The Poodle and chocolate economics

Published: April 9, 2008 at 9:00am

Hershey bar

Shock headline: “Joseph Muscat risked bankruptcy by buying me for his children,” says this Hershey Bar

I watched the Poodle being interviewed by Reno Bugeja on Dissett last night – the balding Poodle, incidentally, which is no problem at all, given that he’s a man and not really a dog, but with the Labour Party’s history of wigs, you can’t really be too sure what’s going to happen.

He was at his most predictably prat-like, telling people what they want to hear without the slightest sign of conviction. They want a discussion on divorce? I’m up for it. They want an apology for the 1980s? They’ll get one (but the Nationalists have to apologise too, for the 1960s and the Interdett). Somebody should explain to Dr Joseph Muscat DBA how it was the Archbishop’s Curia that was responsible for the Interdett and not the Nationalist Party.

The 1960s were the years of acid trips, but I don’t think anyone was tripping so hard that they could see a situation in which George Borg Olivier instructed people not to vote Labour because it was a mortal sin and they would be buried in unhallowed ground on his express instructions. That was the Curia’s business. Borg Olivier had some more pressing mortal sins to contend with at the time, if memory serves me right – but enough about that.

I like Reno Bugeja’s style. His questions are pressing and pointed without being aggressive, and he’s polite and reserved without letting things go. The bit I liked best was when he asked Mr Silly with the ever-ready smile about the giant deficit the Labour government saddled Malta with during its brief 22-month legislature. With his vast array of dikris in economics, for one brief moment there the Poodle didn’t seem sure what he was talking about.

You’d think he’s perfectly placed to discuss something like this, but no. So what did he do instead? His smile faltered briefly and then he said that it was the Nationalist government that created a deficit, by opening up the kaxxa ta’ Malta that Mintoff and Karmenu had so thriftily stacked full, and splurging all that lovely lolly. “The economy started doing well, but all the reserves were gone,” Mr Silly said, recovering his smirk. A brief tussle followed, in which Bugeja asked him whether he had really understood the question, and Dr Joseph Muscat DBA replied:

Yes. The Nationalists took the riservi and began spending them. Sure, the economy did well, but that’s not the point. This is like when you have a missier ta’ familja, and he takes the flus tal-familja and begins spending it, buying his family what they want, cikkulati and things, and then what happens?

Oh, I see – chocolate economics. Well, he won’t go bankrupt by buying chocolates for his kids, that’s for sure. I don’t think the Labour Party’s bankrupt because Sant and Jason bought chocolates for the staff.

Aside from his interesting take on economics (and here’s another one who, like Anglu tal-iljunfant and Alfred Sant, accumulated dikris and came out the other end without a clue), there’s the small matter of his paternalistic view of family life: missier ta’ familja li jiehu l-flus tal-familja u jixtri ic-cikkulati lit-tfal (u probabilment jaghti l-poketmani lil-mara ukoll, miskina, l-aqwa li ma tberbaqhomx).

It looked like a job interview

I watched the show with a feeling of disquiet, unable to put my finger on what the problem was. Then one of my sons (the same one who wanted to know who the used-car salesman was when he found me watching Jason Micallef on Bondiplus before the election campaign) plonked himself down on the sofa and blurted out: “Don’t you think it looks like a job interview?”

Bingo! That’s exactly what the problem was. That’s what it looked like: a prospective employer interviewing a prospective employee. Reno Bugeja had far more authority and gravitas than the wannabe prime minister, and the wannabe prime minister looked like one of the hundreds of Identikit thirty-something men in their Identikit suits, sitting an interview for a job with a financial services company and trying to impress the interviewer with their smartness and their confident smiles (and not getting anywhere).

To boil things down to their essence: Joseph Muscat doesn’t look like he’s up for the job of prime minister. He looks like he’s up for the very job he had with Alfred Mifsud’s investment advisory company before he became an MEP. He is indistinguishable from the legions of young men who are in precisely that same kind of job. He is not out of their league, but in their league. The Labour Party might as well go down to HSBC or GlobalCapital, to pluck two of the better known names out of a hat, do a rapid eeny-meeny-miney-mo, and pick any one of the young men there as party leader. And I’m sure they’d be nicer, too.

