It’s time reporters began asking what Joseph Muscat has accepted from Beppe Hili and others like him

Published: February 25, 2013 at 12:37am

Beppe Hili - vilified as a 'baruni' by Joseph Muscat and Alfred Sant in the 1996 election campaign, now heavily involved with Labour and a donor to the JosephMuscatDotCom campaign

Beppe Hili – vilified as a ‘baruni’ by Joseph Muscat and Alfred Sant in the 1996 election campaign, now heavily involved with Labour and a donor to the JosephMuscatDotCom campaign

You might not agree with me, but I think this is the most telling, the most revealing, and the most shocking answer Joseph Muscat gave one of his interviewers (Kristina Chetcuti) in The Sunday Times today.

Q: What is the most expensive thing you have bought?

Gonzi: My house.

Muscat: Apart from my car, I think it was a handbag for my wife. But it was a sum of a Valentine’s, Christmas and birthday present.

We know that Muscat’s parents paid for his house and his swimming-pool with the proceeds from the sale of fireworks chemicals.

We know that they sorted it out for him by the time he was 22 (date on MEPA permit), but for heaven’s sake – did they also buy everything else?

Or did Michelle stump up for it?

So we’re to deduce from what he said that either Joseph Muscat did not pay for his own kitchen (OH MY, WAS IT A GIFT?) or that the handbag he bought Michelle cost more than their kitchen.

And what about Michelle’s car – did that cost less than the handbag, too, was it a gift, or did Michelle pay for it herself with money she made from selling necklaces?

Also, given that Muscat himself told us that his children were born through IVF, I trust it will not be construed as an attakk fahxi u moqziez u personali fuq il-persuna tal-mexxej Doktor Joseph Muscat u martu u t-tfal taghhom when I ask who paid for that process, given that it certainly costs a great deal more than any handbag I can think of, except perhaps a Hermes Kelly.

Dan bniedem ghamel hajtu jibbummja u jghix minn fuq l-ohrajn, u ghandu l-wicc jitkellem fuq l-imbierek arlogg ta’ Tonio Fenech.

One of those dead-in-the-water reporters I see cluttering up press conferences should pin this bum Muscat to a wall and ask him exactly how much he has received and who from.

Or do they only pursue homemade clocks given to an outgoing finance minister, when fed a slew of lies by an incoming education minister called Evarist Bartolo?

Beppe Hili – once one of the reviled barunijiet in Labour’s 1996 electoral campaign when Joseph Muscat was the Labour leader’s lapdog – is one of the sponsors of JosephMuscatDotCom’s campaign NOW. He’s in and out of Labour HQ.

Yet no dead-in-water reporters even know this, or if they know, it hasn’t occurred to them to ask Joseph Muscat what he’s doing, taking money from a man he reviled as a ‘baruni’ so as to help Sant win power in 1996.

And what does the ‘baruni’ now expect in return?

Maybe the reporters at The Times know, but aren’t allowed to say anything about it because the Labour Party’s campaign manager, Keith Schembri – who owns a company called Kasco – sold them the printing machinery for their new building at Mriehel and supplies all the paper they use, which is a massive overhead.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the reporting in The Times is so skewed towards Labour that the morning after Labour’s financial administrator was forced to resign, The Times didn’t even carry the story, let alone make it the front page news it should have been.

What has Joseph Muscat accepted from Beppe Hili and others like him – or has he accepted nothing except in JosephMuscatDotCom’s name?


Thank God I never held a press card, because these past few weeks I would have handed it in in protest, or set fire to it in front of the television cameras outside the virtual home of the Malta Institute of Crappy Journalists.

67 Comments Comment

  1. H.P. Baxxter says:

    Frustrating, innit? I’ve given up on Malta a long time ago.

    • Kevin Zammit says:

      Same here Baxxter!

    • ciccio says:

      Herbet Spencer’s theory on the ‘survival of the fittest’ does not apply in Malta.
      Everything seems to survive here.

      • ajs says:

        In evolution, ‘fitness’ simply means adapted in a very neutral sense; i.e., neither better nor worse.

        The focus on literal reporting and the lack of critical analysis in the media really ‘fits’ the environment.

        As Daphne has suggested several times over, few Maltese stop to think and go beyond the literal meaning of words.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        Malta, Maltese culture, Maltese policies and Maltese thought processes are tailored to the lower end of the intelligence yardstick.

        This obviously favours the survival and flourishing of idiocracy.

