I told you so

Published: March 25, 2008 at 9:54am

Not that I wish to sound smug or anything, lest I be mistaken for Joseph Muscat – but it’s nice to know that Alfred Sant is still as easy as ever to read and to predict (for me at least). The trick is always to take his words literally, and not to attribute to them the wider and unspoken meaning that might be implied by others who speak the same words. Hence: removing VAT meant exactly that. It did not also mean not putting another tax in its place, which is what you and I might understand. And so on.

So when Sant said he was resigning irrevocably, that is exactly what he meant. He did not also mean that he would be packing his bags, severing his links with the Labour administration, and going home to feed his chickens and read or write books. He said he was resigning irrevocably, and some people made the mistake of reading into it the wider meaning that the press conference was his swansong. There are people now who are saying that we should leave him alone because he has gone. Ah, but he hasn’t gone, and we are about to have this demonstrated to us in a really big way.

This is what I posted on Friday, 14 March: “I can’t imagine how people believe that because Alfred Sant said he is resigning ‘irrevocably’ that we have seen the back of him. He hasn’t ridden off into the sun-set. He hasn’t taken a world cruise. He’s still there. And that’s exactly where he’s going to stay – an albatross around Labour’s neck. He is not interested in the best interest of the party. He is not interested in reform. He is interested only in achieving what he set out to achieve 40 years ago. The particular psychology of the man does not allow him to let go of an idea, an aim or an ambition. He is obsessive. Observing him over the last 16 years, we should have picked up that much. He was prepared to sacrifice the interests of his political party to fulfill his personal desires. He was prepared to sit tight through three losses in two general elections and one referendum. So why is it now being assumed that he has had a snap personality change at the age of 60 and learned how to move on?…..So having exhausted his options as leader, Alfred Sant now intends to be a kingmaker and a power behind the throne. I don’t hesitate in telling you this: just mark my words.”

Oh. My. God. The new Labour leader is Sant’s poodle

This is the bit that I got wrong. I thought that it was unlikely that Sant would pick the poodle with the ginger beard in Brussels, because he would never get away with making a 34-year-old the party boss-man. I thought it more likely to be his long-time best mate Evarist Bartolo, with the poodle chiming in as deputy.

But the way that Joseph Muscat is speaking as though his party leadership is a fait accompli tells me that it is going to be the other way round: Joseph Muscat as party leader with Bartolo as one of the bridesmaids.

So mark my words again – Joseph Muscat is the anointed one, and as the anointed one, he is almost certainly going to be the new Labour leader.

Muscat wouldn’t be taking it for granted that the leadership election is as good as won for him unless it is because the Irrevocably Resigned Boss is going to drive it through. This means that Sant has him on a leash and will be ruling the party by proxy. If Muscat doesn’t manage to shake him off in the next five years, or is unwilling to do so (after all, he thinks the sun shines out of his rear end), then the shadow of Sant is going to continue to haunt the Labour Party, and the country, right through up to the next general election and beyond.

At some point, a Labour MP is going to have to give up his seat in parliament so that Muscat can be co-opted as Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, Mintoff’s anointed one, was. It will be interesting to see whether that person is going to be Sant, or whether some hapless person will be made to pay the price.

Another prat: it’s Jason but with some brains

There’s something about the Labour Party that makes it a magnet for arrogant prats, though I would dearly love to use instead another word that also begins with ‘pr’. I’m also going to use another bad word, but with asterisks as this is a family blog, when I ask: is Labour really so partial to w****rs?

Joseph Muscat is just Jason with (some) brains: a rather shallow chap who cosied up to the lonely and insecure boss, won his confidence, gave him his undying loyalty, did everything he asked, and became the anointed one. Despite his brains, he remains as inane, vain, preening and self-satisfied as Jason Micallef, and those who can’t see this need some really thick glasses. I can’t understand those who are seeing Muscat as the JFK for Labour’s new millennium, a decade of which has gone by already. Can’t they see that the only reason he looks like a good option is because the rest are rubbish, except for George Abela? Given a choice between Joseph Muscat and Anglu Farrugia, even I would choose Joseph Muscat. But the Labour Party is clearly not being allowed to think outside the box and consider other options here, because this man has been anointed and so the party is lumped with him.

Never trust a man with a goatee, they say – which doesn’t say much for Clyde Puli – and they’re right, whoever they are. There is something a bit peculiar about men who carefully shave that little shape around their mouths every morning, like paedos and pervy professors from central casting. The first thing that this man must do is stick to the maxim: a beard must reach your ears; otherwise shave off the lot.

So how do I know he’s going to be the new leader?

Well, the first clue was when that brain-box Jason, who doesn’t know the wisdom of playing his cards close to his chest, brushed off George Abela on Xarabank. Something about the way he did that told me that Abela wasn’t even in the running, and that the leader was a foregone conclusion and Jason was feeling superior and in the know. Of course, I will ring the Gloria if Abela is elected against almost insurmountable odds, but I get this feeling that he’s dead in the water.

The second clue was that Muscat was the first to leave that nighttime meeting at Labour HQ when a decision was taken about the leadership election. The paparazzi were outside, taking note of who was entering and who was leaving, and Muscat was the first to leave, fairly early at around 2130hrs, though the laqgha dragged on way past midnight. What did that tell me? That he was confident enough not to hang around until the last person had left, to avoid the chance of being done in during his absence. He was so confident that he popped off home and left them all to it.

The third clue – more like a whacking great conclusion, really – was Herman Grech’s interview with Muscat two days ago in The Sunday Times. Now that told me all I need to know. He’s already talking of himself as the Labour Party leader, and has a 15-year strategy mapped out (that was quick).

He scores points off Jason for arrogant antipatija

There are some young(ish) men who are the male equivalent of those horrid ‘girls’ who were raised by daddy to be little princesses, and who go through adult life expecting to charm everyone and setting their teeth on edge instead. These are the ‘boys’ who were their mothers’ pets, either because they were good-looking, or charming, or clever, or all three, and who go through life with no sense of self-awareness, on an endless parade of ‘arani, ma!’ As adults, they come across as smug and conceited, vain and preening, self-absorbed and full of self-admiration. They are the sort who turn on the charm offensive and who are flabbergasted when it fails to work – hence Jason Micallef flashing his smile in highly inappropriate situations.

And hence Joseph Muscat, talking like it-tifel bravu tal-mama in his interview with The Sunday Times. If he is really going to be Malta’s next prime minister, he had better grow up fast.

Here are some choice excerpts.

“People see me as a person they can work with. I have a 15-year project for the party and the country. During a maximum five years in opposition, we will spend the first two years transforming the party…In the third and fourth years, we will tell people what we want to do. Experience has shown us that telling the electorate that the Nationalists have lied and are not delivering is not enough. People want to know what we are doing.”

Ding-dong! The bell has finally gone off. And a 15-year project for the party and the country, eh? Then there are those who insist that he and his boss haven’t hatched this little plot between them. I suppose Muscat wrote his 15-year plan in the 10 days between Sant’s irrevocable resignation and his interview.

“The Labour Party has to map out a clear manifesto by the next election, so that the electorate knows where it stands on all issues.”

Ding-dong again! Kemm hu bravu l-boy. Skopra l-Amerka. Yes, Joseph – and this time, make sure that it has no misprints, no computer malfunctions, and no items that have already been done by the government. You’ve got five years for writing and proof-reading. Start now.

Bad sign: he speaks of himself in the third person

“I will say it loud and clear – Joseph Muscat as leader of the Labour Party is an invitation for everybody to work together. Choosing Joseph does not mean excluding Michael or George. I want to be everyone’s leader, not a leader of a faction. I don’t want to spend the next five years watching my back but looking forward, convincing people that they can trust the Labour Party to govern this country.”