I can just picture Joseph Muscat selling investments. I just can’t picture him running the country. He doesn’t have what it takes. Full stop.

37 Comments Comment

  1. David Zammit says:


    I actually thing JM performed rather well. I’m not saying I support him but on the whole I think it was a good showing. I find it contradictory that one says that he is only giving an apology because thats what ppl want to here. If he refused to give an apology then the same ppl would say that you will never forgive MLP unless they apologise. Its a no win situation.

    As regards the statesman like apporach. Before 1996 (when gonzi was much older than 34) I remember Gonzi as a skinny, puny looking quiet man (I believe he was speaker in the early 90s). The typical azzjoni kattolika type – hardly a statesman. And everyone remembers EFA – ‘the village lawyer’

    So yets statesmen are made and moulded. Anyone who says that a ‘follower’ cannot be a leader – doesn’t know what he/she is talking about.

  2. Kumbinazzjoni says:


    Waqt li kien qed jidher il-maghzul tal-MLP Joseph Muscat fuq Dissett, id-drama ta’ Giselle waqfet tixxandar. Ezatt malli spicca jigi ntervistat il-poodle u deher Michael Falzon, kumbinazzjoni, kompla Giselle!

    Ara ma jigix xi hadd jghidilna li s-soltu hekk jigri ta!!!!

    iiiiiiiiiiiiiii x’kumbinazzjoni!!!

    X’KUMBINAZZJONI! Issa kumbinazzjoni Joseph Muscat se jsir mexxej tal-Partit…. Taf x’hasra? Li ma lhaqtx rajt lil Michael Falzon ghax milli qed naqra fuq it-Times tghidx kemm nigzu bil-pulit lill-poodle!!!

    Dik assunzzjoni… tad-Dopo kumbinazzjoni kellhom kollox ghal lest… heqq f’kaz li kumbinazzjoni jkollhom il-hsara waqt li qed jidher Joseph Muscat….

    Oh… imsieken…. hasra li ma baqax bil-hsara waqt li deher Micheal Falzon. Konna nisimhgu ftit id-dehxa li ta lil Muscat…

    Imma ballec…. kollox irrangaw ezatt malli spicca Joseph Muscat….
    ooohhhhhhhhhhhh x’kuminazzjoni… isma mhux forsi kien xi intervent divin hux???

    Kos x’kumbinazzjoni uxx? Jiena naqbel li dan seta kien xi intervent divin! Is-sema ried jurina l-kapacita intelletwali ta’ Joseph Muscat, u billi jafu li Giselle jarawh hafna nies, ballec, hassrilhom il-programm ezatt qabel ma beda. Malli spicca il-lawrijat Joseph, l-intervent divin spicca, u kollox rega gie lura ghan-normal…

    Imbghad jghidu li l-mirakli m’ghadhomx jigru! hmmmm staqsu l’tas-Super One! ;)

  3. kenneth Spiteri says:

    @ David..

    That where MLP problems lie…again you said it was a good showing from JM…sorry but I’m down on my knees laughing….

    I hope you are a delegate too so you can vote for him and we can rest assure for another decade PN government..

    Bring valid people on board, he was talking like a 2 normal (Labour) citizens drinking a tea while playing poker …f’xi hanut ta te’ wara l-kantuniera.

    They need to apologies too for the 1960’s INTERDETT…

    C’mon our next, and yes OUR prime minister …dream man dream…

  4. David Zammit says:

    I’m not even an MLP member let alone a delegate, I’m just entitled to an opinion like everyone else. Of course I wouldnt be so shallow as to fall on my knees laughing at someone elses. If I would i would roll over the whole floor after you said Abela would be trustworthy as a PM because he left MLP in 98 and you not managing to find any other good attribute of him except that he was MFA president. Now that would be a laughable opinion!