        That’s one thing PN will never get right.

      • Tabatha White says:

        With you Baxxter. No matter how many opportunities are provided you can always count on people seeing the reverse side to it.

        This is something else that John Bencini should be thanked for. An area where he played a major role in tampering with the advance in mindsets, because his own was long-since stuck in a rut. We knew this before the infamous “switch”.

        It’s the bsaten fir-roti like him that produce the glaring f**k-ups.

        He should have been out for ineffectiveness ages ago.

    • silvio says:

      What we are seeing here is one of the oldest tactics, as old as il-brodu tan-nanna.

      It has been refined to perfection, by Maltese buisnessmen.

      It’s called TAILS YOU LOSE, HEADS I WIN.

  2. Matthew says:

    Sometimes the seemingly most innocuous remarks are the most telling.

    Asked what superpower they would like to have, Lawrence Gonzi said ‘to fly’, in other words, to be all seeing. Joseph Muscat said ‘to be invisible’, in other words, to hide.

    That definitely says something about their leadership qualities.

    • Tinnat says:

      I thought the answer he gave regarding the best kiss (his first one) was rather indiscreet. It begs the question: was it Michelle?

      • Matthew says:

        I guess he was being honest for once.

        I still found it tasteless though that he admitted to the whole world that his best kiss was not from Michelle.

        Intriguing isn’t it that he often thinks nothing about lying or telling half truths about very serious issues but then he can’t even be bothered telling a white lie to please his wife?

        His wife is so far down the pecking order, it’s downright shocking.

        I think he puts more thought into the things he says to Kenneth Zammit Tabona than the things he says to his wife.

        Sometimes I wonder whether he lives in a Brokeback Mountain state of mind.

      • Tinnat says:

        Because he said that his first kiss was the best doesn’t mean that It wasn’t with Michelle. As a young man he was not an outgoing and popular person – quite the opposite.

    • Tabatha White says:

      I was intrigued by what Joseph said about 2nd chances. Does he mean it should go both ways? Or just in one direction – towards Joseph?

      What happened to Anglu that he was good enough biex jiekol il-kirxa f’Sqallija mieghu and go on a holiday “non come turisti” but not good enough to stay on in the party? Where was the 2nd chance there? Kemm jafuhom sew dawn in-nies ta’ madwarhom?

    • Custom Built says:

      It will not be the Hilis who will build it but Beppe Hili alone will be involved. His siblings have nothing to do with that project.

      He is just one arrow gone astray from the rest.

      The same has happened with other people in business. They grew under the PN and still they want more so they just switch to Joey Mussy.

      They have no political principles or beliefs at all. It’s just about lining their pockets.

      • Anthony Briffa says:

        They are taking advantage of the young voters’ inexperience and the stupidity of the Old PN voters who are declaring that they will not vote. Besides, they are using their millions to support an opportunistic leader who will have to compensate them from public funds through government contracts.

        And the promises must be on a large scale to satisfy them.

        I am now starting to doubt that Anglu Farrugia’s termination was more linked to his internal warnings about these business switchers rather than his comments in the Rabat meeting.

        The first people who will suffer from a Muscat victory are the qualified job seekers, pensioners, and small businesses.

  3. P Shaw says:

    Why bother reading The Times at all.

    I stopped visiting the website ages ago except for a few interviews on Sunday (when alerted in this blog) and Andrew Borg Cardona’s and Mark Anthony Falzon’s columns. It is now equivalent to Malta Today.

    I used to read it and get angry at the blatant bias – I don’t bother any longer and I feel much better.

    This blog is informative enough, and I hope it continues in the future.

    • Catsrbest says:

      I fully agree with you. I also said this long time ago. I stopped buying it very long time ago, now I even stopped reading it online. As to Malta Today – never bought it and never read it online either.

  4. pazzo says:

    How does Mario de Marco allow it?

    • The Phoenix says:

      Because Mario De Marco is probably busy scheming about the post-election leadership, that’s why.

    • AE says:

      I think it is because Mario wants to go one better than his papa. Haven’t you noticed how he is conspicuous by his absence?

      He doesn’t want to be associated with a team that is going to lose an election and is waiting in the wings so that as soon as Gonzi steps down, he will throw his hat in the ring to be the new Leader of the PN.

      I believe that besides the hold that Kasco have over The Times/Allied Newspapers/Progress Press, this is also one of the reasons why The Times has been blatantly biased towards the PL. They have their own horse to back, and that horse stands its best chance if Gonzi gets a hammering.