See? What did I tell you? A fait accompli: and I’m sure that George Abela is going to trip over himself in the rush to be led by a boy scout bravu tal-mama young enough to be his son.

“Whoever wins or loses must be prepared to toe the same line. This does not mean that I intend to bar any criticism but I think we should now start pulling the same rope. I see myself working in a team with all sorts of people.”

He doesn’t intend to bar any criticism. Well, that must come as a relief to those who are waiting for Labour to take its first steps into the modern age. Funny he felt the need to say it, though, when that sort of thing is best left unsaid, because saying it speaks volumes about your mindset (“Look here, I am not going to ban criticism…”).

He turns to the yelling charlatan for advice

Then there was a bit of waffle where he claims that Alfred Sant will want no role in the Labour Party. And another bit of waffle where he describes that shouting charlatan George Vella, whose insulting behaviour towards university students and their parents cost the Labour Party rather a lot of votes, as “one of the father figures of the party”. Well, no wonder the offspring is such a nasty mutant, then. Muscat explains that he regularly turns to Vella for advice. Oh dear God in heaven.

And I was right about something else (if I carry on this way I am going to be as smug as that prat): that Joseph Muscat will only take on the leadership if he is 100% certain that he will be prime minister in five years. He does not want to be Labour leader. He wants to be prime minister, and he is not going to give up his nice MEP life for anything less than that. Qed tara – I should have been a psychologist. Here’s what he said.

“It will be a pyrrhic victory just to win for the sake of leading the Labour Party.” Somebody explain to this chap what a pyrrhic victory is. “I’m interested in leading the Labour Party for its last term in opposition, and to then govern with a project. I look forward to being a Labour prime minister at 39.”

If I were 14, I would stick my fingers into my mouth and make that retching gesture. Kemm hu antipatiku. Il-veru kaz. Tad-daqqiet ta’ harta. But he’s exactly the sort to go down like honey with those delegates who are impressed by Harvard certificates and irgiel tas-skola. Certificates in the Labour Party are perceived as an adequate substitute, nay as superior, to a sharp mind and political nous.

He thinks he’s David Cameron

Where I agree with Joseph Muscat is when he said that Labour should do what the British Labour Party did in 1994 with Tony Blair and what the Conservatives did more recently with David Cameron. Where we part company is in his belief that he is both Blair and Cameron rolled into one. The starting-point for both of them is that they come from extremely privileged backgrounds and they owe their self-confidence to that, rather than to strings of certificates used as a substitute for a sense of security or real intelligence. That will be the day: when the Malta Labour Party chooses a leader who went to St Edward’s, comes from a tal-pepe family, got sent off to an expensive boarding-school in England, and speaks with a smart accent. Not even the Nationalist Party would dare choose a leader like that. What does Joseph Muscat imagine Tony Blair is – a working-class kid made good? Kemm ma jafu xejn, jahasra.

Ah, here’s more.

“I am not willing to waste time. We have to hit the ground running. I will change things drastically. Some things might not be liked. Others will.”

And he tells us that he has charisma – just in case we didn’t notice for ourselves

And then Herman asks whether Joseph sees himself in the mould of Lawrence Gonzi, “whose charm and charisma has managed to appeal even to some Socialists.” And the pr*** (not the word that ends in ‘t’ this time, but the other one) replies – hold your breath: “Well, as David Cameron once said, I think it won’t hurt anybody to have a young and charismatic leader.” Oh, yuk, really – since when has it been charismatic to call yourself charismatic? This fool has a lot to learn before he ‘hits the ground running.’

Then he tells us that he won’t shy away from any face-to-face confrontations with Gonzi. We know that already. After all, this twerp was doing in the 2003 campaign exactly the same job that Charlon Gouder did in this one. Do I take it that Charlon Gouder will be prime minister in 15 years time? One of my most vivid memories of the 2003 campaign was of Joseph Muscat shouting over Eddie Fenech Adami (the prime minister) and heckling him in a Broadcasting Authority debate, and it occurred to me how you could give a boy all the book-learning in the world, but without good manners or a sense of humour it’s just so much nothing.

Joseph Muscat: I did it My Way

Herman asked him whether he has any regrets, especially about that book on corruption that he wrote, for which he was sued by several people. His reply seized for him the crown of prattishness from Jason’s head.

“Regrets, I have a few. But then again, too few to mention.”

Yes, really. That’s what he said. And he wasn’t been funny or ironic. Play it again, Frank. What a prize pair they make: Jason and Joseph. Zewg antipatici – put them together on a show and you’ll be able to hear the votes stampede away.

And now he’s reinvented himself as a member of the Yes camp

Then there’s the bit where he tells us that he is “pro-EU”. Yes, right. Ahem. And at that press conference I just mentioned, he was heckling and shouting at Fenech Adami because – you’ve guessed it – the big issue was EU membership and His Master’s Voice Joseph Muscat was dead set against it. To listen to him talk, the EU was hell on earth. Alla hares we should join. We might as well tie a stone around our necks and throw ourselves into the deep blue sea.

And then, like Sharon Ellul Bonici, the minute we joined he began trying to discover ways of working in Brussels, and became an MEP. That got him out of our hair for four years. But now he tells us that “the issue is over and done with” and that Labour is a “European party” that will be “pro-European”. It’s a bit like the Nazis turning Nazi-hunters, isn’t it? You just wouldn’t trust them. People are naturally and understandably suspicious of those whose views go in the diametrically opposite direction, literally overnight, because the occasion so demands.

And then he refers to himself in the third person once more, like his ex-AN namesake Josie Muscat loved to do in his public speeches.

“With Joseph Muscat as leader, it’s not talk. It’s fact. I have worked in the European Parliament” – ar’hemm, hej – “and the results I managed to obtain are evident.” No, they’re not, actually, and he’d better remind us.

“With Joseph Muscat as leader, Labour would have crossed the Rubicon definitely.” For an explanation of what he means, go to Wikipedia: Rubicon.

Oh yuk, and yuk again. Yuk until the cows come home. He urgently needs an adviser who should tell him to stop sounding off and blowing his own trumpet. It’s so off-putting, really. And that’s where you realise what a lot of growing up he still has to do, despite fathering twins, despite ‘working in Brussels’, despite everything. He’s not Tony Blair. He’s not David Cameron. And he’s not JFK. He’s a kid with pretensions.

127 Comments Comment

  1. Adrian Borg says:

    Unfortunately for those who were hoping for a truly reformed and modernosed MLP, you are probably right Daphne! I have always believed that the MLP will get the leader they deserve, i.e. one that reflects their beliefs, desires and aspirations (which have very little to do with socialism and much more to do with nepotism and class hatred!). That is why George Abela never stood a chance. Joe Muscat will be a leader for the laburisti but not for the maltese people, I simply cannot see him luring any new votes.

  2. Luke says:

    David Cameron is young, charismatic and witty. Still, however, he lacks substance. Listening to the (highly entertaining) PM Q & A at the House of Commons, you can’t help but think ‘ok…this guy’s cool, he has charisma…but when is he going to say something that actually holds water?’.

    I find myself making an effort to like Cameron(and people like him)… but I’m often dissapointed. At the end of the day, when the dust settles and sleeves are rolled up, what counts is political substance – and thats it.

    David Cameron has the charisma, the wit and the charm, but lacks substance.

    Joseph Muscat is the same. With some good PR, Muscat can be portrayed as having these qualities. He’s young, doesn’t wear a wig, can pull of an authentic-looking smile, and is reasonably good looking.

    Labour don’t only need someone whose charismatic. They need substance. Alfred Sant didn’t have an ounce of charisma. But under his leadership, even more worrying, neither did they have substance. Their proposals (bar one – in my opinion – the golf course proposal (in principle)) were hopelessly unsubstantial.