  5. Romegas says:

    If this was a good showing, then what is a bad one? I can just imagine how easy it will be for PN strategists to rip JM’s arguments to bits. They seem to come from an undergraduate’s assignment where he tries to convince his tutor that he’s done his research because he splashes a few quotes here and there and thus deserves a good grade.
    No wonder PN are sitting pretty and enjoying the show. And I couldn’t believe how many Santian non-verbals have been taken on by JM. Not to mention his trademark: Imbaghad mela le…

  6. Gerald Fenech says:

    I must admit I have trouble with JM’s constant smirk but otherwise he wasen’t so bad. As for prospective job interviews, the PN insiders obviously don’t have to worry about those with all their offspring positioned to land all the plum jobs before interviews actually take place. And the apology for the 70’s and 80’s was a good move. Seems like the PN are scared of that happening as then they couldn’t put up their obnoxious billboards or run despicable ads and biased TV programmes with their remanufactured history anymore.

    [Moderator – Gerald, do you bathe in sunflower oil? I’m just wondering how keep all those chips crispy.]

  7. Gerald Fenech says:

    @Daphne. You mentioned GlobalCapital. Yesterday their share price dropped by 43 per cent (source: They seem to be going bust pretty fast. I guess they’ll need good old GonziPN as their finance manager soon.

    [Moderator – Gerald, GlobalCapital have their own problems to sort out, including a splinter group that set up a rival company.]

  8. kenneth Spiteri says:

    @ David..

    Who said that ….not I…check, search then analyze everything …then talk…

    But that’s Labour after all, they talk without checking …like the reception class issue for example…

    Get a bottle of red wine man, I suggest Barolo …and get a big sleeeeeeppppp….

    cheers man.

  9. CATherine says:

    I firmly believe that both Leaders and Statesmen are born – not bred! Just because LG was slimmer – yes maybe he was – doesn’t mean that he was not of a leadership quality – the way he talked/orate in fact was always that of a statesman type! And even EFA to that extent – I very well remember that he used to win almost all one-to-one debates with the Socialists Leaders, including the ones with DM. Finally, statesman/leader qualities are not gauged by how one looks but by how one acts/reacts.

  10. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @David Zammit – followers cannot become leaders and leaders cannot become followers because those personality traits are congenitally ingrained. It’s like saying that a redhead can acquire hair of Spanish black other than by the fraudulent means of hairdye. If you are a born follower you cannot become a leader, though you can pretend to be one and will eventually fail.

  11. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @ David Zammit – you can see it from childhood; the ones who are tagging along and the ones who are bossing everyone about or, more pointedly, refusing to be bossed about.

  12. James Tanti says:

    I really admired JM in his interview with Reno on Dissett yesterday. He’s a straightforward guy, no beating about the bush. He’s even threading territory where nobody dared to till now. JM is a determined guy, full of energy and if entrusted with leading the MLP, I’m sure he’ll make all the necessary changes to rejuvinite the party and render it electable once again. His humble words of apology already makes him statesmanlike. His openess on the divorce issue daring to offer a free vote in Parliament to Labour MP’s is a sigh of relief to thousands of broken families who at the moment their future is in limbo.

    All the rubbish being said about this young man, here and elsewhere signals intollerance and attempts at assassinating the character of a leader in the making. It also signals the trouble brewing for the PN diehards writing in this blog.

    [Moderator – Well what d’ya know, it’s good ol’ intollerance-with-a-double-l James Tanti. The elfs (sic) are at it again, and they’re happily following their new directive: praise the anointed one in public. Do you think it’s time to bring out the generator?]

  13. Vanni says:

    “It also signals the trouble brewing for the PN diehards writing in this blog.”

    Err what trouble would that be? The shortage in weather vanes?

