in

Oh my dystopian dream

Keith Schembri + Joseph Muscat
Keith Schembri with Joseph Muscat

Living in Malta increasingly feels like a dream. For some it might be a nightmare but many are having a blast, or at least that’s the picture painted by statistics.  

Full employment, the highest growth rate in Europe, a budget surplus for the fourth consecutive year, higher private consumption, more exports and more tourists and glowing reports by the rulers of the world, or as they’re better known, credit rating agencies.  

But Labour’s narrative is built on lies, damned lies, and false statistics. While using statistics to paint a rosy picture Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is building an empire on deceit and a web of corruption and patronage which keeps enough people happy enough to keep him in power. 

Let’s start with the deceit. When in opposition, Muscat made a meal out of various corruption scandals which erupted under previous PN governments. He rightly called on ministers to shoulder political responsibility when the previous PN administration was implicated in scandals such as the alleged corruption in the BWSC power station contract, the Arriva fiasco and the Enemalta oil kickbacks.

He even walked out of Parliament, withdrew his MPs from a parliamentary committee on strengthening democracy and Carmelo Abela resigned from deputy speaker. And the opposition version of Muscat rightly called for resignations which, unsurprisingly, never materialised. 

Now that Muscat is in power he no longer uses the yardstick he held while in opposition but the instead he opts for the one used by his predecessors who he repeatedly accused of “undermining democracy in the most obscene manner.”

Now that Muscat is in power he, like his predecessors, is taking us for a ride by moving goal post after goal post, confounding matters and persistently renouncing the very high standards he set for himself upon being elected to office.

“Keith Schembri already said that if he is the subject of any criminal investigation, he will resign from any position he has. This is my crystal clear position” Muscat said a year ago.

Now that it is crystal clear that Schembri is subject, not to one, but three separate magisterial inquiries into potential money-laundering and kickbacks, Muscat has once again ditched the yardstick he waved 12 months ago.

“It’s not Keith Schembri who is being investigated, it’s 17 Black,” is Muscat’s latest surreal excuse. Every time he is cornered, Muscat wriggles his way out straight into another corner. 

The Electrogas power plant is the mother of all scandals and the Panama Papers and 17 Black revelations paint a very clear picture.

Muscat’s puppet master Keith Schembri and former energy minister Konrad Mizzi opened secret companies in Panama and their enablers at Nexia BT confirmed that they were planning to receive $150,000 per month into their once-secret companies from 17 Black – a company owned by one of the directors of the power station Labour shoved down our throats. A textbook case of corruption.  

If this weren’t a dream, people would take to the streets and demand Muscat’s resignation. But this is a dystopian dream.

An inverted world in which the corrupt become victims of conspiracies designed by Simon Busuttil and “chatty and unprofessional” foreign journalists. An inverted hypnotic state in which accusers become liars, traitors and enemies of the economic miracle set in statistics.

Basking in the Egrant absolution granted to him by the so-called independent media and charlatans disguised as independent wordsmiths, Muscat has a free reign to take the country for a ride.

If he can get away with Mizzi and Schembri’s Panama companies, the murder of a journalist who was on their tail and now a textbook case of corruption he will also get away with the destruction of the environment and our quality of life, growing inequalities, the erosion of the rule of law and the capture of independent institutions.   

Labour is a machine of power and clientelism. It has now seized the State and all its institutions; from government to regulatory bodies and constitutional bodies, from public companies to cultural and educational institutions, from the national broadcaster to the so-called independent media. 

If this weren’t a dream, the opposition would make Muscat’s life hell. Yet, the sorry excuse for an opposition leader which goes by the name of Adrain Delia said it was not clear about who the 17 Black inquiry was being made. With an opposition like this, who needs trolls and bots?

With an inexistent opposition and the so-called independent media owing its existence to Muscat, the Artful Dodger of Europe can only be challenged and unseated by principled people within Labour. But that will not happen either. While most owe their livelihood and political future to Muscat, the few who don’t love the party more than their principles. 

Muscat’s lies, deceit and patronage are the foundations of his hegemony. This is our own moral question and as long as we remain in la la land we will never regain control of our present and future. 

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