    Joseph Muscat (and the Labour Party) lack substance, real substance. A 15 year plan drawn up in a matter of days screams disaster! Get serious Joseph…any sort of plan ought to take months of preparation, reports and analysis. What he ought to have at this stage is a vision, a mission statement. I seriously hope to see an opposition that doesn’t merely rant and rave, but talks business from the get-go.

  3. David Buttigieg says:

    I remember him too, yeuch (excuse me). He and Glenn Beddingfield used to make me want to throw up.

    The word creep comes to my mind. He is my age and believe you me, nothing turns away young(er) voters more than a young(ish) know it all.

    Him as PM ….. can’t labour EVER get it right?

  4. Meerkat :) says:

    Hi Brian Hansford

    I had a Brain Wave since I have a brain and use it I get plenty of these.

    Let’s strike a deal: If you discuss what Journalist qualities suggested to you in his post I’ll come on your programme (Just in case you forgot, I am forwarding it to you below…)

    I have another proviso.

    Kindly discuss your ex-(!) Great Leader’s legacy to the MLP and to Malta (especially the Referendum debacle) and I’ll hit the ground running…now lemme see, where did I read this expression…Ohhhh The Poodle-on-a-Leash said it.

    This is what our friend suggested:

    Journalistic qualities on Mar 25, 2008

    Dear Mr Brian Hansford,

    Thanks for your kind reply. However though you boasted about your program’s ratings, you did not answer me whether you intend to use your investigative capabilties to delve into who was behind the Freeport scandal. Maybe you can also use your qualities to divulge more information about the Mangion/Vella scandal too.

    May I also kindly ask you another question? I recall your presence in a Xarabank edition way back in 1997 (during the UHM strike). Did you ever insult the UHM leadership of the time? If yes, did you ever ask for a public apology?

    Independent journalists should never, ever, insult Union representatives….. oh! and please don’t tell me that during that time you were not a journalist.

    And btw, the UHM was proved right for striking during that period, even if Sant’s government wanted to dismantle the Union. Did you know that if Sant won the case, the UHM would have to close down? Was that ethical of a Labour party? Maybe you can discuss these issues in one of your next editions….

  5. Meerkat :) says:

    David Cameron is another preening ineffecutal twerp so the comparison is dead on…

    Another one of those who preaches responsibility but then happily breaks traffic rules on his way to Parliament. Peachy!


  6. Corinne Vella says:

    Luke: Who says that the 15-year plan was drawn up in days?

  7. Jason Spiteri says:

    “Never trust a man with a goatee”… ?!! Less of this crass stupidity and more grounded commentary please…

    I’m also a little astounded that Luke would say Cameron lacks substance – I suppose, it’s because he lacks substance that the Labour party’s practically copied and re-spouted off all the Tories’ health sector and police reform proposals over the past months!

  8. Corinne Vella says:

    Jason Spiteri: Luke is not the only one who has commented on Cameron’s lack of substance. I have heard senior journalists say as much about Cameron himself, as opposed to the Tory party.

  9. I don’t know why this ferocious attack on Joseph Muscat has to take place? If he is so bad for Labour, then why don’t you let him hoist himself with his own petard? Seems like a lingering fear is creeping in that JM could be the one to finally throw the PN out of government after a quarter century. Oh and btw, today’s Times’ leader is finally interesting.

  10. kenneth Spiteri says:

    Let’s MLP choose the poodle I am already working at the archives to find something good he said way back when he was the
    Gouder at that time… about the EU for example…..interesting material….

    Heheheheh I am ready for you Mr. Poodleeeeee the now converted Pro European…

  11. Coming back to Lawrence Gonzi. What’s so demi God about him? After preaching tolerance and cross party consultation, the first thing he does is let RCC call the shots and unilaterally decide to push Malta into the PFP. Now, I for one believe that’s pretty harmless but couldn’t he have showed a little more consensus building by at least discussing it in Parliament? As GonziPN says; judge us by actions not words.

    [Moderator – The application for PfP membership was a cabinet decision.]

  12. amrio says:

    If Joe Muscat is elected Lab leader and then Prime Minister at 39 years of age, he will not be the youngest ever Maltese Prime Minister. Ugo Mifsud was PM at 35, whilst both George Borg Olivier and Dom Mintoff in their 1st term of office were 39 (ie exactly the same as Joe Muscat would be). The full list of Maltese PM’s and the age they 1st took office is as follows: (source Wikipedia):

    Joseph Howard 59
    Francesco Buhagiar 47
    Ugo Mifsud 35
    Gerald Strickland 66
    Paul Boffa 57
    Enrico Mizzi 65
    Goerge Borg olivier 39
    Dom Mintoff 39
    KMB 51
    Eddie Fenech Adami 53
    Alfred Sant 48
    Lawrence Gozi 51

    Of course I’m aware that comparing Joe Muscat with Ugo Mifsud, Borg Olivier and Mintoff is tantamount to heresy.

  13. amrio says:

    For journalistic completeness sake, out of the above PM’s, only Francesco Buhagiar sported a goatee, but this was in the 1920’s; and even so, he looked like a prat!!

    [Moderator – Compare.]

  14. Corinne Vella says:

    Gerald Fenech: Joseph Muscat does not want to be MLP leader (“that would be a pyrrhic victory”). He wants to be prime minister. That, surely, is everyone’s business and not just that of people who believe political parties should serve just their paid up members.

  15. Moderator don’t try to pussyfoot me. The head of the Cabinet as Prime Minister is Lawrence Gonzi. Or is someone else calling the shots?

    [Moderator – I am not trying to foot you with my pussy. The newspapers reported that the issue of PfP membership was raised at a cabinet meeting, and a multilateral decision was taken to apply for it. They were even kind enough to include a photo of the meeting. I am busy and can’t be bothered to find the report, but I’m sure you will.]

  16. amrio says:

    In 2001, Joe Muscat was rumoured to be one of the writers of the GWU anti-EU document:


    [Moderator – There’s a gem of a quote in that: “Just remember when the dockyard workers protested against him. They went so far as to accuse him of being a Teletubbie.” I didn’t think being rotund was a prosecutable offence. Has Tonio Borg caught on to the vibe in Poland and is he now lobbying for an anti-Teletubbie amendment to the constitution?]

  17. @Corinne. Suggestions to lead the MLP? And if JM is so bad for the party, how could he ever become PM in 2013. Surely with GonziPN at the helm next time, it has to be a thumping 4th consecutive PN victory.

  18. observer says:

    theres another issue. imagine the intelect that these two will contribute in Brussels.


  19. Brian Hansford says:

    Hi Meerkat, the following will be discussed in my next program will you accept the invitation?

    Let’s strike a deal: If you discuss what Journalist qualities suggested to you in his post I’ll come on your programme (Just in case you forgot, I am forwarding it to you below…)

    Kindly discuss your ex-(!) Great Leader’s legacy to the MLP and to Malta (especially the Referendum debacle) Freeport scandal. Maybe you can also use your qualities to divulge more information about the Mangion/Vella scandal too.

    regarding a programme i had attended some 11 years ago it would be lie to say i remember what was said, show me the recording and if i did offend any uhm offical as you stated i am man enough to admit it.

  20. Meerkat :) says:

    Hi Brain

    On Net TV?

    [Moderator – I was about to correct the name until I realised how hilarious the irony is.]

  21. Meerkat :) says:

    Hi Moderator

    I see you’ve got a good brain that goes tick tock…

  22. Adrian Borg says:

    Does anyone know if the rumour that Joseph Muscat was one of the authors of the MLP campaign slogans in the last election is true?

  23. europarl says:

    For once I totally agree with Daphne.

    Yes, if Joseph Muscat is elected Labour leader everyone is bound to benefit.

    For starters, he’ll be replaced by Glen Beddingfield in the European Parliament, who will undoubtedly lead our causes in much the same heroic vein as Muscat did.