    I wonder if he learnt any more new speaches (or parts of speaches rather)? Ghandi Holma. BTW, did he ever credit Martin Luther King for plagiarizing his speach? And which famous speach will be next? I know, this one would be great to the delegati “we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”

  14. David S says:

    You hit the nail on the head ! It stuck me as some wannabe at a job interview, trying to play it smart! (veru tad daqqiet ta harta) Even his analogy about the family spending the money on chocolate was so wrong …at least he should have had the decency to say that the family spent the money on installing electicity, water supply, telephone line, for the family not the live in a kennel , as Malta lived without water , electricity and phones under Mintoff and KMB (and choclate too )
    As for the Apology… i did mention yesterday that the new Lejber leader must START making amends by an UNCONDITIONAL apology to win over the floating voters. The sixties debacle was between Mintoff and the Curia, and the PN has nothing to apologise for ! and JM if you think you are in any way comparable to PN’s illustrious line up of leaders, you better think again…Sir Ugo Mifsud, Fortunato Mizzi, George Borg Olivier, Eddie Fenech Adami , Lawrence Gonzi….and squeaky JM
    Lejber thinks they lost by just 1580 votes. There were AT LEAST a net 10,000 disillusioned PN voters, who may well decide to vote PN next time, and JM’s Lejber will wake up to another electoral defeat of some 12,000 votes in 2013 !

  15. David Zammit says:

    I must write a word or two about Falzon’s performance.

    You will observe that aren’t mentioning him this morning. Thats because no one remembers anything he said- his words didnt sink in. I was surprised by his lacklustre performance. I thought that he would rise to the occasion and give us a bit more insight on his views.

    But all I can remember from his interview are the words ‘michael Falzon leali’, ‘dak kumment sleali’, ‘kulhadd jaf li jien ragel’ etc. His constantly referring to himself in the third person was somewhat annoying – he did this about 8 times if I’m not mistaken.

    And what about his constant harping about elections and the electoral office as if the election was coming next week and he would win it for the iljuni tal bidla.

    The best one was his assertion that he doesn’t do plans since the world changes every 10 seconds. Where did he get that one from!

  16. Meerkat :) says:

    eh James Tanti huwa wiehed minn dawk li ghandu ‘grazzja’ mal-Poodle jahasra Mod, tiksrux

    A leader in the making? More like a leader on the make…

  17. David S says:

    Hi Daphne… A suggestion, just like guys go to the local to watch their favourite team play football, we should meet up and together watch these aspiring Leaders (my fav is poodle)on programs like Disset ! A blast night out..

  18. Paul Caruana says:

    James Tanti may have got his name here:

  19. Daphne Caruana Galizia says:

    @David Zammit – for once I agree with you 100%. I went to the kitchen to get a glass of wine five minutes into Michael Falzon’s bit, then headed straight for the computer, telling myself I would keep the television on and listen to him speak in the background – but after a few more minutes, I just tuned him out. He doesn’t irritate, entertain, amuse or inform – zero. If he wants to get our attention, he’ll have to stick another MGM cartouche around his face and sing.

  20. amrio says:

    So all you guys preferred watching JM rather than the Arsenal-Liverpool game yesterday? Weird stuff…

  21. kenneth Spiteri says:

    no man i watched the game ….

  22. Gerald Fenech says:

    so did I. what a game!

  23. Meerkat :) says:

    @ amrio

    Nah! I watched the game..all those guys in shorts chasing a ball sure beats a drone like l-Iljun tal-bidla…

    A girly laugh ensues…

  24. amrio says:


    … I think you must really fall over a guy like Liverpool’s Torres.. who incidentally, from the hints you have left, must be around your age…

  25. Meerkat :) says:

    @ amrio

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder regardless of age…

  26. R Agius says:

    Joe Muscat’s secret weapon to win the next election – stating that Mr Pepsodent “huwa validu u qad ghandu kontribut x’jaghti….”! A toast to a JM x 2 Lijder/Sec General ticket.

  27. Simon says:

    The concept of speaking of the national economy, in terms of kaxxa ta’ Malta, budget tal-familja etc etc, proves that this guy / poodle was bred and raised within Labour ranks and his mindset is still warped in this state of mentality. I am no longer surprised and shocked that some people actually people that physically there is box called kaxxa ta’ Malta!!

