The ruddy peasants do it again

Published: November 6, 2008 at 8:54am

I use the word ‘peasants’ figuratively, of course, because in my experience, real peasants have near-perfect manners and know more about xi jmur u x’ma jmurx than a certain kind of arriviste.

The Labour Party has long been run by figurative peasants, but now this couple of arrivistes really take the biscuit. While one of them writes excruciatingly embarrassing letters to the president-elect of the United States about ‘relations between our two countries’ – it’s not your country, Muscat, it’s Fenech Adami’s – and signs them off ‘with best personal regards, yours sincerely’ – his silver lady is trying to usurp the position of prime minister’s wife like the worst sort of vulgar, common and pushy person li ma taf xejn u qatt ma marret mkien.

When HSBC set up its Cares for Children Fund, the bank decided that the fund would be headed by the prime minister’s wife – not as Kate Gonzi, but as the wife of the prime minister.She has been the fund’s figurehead and official representative at events so far not because the Opposition leader was yet another wife-less man, but because the Cares for Children Fund is not the Broadcasting Authority and TVM. It isn’t obliged to seek political balance by sticking two wives at the top.

The Labour Party clearly thinks otherwise. Just as Muscat has been advised to start behaving like the prime minister four years ahead of any possible election, addressing the nation and all of that – a bad mistake because it builds up overkill and exposes his inadequacies – so Mrs Muscat has been advised to take on the role of prime minister’s wife. She has insinuated herself into the public events of the Cares for Children Fund through a process of telephone calls and ‘contacts’ – I won’t describe how because it’s complicated – and invited herself to London for the formal ‘opening’ of some new charity apartments built for Maltese families whose children are receiving cancer treatment there. She hasn’t yet told us whether she paid her own way or whether the money came out of the fund.

But that’s not all. Look at this report on Michelle Muscat was the fund’s main woman, while its chairman, the prime minister’s wife, “was also present for the occasion”. Somebody at HSBC should communicate politely with the advisers of this woman’s husband – she has no official role herself – and let them know that when Michelle Muscat is the prime minister’s wife, she will take over the chairmanship of the fund, but until then, sheer good manners dictate that she behaves herself. – Local news
Families of sick children need more help – Michelle Muscat
Wed, 05 November 2008

Political activity should serve to improve everyone’s quality of life, especially of those most in need, including the families of children with cancer.

Michelle Muscat, wife of Labour Leader Dr Joseph Muscat, insisted that government must do more to help those parents who leave their families behind, and travel abroad to accompany their sick children for treatment. She was addressing the inauguration of three apartments in Sutton, UK, which were bought by the Puttinu Cares Foundation, to accommodate parents of Maltese children who travel to London for treatment of cancer.

Muscat explained that it is not only the children who suffer in these cases. Parents also go through many hardships, especially when the family is divided, with some of their children still in Malta while they accompany their child in a UK hospital.

Kate Gonzi, wife of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi was also present for the inauguration.

23 Comments Comment

  1. I M Dingli says:

    You are correct on this one; it is more so an act of childish behaviour rather than ruddy peasants.

    Lately politics in Malta has boiled down to the ‘I did it first’ theme. This is not healthy for the country but rather a childish way of tackling politics.

  2. Corinne Vella says:

    I. M. Dingli: “I did it first” doesn’t enter the picture. Muscat et al fail to recognise that they do not inhabit the roles they aspire to, which is why they trample so clumsily through the boundaries of formal protocol.

  3. Robert P Galea says:

    @ I M Dingli

    I am sorry to note that it is the Labour Party that has taken this ‘I did it first’ attitude, reason being that the party has been playing ‘catch up’ games for the past 20 years at least.

    It is very annoying to see that Dr. Muscat’s much promised earthquake within the party and its way of doing things has not yet commenced. I was personally looking forward to the aftermath of that earthquake but it seems like it is all slipping out of Dr. Muscat’s ‘able’ hands and he is reverting back to the same old ways his predecessors believed in.

  4. Ethel says:

    You are right Corinne but they are going ahead with this attitude and will continue to do so. They do not care what people say. The idea is to be in the limelight at all costs even at the expense of appearing ridiculous. I guess it is a case of ‘who dares, wins’ ???

  5. Corinne Vella says:

    Ethel: Who dares, wins? Wins what exactly, and for whom? Taking this sort of attitude to its limits won’t win anything for anyone at all. Protocol is there for a reason. Without it, all they’re doing is scrambling to become king of the dung heap.

  6. Dunstan says:

    I don`t know whether you realised that the occasion was usurped by the great guy..Norman Hamilton!!!! I actually saw him and his `mentor` the budding lawyer!!!Joe Mifsud!!!!…sorry Dr.!!!! on the TV coverage!!!
    This wonderful Puttinu Cares cause….is a NATIONAL one and should be treated as such!!! Hopefully more money is donated and more help afforded to the children and their families.

    [Daphne – Yes, I do know. The person who told me the story explained Norman Hamilton’s involvement in it. I wonder whether he paid his own way or got his flight paid by the fund – or maybe his travel agency organised everyone’s tickets and threw in Michelle for free, as a special offer.]

  7. Corinne Vella says:

    Ethel: There’s another aspect to the matter. They may not inhabit the roles to which they aspire, but they do inhabit another set of roles – and very important ones, at that. By behaving so uncouthly, they make no mockery of the people to whose roles they aspire, but they do make a mockery of the roles they currently occupy, undermining their own credibility in the process.