    Also, Joseph Muscat is a firm believer in criticism, unless of course this is directed towards our European mentors (ghax mhux sew inmaqdru l-Imperu; qatt!). So, unlike others who stubbornly remain EU-critical even if they’ve accepted the Referendum result, Muscat is truly and soundly converted. This means he will make a good prime minister, who, like Gonzi, will say Yes to everything from Brussels for only good can come out of there.

    Also, although Joseph Muscat is not a stateman, EU provinces need no statesmen, only compliant administrators, and in compliance Muscat excels.

    So there, Daphne is right: Joseph Muscat of Beau-Murad is the man, the child prodigy, the prime minister Malta truly deserves in this Age of brilliance, awareness and sanity.

  24. amrio says:

    Listen and judge for your yourselves. JoJo’s speech at the MLP conference of a few weeks ago. I won’t comment so not to influence you:

    Just one quote about the Malta Drydocks: “hadd mhu ser jinqeda binha biex naghlqu il-benniena socjalista li ghandna hawn Malta”

    New Labour indeed…

  25. SB says:

    Oh my Oh my! I still believe that JM is the best option the MLP has! I dare say, BETTER than GA! To be taken seriously, GA has to get his priorities right!

  26. David Friggieri says:

    1. I told you so

    It’s “I told you so” time in the land of Kulhadd Bravu so I’ll add my little “I told you so” moment. On 16/2 I had left this comment on Andrew Borg Cardona’s blogpost dated 12/2.

    Here it is in all its prattish glory:

    “Daphne Caruana Galizia’s argument concerning the eventual benefits of Labour getting a hammering (namely, the much needed reform of that party) must be taken to its logical conclusion. The argument only makes sense if a revolution rips right through the MLP. Since that’s a rather unlikely scenario, given all the interests at stake and the penchant for people in power to jealosuly guard their territory, the likelihood is that Ms Caruana Galizia will be reading from the same script in 5 years time when Varist Bartolo/Anglu Farrugia/Joseph Muscat is head honcho.

    In the meantime challenges to the comfy status quo have come from AD and, increasingly, from a bunch of independent young people who think that Malta can move away from a choice between the religious right on one hand and total cynicism on the other”.

    2. Why goatees are the new wigs

    No more wigs. It’s goatee time.

    I’ve never liked goatees myself. Just imagine the hours of vanity-time it takes to keep them in shape. But here’s another famous playwrite who sported one:



  27. Corinne Vella says:

    Gerald Fenech: Being a bad party leader is no barrier to becoming prime minister. We know that through experience.

  28. Joe Martinelli says:

    Shallow-cocky-insipid-arrogant-self-centred-presumptuous-vain etc…
    Although these adjectives would fit Jason nicely, they were not intended to describe him.
    Amazing how the MLP have a knack of labouriously digging out of a hole only to fall into another one – dug by themselves, of course.

  29. John Schembri says:

    Can anyone provide us with some videos of GA & JM before the referendum?

  30. “With Joseph Muscat as leader, Labour would have crossed the Rubicon definitely.”

    So he would have to cross the Pisciatello. I would love to see him doing that. ;-)

  31. I am rather surprised how scared the true blues are of JM. Corinne, does that also apply to GonziPN?

  32. Bercsényi says:

    Re the comment about not trusting a man with a goatee, Daphne is absolutely spot on. How many goatee-sporting Prime Ministers have you seen?

    The bit about high class backgrounds etc, however, needs some clarification. Joseph Muscat is an Old Aloysian, so in his own way he is a Tal-Pépé prat, although St. Aloysius has gone to the dogs ever since the accursed common entrance exam was introduced. So he might actually qualify as “working class”.

    But pro-EU!? My fluffy arse.

  33. freethinker says:

    He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

    George Bernard Shaw

  34. Brian Hansford says:

    Meerkat deal or no deal next monday on smash tv for a discussion on your proposed subjects?

    you asked me ” Let’s strike a deal”:
    i am up for it, are you ??

  35. Corinne Vella says:

    Gerald Fenech: You’re asking the wrong person. I can speak only for myself on this matter. I don’t find Joseph Muscat scary at all. I do find his overconfident manner somewhat off putting. It’s not possible to submit one’s name for election to the post of MLP leader for another couple of months and the man is already talking as though it’s a done deal.

  36. amrio says:


    If JM will become leader and act as he is promising (highly unlikely seeing his background), PN would surely welcome such a change. After all, let’s face it, it’s been 60 years since PN had a lucid MLP leader as an adversary.

  37. Why are you ignoring my question says:

    Dear Mr Hansford,

    Why are you ignoring my question?/

    Do you want me to repeat it for you ??

  38. Meerkat :) says:

    @ Brain

    Domt naqra ma twiegeb…strike while the iron is hot that’s what I say…issa bierdet. I’m sorry I have the attention span of a gnat. Besides, I wanted to see if you put your money where your mouth is. You do. So let’s see you make this thing. Give me the time and the place…And I’ll show.

    I’m glad you took up my suggestion…Deal or No deal lingo is right up your street…I think I saw it on one of the MLP billboards. We all know the outcome.

  39. europarl says:

    Bercsényi, are you saying that Joseph Muscat is not pro-EU?

    Where have you been living since 2004? In the Magyar County of the Lower Don? Or are you a true Cossack of the Upper Chadwick?

  40. kenneth Spiteri says:


    Deal or not Deal I still not going to watch your program….

    but good for you… at least you are using this media so maybe people with brains can tune on to watch your program…

  41. You are the journalist.. not me... says:

    Dear Brian,

    I saw your sort of reply.

    1) I am not a journalist. You claim to be one. So you do the job!

    2) If you want to watch the Xarabank program where you shouted insults again UHM officials for having the guts to strike against the incredible increase in the water and electricity bills, you can ask Where’s everybody to provide you with a copy. Maybe you can then have the guts yourself and publicly apologise to the UHM officials.

    3) You haven’t answered why at that time you agreed with the “Labour Party” to sue a workers trade union, endangering its own existence and the right to strike.

    Thank you.

  42. Meerkat :) says:

    @ Kenneth Spiteri

    re Brain

    Tee hee :D

  43. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @ Gerald – you are right in reaching the conclusion that PN voters fear Labour leaders. But they don’t fear them for the reason you are imagining: that they might seize ‘their’ government away. They fear them, yes, precisely because they know that they will become prime minister one day (even Sant did, after all), and will be running the country. Unfortunately, in our experience, they have invariably run the country into the ground. People who vote PN tend to be more aware of the broader picture than people who vote Labour (and this is not a sweeping generalisation, but a look at the socio-economic groups that vote for this party or that one). This means that when they vote, they are not thinking in football team terms but in terms of who is best to run the country. It’s Labour supporters who think in terms of Juventus and Milan – as evidenced so memorably by the lion of change at the mass meeting on the Granaries, when he introduced the massive crowd to it-tim ta’ Lejber United – sorry, Junajtit.

  44. erm.... says:

    ermm… by the way, Mr Hansford,

    the Freeport scandal I was referring to only happened some time before the elections…

    You may recall your (ex) MLP leader and Anglu l-avukat shouting about corruption coming from the PN side aboout a particular individual who was asking for money from families promising them a job in return with the Freeport.

    Maybe you could help us understand if this person bein accused for such a crime is coming from the PN side or from the MLP kitchen.

    Your journalistic capabilites are kindly solicited….

  45. Corinne Vella says:

    Europarl / Kevin Ellul Bonici: Those who are avowedly anti-EU may not be aware of the difference between being pro-EU and pro-partnership. I think Bercsényi means Joseph Muscat still believes partnership with the EU is the best deal for Malta. The MLP was not anti-EU, remember. It was pro-partnership.