    I am sure that pretty soon he will soon come out with the parabboli, as Mintoff used to. I also feel that apart from being Sant’s poodle he is more of a hybrid between Mintoff of Sant, even though these two are not similar at all.

  28. Simon says:

    It seems that the poodle has a habit of plagiarizing speeches, MLK, Blair, Cameron. I am sure that Obama will be next once he obtains, as expected, the nomination from the Democratic Party. Hope that when copying and pasting Obama’s speeches, he remembers to omit the parts relating to the Iraq war, unless he wants to link PFP with that war.

    He might also want to come up with his version of “Poodle Girl”

  29. john says:

    Joseph Muscat yesterday repeated this Labour myth that the Nationalists spent the Lm400 million foreign reserves Mintoff/KMB left in 1987 and ran up a huge deficit to boot. This is simply a myth which is repeated by almost all Labour apologists.

    The Central Bank of Malta foreign reserves at the end of 2007 were Lm1,087 million – more than double what they were in 1987 (see Net Foreign Assets – Central Bank of Malta in this link ).

    With his DBA and everything, Joseph Muscat simply does not know what he’s saying!

  30. kenneth Spiteri says:

    yepp man JM is another DILETTANT..that’s all..i’m praying god to be i can relax for about 15 to 30 more years…hehehehe

  31. PR says:

    To Dr Muscat’s credit he has no trace of the evasive manner of answering questions which Alfred Sant had. He did answer confidently every single question. I’m wondering what he meant when he said that during the campaign he gave his services to the party but they were not utilised to the full. Was it a move to distance himself from the campaign? Or was he alleging that there was some antagonism towards him?

  32. PR says:

    Well done to Reno Bugeja for showing the clip when Dr Muscat is questioning Eddie Fenech Adami on doomsday EU scenarios. Dr Muscat’s reaction was brief whereby he stated that some of the things he mentioned turned out to be right. I listed VAT on food and medicines, retirement age, overtime, additional taxes, tuition fees, 100 miljun. The only one he got right was the retirement age and this can surely not be attributed to the EU. When he came to admit that partnership lost he was not entirely honest, as he stated that following the general election, with the benefit of hindsight, one can conclude that the partnership lost. Dr Muscat, the referendum was a yes vote to the EU and the only reason that an election was called in its immediate aftermath was because Alfred Sant in his high watermark of democratic credentials claimed the opposite was true, adding to the uncertainty the country found itself in. A huge chunk of the Alfred Sant legacy will be shed the minute the next Labour leader admits to the fact that the EU referendum was a yes to the EU vote full stop, without adding any considerations of the general election having a bearing on determining which way the referendum went.

  33. john says:

    You’re so right, Kenneth Spiteri: Joseph Muscat is an amateur. Alfred Sant didn’t use to make these mistakes and left the myth-mongering for the likes of Manwel Cuschieri. Yesterday I was shocked not only at the pruzunzjoni per se and the “Jason-still-has-a-lot-to-give-Labour” but even more at the increasingly obvious fact that Labour will have a new leader that is an amateurish copy of Alfred Sant.

  34. Amanda Mallia says:

    Gerald Fenech – You said “I must admit I have trouble with JM’s constant smirk but otherwise he wasen’t so bad”

    If I am not mistaken, in a post a few days (weeks?) ago, you said that JM had “an aura about him which is disarming”.

    Was that a u-turn?

  35. Amanda Mallia says:

    Mod – “Do you think it’s time to bring out the generator?”

    Yes, Mod, and “rejuninIte” them (sic)

  36. Amanda Mallia says:

    And I thought that several million Liri of “reserves” were deposited in a Swiss bank account in the name of a then top Labour man’s girlfriend. (Who, rumour has it, then dumped him once the cash was in her name …)

  37. Tony Pace says:

    Once again guys, the poodle will be the show stopper.

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