declarations. I even made a little montage to make it easier to grasp what I’m referring to.

Over the four years that elapsed between the first clip and the last, you can hear the enthusiasm in Robert Abela’s voice going down like a plane brought down by enemy fire.

While it may now seem like a distant, hazy memory we’ve all collectively shrugged off, it was not that long ago that the COVID pandemic struck fear in everyone. Eager to claim the mantle of prime minister and spurred on by the Maltese government’s initial success with the first wave of COVID, Abela sounded buoyant and confident. For a while, people felt like we might make it through relatively unscathed.

Unprompted, Abela waxed lyrical about how the government earned its credibility points with the public during the first two months of the pandemic.

“We were factual, everyday…this is how we won our credibility, and this is how we must remain. We cannot terrify people with a fictional bogeyman,” he said in that interview on ONE, referring to fears of a resurgent second wave should the country’s reopening be too rushed.

If only Abela had the foresight to listen to his own advice about credibility, we wouldn’t have had to witness his slow descent into the realm of pure fiction just four years into his premiership. He went from denouncing the “fictional bogeyman” that he thought the second wave would be to creating his own fictional bogeyman when faced with the very real spectre of corruption within his own party: the fabled establishment.

Just like Abela prematurely claimed the Maltese government had defeated COVID two months after it first appeared on our shores, he told his supporters that the Labour Party won “a solid victory” just a couple of hours into the sorting process, only to then be forced to tone it down once it became apparent that the end result was a far closer shave than his party was initially willing to admit.

Abela’s emphasis on remaining factual in the face of adversity went right out of the window when he was faced with the repercussions of Malta’s very own Tangentopoli moment.

DAY TWO: Malta’s Tangentopoli

Instead of facing reality with facts in hand and a fierce commitment to preserving the integrity of a nation in crisis, Abela conjured up a fictional enemy to explain away the party’s problems. He steadfastly refused to acknowledge corruption in his government, using the office of the prime minister to pile pressure on the judiciary, the police force, and the office of the attorney general.

The fact that Abela has a crippling fear of taking decisions which could make him less popular with the hardcore grassroots of the Labour Party is now beyond doubt. Unable to think past the echo chamber within the party, Abela was unable to sense danger in pandering solely to his shrinking base. Unable to sacrifice its sacred cows, the Labour Party was forced to cover for its own, spending over a hundred million euros to engineer a feel-good factor in the country only to obtain its most disastrous electoral result in 20 years.

And yet again, much like he refused to admit he’d been a bit overzealous about declaring victory against a pandemic that went on to claim millions of lives across the world, Abela refused to come clean that Labour’s victory was far from “solid”. The fact is that it is the worst electoral performance his party has had in the last twenty years, and that he is directly responsible for turning this into a national-issue election only to then fail to bring it home anyway.

Mark my words: the Labour Party is in trouble as long as Robert Abela is its leader, and it will be in further trouble still once the knives are brought out and Julius Caesar is made to keel over. The lasting impact of the gargantuan levels of corruption aided and abetted by Joseph Muscat and co. will not just be felt by Maltese and Gozitan people for generations to come – it will be felt the most by the Labour Party as its former heroes face criminal prosecution and the party slips into oblivion.

Unaccustomed as they are to being on the receiving end of such a drubbing, the party’s top brass has been at great pains trying to avoid stating the obvious. Practically all of them uttered something along the lines of ‘we must listen to the message that the electorate has sent us with this vote’, as if the message isn’t a loud and clear “fuck you for ruining my country”, as if it hasn’t been doing the rounds for years, building up slowly like the resentment of a slave towards his master.

You’d have to really be a helpless fool to be conned into falling for that one this time around. Nobody in their right mind would believe that a party whose entire campaign trail consisted of trying to crush the opposition, civil society, the free press, and the judiciary is now suddenly going to turn around and listen to their concerns.

Oh, and one last thing before I wrap up this victory lap (because after all, this is a victory for those who have relentlessly called a spade a spade, and this website is proud to be among those who have done so): this is not just a condemnation of the Labour Party. This is also proof of the success of steady, consistent efforts to hold the unaccountable accountable, even if it goes against all odds, even if we have to fight against our own who refuse to take action out of a lack of motivation or a misplaced sense of fear.

We have three years, everyone. Three years to boot these people out of power. Three years to reclaim our country as our own. Three years to show we’ve grown as a democracy and that we will no longer accept the abysmal political standards we’ve endured since independence.

This is our time. Let’s write the kind of history we’d want posterity to read with pride.

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