Joseph Muscat: a real user

Published: April 12, 2012 at 10:12am

In the current Mintoff storm I realised that the best possible insight into the peasant utilitarianism of Joseph Muscat’s character is afforded by his treatment of Alfred Sant.

Alfred Sant made him. Muscat was a two-bit newsroom functionary when he perceived Sant’s lonely susceptibility to flattering overtures, burrowed his way in, clung to his coat-tails and became Sant’s poodle.

He echoed Sant’s voice, was forever at Sant’s side, repeated Sant’s mantras and sucked up to Sant relentlessly. Even if he hadn’t been voted in by the Labour delegates, he would have been Sant’s anointed.

Once he is done with using Alfred Sant to get what he wants, what does Muscat do? He begins to champion and lionise the man who was Sant’s nemesis, the man who brought down Sant’s government and tossed him into ignominy: Dom Mintoff.

It’s all about Mintoff now, and a return to Mintoffianism. Muscat even ran after Mintoff’s daughters and brought them on board. To do this, he had to wipe out the memory of Sant. Sant was Labour leader for almost two decades, but his creation Joseph Muscat has managed to pretend those two decades never happened. You’d think Labour segued straight from Mintoff to Joseph with nothing in between.

So at the last Labour general conference it was Mintoff’s daughter, not Sant’s daughter, who spoke. It turns out that Joseph wasn’t so much a wolf in sheep’s clothing as a shark in a poodle outfit.