  46. Brian Hansford says:

    Meerkat issa bierdet wow this is your excuse for not attending !
    time and place how about saracino caffe attard anytime you want today ?

    [Moderator – Why don’t you just go ahead and make it the Last Chance Saloon? Don’t forget to take your six-shooters.]

  47. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Bercsényi: going to St Aloysius College does NOT (I would underline that too, if I could) make you tal-pepe. The school is full of johnnies, and has been since at least the 1950s. I’m not running the place down – I and all my sisters went there, so did my husband, and so did one of my sons (the famous one, incidentally), but you can’t exactly say it’s a smart school for smart people. It used to be, yes, in the days when my grandfather and my father-in-law boarded there around the end of World War I, but now it’s prized for other things, like making sure that the kids get those damned exam results.

  48. europarl says:

    No, Corinne Vella, unlike you Bercsényi knows what he’s saying. He just needs some updating that’s all. News travels very slowly to the Lower Don areas.

  49. Brian Hansford says:

    there is a saying throw shit against the wall and some of it will stick if you know what happened 11 years ago on a so called programme then bring facts !
    i have invited you and others to come and debate anything in a civilised manner or is it easier to hide behind the moniter ?

  50. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Meerkat :) and Brian Hansford: issa daqshekk (in the famous words of Tony tal-Unjon). Call a truce, please.

  51. Corinne Vella says:

    Europarl / Kevin Ellul Bonici: Irony is subtle. Maybe that’s why you missed it.

  52. Brian Hansford says:

    Moderator if you so exactly what i wrote i said saracino caffe not a street !!
    unlike some we except other’s oppinion and should Meerkat wish to meet i am up for it!

    [Moderator – OK, now drop it. This is not a dating agency.]

  53. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @David Friggieri: in the picture you’ve shown us, Shakespeare isn’t sporting a goatee. But let’s not nitpick. In those days, lots of men wore one, and they also wore a doublet and hose. Would you recommend Joseph Muscat takes up that fashion, too? Wigs came a little later, in the next century.

  54. maryanne says:

    Diga ghamluha fatta that the nex election is theirs. Do these people ever learn? We have been hearing for months that they were going to win on 8th. March and it did not happen.

    One important asset behing being successful and winning is humility and from what we are hearing humility is just not to be found in any Labour leader. Muscat comes along as a prusuntuz.

    It would be nice to know why the cards have turned in favour of mUscat when we all thought
    that the Sant faction would be backing Evarist.

    Also, Daphne you said that AS is still keen on doing what he set out to do forty years ago. I can understand your reasoning but I cannot fathom what exactly it is that he wants to accomplish. On a personal note. My mother was always saying the same thing in her own way. Lil Sant ma nafdahx, irid jitla hemm fuq biex jaghmel li ghandu f’mohhu. Honest that is what she used to say whenever an election was near. But she would never tell me what that something was.

  55. europarl says:

    Corinne Vella, perhaps you meant sarcasm not irony. And that’s the irony of it all, isn’t it?

  56. I agree that Joseph is somewhat over confident but in my opinion he has good reason to be. He is intelligent, charismatic, successful and has an aura about him that is disarming. I have known him for some time and he has not grown too big for his boots even if he has done some sterling work as an MEP. I really do believe he will be a winner for Labour and the country also stands to benefit if he were to become PM. As for the comment that the PN hasn’t had a good opposition leader for 60 years, check your facts, in 1947, the PN was actually the third party with a smattering of seats in Parliament.

    [Moderator – 2008 – 1947 = 61 > 60]

  57. Corinne Vella says:

    Europarl / Kevin Ellul Bonici: No. I meant irony. And this isn’t a sarcastic comment, either.

  58. kenneth Spiteri says:

    @ Maryanne…

    I can explain to you in few words….if someone search deep down in the archives for sure will come out with this….

    Once Sant was interviewed on national television @ that time, the interviewer asked him, so do you agree with DITTATURA…and he replied YES, YES, YES, I AGREE ALLURA…

    This is your answer I hope…..

  59. Vanni says:

    @ Gerald fenech

    What exactly are you writing? His obituary? Or the speech you propose giving when he walks up to claim his prize?

  60. europarl says:

    I’m very sorry, Corinne Vella. It must be tough living in a world where one’s sarcasm is ironic.

  61. Bercsényi says:

    Well yes, Daphne, that’s precisely what I was saying. And I should know, because I spent nine years of my sordid life at St. Aloysius.

    In any case, Joseph Muscat is anti-EU, and always will be, just like Sharon Ellul Bonici, Alfred Sant, and the rest of the whole bloody lot, just like you, europarl.

    Lower Don indeed.

  62. Bootroom says:

    Europarl your wife was kicked out of the MLP (or not allowed to contest the elections) because she forms part of a grouping that is pro-referenda, right?

    Question: Why is it that back in 2003 when she/you lobbied for a NO vote, she/you then conveniently jumped on Alfred Sant’s bandwagon in dismissing the referendum result and stating that an election will settle the matter? The YES result was not accepted by you pro-referenda people. How bloody ironic.

  63. Thanks Daphne for suggesting that those who vote Labour come from the lower end of the social ladder. I suggest you take a look at what makes up at least 50 per cent of the PN core vote.

  64. Corinne Vella says:

    Europarl / Kevin Ellul Bonici: Don’t apologise. It isn’t your fault you live in such a strange world.

  65. Meerkat :) says:

    So this 15 year plan that was concocted, did it have Plan B? In case MLP lost election? :D

  66. Adrian Borg says:

    From di-ve.com:

    “After that MEP Joseph Muscat became the first person to announce he would be submitting his nomination for the post, http://www.di-ve.com caught up with Dr Abela to see whether he would be another name on the list when the MLP selects its new leader on June 5. However, while Dr Abela confirmed he is interested in the post, he remained non-committal and stopped short of saying that he would also be submitting his nomination. Queried on what would his eventual programme include, Dr Abela said that his programme would eventually come at a later stage, as the first step was to decide on whether to submit his nomination or not.”

    He does not seem to be willing to let the Poodle faction gets their way easily!

  67. amrio says:


    I said 60 years ever since PN had a good MLP leader as an adversary, not as opposition leader while PN were in power!

    That was Boffa (or so old gents tell me…).

    After that there was Mintoff. Although under his leadership (especially the 1st time around) Malta went through some important transformations, he was too bent on ‘indamduhom’, ‘inxerrdu d-demm’ ‘narmaw il-poplu’, ‘niksru l-ligi’ sort of talk. And too much in love with now-scorned dictators to really stand out the test of time as a forerunner in Maltese politics. And I won’t mention the infamous 70’s and 80’s.

    As for KMB and Sant, the lesser said the better, mhux hekk?

  68. Guzeppi Grech says:

    Er…..I know I am about to feed the (united) lions with my own precious blood.

    However, my sense of fairness obliges me to throw in my tuppence worth with regard to JM.

    Sorry to disappoint but JM is not anti-EU.
    Let me explain.
    He might have taken that stand at one moment of time, but that was for political necessity, that is, to support the position of the MLP at a time when being ant-EU was the official position; and loyalty to the party meant just that. Many had to take that position if they wished to survive politically.

    On a personal level, many others were not anti-EU at all.

    So, folks, say what you want, tear me to pieces. But before I present my neck to be slit from ear to ear let me just say one thing: Forget EU, find another issue to beat him over the head with (and no, I won’t provide the ammo)

    I’m ready now, may the lord have mercy on my soul :) :)

  69. europarl says:

    No Bercsényi, I am not anti-EU; I do not want the EU to be dismantled and I agree with the four freedoms of movement. The question is who should control those freedoms: the supreme soviet, the politburo or the republics?

