How the government’s head of communications woke me at 6.56am today

Published: April 5, 2017 at 10:03pm

At 6.56am today my phone began ringing madly, sliding all over the bedside table, and within seconds I was wide awake wondering, like Dorothy Parker, what fresh hell this might be.

It was Kurt Farrugia, the government’s head of communications. What could he possibly want? Unfortunately, in a moment of levity I had linked this picture to his number and had then forgotten about it because he never rings. So my morning eyes had some time adjusting.

Equally unfortunately, when I am caught unawares I am in default well-brought-up mode, so instead of saying what-the-fcuk-are-you-doing-ringing-me-at-6.56am, I said: “Hello.”

“It’s Kurt Farrugia.”

“Yes, I know.”

“I’m calling you because you uploaded that email of Sarah Haider and it has her mobile number in it.”

“Yes, I know.”

“It’s her private mobile number and she pays for her own phone, so can you remove it?”

I did tell you that when caught unawares I’m well trained and polite.

“OK, I’ll remove it.”

By the time I’d had my builder’s tea and brushed my teeth, I was back on form. “F&ck that and b$£ger them,” I said, and left the building for my duties of the day. I mean, can you imagine the nerve of those b%*tards, ringing me at the crack of dawn to request the favour of my removing a mobile number that belongs to one of those aides in that den of poison, given all that they do to me? The arrogance is unbelievable.

At 8.41am my SMS box popped because the government’s head of communications must be the only person on the planet who doesn’t contact me using encrypted WhatsApp. I ploughed around the phone, looking for the message box.

8:41am GHOC: The number has not yet been removed. Thank you.

9:11am Me: I’m afraid I’m not in a position to remove it until this evening. (Let the pocket puppet stew.)

9:37am GHOC: It’s very irresponsible and unethical to expose the private number of an employee. But I’ve seen worse on your blog so I am not in the least surprised.

9:47am Me: Is this some kind of joke? Look at the website managed by your colleague in the Office of the Prime Minister. Look at the Panama companies set up by your other colleagues Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi. And you have the bloody brass neck to accuse me of being “irresponsible and unethical”. Just go to hell, will you.

9:52am GHOC: Highly irresponsible and unethical. Proven by courts and constitutional authorities. Have a good day.

(Gosh, I thought – that sounds like the verbal love-child of the Commissioner for Law Reform and the executive chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology’s girlfriend.)

10:22am Me: Try to remember that you are working for the government and not for Super One.

10:23am GHOC: Try to get your facts right. I never worked for Super One.

10:34am Me: Could have fooled me. I won a libel suit against you, remember. Just like I won one against your boss Muscat.

10:35am GHOC: Check your facts.

(I was at the hairdresser’s, trying to reply to emails, and this dwarf was getting on my nerves.)

10:36am Me: Sticking my 19-year-old son, a private citizen, on a loop for days on Super One in the thick of a general election campaign. Very responsible and ethical. You’re drowning in dirt.

10:55am GHOC: We’re cleaning the mess your masters left behind. Keep digging a deeper whole for them. You’re doing an excellent job.

(Now I’m thinking that the women at the Office of the Prime Minister are not sufficiently interesting and that the GHOC is maybe a little bored. I say yes to the hair parting on the left and hope the annoying dwarf will go away.)

11:02am Me: Hole.

11:04am GHOC: That’s your first correct fact of the day. Good day.

(Our messages have crossed.)

11:04am Me: I don’t work for any political party, unlike you. And unlike you, I am to be on the side of what is right, not what is popular. One assumes that if you were living in Germany in the 1930s, you would have been a Nazi because they were the majority.

11:06am Me: So tell me, did you vote No to EU membership jew ghamilt kif qallek Joseph u hassart il-vot? Kemm intom ta’ periklu ghall-pajjiz.

11:10am GHOC: You’ve been on the side of the majority for quite a number of years and I never assumed you’re Nazi even though some traits you display are very dangerous. But I respect democracy and I trust people have a better judgement than your blinkered approach to what is right and what is wrong and who is dangerous and who isn’t.

(By now the hairdresser has finished and I couldn’t be fagged to point out the great number of logical fallacies in the GHOC’s message, or the untruths and bats remarks. Off I went.)

11:59am Me: We’ll talk when your political masters tell the electorate what they’re doing with the TOP SECRET companies they began to set up in Panama, through the corrupt accountant with a desk in your boss’s office, just days after the election and before the cabinet had even been sworn in.

12:54pm GHOC: Get your facts right.

12:59pm Me: They’re not just right. They’re backed up by documentation available to hundreds of journalists round the world, straight from Mossack Fonseca’s server.

1:02pm GHOC: Do you even read what you write? Anyway, I think this conversation prolonged more than it should have. Thank you.

I let him have the last word, which is always important with men, especially when they’re knee-high to a wallaby, and so didn’t correct him on the use of the verb ‘prolong’. I’m not going to remove the number, of course. Sorry, Ms Haider, but you’re working for some really bad people there.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his chief of staff Keith Schembri and Kurt Farrugia, the government’s head of communications