    No one is born with an understanding of protocol, in the widest possible sense of the word. Some people learn about it as a matter of course, others have to make an effort to do so. There is no shame in having to make that effort, but there is plenty in refusing to do so when it is so painfully necessary.

    Perhaps it’s time for the MLP to set up yet another committee.

  8. FB Aquilina says:

    I am not surprised at the Labour Leader’s wife’s intrusion into public life.

    Joseph is behaving himself like a budding Napoleon, in true socialist fashion. So much for equality….

    Lest we forget, Joseph was not elected to the Maltese Parliament… he was foisted on us citizens as Leader of the Opposition by a co-option following his election as Leader of the Labour Party.

    Well… with such a sterling record of democratic practice, no wonder Joseph’s wife has assumed the role of princeling’s consort.

  9. Sybil says:

    So much for the recommendations re journalistic ethics, from Mr Peppi Azzopardi & Co Ltd. :)

  10. Sybil says:

    FB Aquilina Thursday, 6 November 1122hrs
    “I am not surprised at the Labour Leader’s wife’s intrusion into public life.

    Joseph is behaving himself like a budding Napoleon, in true socialist fashion.”

    Dr and Mrs Zattat you mean.

  11. J Grima says:

    Why do they insist? Do they realise that they are splitting the country in two? SINCE WHEN does an opposition leader speak up for his half of the country, and the Prime minister for the other half?

    Don’t they even vaguely get it that the Prime Minister by definition speaks up for the WHOLE country?

    MLP, together with the number of grammatical and vocabulary lessons you are hopefully taking… look up the definition of “double-faced”, “holistic”, “intrusive”, “unnecessary”, “bullsh$&”

  12. Corinne Vella says:

    J Grima: No they don’t. When that lot were last elected, their newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs zipped around Europe, telling his counterparts about “il-hofra”, instead of talking his way out of it.

    [Daphne – Oh my god, the doctor from Zejtun. I’d forgotten about that particular embarrassment.]

  13. Sybil says:

    J Grima Thursday, 6 November 1215hrs
    Why do they insist? Do they realise that they are splitting the country in two?

    You sure overestimate their influence.

  14. Moggy says:

    [Ethel – You are right Corinne but they are going ahead with this attitude and will continue to do so. They do not care what people say. The idea is to be in the limelight at all costs even at the expense of appearing ridiculous. I guess it is a case of ‘who dares, wins’ ?]

    I do not think that such misguided behaviour wins one anything in the end. What it certainly does is turns people off. The more they do this sort of thing, the further people will be antagonised. They had better start caring what people think and say. After all, as well as being a matter of correct protocol, this is a matter of sheer good manners.

  15. Ethel says:

    @ Corinne
    They ‘win’ limelight but that is essentially all they care about – being in the news ! I agree with your reasoning regarding protocol but do you really think that half the population of Malta really understands or cares about protocol – unfortunately

  16. J Grima says:


    Unfortunately yes, they do have a lot of influence on this darn rock.

    Just go through the comments on

    When Muscat went to Libya for this or that reason, some comments said something along the lines of “Harr Harr Ghuddafee thrusts Muscat more than Gonzi. Resign!” (sic)

  17. Corinne Vella says:

    Ethel: What half the population thinks (or even what the whole population thinks) is irrelevant to the matter of whether a current or prospective government can handle protocol correctly or redress its lack of knowledge in the area.

  18. eve says:

    It made headlines on One News, you know! That “Mrs Michelle Muscat” was ‘invited’ to this event.

  19. Amanda Mallia says:

    Maybe “they” are intent on shoving her in the public eye because they’re so pleased with the “smarmy happy couple” image they can finally portray after:

    1) Mintoff + the wrong Mrs Mintoff (with no insult meant to Moyra Mintoff – his wife – who was such a polite, soft-spoken woman)

    2) KMB the ghazeb

    3) the Sant + daughter-with-no-mother-in-sight-except-at-this-election combo

  20. Paul says:

    The MLP media are not used to having a leader’s wife, because it’s the first time they have one.They are a bit carried away with it. I m 43 years old and never remember that they had one. Michelle always looks like “Look I’m here!” on tv. She looks very artificial and tasteless when it comes to clothes. We can remind Michelle that she is married to Zero 2.

  21. Bob The Builder says:

    @Amanda Mallia: Meglio soli che mal accompagnati!

    Daphne: are you sure she invited herself? I just can’t believe she had the nerve to do it! Jaqq! immaginaha jekk jirbah l-elezzjoni x taghmel mela!

    [Daphne – Yes, I’m sure. She got her go-between Norman Hamilton to wangle it.]

  22. Corinne Vella says:

    Michelle Muscat is not someone I know personally but she seems to be a very nice person, so for her sake I do wish someone would take her aside to explain the implications of her inappropriate behaviour. Even if her trip was sponsored by someone with an agenda, rather than by HSBC Cares For Children Fund, exploiting sick children for the sake of publicity doesn’t make her look good in the circles that really count.

    Perhaps Mrs Muscat’s advisers should back off a little and allow the image consultant to manage her own image and behaviour properly. Given some breathing space, I’m sure she’d realise that she comes across as someone who is trying to upstage the prime minister’s wife rather than as someone who plays a positive role of her own

  23. Paul says:

    These people think they know everything and won’t take advice.
    Ghal gol hajt, man.

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