    But I used to be anti-membership and because I’m a democrat I now accept membership. And for the information of the likes of Corinne Vella, I had been offered a job here in October 2002, which I refused at the time and took up only in April 2003… do you get the drift, Bercsényi?

    Not really, aye? I guess these nuances are lost on you types inhabiting the Lower Don regions.

    But Jospeh Muscat? Anti-EU? Don’t be ridiculous! He never really was.

  70. Meerkat :) says:

    @ Brian

    Ha ntik Santa tal-madonna fil-but. Paci? :D

  71. amrio says:


    An excerpt from l-Orrizont of March 2003:

    Is this Joseph Muscat toeing the party line?


    If I were a party delegate or part of a party machinery, and I disagree with such a fundamental party policy, I would either shut my mouth or resign, not write articles in newspapers.

  72. Adrian Borg says:

    Right let me get this straight what Guzeppi and Europarl are saying is that JM was pro-EU but said he wasn’t to show his loyalty to the party. So he was willing to put his political career ahead of the country’s interests on such an important issue! In mitigation you might say that he knew that the pro-EU vote would win, so was he also sure that the PN would win the subsequent election? Was he willing to let his hero Doctor Sant ignore the referendum result and keep Malta out of the EU had the MLP won the 2003 election? To me all this smells of one thing…opportunism and self-interest. He wasn’t willing to stand up and be counted when it really mattered. Hardly the best credentials for a future PM.

  73. Guzeppi Grech says:


    You’re right. And you’re also confirming what I tried to hint at. He was in the MLP administration set-up. He had a job to do. He did it. Just like so many other party officials did. On both sides of the divide. Unfortunately party politics make people do what they have to if they want to remain part of that party (like defending a fellow MP for example).

    I reiterate: like so many others, red and blue, he was doing his job. That his job did not meet with success is perhaps providential and we are now in the EU.

    But its great you finding that link, someone was asking for something similar in another post
    Well Done!

  74. No Principles says:

    @ Guzeppi

    Continue doing a job if it goes against your fundamental principles?? Are you claiming that Joseph Muscat has no principles?

    So, according to your argument, Joseph Muscat would accept to do something even if it goes against his basic principles, just to please the party! God forbids if he is elected in power.

  75. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Corinne and Europarl: and now I am going to call a truce between the two of you, too.

  76. amrio says:


    Found another one! From 19th Feb 2003


    JoJo was doing a great job hiding his true ideas!!!

  77. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Guzeppi Grech: “Sorry to disappoint but JM is not anti-EU.He might have taken that stand at one moment of time, but that was for political necessity, that is, to support the position of the MLP at a time when being ant-EU was the official position; and loyalty to the party meant just that. Many had to take that position if they wished to survive politically.”

    I’m not going to bite your head off, because that’s precisely what I said: that he’s a Class A opportunist. And Class A opportunists are not to be trusted, because you never know whether they give voice to an opinion because they believe it or because it pays them to do so.

    I’m sorry, but how do we get to trust a man who fought AGAINST a cause he believed in for the sake of his own personal political ambition? Instead of helping Joseph Muscat with comments like this, you are damning him even further.

    If Joseph Muscat truly believed in EU membership for Malta, he would have been in the Yes camp, fighting against Sant to make sure we got there (like I was). So what was his plan B if Sant got his way and Malta got locked out? I’d be very interested to know.

  78. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Gerald – they do. You can ignore the polling results that tell us precisely this, and just look at the crowds at the mass meetings. There is a significant difference. The Labour Party has acknowledged it too (finally) by saying it wants to do things that are attractive to the middle classes.

  79. Vanni says:

    So according to what is being written here, Joe Muscat has no principles?

    If he toed the party line, whilst disagreeing with the line does not say much for his leadership material. A true leader of men, as our old teacher, whose name escapes me, used to hammer at us, should be strong enough to hold firm in his beliefs. Same fella used to say that there are followers and leaders in this world, and if we want to be leaders we have to constantly afirm it through our actions and strength of character.

  80. Abel Abela says:

    Back in 2003…

    Source – New York Times, 10 March 2003
    ‘Malta Voters Narrowly Approve Joining European Union’, by Frank Bruni

    … The public debate over whether to join the union has arguably been more intense in Malta, a former British colony, than in the other countries expected to sign accession treaties in Athens next month and become union members next year.

    That debate dominated political discourse in Malta in recent years and, as the referendum drew near, often received more news coverage than the possibility of war in Iraq. Rallies for and against union membership drew thousands of people.

    The disagreement featured dueling predictions of whether joining the union would be a boon or a bust for the Maltese economy. ”It would lead to an erosion of competitiveness for our country,” said Joseph Muscat, a senior official with the opposition Labor Party, which fervently opposes membership.

    In a telephone interview, Mr. Muscat also said the structure of European Union government meant that a country like Malta ”really doesn’t have any type of voice.”

  81. Vanni says:

    Sorry Daphne, we sort of crossed posts.

  82. Are we going to have a witch hunt looking for different positions on the EU by JM? If this is the level the Nationalists are intent on sinking to then political debate in this country is really in the pits. I thought that PN voters thought with their minds.

  83. Vanni says:

    Gerald Fenech

    “I thought that PN voters thought with their minds”
    As opposed to? :D

  84. Adrian Borg says:


    The simple issue here is how can we ever trust a man who was so fervently anti-EU to work in Malta’s interests in the EU? OR
    How can we trust a man who hid his true beliefs so well for his own political interests?
    Why you call this “sinking to this level” I cannot understand!

  85. Jason Spiteri says:

    Corinne: I’m sure if you read The Guardian long enough you’ll read that sort of comment on Cameron by a number of journalists – but besides disliking this sort of vague/unanswerable/unprovable comment, I do think that likening Muscat to Cameron (because they’re both relatively young) and then firing at Cameron to make a parallel that (in this universe) is untenable between the two, is not helpful at all. As is not helpful demonising his goatee – it just distracts sensible readers’ attention from what may be otherwise real shortcomings.

  86. Daphne, I thought mass meetings do not really portray the decisive voters and are more ‘rally up your base’ stuff. And really if we are going to remain stuck in classist debates, it is a bit sad.

  87. europarl says:

    Bootroom, good question. And you deserve a serious answer.

    You ask:

    “Why is it that back in 2003 when she/you lobbied for a NO vote, she/you then conveniently jumped on Alfred Sant’s bandwagon in dismissing the referendum result and stating that an election will settle the matter? The YES result was not accepted by you pro-referenda people. How bloody ironic.”

    My answer:

    During the referendum campaign Sant was neither here nor there. First he wanted to boycott the referendum (that’s when he rose up in Parliament to confront Romano Prodi in 2000 – Dik ghal Histri bukks patriottici kienet). We had even sent him a note advising against this stance.

    Then, since he NEVER believed that the No side could ever win, he took the position of not exactly campaigning for the NO, but allowing Labour to sort of BE on the No side, while coming up with his brainwave strategy: “vote No, abstain or invalidate your vote” (thereby dividing the No vote into three weaker factions that could hardly ever win!)

    This ridiculous decision is linked to the “Partnerxipp rebah” call and I’ll explain why.

    What the too subtle Sant had in mind is this:

    1. The 2003 referendum was not only non-binding, there were no clear rules as to how to interpret the result. Is it by a simple majority of votes cast, or an absolute majority of the whole electorate?

    2. When no clear rules exist, precedence is what counts. So the sly Sant had the 1956 Integration Referendum in mind, where the Yes side won a majority of votes cast but NOT of the electorate, and the British government interpreted this as a victory for the No side.

    With this precedence in mind, then yes, il-Partnerxipp rebah!

    3. Now of course you, I and everyone knows that that’s not how referendum results have been interpreted in the EU for the past million years. And Sharon knew this. So much so that prior to the referendum she had tried to clear the way by asking President DeMarco to intervene in the problem of interpretation, but her plea was ignored.

