Somebody needs to point out to Muscat that resignation is neither a choice nor a gracious concession

Published: June 15, 2017 at 11:03am

Muscat plays to the audience back home in full awareness that knowledge of civics and of checks and balances is so poor that nobody is going to call him out on the obvious.

But the same poor talk has the opposite effect on those who live and operate in more sophisticated democracies where the obvious really is very obvious.

Yesterday in the European Parliament, Muscat repeated the fatuous canard that if “proof” is found that he or his wife owns Egrant Inc in Panama – the mysterious third company set up in tandem with those owned by Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi – then he will resign.

He said it as though it were some kind of gracious concession or special favour to the Maltese public, and as though he would actually have a choice. The idiots back home were all “Wow, am-aa-z-ing” (or whatever the equivalent is among the kind of people we saw banging on trucks outside Pilatus Bank on Sunday, 4th June), but the MEPs were stony-faced with contempt, anger, or at the barest minimum, consternation.

I mean, really – what does Muscat imagine? That he’s operating in a world where the head of government of a European Union member state can be discovered to own a secretly-incorporated company in Panama, after hiding it and denying it, and stay on as head of government?

He presents resignation as a special concession, to an audience of MEPs who know – because they are not the sort of people who would rush to Facebook to write “Thank you Panama!” when their favourite politician Konrad Mizzi is elected – that any head of government caught out in that situation would not only have to resign. He would also have to face a police investigation leading to prosecution.

But of course Muscat is presenting it to his domestic audience as some kind of special favour to us, that if he is caught out then he will resign. It’s because, if he presents resignation as anything other than a choice, he will be faced with the necessary questions as to why, in that case, Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri had a choice and chose not to resign – following which, he chose not to fire them and has now chosen to re-appoint them to their positions.

Some people here in Malta might see through Muscat and yet still be favourably impressed by how he manipulates these situations, and think that they rather like his methods. What they should bear in mind, at all times, is that people living and operating in less primitive social contexts outside Malta (or coming from the outside but living here), see the situation for what it really is: properly scandalous, and equally scandalous that we tolerate it.