      If the PN win, the natural successor to Gonzi will be Simon Busuttil and that will just not do as far as The Times is concerned.

      • Tabatha White says:

        Yes thought that too, unfortunately.

        Silence is also a decision.

        No action is also a decision.

        Not everyone is blind.

        I did however also think that perhaps Manwel had the whole family by the balls. Seems to be his favourite part of the anatomy, as long as they belong to others.

    • Catsrbest says:

      I never trusted the de Marcos. I might be biased, but it is how I feel. I am always highly suspicious of those who ‘think Italian’, more so when they have Sicilian blood.

    • P Shaw says:

      Up to a few months ago, I had a positive opinion of Mario de Marco. He is eloquent, liberal (I think), and portrays a positive aura.

      However, several months ago (or a year ago), The Times published a cartoon portraying him in a portrait as a sort of hero/king, with the caption that read something like “the one” (not exactly these words).

      At that point, I started to change my mind about him, and started to see him in a new light.

      Now, given the shallowness and the dirty games of The Times, I literally feel disgusted by him. The damage that The Times is doing is not aimed only towards Lawrence Gonzi / Simon Busuttil, but towards the entire party.

      After the PN loses the election, Mario de Marco cannot expect to come in with a clean sheet and a lot of goodwill.

      I just hope that the PN delegates will not forget the dirty games being played right now by that newspaper.

  5. Gahan says:

    Beppe Hili xtara tmiem kbar ta’ art qrib il-Freeport.

  6. Village says:

    Ma kielx bizzejjed taht in-Nazzjonalisti Beppe?

    Missu jisthi. Ja hanzir.

    Rigward it-Times, vera swiet hafna l-istamperija l-gdida u forsi l-profitti ntlaqtu.

    Joqghodu attenti pero ghax ir-rispett u l-kredibilita’ titlifhom aktar malajr.

  7. Melissa says:

    It’s just all screwed up. What a mess!

  8. maryanne says:

    In an earlier post, someone gave a link to Muscat’s thesis.

    I had a look at the bibliography and the short notes about the politicians relevant to the study.

    I ask Joseph Muscat to confirm that he wrote those biographical notes about the politicians. If he did, he is not fit to be a prime minister.

    Talk about the re-writing of history and spin.

    Mintoff is accredited with transforming Malta from a monarchy to a republic.

    In the short one-page explanation about Nerik Mizzi, the last sentence is a reference to Antonio Gramsci.

    If there is anyone who can spare the time, it would be more than interesting to go through that appendix.

  9. M Falzon says:

    There you go, yesterday he told us that he earned more money when he was MEP but he has decided to become the leader and will work hard for the country.

    Work hard my foot, he has enough money and doesn’t need to work and he wants to play the prime minster.

  10. Mister says:


    “Aw mara, gibtlek hendbegg. Ara dan jghodd bhala rigal tal-Krissmass u l-berdej ukoll, u anke Velentines. Ara ma tahsibx li il-pajjiz sejjer tajjeb ta.”

  11. vanni says:

    ‘I am ready to sacrifice everything for my country’ – Muscat

    Big words. But what exactly is he going to sacrifice? Not himself definitely, but the Anglu Farrugias of this world are fair game.

    Does everything include Michelle? His kids? His beloved Alfa? His house, paid for by his parents?

    And when he says his country, does he mean himself? I do wonder if we have a budding Louis XIV with his ‘l’etat, c’est moi’ here.

  12. The term ‘subsidies’ seems to have an all new meaning.

  13. Tabatha White says:

    Where Joseph and Kenneth found each other and the idea of Gas came to mind. Gay Pride 2008.

  14. Mark says:

    In Beppe Hili’s own words: “Muscat tifel u jigi kif incempillu”.

  15. Moi says:

    Beppe Hili jrid jibni mħażen kbar f’ODZ f’Bengħisa

    Donnu sab l-intoppi taht dal-gvern u ghalhekk issa mar ghand Joseph.

    • Custom Built says:

      Should Labour win the election Beppe Hili will get his permit in the name of job creation and investment.

      After all, didn’t Joseph Muscat tell us that MEPA will be ‘reformed’? Isn’t there a MEPA planning officer on one of Labour’s billboards?

      Beppe Hili became ‘nies’ under successive PN governments through the hard work of his brothers who he chose to betray for Joseph Muscat. He has forgotten that back in 1996 he was vilified by Joseph Muscat himself as a ‘baruni’.