    When the result came out she had intended to admit defeat, yet there was a lot of pressure from the party not to contradict Alfred Sant’s stance. So she agreed to pull the party line, hoping he can explain his politically legitimate, even if unsound, strategy and then it’s up to interpretation. (After all, the No vote was divided on the basis of this flawed strategy, so one might as well see what Sant was coming up with).

    Nothing at all came out of Sant, of course. Sadly, till this day he’s been unable or unwilling to explain his reasoning.

    So, to be fair, it should be said that Sharon today regrets having towed the party line in the Partnerxipp Rebah saga.

    As to her current job, contrary to popular belief, she did not go scurrying for a job in Brussels after 2003. She had been offered a job in Brussels as early as 1999, which she constantly refused until Malta eventually joined the Union and there was no reason to remain in Malta under another PN government. Furthermore, if you want to continue the political fight, it is better in this case to do it from within; and which better place to do this than from inside the European Parliament, where the European peoples’ representatives sit, eurosceptics, EU-reformists and europhiles…?

  88. Romegas says:

    Now that JM has the advantage of being the first to announce his candidacy, no doubt part of the plan concocted with the great leader, what will happen to Varist, the other ‘Sant’ candidate? And what will happen to the candidacies of George Abela and Michael Falzon? I feel that what we are witnessing is a script that was written well before the election as Plan C. As is written in the Gattopardo by Tomasi di Lampedusa, “Bisogna che tutto cambi perche tutto rimanga lo stesso”.

  89. europarl says:

    Eureka! Vanni gets it!

    Muscat Joe has no principles.

    Prosit, Vanni. Qed tara kif qed titghallem diga?

  90. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Gerald – All sorts go to mass meetings. The political parties have to identify the classes of people who vote for them, and the classes who don’t. It’s called marketing, and is an important part of selling anything, including policies. To find out what happens when political parties don’t do this, look at Labour’s repeated failure at the national polls, and the inane comments of Jason Micallef, who still believes there were only 17,000 new voters in this election when there were 34,000 (17,000 was the difference between the new voters in 2003 and the new voters now).

  91. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Guzeppi Grech: “He was in the MLP administration set-up. He had a job to do. He did it. Just like so many other party officials did.”

    I think that excuse was last used at the Nuremberg Trials.

  92. Guzeppi Grech says:


    Who says I wanted to help JM? :) I don’t think he needs it. I just wanted to rebut what I consider an erroneous impression.
    That is, all I wanted to state was my belief that he was not Anti-EU (maybe more pro-partnership, but not anti-EU).

    Now, and this is the crunch, how that is interpreted re: principles and opportunism, is inevitably, out of my hands :) One draws one’s own assumptions. Mine MAY differ from yours, of course.

  93. Vanni says:

    @ Daphne
    You mean “Befehl ist befehl” or Orders are orders.

  94. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Vanni – I agree with your old teacher that people fall naturally within two categories, followers or leaders (and a third category of individual loners, in which the last Labour leader fell).

    Joseph Muscat has no leadership qualities, because he is a natural follower. He actively seeks mentors (Mario Vella tal-MDC, George Vella tal-hamallagni, Sant tal-parokka) and is forever admiring somebody or other. He got to arrive at this spot because he clung to Sant’s petticoats.

    I’m actually quite keen to see him in a leadership position. It will be quite amusing and only a matter of time before he falls to pieces.

  95. Vanni says:

    @ europarl
    Qed tara, we tal pepe (joking marelli ta ) are not as dumb as we look :p

  96. europarl says:

    Not so fast, Vanni :)

    But you’re gaining ground, really, I’m mesmerized.

    And now, suddenly, we all find ourselves “quite keen” to see little Joe at the helm.

    Yet I’m not sure of your mentor’s prophecy that he’ll eventually “fall to pieces”. Power annoints even mediocre men with the finest air of wisdom. Now whether all that air could be blown off internally is another matter.

  97. Guzeppi Grech says:

    Hey….what’s good for the goose right?

    I think I was slightly misinterpreted, but what the heck, its all grist for the mill :)

    However, please Daphne, be fair to me and not refer to me as a ‘friend’ of JM. Its really not the case and it adds too much undeserved weight to my opinion, and is therefore inappropriate.

    So, I don’t think that was totally kosher, and therefore I would appreciate it if you could delete the reference.

    Whatever, its your blog and you’re the boss :)

  98. Matthew says:

    Michael Briguglio quotes (warning: long PDF) Joseph Muscat describing people’s perceptions of Alfred Sant as a “strange and very shy” man. He’s spot on.

    You can add Joe Debono Grech to his list of mentors. In this copy (scroll down) of an article from L-Orizzont, published in 2004, Joseph Muscat describes himself as a “zghir” and Joe Debono Grech as a “paternal figure”.

  99. Guzeppi Grech says:

    Why am I being censored?

    [Moderator – I’m sorry about that, I only just noticed that the comments ended up in the spam bin for some reason.]

  100. Oli says:

    Yesterday I arrived home at around 20:00 hours and sat down on my sofa to get the earned relaxation in front of my TV after a busy working day. While switching between channels I discovered that two programs where being aired at the same time on TVM and Smash TV regarding the JPO ‘case’. Although I thought that no real sense will come out from both programs my curiosity won and I decided to follow both TV shows simultaneously, the first wow was made by the labour guys which from their tones seemed to be the latest virgins in sin city. Accusing everything and everyone and jumping to conclusions which most appeal to settle their conscious for the electoral defeat ‘ imsiken’, but to these saints on the island of sin I ask if they bothered to read recent Maltese history. Do they no that they are representing the party that managed to destroy Maltese democracy every time they were in government? Do they know that their party and probably themselves have been losing ‘Libelli’ for these last 20 years? They are aware that their party is famous for its member misconducts even in opposition? I have nothing in favour nor against Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando but lets not forget that some time ago they made the same crociata against John Dalli and history showed that they just blew a balloon which burst in their face and even in that instance they where jumping to easy conclusions like this time. I remember that even in John’s ‘xenata’ there was the crettino that made allegations that after where proved to be lies. For me no one can be judged or declared guilty before the hands of justice take there course and issue their rulings. Then we will see who laughs last

  101. Gerald says:

    Elections are decided by floating voters and not party hardcore. This time, it appears that GonziPN’s message sank in with the electorate by a whisker.

  102. Simon says:

    I have been reading today’s thread and picked up quite a few lines (see below) from the head of news of the amateurish Smash TV. These lines reveal the mindset of certain people and their low expectations from the politicians and other leaders. Quite astonishing and amusing. I am lost for words.

    “lingering fear is creeping in the PN”
    “finally throw the PN out of government” – underline finally
    “He (JM) is intelligent, charismatic, successful” – What exactly did he do in his life?
    “ (JM) has an aura about him that is disarming” – underline aura and disarming

    I will add my own – “Joseph Muscat is the personification of the Lilliputian mentality that prevails in certain sectors in Malta”

  103. Jo Saliba says:

    About the virgins in sin city – Oli- any of you remember on advert on a maltese daily collecting money for a “Libelli Fund”? It only ran for two days – I suppose the people concerned decided they were going to be honest from then onwards!!


  104. Zunnarija Salvagga says:

    @ europarl

    I get the impression Sharon voted Yes to EU membership.

    After Xarabank, my impression is she did not vote labour this time round.

    Since she did not take up the job in 1999 and only accepted it in 2003 as “there was no reason to remain in Malta under another PN government”, why couldn’t she have remained doing whatever it was she did in those four years.

    What if Labour won (… after she was told she could not contest the election) would she have dropped everything in Brussels to come back… I think not, but then again I didn’t think she would have gone to Brussels in the first place.

