Three days ago, failed former prime minister and supreme charlatan Alfred Sant, the shortest-serving premier since Independence, took to Facebook to call for a snap election, reasoning that the Labour would definitely win, after which any talk about those who are discredited and those who aren’t would end.
Quite apart from the fact that when Muscat did that in 2017, it proved catastrophic for the country and for him personally. Not only did it lead to his own ignominious end, and fail miserably to shut down criticism of the corruption he presided over, but it also, hideously, created the environment of impunity that led directly to the brutal assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, as the chilling conclusions of the public inquiry into her murder show.
It allowed the ‘discredited’ to become even more discreditable, perpetuating the culture of unchecked corruption and criminality to the point where Malta has now become an international pariah. The black sheep of the European Union, condemned by 635 MEPs out of 700 as being responsible for the slaying of Caruana Galizia. Grey-listed, red-listed and generally black-balled by every civilised country in the world.
Choosing to shut down censure rather than address the reasons for that reproval by turning to the electorate and asking for its blessing simply proves the essential dishonesty and lack of integrity of every single Labour politician this island has ever been cursed with.
Alfred Sant was, and is, a sly, cunning, but not very clever manipulator and trickster. He’s soft-spoken and sounds reasonably educated, so when he first appeared on the political scene, he made a sharp contrast to the bullish, violent PL characters of the 1980s. Myths about his supposed honesty and integrity began to circulate and many people, to this day, still give him way more credit than he’s due.
The manner in which he beat Lino Spiteri in the leadership election in 1992 was scandalous: according to news reports of the time and Spiteri’s own memoirs, ‘anonymous’ letters discrediting Spiteri were written to the MLP vigilance board. And, according to Lino Spiteri, one of Sant’s most fervent supporters admitted to rigging votes against Spiteri in the second ballot, after he’d polled the highest number in the first round.
A man who will use this kind of skullduggery to achieve power is, clearly, not an honest man. And in Sant’s case, he’s also a monumental hypocrite, one who dared to preach about corruption in public but resorted to backstabbing, dirty tricks, outright deception and sly, covert manipulation behind the scenes to achieve his ends.
One of his most egregious cons was the issue that won him the 1996 election: VAT and the dreaded cash registers that recorded every transaction made. Sant literally tricked a whole swathe of voters who wouldn’t otherwise have voted for Labour by deceiving them – using ambiguous language that he carefully never unpacked – into believing that his promise to abolish VAT meant that the hated fiscal cash registers would go too if they elected him as prime minister.
The shopkeepers’ cause was hardly a noble one; their issue with the fiscal machines was that they made it harder to under-declare their income, meaning they were having to declare more and therefore, having to pay more tax.
So, in true Maltese spirit, they decided, to hell with the nation, to hell with our EU aspirations. They’d sink the entire country, they’d even vote Labour, before agreeing to play ball.
In a way, there was an element of poetic justice in the way Sant shafted them. Immediately upon taking office, thanks almost entirely to the shopkeeper vote, he instructed his finance minister Lino Spiteri to cancel VAT…but to immediately replace it with another sales tax, called CET.
And, of course, this new tax also required cash to record all transactions, in exactly the same taxman-informing way as the VAT ones had. Spiteri resigned five months later over the VAT debacle and was replaced by Leo Brincat. CET was a disaster, and the island reverted to VAT after Sant got himself kicked out in 1998, just two years after he took office.
But of course, Sant’s greatest fraud on the country, the one that almost derailed our country permanently, was his insane anti-EU campaign, using scaremonger tactics to terrorise the population into believing that EU membership would bring rampant AIDS epidemics and economy-busting Sicilian hairdressers to destroy Maltese families and lead the country to damnation.
He was selling snake oil too. His alternative vision for Malta as the “Switzerland of the Mediterranean” is an amusing idea now, but it was a truly risible idea in the mid-late 90s. It’s easy to forget that Malta’s financial services industry was only able to develop as it did specifically because we joined the EU.
So, having done his best, along with his pet poodle and fellow swindler Muscat, to frighten, anger and blackmail the Maltese electorate into rejecting the PN government’s proposal that we join the EU, what did Sant do when he failed and Malta did finally accede?
The shameless hypocrite put himself forward as an MEP candidate… and got elected, by the same people, no doubt, who voted no to the EU because they were so afraid of his Sicilian hairdressers.
And now, this monumental fraud, charlatan and opportunist is starting to sow the seeds for a repeat of 2017. The man has never shown any aptitude for anything, bar the devious trickery that fools only the greedy and the mentally challenged. He makes ‘cunning plans’ – but fails to foresee or plan for the consequences, or fallout, when his fakery is exposed.
A snap election now would be disastrous for Malta. The conclusions of the Caruana Galizia assassination public inquiry have exposed the Labour Party government as a nest of slithering vipers, toxic, dangerous and entirely bereft of human decency or integrity. That can only be fixed by the Party itself, making a determined effort to bring the offenders to justice and sweep clean every nook and cranny of its membership.
If Robert Abela attempts to take the easy way out, call an election, and win, and then use that win to justify all the wrongdoing of the past eight years, Malta will descend into absolute chaos.
What Sant is proposing is the imposition of the tyranny of the majority – letting the ignorant rabble, which has already in 2017 proven its inability to stand as judge and jury, issue its verdict on the crooks who’ve destroyed Malta’s reputation, economy and way of life. They’re not capable of doing that, even if there were a credible opposition in place, which there isn’t.
A snap election now, returning to power the same PL crooks now known across the world as liars, thieves and even murderers, would sound the death knell for Malta. Sant, once again, shows himself up as a cheap, opportunistic fraud, offering a quick fix that solves nothing but promises untold catastrophe.