      Such is life – greed knows no boundaries and no friends either.

  16. stephen demanuele says:

    If you’re in, you’re out of your mind.

  17. old-timer says:

    The Times is now ridiculous. I keep buying it out of habit – but I am having second thoughts.

    • Lestrade says:

      I have been buying The Times for more than I wish to remember but am going to go cold turkey, withdrawal symptoms and all.

  18. Jonathan says:

    Muscat even tried to bum his car off the state. When he became Leader of the Opposition he wanted the state to buy his Alfa because he would not use the official car he is entitled to. He will also give himself back the VAT he paid on the car whatever a court decides.

  19. Nighthawk says:

    Perhaps someone could ask the times exactly how much business they give Labour’s campaign manager and how much money they owe him.

    See if a comment like that gets published on

    Better still, send the question to “The Big Debate”, the debate between the three party leaders, set for tomorrow, which is being held by The Times. Maybe if The Times can’t answer, Joe Muscat can.

    Here’s the address on which to send your question. Perhaps if they receive a flood of them, asked by real people, they just might answer.

    [email protected]

    • Nighthawk says:

      And if you want to fit it into the the 400 character limit on the times, here’s 399 characters for you:

      How much did The Times pay Keith Schembri of Kasco, Labour’s campaign manager, for their new printing press? Is it paid for, and if not how much does The Times owe? What is The Times’ average monthly turnover with him and all his associated companies for paper purchases and any other purchases? Does The Times feel its impartiality is in doubt when a major creditor is running one party’s campaign?

  20. Andre says:

    I read this in the Times today:

    I was curious and I went to check who the architects were. It turns out that this is the practice of Perit Charles Buhagiar, former Labour minister and current Labour MP.

  21. Joseph Vassallo-Agius says:

    And not only that.

    Many Labour MPs were ministers between 1996 and 1998. Journalists should ask them whether they ever received gifts.

    How come no journalist has asked them such questions?

    Why has Muscat stopped holding press conferences?

    • La Redoute says:

      Muscat hasn’t held any press conference at all since the start of the campaign. You can’t script a press conference, so he can’t handle it.

      That posturing on his pissoir doesn’t count.

  22. MoBi says:

    What about this gem from the interview?

    “Q. What is your most treasured possession?
    Gonzi: My house.
    Muscat: My black trainers (that he uses for the gym).”

    First of all, we all know the gym training thing is bull. We’ve seen the shoes he wore at the gym. And even if we ignore that for a second – black trainers are his most treasured possession? Really? Out of all the things a man can own, out of all the things that may have sentimental value for a person, he treasures his damn trainers?!

  23. Gorg Borg says:

    Apparently he’s handed him half a million euros.

  24. George says:

    Can someone give us the link to Joseph Muscat’s Masters and PhD please? Some serious questions need to be asked on these.

  25. Teo says:

    What is it about some people who are already rolling in money, that they always want to have more and more?

  26. Groucho says:

    Muscat’s reply to the superpower question that he’d choose invisibility, says quite a bit about him…

    I’m surprised nobody’s picked up on this yet.

    It reminded me of an episode on This American Life, particularly a segment within by John Goodman (PC in those now ancient Mac Vs PC ads) who carries out a sort of survey…

    Well worth a listen – it’s just fifteen minutes.

    Also well worth subscribing to the podcast…

  27. Groucho says:

    I said John Goodman – I meant John Hodgman.

    Lapsus oscarii

  28. Manuel says:

    It’s useless Daphne. Those journalists have no ba**s. They do not want to embarrass Muscat with uncomfortable questions.

    My suspicion is that The Times is giving a helping hand to the self-proclaimed underdog the century.

    This is really showing even through the words they use to describe his activities. Compare same with what they report about the PM.

  29. Carmen borg says:

    Tal-Labour xaghra fuq dahar haddiehor jaraw imma travu f’ghajnejjhom ma jarawhx.

  30. attent01 says:

    The Times has become an insult to the very people who supported it through thick and thin.

    Yesterday The Sunday Times reported with pomp a “fake” PN supporter Facebook profile but failed to report a word on the hundreds of fake PL Facebook accounts that are mushrooming.

  31. SPAM says:

    Rumour has it that he gave them the billboard frames for free worth around half a million euro.

  32. VICTOR says:

    Kemm kellu ragun Anglu Farruggia javzana b’dawn is- sangisugi.


  33. Eddie says:


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