Piloting us into election mode

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Being a fly isn’t exactly the most exciting of things. You get swatted, sprayed on and usually denigrated as the most annoying thing buzzing around. And you feed on horrendous stuff like animal droppings.

But imagine being a fly—with some amazing human attributes like thought and speech—buzzing around Joseph Muscat right now and seeing what the great man is thinking, saying and how he is truly acting when his public mask is down.

The man is not looking too good. His old swagger and smug look have gone; instead he now betrays an anger which is scary. He has also lost that oh-so-ingratiating look of his. He used to love the camera, now it pains him, especially if it isn’t a friendly one.

His nemesis—the blogger from hell, the witch queen of bile—is on a roll. She seems to have not one fly tailing the prime minister but a whole army of them. He, and his good folk around him, used to poke fun at her and paint her as a desperate, mad woman out to libel anyone into a corner. Today they fear her every move and have no idea what dirt—or truth, or revelations—she will expose.

Before the Panama Papers revelations, Joseph Muscat seemed the eternally gifted strategist. After Daphne Caruana Galizia exposed his Panama connection she has been a step—or a few hundred steps—ahead of the prime minister. Today, the master strategist is definitely seemingly cornered.

A few days ago Caruana Galizia declared that Joseph Muscat will—if the polls are in his favour—call a snap election on the 17th June.

Is she a clairvoyant too who knows what goes on in Muscat’s head? Is she this super-fly that knows it all?

If Muscat does go for an early election, there can only be three possible reasons:

  1. Muscat has realised time is running out and his electoral base is dwindling. His old feeling that of being well on the way to a second historic victory at the polls is gone. Calling it now will mean he is hoping for a victory at whatever cost and whatever the majority.
  2. Muscat fears more incriminating, and vote-losing, revelations are on the cards and he wants to get an election over and done with as soon as possible. His hope is that victory will sweep over all talk of who owns Egrant, what Pilatus Bank officials were up to and what exactly was the transfer of monies between Brian Tonna and Keith Schembri.

Muscat’s only hope is that another loss for the PN will make them implode, lose their moral high ground and stop further talk of investigation, thus putting an end to all talk of Panama and corruption.

Obviously, this scenario implies that the authorities will keep being cowed into looking the other way, that people who should be investigating will be celebrating a Labour-victory with a fenkata.

  1. With all the scandals that have gripped the land Muscat has realised that there is a constant rumbling in the ranks and some ministers and MPs are too silent for his comfort. Maybe too many whispered words behind the back of the chosen few are making Muscat fear for his future within the party. What sounded and seemed like a terribly easy crown to wear as leader of the Labour Party is now feeling wobbly.

He could easily be fearing ghosts and daggers swooshing out of scabbards ready to plunge into his back. 18 months ago Muscat was the biggest asset Labour has had for the last 40 years; today he seems more of a liability.

Could he be plotting an election to outsmart any move against him by his own colleagues? Any planned coup will be postponed and killed by an election.

No one will dare do anything so drastic in full election mode. All daggers will snap shut and all Labour grumblers will close a few eyes to any misdemeanour, even gross, and smilingly toe the party line.

Malta is gripped by the worst ever scandal implicating the Prime Minister, his wife and his closest aides and consultant. This will give us the reputation of being a discredited laundrette, with far-reaching and devastating results. The last thing we need is to further push ourselves to the brink by facing an early election to safeguard Muscat’s future and that of his clique.