This year, 2022, is Malta’s opportunity to prove that nothing is impossible. There are few certainties in this new, fraught world, plagued by disease, natural catastrophe and man-made calamity. But one thing we can be fairly confident of is that there’ll be an election in Malta in the next few months.
For those of us following the unending sordid tales of corruption and criminality committed by the Labour governments led first by the disgraced Joseph Muscat and now by his puppet-on-a-string Robert Abela, the general election of 2022 offers the chance to get rid of the crooks and start rebuilding our ravaged country.
But the polls have been telling us for months that ours is just a pipe-dream. Labour’s actually expanded its lead over the opposition, if the surveys are to be believed. One newspaper poll tells us Labour would win with a majority of 50,000 if an election were held tomorrow, another says it’s 60,000.
It all seems hopeless. The Opposition has been floundering for far too long. It has failed to ignite the hopes of those that might have helped it boot out the gang of thieves squatting in Castille.
But within PL voter camps, everything is not as hunky-dory as they would have us believe. The edges are beginning to fray, even if the fabric itself hasn’t yet begun to unravel.
There’s been a subtle shift in tone on internet comment boards since last week’s avalanche of bad news for Labour. Justyne Caruana, gone – shamed, exposed and christened the first minister ever to resign twice in the same legislature.
Ian Castaldi Paris, the scum scooped off the top of the PN broth and tossed away, only to float up to the surface of PL’s bubbling slop. Gone too.
The effects of greylisting, slithering like insidious tentacles into every aspect of Maltese life, destroying the country’s reputation, strangling business, smothering finance and garroting igaming, are now being felt across the economy.
The police force, passing on information to criminals about their own investigations, slamming hard into small fry and letting the sharks roam free.
The destruction of the environment, ransacked and pillaged by greedy developers so brazen they boast on camera of cultivating close relationships with politicians in order to get illegal permits.
Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi, barred from the US because of their involvement in corruption – not suspected corruption, but actual corruption. Two of the most prominent figures in Joseph Muscat’s cataclysmic regime, both of whom were defended to the hilt by Labour supporters across the island.
Muscat’s close connections to the two, his strangely invisible wealth, his ‘consultancy’ payments from companies linked directly to corrupt deals.
The endless stream of stories about compromised ministers and MPs, Rosianne Cutajar, Edward Zammit Lewis, Ian Borg, Edward Scicluna, Carmelo Abela, an unending effluence of foul deeds, dishonesty and naked avarice.
All of these things are slowly drip-dripping into the consciousness of PL voters’ minds. They can’t ignore them anymore. They can’t deny them any longer. What they decried as defamation has been proven to be fact. What they dismissed as rumour, malicious gossip, outright slander and libel, they’re now being forced to see as reality.
There’s still massive kickback against it. The truth is too unpalatable and they’d rather not see it.
And yet. I sense a fraying. Up to recently, the preferred argument in the PL apologists’ arsenal, when faced with proven wrongdoing by their idols, was to claim that the PN had done just as bad, or worse, than them when in power, so everyone can just shut up about corrupt PL politicians.
Now, though, there’s been an almost imperceptible shift. Now, instead, more and more people are saying “both sides are as corrupt as each other; we must kick them all out and start from scratch”.
Both sides are not as bad as each other. Malta pre-2013 may have been an imperfect place, but it certainly was not the den of iniquity Muscat and his pet villains have made it. Corrupt individuals have always existed, on both sides of the political fence, but more often than not, the institutions did work, the government had real, workable policies and, crucially, the talent and know-how to implement them.
Plus, of course, the leader of the country was never described as the “Artful Dodger of Europe,” nor awarded the shameful title of “most corrupt person in the world” as Joseph Muscat was.
So, they’re wrong when they say ‘both sides are the same,’ but they’re not wrong when they say we – the electorate – must boot out all those who have proven to be dishonest, corrupt or dishonourable.
The PN fears the idea of a third or fourth party in parliament because it feels that any new party would poach most of its voters from the ranks of the PN supporters.
But actually, among the many tens of thousands of PL voters, there may be just as many disillusioned potentials. To go from defending corruption at all costs to urging people to boot out any and all corruption is a big step, a breakthrough, even.
As the old saying goes, everything’s impossible until it’s done. The 2022 election is our opportunity to prove it.