  105. Helene Asciak says:

    Does anyone wonder if it ever crossed Poodle’s mind before the election that if PN won he would be PM in 5yrs?
    If so I wonder if he actually voted Labour…
    (if he told his mama it was not only his vote that labour might have lost).

  106. Corinne Vella says:

    Jason Spiteri: A lack of substance is a real shortcoming in anyone with pretensions to power. It’s even a shortcoming in lesser mortals.

    I agree that Guardian journalists may find that Cameron lacks substance. I would be surprised if The Guardian’s journalists didn’t do so. However, the senior journalists I referred do not write for The Guardian. They write for the international media.

  107. Amanda Mallia says:

    Vanni – Maybe Gerald Fenech simply finds little ginger men with thinning, gelled-up hair and goatees somewhat attractive …

  108. Corinne Vella says:

    Guzeppi Grech: pro-partnership = anti-EU membership, which is what ultimately matters to people who were and are pro-membership.

  109. matt spiteri says:

    To Oli
    You said that labour destroyed democracy every time they were in government. Of course i agree with if you are refering to the labour of 25 years ago. At that time i was all out against Labour as we had suffered a lot in those years.
    However,i think it is now high time that we stop associating this labour with that of 25 years ago. One of the prospective Labour leader is 2 years younger than me and infact this let me down because i noticed that I am getting old:) Most of the Labour MPs are in their thirties or forties. Therefore, most of them were in their teens during that time you are referring to. Instead of remembering what Labour has done a quarter of century ago, I recommend you to look at what is happening now.

    Secondly, I have no doubt that JPO can never get out clean of this issue as it is getting worse for him day after day from the facts that are coming out. On the other hand, I say that the irregularities in the JPO issue is nothing compared to what others (his parlaimentary mates) have done, are doing and will continue to do in the future. You concluded by saying ‘we see who laughs last.’ Nobody shall laugh but they (the MPs) shall laugh at us as they will continue to mess around regardless if JPO resigns or not. Infact even though i cannot tolerate what JPO has done i have no doubt that JPO will end up as the government’s scapegoat. In any case, even if this will probably happen i still would like JPO to resign. I certainly cannot compare these times with those bad old labour days but when we talk of corruption i tell you that we are not far off from the level of those days.
    Anyone who says that there corruption or abuse of power by MPs, ministers, their appointed top govt employees, is non existent or minimal in Malta, is certainly not living here. You praise the PN government for several things they have achieved this 20 years but certainly not for controlling corruption /irregularities or even trying to do something about it.
    If you look at the nice large new PN HQ at Pieta, it is not hard to understand why it very difficult to control corruption etc.etc. :)

  110. Dear Amanda Mallia, are you going to start mudslinging in true blue PN fashion? I would like to draw Moderator’s attention to comments which may be libellious.

  111. Dear Simon, thanks for your vote that Smash TV is amateurish. At least we try our best with very limited resources and have a small but very loyal following. As for your comments, they continue to confirm the blighted, hatred driven and vindicative nature of the far right posers who cuddle into the PN fold.

  112. Eve says:

    @ Europarl. We can safely assume that Sharon, just like the Poodle, is an opportunist with a capital O.

  113. Bootroom says:

    Europarl, thanks for your answer.

    The big problem I see in this issue is that following the 2003 elections Sant was not sent packing by the MLP. Even worse, few people if any took him to task for the referendum fiasco which in my eyes was a threat to democracy and also a potential catalyst for trouble in the streets that day.

    Sant may have his opinion on referenda i.e. the ones pushing for the issue to go through (government in this case) have an advantage. Fair enough. I do not exactly agree but that is his opinion. However I’d much rather he stated that and said that as a result of that bias he would be instructing MLP supporters to boycott the referendum, instead of coming up with the Partnership Rebah theme.

    To this day I find it unbelievable that he was still left to lead a major political party following that (failed) stunt.

  114. Amanda Mallia says:

    Gerald Fenech – Take a joke! Looks like you seem to have forgotten my sense of humour despite having worked together a little while back (10 years+, probably) I mean, I was only referring to something which, after all, you said yourself, and which I am reproducing here in all its glory:

    “Gerald Fenech on Mar 25, 2008

    I agree that Joseph is somewhat over confident but in my opinion he has good reason to be. He is intelligent, charismatic, successful and has an aura about him that is disarming.”

    As a woman, I certainly don’t find anything about him to be charismatic … and definitely neither “an aura about him that is disarming”.

    Now please don’t bring out your ping-pong bat.

  115. Amanda Mallia says:

    Incidentally, Gerald Fenech, lest you come up with some witty reason as to why I made no reference to the “intelligent … successful” bit:

    I am not one to be impressed by qualifications, because they do not necessarily reflect intelligence, just as somebody with no formal qualifications is not necessarily ignorant. As for the “successful” bit, what can I say – Opportunism at its best!

  116. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Amanda – men haven’t got a clue what makes other men attractive to women. They think people like Joseph Muscat are magnetic to women, when really they are only magnetic to other men (I’m not implying anything untoward here). So let’s explain to the men that, to women, vain men who define themselves as charismatic and who preen are the ULTIMATE turn-off. Women like Crocodile Dundee/Indiana Jones types.

  117. David Buttigieg says:

    With all due respect Daphne, I don’t see Joseph Muscat as attractive to women either! His awful smile/smirk is enough to put anyone off, male or female!!

  118. Simon says:

    Daphne, stop generalizing please. To state that that “men think people like Joseph Muscat are magnetic to women” is a huge insult. You are far off the mark, of what we think of Muscat. I hope that you honestly do not have believe that.

    I think that certain women are attracted to the Indiana Jones type, while other women are attracted to the metro sexual type.

    [Moderator – The latter includes Victoria Beckham.]

  119. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Simon – I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t think that George Clooney is attractive. There’s your benchmark.

    Thanks for the metrosexual tip – just the description I was looking for. And as the moderator pointed out, metrosexual men attract strange and sexless women like Victoria Beckham.

  120. Matthew Bonello says:

    Talking of strange and sexless women, have a look at Camilla and her hat on Sky News!!!

    …….and then, have a look at Carla Bruni! Dalle stelle alle stalle literally!!

  121. Amanda, I happen not to have a formal qualification myself so I’m not exactly impressed by MA’s, etc. I just think Joseph would be a breath of fresh air to the Labour Party and believe in his qualities.
    Regarding our stint on the job, can you pls give me a hint as I seem to have forgotten who you are?!

  122. David Friggieri says:

    This discussion on what makes men attractive to women is hilarious! Indiana Jones types or bust! :-) Super stuff!

    As that wonderful sitcom The Office shows, even w*****rs like Brent get a woman in the end.

    Check out his infamous dance (and goatee) here:

    [Moderator – Joseph Muscat should sue Ricky Gervais for stealing his act.]

  123. Vanni says:

    This argument is simply hilarious.

    As my better half (or so she imagines) says, whilst giving me a meaningful look, beauty lies solely in the eye of the beholder.

    If I got Daphne and her camp (BTW, wanna bet they are all women?) right, they are saying that they imagine that the MLP (who are probably being unconsciously considered as consisting soley of men) imagine him as attractive.

    How is that for convoluted reasoning :p? And I am not even a woman.

  124. Amanda Mallia says:

    Gerald Fenech – With regards to the ginger man’s “qualities”, I wonder if you are referring to the opportunitist in him?

    Vanni – It was all sparked off by one man’s comment

  125. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @David Friggieri – thanks for reminding me that David Brent wears a goatee. See what I mean about never trusting a man who’s got one?

  126. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @Vanni – yes, they do think he’s attractive, in the same way they thought Sant was clever. And in case you hadn’t noticed, the ones who call the shots at this stage are all men.

  127. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @They think he’s attractive in the same way that women think that men think that skinny women are attractive. Phew – convoluted reasoning.

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